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Authentic Leadership

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

I asked Jeanne to teach me how to do speed work so I could mix up my running routine, making it a little less routine. It’s easy to get into a rut even in good habits. Tonight, she taught me and made it fun. There are many more lessons I’ve learned from her through the years. She’s magnetic and draws people to her with who she is to the core.

Jeanne will often say she’s a follower not a leader. It could not be farther from the truth. Authentic leadership is unselfish, shining the spotlight on others. Authentic leadership shares knowledge with actions more than words, with genuine enthusiasm more than pontificating. Authentic leadership is ego-free and generous in spirit, actually making us believe that we know more than we do, building our confidence to keep trying.

So when I look for models of leadership, I am certainly not looking at those in politics, entertainment or most businesses. Real leadership is modeled by those in our daily lives who quietly, unassumingly and authentically live it out each day, reaching outward rather than calling attention to self.  Natural and real, building others rather than themselves.

Outstanding lesson in not only speed work, but authentic leadership in so many areas of life – thanks Jeanne, your grateful student.

Quench

“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” – Bryant H. McGill

We thirst when we are surrounded by water. Look around and see what’s already holding your hand, sitting in your lap, standing right next to you. Our spirit gets dehydrated when we don’t recognize the abundance that is already present, longing to be seen.

We don’t need more, we need more gratitude for what already is. The futile search in the distance, in things, in others will continue to lead us to the desert, dying of thirst. Drink up and quench that longing deep inside with what is present right now.

“Let's choose today to quench our thirst for the 'good life' we think others lead by acknowledging the good that already exists in our lives. We can then offer the universe the gift of our grateful hearts.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

“Let’s choose today to quench our thirst for the ‘good life’ we think others lead by acknowledging the good that already exists in our lives. We can then offer the universe the gift of our grateful hearts.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Thoughts-Filled

“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.” – Swami Vivekananda

Left unattended, our thoughts can lead us to dead ends, detours and delays. What’s on our mind becomes where we will go, or more importantly where we won’t go because we are bound up with fear, diminishing our relationships, our potential, our purpose.

Listen to your thoughts, attend to them. What’s reeling through your mind distracting you from the depth of the moment? – the past, regret, to do list, worry, offenses, conversations, assumptions, unforgiveness, disappointments. Days in the past get rewound and replayed over and over again.

We can stop reliving our days and start living each day moment by moment, step by step, doing the work of work, play and rest. Our thoughts are the first step to our day and what will come tomorrow and the next. What we give credence to is what our life becomes.

We can set a new pattern and fill our mind with thoughts that propel instead of paralyze. Thoughts filled with possibility, enthusiasm, joy, dreams, laughter, love, compassion, delight. Centering and calming as the ocean rolling in, a soft breeze, a long run, a sunset. Fill your thoughts on purpose each day and make sure that they inspire, edify, grow, build and excite you and watch what happens.

As Simple as a Smile

“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love?’ These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will be many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henri Nouwen

A simple smile can change the moment, the day. Three easy steps: 1) Curiosity 2) Discovery 3) Joy. Lighten up and cast light in the process. My where a smile can lead…

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.” – Joseph Addison

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.” – Joseph Addison

Part-time Living

“We were born whole, and yet most of us are living as partial human beings. We each have the capacity to leave the world a better place than we found it. We are meant to discover our authentic nature – the state of being in which we are inspired by ourselves, turned on, lit up, and excited about who we are.” – Debbie Ford, The Shadow Effect

Whether in career or in relationships, transitions make us choose a path among many. During many transitions, I’ve often moved to get away from what’s behind rather than moving forward to what’s ahead. Instead of lunging head first into the future with anticipation and excitement, we drag our feet with one eye fixed in the rear view mirror with trepidation. Choosing the path of seemingly least resistance, we surrender to less than what we are called to do and be, in reality choosing more resistance.

We give up and away too much of ourselves to doubt, fueled by our own thoughts and others uninformed opinions. Instead of sabotaging ourselves, we can openly and confidently receive the plan that was written for us and get out of our own way. Not only fanning the flames, but stoking the fire. Burning every inch of the wick in the candle until the wax is melted completely. To cast our full light, with no apologies or apprehension.

Living to our full capacity is a full time job. So live each day with enthusiasm, hope and faith that we are moving deeper into ourselves when we move beyond the easy and obvious. We are becoming who we are meant to be step by step, transition to transition. No more part-time, half hearted living. Full time while we have the time.

Buoyant

“Recognize the possibility of the divine in any given moment.” – Dani Shapiro

“Recognize the possibility of the divine in any given moment.” – Dani Shapiro

“I awoke only to see the rest of the world was still asleep.” – Leonardo da Vinci

A sunset breaking through the paint brushed clouds and resting on the sleeping water show us how to return to our true north, our center. The sun rises and sets. The water ebbs and flows. Lighting and reflecting all of the beauty that surrounds it. In tune with its nature, rising above the fray. Buoyant, strong, at ease and steady.

We may get pulled under the water now and then, but we are built to be buoyant, returning to the surface. We need only to let go of the anchors that keep pull us under. Wake up, let go and float.

A Drop

“A jug fills drop by drop.” – Buddha

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” – Langston Hughes

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” – Langston Hughes

A drop, a gesture, a step, a smile, a glance, a song, a walk, a flower, a hug, a laugh, a beam, a rainbow, a moment. It all adds up and creates a life. Skies darken and the rain pours down. Clouds clear and the dark is overcome by warmth and light. A drop at a time.

Long Slow Summer

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…” ― Susan Polis Schutz

As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow. - A. C. Benson

As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow. – A. C. Benson

To a cool breeze that touches the soul. To the warm sun that ignites delight. To long walks that stop time. Awe found, slowly and deeply. Summer amplifies our blessings with vibrant colors, sweet fragrances and the music of nature. Summer frees us to live by the moment, present and aware.

Go slow summer, go slow.

Blooming Process

“Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.” – Saint Francis de Sales

The lilies bloomed late this year, but bloom they did. Sometimes we’re in full bloom on time. Other times, we are folded up tight in retreat, waiting for the blooming process to ensue. Sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow.

Perfection tells us it’s all or nothing, providing an excuse to hesitate or stop completely. Don’t. Keep moving, even in waiting. There’s a lot of “in between” time when we are amidst growth, being transformed into something new, unfamiliar and beautiful. The blooming process unfolds in its own time, for its own purpose.

Light waits patiently for us, steady and unwavering. We may bloom late, but it’s never too late to bloom, again and again. Blooming time is right around the corner, cultivated with patience, time, hope and persistence.

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.” – Jean Giraudoux

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.” – Jean Giraudoux

Resistance

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

We let resistance prevent us from living the life we are meant to live. And for convenience, we identify resistance as other people and our circumstances instead of owning it ourselves. The best thing about ownership is that we can do something about it because we have power over it.

“The gracious, eternal God permits the spirit to green and bloom and to bring forth the most marvelous fruit, surpassing anything a tongue can express and a heart conceive.” – Johannes Tauler

“The gracious, eternal God permits the spirit to green and bloom and to bring forth the most marvelous fruit, surpassing anything a tongue can express and a heart conceive.” – Johannes Tauler

We dabble and dip our toe into our dreams. But until we commit and do the work, they remain dormant. We avoid weeding because we know that it’s a task that never ends. The weeds keep coming back. But if we weed correctly and get the root, we get the entire weed. We can then move on to planting flowers and the art of blooming. Blooming into the life we’ve left unlived for far too long. Overcome resistance by opening up to the possibilities held deep within and let them bloom.

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