The Every Day Leader: How are you?

I  ran into her unexpectedly.   It had been months since I had seen her.  I stopped, looked her in the eyes and simply asked how she was doing.  Returning the look, the first words out of her mouth were, “thank you so much for asking, and meaning it, you will never know what that means to me”.   

A simple question can speak volumes to how you care about another.

We never know what is going on in someones life.  We have no idea if  they are struggling with a:

Relationship issue

Family problems

Caring for a loved one

Financial issues

Discouragement

Lack of purpose

Hurt

We often don’t see the bag on their back filled with all kinds of heavy rocks that are weighing them down. Rocks of disappointment, discouragement, hurt, and more. We do know that a simple act of kindness, as simple as looking them in the eye and caring – can make all the difference in their world.

It lightens the load.

Knowing that someone cares, really cares, can make all the difference to some one who is hurting.  They no longer feel that they are carrying everything alone,  especially when it feels like they cannot take another step.

Are you being intentional to speak to those around you? To address them by their name and to ask how they are?

It’s what Every Day Leaders do. It means physically showing you care.  It is what makes a difference to those around us.

 

 

 

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The Every Day Leader: Reaching out to a messy world

This morning before the sign was flipped to the “open” position at our nonprofit agency, I had already spent ten minutes on the phone with a grieving father, and another twenty minutes with a mother who spoke only through the sobs of losing her adult son.

The sadness, the guilt, the loss…it was more than either of them knew what to do with, it was all-consuming. For years addiction had consumed their son and virtually destroyed their marriage. Now, here they are talking to a stranger, thanking me for caring for their son, knowing that we had befriended and helped him during his time of need. Immediately following that conversation I moved to another with an older gentleman, at the opposite end – facing the winter season of his life, who had lost all of his family relationships from mental illness and bad decisions.

Struggling. Lonely. Searching. Longing for life to be different, and yet, feeling there is not much hope of it actually being different. He was wanting, more than anything, to simply have someone just willing to talk with him.

In both of these situations, life took unexpected twists and turns. Life got messy. All of these folks walk their journey alone, feeling like they don’t belong.

I wonder how many others walk it alone?

How often do we assume everyone is okay and that they have someone to rely on? If we realized how many people we see each day that are alone and hurting, would we be more willing to reach out and care about them?

I wonder if we only knew, would we act differently? Would we take more time out of our busy days? Would we take the time to speak and truly care how someone is – to make eye contact and see the hurt? I wonder how different our world would be if each of us lived this way.

Next time you see someone, no matter where you are…take the time to care.

Isn’t that what we all strive for, to know that we matter to another? Our business, our non-profit, our life…we strive to know that what we do matters, that we matter. I know that when I take the time to simply listen, to care, and to pray for those who are hurting, it is in those moments, I know that my life matters.

As Every Day Leaders, it is the little things we do each day that can leave a lasting impact. May we never forget that every moment really does matter!

The Every Day Leader: The Suitcase

There is something about old suitcases that just draw us in. They could be on display at an antique store or being used, no matter what, they always seem to get our attention.  So often we want to know the stories of their travels through the generations. It was not that long ago that trips took great planning, and the mode of transportation was on rough dirt roads as the horse-drawn buggies pulled both passengers and luggage to their destination.

Today we have it much easier.  A trip can be planned on the spur of the moment and still be enjoyable. We can check destinations, weather, activities, and so much more on our smart phones. Everything we need is  instantly at our fingertips.

As I write this I gaze at the old suitcases decorating my hallway.  These old suitcases moved my family long ago.  Yet, I am reminded that suitcases  can also symbolize much more than just travel, they represent the change in our lives.   For many of us change is difficult, we would rather hold on tight then let go and take the risk.

Today our lives are constantly in motion.  Yet when it comes time for a change do we know it is time to move on? Often times we remain where we are in our lives simply because it is comfortable.  Does it feel safer to avoid risk? Perhaps we have a new idea but fear it may not work, so we stay quiet.  We wonder how much of an impact we alone can have.  So we remain just as we are.  The road of change feels different.  Being safe feels better.  Less risk is easier.  So we do nothing. 

I love the story of Moses.  A man who stuttered, yet led the people out of Egypt.  An everyday man who was willing to be obedient.  He traveled. He led.  It meant big change and it was risky.   He was willing to step out, accept the risk and see what happened.  Our history books are filled with everyday people who have been willing to do the same. 

How about you?   The suitcase is just the reminder.  You  may already know if it is time for a change.  Deep down you know.  A career change?  Finding purpose in your life?  A relationship?  Reaching out to another?  Perhaps, you have found it easier to stay put. To keep the suitcases all stacked up nice and neat just like I have in my hallway.  They look good, but are serving no real purpose.

What will you do?  Living a life with intention is a life that searches and asks the question, what should I be doing differently?  How can my life count?  I like the reminder of the suitcases.

I want to be that everyday leader that is:

Willing to pick up and go

To move when necessary

To make a difference