The Every Day Leader: Hidden

What is it about white picket fences that we like them so much? Stories are written about them, little girls dream of growing up and owning homes with them and often times we are drawn to houses that have them. There is something special about seeing a pristine white picket fence around a house.

When we moved into our house, I was thrilled to have a little white picket fence around the back yard.  When I look at it,  I am filled with warm memories of growing up on a farm.

This fence looks beautiful from the back porch, all nice and white with a few plants growing along the side to enhance the look.

An up close look though tells a very different story.  When you look closely at some of the boards you will see that many of those boards are rotting and some are even broken off at the bottom.  If you push a little too hard, you might just push all the way through! 

What looks beautiful on the outside… IS NOT what you see on the inside.

This can be true of us Every Day Leaders too. We  often look fabulous on the outside! We have just the right look and talk, our actions seem to say we are leaders but what you may find on the inside is far different.  Our outside is nothing more than a facade, hiding our true selves.

 As Every Day Leaders seeking to live a life of intention, our lives should look the same on the inside as the outside.  If we claim to be someone with integrity… is that reflected all the time, even when no one is watching? Integrity is doing the right thing ALL the time. It is being who you say you are and doing what you said you have done, this includes on paper too.

If we say you can trust us, does this change depending upon the situation, the person we are with, or the opportunity presented? Trust is hard to get, easy to lose, and extremely difficult to get back. Customers are often lost over broken trust and employees are less productive when they don’t trust their leadership.

When we say that we care about someone, is it only for the moment or are we  willing to truly show that we care even if it means being inconvenienced? Words are easy to say but do our actions speak loudly that we do care about those we lead? Do we take the time  to show them by getting to know our employees and those around u?. Do we take time to help them work in their strengths to be more successful? Or is it all about our success and how they can help us achieve it? As a leader when you truly care for those you lead, you will do everything possible to help them be successful, knowing their success is your success.

If I am going to follow someone, I want to know who they are, not just who they say they are. I want to know they are consistent and that their words and actions are the same.

What image are you portraying to others? What things do you say and do to create that image?

The picket fence is a great reminder to us as leaders that looking good to others on the outside is not all we want to be or should strive for.  We should always strive to be the same on the inside as what others see on the outside.

Our character counts.  Not the way we look or dress, what we own, or even our position, but what really counts is that which is deep inside us. And that which is deep inside us will always define us. It is this character that is inside us that is the true influence on the lives of those around us. 

The Every Day Leader, living a life of intention, being our best selves – inside and out.

 

 

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The Every Day Leader: One is the Loneliest Number

I laid down beside my grandkids in bed, tucking them in for the night.  It had been six  days since their parents had left, and they were all feeling it. The two-year old was crying out for her mama, it seemed she especially missed her at bedtime.  At first her sister had asked her to be quiet. Yet as the little one continued to cry out, I watched something beautiful transpire. In the semi-darkness, I could see the four-year old reach over and offer her hand to her little sister.

The moments that followed were priceless.  The hands locked fingers, no words were spoken, but the silence was golden.  The littlest one seemed to understand that her older sister was there for her.  She was missing her mama and so was her older sister. In that moment of need, she knew she wasn’t alone.

She knew someone understood.

There are times that we all feel like my sweet little two-year-old year old granddaughter.  We wonder if we are alone.  We wonder if anyone knows how we might be feeling.  We feel isolated.  We keep our feelings stuffed down deep…what would others say?  What would others think? Almost always if we are a leader by position, it is especially a lonely road.

If you are in a position of leadership you often are in a place where you do not have the privilege to share openly your struggles, your frustrations or your fears…so we tend to keep quiet.  Sometimes we cry out in the quietness of our own solitude, where no one can hear us.

We all need that hand that reaches out to us, like that little hand in the darkness with my granddaughters.

We need to know someone understands us and someone cares about us.  We need to know that someone is there to listen, to comfort, to advise, and that we have someone we trust.

We were never meant to be an island, that lifestyle is only sustainable short-term. Success and longevity comes with having a strong trusted confidante who does not change or waver based on YOUR circumstances.  Someone who will speak truth into your life and not just tell you what you want to hear.

If you don’t have someone like that, you need to find that person, TODAY.

It is not enough to have that person, you must be willing to accept the gift they are offering. We must accept the gift of themselves to walk with you and to speak truth into your life, the gift of that hand in your darkest hour, their gift of support in your loneliest times, the gift of trust as you lead. God gives us the gift of others so we don’t have to walk this journey alone.

The every day leader, living a life of intention, making a difference in the lives of others by never walking the road alone.

Be intentional to find someone who will help you be the very best YOU that you can be!

The Every Day Leader: Hijacked!

Hello Friends,

I have a confession to make… I just hijacked my friend’s blog. I had to brag a bit about my amazing friend, Cathy, who is the really great leader that writes this blog week after week.

Holly Gerth once said the characters in life that may seem ordinary on the outside are far from it when given some time and a welcoming place, all kinds of wonderful starts flowing through them to you.

You find out how they came to be who they are.

Tonight, during a late night chat between working on projects, I learned all about how my friend grew up on a farm. I learned that life on the farm teaches you to work hard, do good, and care for family and others.

By the time we said good-bye I realized my life had changed and I had just gotten swept over by a whole lot of wonderful. Really knowing someone requires: our hearts, schedules, authenticity, vulnerability, and trust. I will be forever grateful my friend shared all of those things tonight.

Leaders and Mothers seem to have a lot in common. At times both seem to be a thankless job, at times the road seems lonely, and at times the task ahead seems insurmountable.

Today, on the dawn of Mother’s Day, I thank all of you Mom’s for giving of yourselves every day.  Know that you have the most important job of all.

I have gotten to watch my friend lead a medium size non-profit. I have also learned that she raised 4 phenomenal kids. I have had the pleasure of meeting 3 of those kids, they are AMAZING. I have seen her mother so many others: those who don’t have a mom that come her way, those who have lost their children and some who have lost their mothers.

I have seen her impact and change the lives of those around her every day. Isn’t this what leaders do? Isn’t this what mother’s do?

Today I just wanted to take a minute and say… you are doing a great job Cathy. You are an awesome Mom. You are an awesome leader. You have poured your heart into everything you do and it shows in the people you lead. You have impacted many and we will forever be changed because of it.

Your making a difference, not just in your children and grand kid’s lives, but in your staff and clients lives too. And mine. Your legacy is your heartbeat of compassion that will live on in the lives of all of those you touch daily. It is your smile that encourages the staff to press on when they felt they had no energy to go one step further. It is the stories of life on a farm that inspire faith, hard work, and hopefully homemade donuts.

You have challenged all of us to come up higher, be better, and be excellent in our service to others.

I trust you. I know that you have my back. I trust your judgement.

I believe in you. I believe you are changing lives, the community, and soon the world.

I am honored to follow your lead. So step out… take that first step… towards something new.. you are not alone.

I say thank you to those who have stayed the course, thank you to the leaders who are brave enough to have a vision, to cast that vision, and to lead with integrity that we may follow.

Thank you Cathy for doing all that and more. Thank you for being a friend that pours into others. Thank you for being a leader that I want to follow, a lover of Christ and a lover of people.

You are an AMAZING leader! A leader that leads every day with intention.

Sincerely,

The Baggage Handler