“The rain begins with a single drop.” – Manal al-Sharif
We don’t finish where we start. And we won’t finish if we don’t start. A single drop joins another and another to create a stream and flow. We discard precious time over-thinking how to get where we want to go. Start. And drop by drop, step by step, momentum and time join to create reality of mere thoughts.
“Surrender to the flow.” – Mike Gordon
Brick upon brick soon reveals a building. One drop and suddenly the skies open to rain. The “secret” is there are no short cuts, the only way through and to is starting, believing and enjoying the road to the finish. If it’s in your heart, it’s meant to be. Start.
“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.
“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.
“You can never regret anything you do in life. You kind of have to learn the lesson from whatever the experience is and take it with you on your journey forward.” – Aubrey O’Day
This month marks my 25 years in association management. I’ve been thinking about it the past few months – how the time has flown and moved slowly at the same time. Moments of success and failure that have culminated into a career that I am proud of. And I haven’t thrown in the towel yet – I’ve got some good years in me still.
Today one of our new interns interviewed me on my career for her class project. Her questions made me hone in and reflect on lessons learned. She asked for advice that I would give to someone starting out in their career.
So here goes, the lessons I’ve learned, relearned and keep learning even after 25 years:
Stay positive and never let negative people make you stray off course. It’s only noise to distract, tune it out. Be patient and let time do its job. Work hard and be focused. Play hard so you can keep working hard. When you are at work, be at work. When you are at home, be at home. Laugh early and often, especially at yourself. Intensity is good at times, but not all of the time. Lighten up.
Trust yourself. Listen. Don’t let others criticism or praise define who you are – you only need to account for what you’ve contributed to this world while you are here so keep your eyes on your own paper. Take ownership for your professional and personal development. There will never be “free time” that suddenly opens up for learning. You need carve it out of your schedule each day and make it a priority. Be curious and ask questions. Always do your best – it develops character, strength and results.
Make time for art, music and literature to spark a continual flow of creativity which every profession can benefit from. True leadership is a quiet endeavor that always shines a light outward, not to self. Help others grow and you will grow yourself in the process. Enjoy the journey, it goes fast. Create, foster and build relationships – those are what will be remembered long after we pass by and through.
As in all lessons, I wish I would have learned them quicker than I did. The good news is that I am still a willing student ready to learn even more as the journey continues.