Something that has been on my heart lately is everyday leadership. If you search for leadership, a lot of the advice you find is geared to large corporations and companies. And that is great. I have read a lot of their insightful posts and watched several online sessions, live streams, and videos. I am left feeling motivated yet unsatisfied. You see, I am no CEO. I run no company, and I have no teams to lead. So I am left asking the question, "what about the rest
of us?" What about everyday leaders?
I so deeply and passionately feel that leadership is an everyday undertaking. Leadership can happen in your friendship group. Leadership can happen in your breakroom. Leadership can happen in the bleachers at your child's sports game. Leadership can happen in your home. Leadership is a daily decision; an everyday act and intention.
At the end of each year, I pray for a word to take with me into the new year. This idea is not my creation. I took this idea from John Maxwell after one of his Live2lead live stream events. I have been doing this for a few years now and I have found this practice to be beneficial because it sets a specific intention for you to focus on for the next 365 days. As 2020 was coming to a close, I prayed, asking God to give me a word for 2021. After a harrowing year, full of so many new challenges that a global pandemic brings, I was hoping for something easy and not too challenging. 2020 had grown and stretched me almost to the point of breaking. I learned so much about human nature including my own in the past 12 months, that I was really looking to set my life on 'cruise control' for a while. I just wanted to 'catch my breath' so to say. The word came clear as a bright, sunny day.
My reaction? I groaned. "Ugh!" I sighed, "hasn't this past year been enough? Last year I got the word challenge and now I have to lead too?!" I was not pleased. As you can tell, this clearly was not the word I was expecting. I think I was secretly hoping for "coast" or "sleep" but I got "lead." So that brings me to where I am today, writing about everyday leadership.
Nobody wants a boring, mediocre life. We want passion, we want to be driven, inspired. We want to show up in our lives, our faith and live life to the fullest. We want to make a difference, we want to be able to say as Paul did "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful" 2 Timothy 4:7 NLT That's what I want.
How to live with excellence
Taken from Psalms 15:2,3,5 NLT
"Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends...such people will stand firm forever."
Who do we follow? Who do we look up to? Chances are you look up to people you admire. It's not something that we necessarily do consciously, but we do it. I want you to think of a person you would consider a leader. It can be someone you know, or an author, speaker, you admire. Now, I want you to think of why you consider them to have leadership qualities.
The people we look up to often have qualities that we admire. They have set a standard for their lives that they choose to live by, and this sets them apart from the status quo. One of the leaders that I admire and strive to be more like is Andy Stanley. He is a speaker and a writer and leads and authors with excellence and integrity. He has set the leadership bar high and I am always inspired by him. I have read many of his books, I have watched his DVD series, podcasts and have the YourMove app.
So how do we live with leadership in our everyday lives? From Psalm 15
1-Live a blameless life
2-Do what is right
3-Speak the truth with sincerity
4-Refuse to gossip
5-Refuse to speak badly or lie about your friends (loyalty)
1-Live a blameless life
Today I will talk about the first one.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? But I am going to say it straight out, you cannot lead if you do not have personal integrity. You simply cannot. You can boss, you can dictate, you can have submission from those you lead, but you cannot truly inspire leadership if you live without integrity.
Let me tell you a story. A few years ago, there was a freak heavy rain causing flash overland flooding in our area. A ditch in our front yard was plugged by a garbage can that was washed into the ditch from the heavy downpour of rain. So much water fell so quickly, with the plugged ditch, our neighborhood drained into our yard instead of continuing down the ditch into the proper drainage. Our yard became a lake and you could not see our grass. As you can imagine, this did not do well for our window wells. I went downstairs into our basement and started crying as I saw water spraying in from the seams of our basement window. The window looked like an aquarium, and I was praying that the latch would hold because if it did not, our basement would fill rapidly. Once my husband was able to get the collapsed garbage can out of the ditch, the water flowed freely and the temporary lake receded in minutes. But the damage was done. Water had leaked into half of our basement causing a lot of damage. My husband and I spent hours ripping the waterlogged carpet out, cutting out drywall, and throwing away swollen furniture. It was frustrating and exhausting.
The next step came for me to call the insurance company. We had extra insurance on our recently finished basement. We had a sensor in our sump pit, just to make sure we did not have water back up. We did everything right to prevent water damage. So when the insurance agent told me that they would not cover any overland water damage, I was beyond frustrated. Then the agent asked me slowly and deliberately, "Is there any other way the water came in the basement?" I flat out said, "No! There was no other way the water came in."
Then the agent asked me again, slowly and deliberately, "Is there any other way the water came into your basement?"
Can you put a price on integrity? Would you sell your integrity for $5000? Or maybe for $10,000? Because at that moment, I had a choice to make. I was being given a window where I could lie, and save several thousand dollars. But the cost would be my integrity.
"No. There is no other way the water came in," I said with honesty.
I knew that meant we would have to pay for the damage and the replacement costs by ourselves. But I also knew that at the end of the day, I need to live with myself, and the choices I make influence who I am and how I act. I was not willing to sacrifice my integrity for a few thousand dollars. I would choose, to the best of my ability, to live a blameless life.
You know, I have never regretted telling the truth.
But I know that I would have regretted lying.
Til next week!