To really see how the leader is doing, look at the followers.
Are the people following? All leaders are going somewhere, but can they bring people with them?
Are the people willing to make changes for the better?
Are the people growing? The growth and development of people is the highest calling of a leader.
Are the people succeeding?
If you think you are leading but no one is following, you are just taking a walk.
Yelling upstairs “Dinner’s ready!” has proven to only work less than 25% of the time. If I want my teens to join the family for dinner, I have learned to go upstairs, knock, and to invite them to come and eat with us. It’s so much easier to yell, but when I take the time to put in the effort of connecting with respect, my results are better. Lessons everyday. Putting extra effort and letting them know I care always gets better results. Where else can I apply this?
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
How you look at the failures is in your control- they are the stepping stones to success. You can redefine your failures right now and change your past. Yes it’s true!. The tapes that you have been playing in your head that are the story of your life can be ejected and replaced with new ones. The story that says you are not a go-getter, that you are not smart, that you are a failure, that you are not lovable, that people betray you, that women are manipulative or that men are selfish, any story at all. There were things that happened to me in the past that were painful and I held on to as part of my identity. They colored and influenced the way I reacted and behaved with people. They were the shields that kept me from getting hurt, the banners that announced who I was, the excuses that I used for why I could not. Someone sometime in my past told me I was book smart but life stupid. Why did I believe it? Because I had example after example show up that proved this was true. It became who I was, a persona that controlled all of my actions for many years. I was uncertain, insecure, I lacked confidence in myself. It was a self fulfilling belief, since I kept attracting opportunities to prove these limiting beliefs right. I would think, “Why does this always happen to me?” and my oh so responsive inner voice would say, “It’s because you are gullible. Remember this time and that time and the time before?” or “It’s because people are not to be trusted.”
So what happened to change the story I was telling myself? I see now that I was ready to change. I was tired of the same old feelings of inadequacy and helplessness. I began to ask myself a different question, “Why do I feel this way?” It changed, from things happening to me, to me questioning my responses. A subtle shift that allowed the door to crack open into a whole new way of being. The saying that when the student is ready the teacher will appear is very true, although I believe the teachers are always there, just a small shift outside of our awareness. When we open our minds to the possibility of changing our lives, we begin to see that it is indeed possible. I have gone back to the painful experiences, the failures, the rejections, and ejected the tapes. I have forgiven my younger self for not knowing more. I have attached another meaning to the events, a meaning that gives me peace, as I now see that they were vital lessons in my journey. Every failure was indeed a success, because without them I would not be where I am today, and for that I am grateful.
As I sit here at my desk today I have a brand new puppy on my lap. He is proving to be a great reminder that no matter how much we think we know what the future will hold, we are often wrong. I didn’t anticipate the impulsive decision to drive over 8 hours away to bring a new addition home to our family. I didn’t foresee how he would endear himself to me in such a short time. I didn’t remember that a puppy is much like a newborn and requires time, energy and attention to care for and train him. Yet, here we are. Thankfully he is an adorable disruption to my plans, yet he is a disruption nonetheless. Life often takes a turn you don’t expect. I am reminded that adjusting to these turns is what determines the level of peace, joy and acceptance in my life.
I learned many, many lessons from my father, but not least of which is that you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love. – Jim Carrey
Do more of what you love. It’s as simple as that.
There are always things that we have to do that may rate lower on the scale, like filling up the car with gas, or cleaning the toilets, but if we increase the ratio of love things to more than the necessary things, the happiness dial spins right. Appreciate the moments you have to do what you love, and bring love to the things that are lower on your desirable list. When I clean my home or do laundry, I am creating a clean and welcoming place for my family. When I have to go to the grocery store yet again to restock the fridge, I am feeding my family healthy, nourishing food. When I have to carpool my kids around I am spending precious time with them and getting them safely where they need to go. When I have to wake up early and go to work, I am focused on enjoying the quiet morning and spreading love to the people I work with.
There is a way to make everything you do a joyful thing, by redefining your definition. Stop saying “I have to go to work” or “I have to go to the store”. Get rid of “have to” and be grateful for another day in your body to experience all this world has to offer. Speak kindly to yourself, and be grateful that you have something to contribute to those you love and come into contact with.
When you realize that you play an important part in the creation of your life through your perspective and your reactions it is the beginning of freedom. I remember when I would say “It’s just how I am”, or “I can’t help it” or “He did this to me, so I have no choice”. Freedom comes when you start to see that no matter what happens to you, no matter what you experience, you alone are the one who determines the meaning you give it.
There are two brothers, grown now, who shared a very difficult childhood. Their father was abusive, angry and hostile. Their mother distant and unable to protect them from the tyrant who held the power in their household. They had little support in getting through this difficult stage in their lives. Although they were both in the same nightmare throughout their youth, as time passed their paths digressed to opposite sides of the spectrum. One is very successful, with a loving family and many close friends. He says, “My difficult childhood helped me be who I am, I swore I would not follow that path of abuse. I have spent my life working to be the opposite of my dad, and because of the difficulties I had, I have more strength.” The other is angry, alone, with addictions and has little ambition to change. He says, “My father was abusive, this is why my life is where it is. My genetic disposition is to be an addict. Look at the role models I had, it’s their fault I don’t have anything I want in my life.”
Both of these men have stories. Are they true? They are to them, but they are still stories. We can change the story at any time we choose, and by doing so change not only our past but the course of the future. Every thought, no matter how trivial, has a consequence. The stories of our life are what define us as a human being. The story we believe determines our reactions, affect our belief system, and how we see the world. If you change your thoughts, and change your story, you change your life.
The house is quiet, the internet is fast. There is no traffic, and a feeling of stillness is all around. All over the nation today cooks have risen early to begin the preparations. Some are grateful to have a day off, others are grateful to be busy working. Some are looking forward to spending time with family and friends, others are dreading it, some are lonely, some overwhelmed. We are reminded today to be grateful, on this day of Thanksgiving. It is the beginning of the time of the year when many are suddenly aware of how blessed we are. The desire to give back, to volunteer, to share our abundance is kindled. Is it possible to capture that feeling and to carry it through the year? The feeling that you get when you are grateful, when you have given something of your own, when you have helped another with no expectation of reciprocation. It feels like peace, like love, it feels good. It’s a feeling that belongs to all of us, it’s there always as a product of choosing to say a heartfelt thank you every day for the opportunity to live another day, no matter what the world brings into your life.
Thank you for reading, for being interested in what is unfolding in life for me, for hopefully taking one thought with you throughout your day and making your world a little brighter. Thank you!
I have had to learn to make decisions. Not everyday decisions like whether to have eggs or oatmeal, but the big, hard decisions. I was so programmed to look up, to let the part of my brain that handled hard calls lay dormant. I would absolve myself of the responsibility for making the wrong choice by staying passive. It was a mystery how some people could see things so clearly and just make a call. Pick the gray tile. Switch our son’s school. Sign the long lease. I was scared of making the wrong choices, my overly analytical brain wanted to feed me all sides of every possibility all the time, giving me just as many reasons to go left as it did to go right. One day after asking my husband for the umpteenth time “What do you think we should do about…”, I woke up to what I was doing. I kept looking up for the answers, and lucky or not for me, my husband would most often solve the problem for me. I asked him, “How do you make the right decision so easily?”. His answer was so simple, “I don’t always know if it is the right decision, but until you make it, and let it play out, you don’t know. If it is right, great, you got there sooner. If it is wrong, great too, you know so you can adjust and change it.”
It was not some big mystery, there was no missing gene in my makeup, it was just the act of deciding. Newsflash to my brain: He didn’t always know which choice was better! What a relief to find this out! I began noticing opportunities for me to practice my new awareness, and becoming more confident in my ability to make choices. It is a muscle you can build. It has to start with letting go of being attached to being right all the time. Being okay with making mistakes. Stepping into uncertainty, and letting go of the outcome.
Family can be and is for me more than my immediate, more than my husband, my kids, my siblings. Family is also the people I am leading. How can one expect anyone to allow you to lead them if they don’t first know you love and care about them? All the talk, the training, the success, the do it like this, mean nothing. No one cares, not unless they know you care about them. The almost 100 people in our organization plus my immediate family, all working in unison day after day, are the pulse, the energy, and the momentum that pushes me forward to grow and learn. I have been so blessed to be able to achieve my dreams of success, my dreams of financial security, my dreams of owning a business. And what I have learned is that none of it matters unless it is shared.
This means treating your team like family, and not some disfunctional group that doesn’t talk to each other. Like a close knit family that holds hands to give thanks together, that is there for each other when one is in need, and also that knows what helps and what hurts. Sometimes it means second chances, sometimes it means tough love, sometimes it means swallowing your pride, but it always means love.