A CALL TO LEAD – 18 February 2019

We all have opportunities to lead. Whether it’s in our homes or in our communities, in our church responsibilities, in our work places, etc. I think we all have an opportunity to lead. And then, often, we get a second or third or fourth opportunity to lead, right?

That’s how it seems to work in my life, and in my husband’s life. And when my teenager had an opportunity to lead, and she made some poor choices – just naive choices – my thought was, “Oh good. Now you’ve learned not to do that.”

And I need to show that same mercy to myself, in my mistakes. “Oh, good, Rach. Now you know not to do that in the future.”

It seems, over the past month or so, since we have been in quarantine, with the pandemic spreading, I have had a different opportunity to lead in my home, than even just six weeks ago. Because the children are with me more and in a different situation than before, my responsibilities as a leader are slightly different.

Simon Senik helps us understand a few things about leadership, in today’s podcast episode. I’ve always really enjoyed listening to Simon Senik. And, in the past, I have used his ideas as I have led. But, again, I think there is more need than before for me to lead in this inspired way, in my home, now.

ONE. It takes COURAGE to be a great leader.

“Baseline. Courage is absolutely number one. To do the right thing rather than the expedient thing – really hard. To suffer a couple of hard (days) because you’re in a building mode, but you know it’s the right thing to do – really hard.”

And this may be as simple as letting a child help me prepare the dinner. Believe me – that takes courage for me. Dinner is my thing. The kitchen is my place. If I am in “building mode”, though, things like saying no to a child and facing their wrath, or trying a new bed time routine, or letting the children help in the kitchen may be the right things to do.

TWO. It takes EMPATHY to be a great leader.

“Seeing people as people. And they will return this with loyalty and love.

When someone offers you loyalty and love, they will give their blood and sweat and tears to see that your vision comes to life.”

Seeing the children as people, with thoughts and opinions and ideas and passions, as well as fears and reservations.

THREE. It takes HONESTY to be a great leader.

“It is really easy to be honest. You just tell the truth. It doesn’t mean you have to be (emotional) about it … the truth doesn’t have to be harsh, but it has to be true… And very often we don’t tell the truth, not because we are liars. We often don’t tell the truth because we don’t want to hurt others’ feelings.

The goal is not to be perfect by the end. The goal is to be better today… We are all works in progress. The opportunity we all have is to be better.”

Funny example. Right before Bryant and I were married, our spiritual leader counseled with us. He shared with us some of the things he had learned being married. One bit of advice that he gave Bryant was this. If a meal that Rachel prepared isn’t very good, don’t say, This is excellent. Also don’t say, This is horrible. Rather make a big deal to compliment other meals she prepares that you do like.

FOUR. It takes being present to be a great leader.

I repeated this part, a few times over again. I had to hear this principle – being present – discussed again.

“‘Present’ isn’t something for you. It is something for someone else. It’s a PRESENT. It is something you give… When somebody says to you, thank you for listening. When somebody says, I really feel heard. That is an indication that you are present.”

Okay. Read that again. I meditate regularly. It is important to me. And I am learning to be present.

I treated this practice of meditation and of being present, as a gift to me.

“And the reason we meditate – the reason we practice self-care – is so that we build that muscle to be present….

So, if you’ve ever tried meditation, you are supposed to clear your head. And if you have a thought that pops into your head, the way we are supposed to deal with it, we are supposed to label that a thought, put it out of your mind, and say I’ll deal with that later.

That is a practice that we get to use with other people. So if someone is speaking to us, and we have a thought that pops into our head that we want to now interject, we just wait for our turn to speak… We can label that a thought, we can put it aside and deal with it later, because right now I’m in listening mode… These are skills that are not for us. These are skills that we get to use for others… And we have to practice the skills…”

The skills I am learning in meditation are not meant as an end, but as an exercise. The reason we meditate is so that we build that muscle to be present. I am a little embarrassed to admit that this is a novel idea for me.

Being present when my children are talking. Being present when I am saying my prayers – that is a difficult thing to do sometimes. Being present when I am on a date with Bryant. Being present at meals times with the family.


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