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It’s viewing life-giving acts like this that allows us to remember that truly, if we simply have a healthy child to love, we are so very blessed and how often we can take that for granted. I also found myself reflecting on my four boys.

Reflecting on all the times I have failed to be all I can be – too quick to anger, seeing them as interruptions, stopping me from getting ‘stuff’ done, too slow to mercy and love towards them in their different little worlds, growing and learning.

Reflecting on times I have managed to be all I can be – patient, loving, gentle. Having all the time in the world for them and helping them through challenges lovingly instead of critiquing their mistakes. Spending time with them. Indeed just last night I found myself lying on the ground with one of them for a while under his blanket and it wasn’t long before a family ‘stacks on’ occurred with plenty of tickling, laughter, and love.

Truly, the bright light of such an amazing example from an obviously wonderful Dad encourages me to reach higher and do more of all I can be.

It was a shining example of that wonderful saying “Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a Dad”.

What a beautiful, simple, and powerful expression of love and service. A leader’s example.

Her smile is worth a lifetime of effort surely.

Daniel

I hope you find this as enriching as I did. If you were after a reflection for today or this week, I encourage you to have a read and let me know what you thought or felt.

http://kirkweisler.com/t4d/2013/11/21/thursday-on-your-deathbed/

As I read it, it took me to reflect on when I lost my own father at the age of 14. I was ‘blessed’ to a certain degree with a level of comprehension of ‘living with the end in mind’ as a result. It has truly shaped my outlook on life, yet still I have so much to learn of course. This ‘living with the end in mind’ is very much like ‘beginning with the end in mind’ isn’t it and each day is truly a beginning.

I found it encouraging of things to focus on in my life and despite my own infusion of the value of life through my father’s loss I still read this article and understood there were areas I needed so much more to focus on.

I also found it such a magical article in light of the journey many make in a palliative situation, and also how it connected me to some degree with some understanding of what Dad might have gone through. It made me a little sad and a little happy at the same time as I approach the age myself where he did leave us for a better place.

I have a tear in my eye as I reflect upon how intertwined his heart still remains in mine and those of my wife and children through me. This article helped me also look upon the ways I fail them and where I could love them more as is my privileged role to perform.

It goes without saying that leaders do begin with the end in mind and the truly great leaders, live with the end in mind.

Lead anyway,

Daniel

I read the following passage recently and was energised by the power of its simple messages. We’ve probably all heard passages that espouse similar virtues before so I won’t go into further detail but just allow this particular one as it impacted me so well to see what it does for you.

WHILE OTHERS Are.

by William Arthur Ward

Believe while others are doubting.
Plan while others are playing.
Study while others are sleeping.
Decide while others are delaying.
Prepare while others are daydreaming.
Begin while others are procrastinating.
Work while others are wishing.
Save while others are wasting.
Listen while others are talking.
Smile while others are frowning.
Commend while others are criticizing.
Persist while others are quitting.

The only point I did want to make was one key lesson: Do what others won’t … but please do it with joy and seek to be a servant. We can often read such passages and very quickly put ourselves in an ‘elite’ place, a place where we might accidentally find ourselves proudly, though only mentally, proclaim that we are doing what others won’t and therefore considering ourselves somehow better.

It’s my view that the truly greatest leaders no matter what they are doing that others aren’t, still seek to lift others up and help them by seeing the person, seeing the challenges, seeing their battles and with no self promotion whatsoever, simply try to serve the other. Please do feel free to share any of your own stories like this in the comments.

Daniel

One of the great shames nowadays is all the different ways we’ve come up with to avoid one magical question that can changes someone’s day, when asked with meaning, intent, and dare I say it, love.

The question I’m referring to is ‘How are you’.

I believe we used to use it with far more empathy and we used to mean it. In our fast paced world and techniques of avoidance – you can’t go too deep with just anyone! – we’ve changed it to phrases like ‘What’s up’… err the sky. ‘Whadda ya know?’ … hmmm “lot’s and not much”. Or worst of all, we actually ask “How are you?” but really don’t care and simply are being polite, the encounter an interruption to a busy day and all that needs doing because my day is all about me!

You see the old fashioned approach was to take time and energy when meeting people to actually ask them ‘how are you’ and then genuinely listen for their reply then connect with them. For me, one of the more beautiful elaborations on this theme actually came from the movie Avatar. There is a tribe called the Na’vi tribe who live on the planet Pandora where the story takes place and their standard greeting when they met was ‘I see you’. It’s far deeper than the words though. It was said with meaning, a gaze filled with intent that emanated from the big emotion filled eyes of the Na’vi. It communicated so much for just three short words, the key component communicated one of understanding. ‘I see you’ really said “I’m stopping and taking time to connect with you, your life, who you are AND I care.”

For me it is surely one of the more magical lines of the movie, said many times, as it also espouses the connectedness and community that existed within this magical tribe who completely understood we truly are all connected and to ‘see’ each other was so important that it had to be recognised in such a powerful ‘standard’ greeting.

I’m not suggesting you go out and start greeting people with “I see you”, you might get arrested! However today, let’s look at ourselves and reinvigorate our “How are you”. The first challenge I have is actually use those words, it asks a commitment from the speaker if nothing else. Then lets learn something that’s very real from the very fictional Na’vi people and when we greet people, let’s communicate all that I believe the Na’vi tried to with their greeting. You never know you might connect with someone, a team member, friend, boss. Maybe even your son, daughter, father, mother, wife or husband who really needed you to stop and care. You might even change someone’s life. That’s what leaders do.

So, how are you?

Today’s post is after reflecting on something that good friend Kirk Weisler posted over at T4D http://kirkweisler.com/t4d/2012/03/01/do-you-need-to-close-the-account. I understand the risk Kirk presents and wanted to reflect on this myself. A picture he posted effuses “If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in ur (sic.) life, You will be out of balance and in the negative! Know when to close the account” ~ christie williams

… unless you do all you can to ensure your bank always has enough funds.

For me this one is always a tough one to process and comment on as it can sound very self righteous and I also believe Kirk is reflecting on a certain type of person who seems to have made up their mind to never be reached, never be encouraged and it seems those types may well need to have their ‘account closed’ as that may be the best wake up call to actually help them change. Please understand my reply is not and never intended to be finger pointing. As always, we journey together and I share about this to get us thinking and to be challenged. Read on…

Helping Hands

Reach out and touch somebody

I think we always need to stop and ask the question – what is under the surface of these people (one reply referred to them as ‘energy vampires’ and it’s true we’ve all come across them) – and can they be loved to ‘angeldom’. And even if they can’t, shouldn’t I still love anyway.

I believe the only place to begin is always, at the beginning. The beginning for them, what is their story and why do choose this behaviour. As life-giving people, dare I say ‘Christian’, I think we need to take care that we don’t turn our backs on those who truly need the life we have to give. “I can do all things…”. Yet, as Kirk has illustrated, we also need to be so careful about our own attitude lest we fall ourselves. Particularly hard for those determined to ‘suck’, excuse the expression.

I heard it put beautifully the other day by a very wise man Richard Rohr. Let me try and put it here. He said when we respond in a way that confirms behaviour in someone who is down on themselves, down on the world, angry about it all, we simply confirm their condition. We give them the right to continue that way and we say “Yes, the world is a bad place and I have nothing better for you.” Which of course encourages them to repeat the behaviour. When we can show that despite the way they are treating us or talking to us, we can still love and completely ignore the ‘test’ they are giving us in their attitude and behaviour, we communicate that there is actually goodness in the world and I have some of it for you.

I don’t deny that exposing ourselves too often to too many people like this can be a tough gig and we need to be so careful that we remain with a full cup of goodness to share and be poured out for all – other positive AND negative people. I think this is the essence of what you are saying Kirk. But the lesson I’ve learned and seek to live from all those who have done this in great ways is that it is often the least of those around us that need us to be with them the most… and not to give up on them. But wow, it’s hard sometimes and I wish I were stronger for the challenge and better at it. What did Jim Rohn say “Don’t wish that life (insert: or other people) were easier, wish that you were better.”

Which is why we need to visit the well daily to replenish so we can go out and give again. The well of our family, our friends, our quiet time of contemplation.

I just wanted to also include a reflection that I read just the other day that possibly has a link here, see what you think. Understand that I share it as much to challenge myself as anyone. And whether you ‘believe’ or not I don’t think matters if truly here to be challenged and grow. If you don’t believe, then replace the word ‘Christians’ with ‘good people’ and it will work for you 😉 .

It gets a bit heady, just so you know, but my understanding is we are here to challenge ourselves and I found it a wonderful personal challenge. It’s also an example in the ‘extreme’ but it’s all degrees of brokenness for different people…

From: “A Presence that Disturbs” Anthony J Gittins

“Genesis House in Chicago is a place of welcome and support for women trying to escape from prostitution. It is a place where many volunteers and employees first began to understand how unjust and unforgiving some Christians and a certain type of Christianity can be. If human beings do not experience love and thus are not yet able to love others, then to judge them guilty of sin is to be guilty of sinful judgements oneself. In fact, if due to abuse or abandonment a person ahs not experienced love, such a person cannot be morally guilty of failing to love others. The axiom ‘nemo dat quod non habet’ (“One cannot give what one has not first received or possessed”) applies as much to love as it does to anything else. To condemn victimised and unloved persons because they do not meet public standards of behaviour is to add insult to injury…

… only when one of the women of Genesis House, “Teddy Bear” by name, broken by abuse, drugs, and prostitution, discovered that she had found a sanctuary where she was accepted unconditionally could she begin to find the peace and healing she craved. But in her case the ravages were too deep, and her broken body could not live with her rekindled spirit. Yet when she died at thirty-one, she did know what it was to love her neighbour because she had at last begun to love herself.”

Share some of the love you have to give with those who need it most, then get around those who can fill you again … then go back for more and…

Lead Anyway

Daniel

Welcome, I’m glad you’re here.

My name is Daniel and I’ve been an avid follower of leadership material right from the very first time I had my eyes open to the fact that there was material on it. And who helped me open my eyes? A leader of course. Since that time, I’ve read many great books, listened to many wonderful speakers, seen many incredible movies, been gifted with so many amazing people in my life that have all presented material on the sort of things great leaders do.

It has created in me a passion, a desire, and a lifelong ambition to journey on that most challenging road, the road of the continual pursuit of excellence.

I think it’s important that I somehow have a go at putting a least a starting thought or definition or idea that strongly shows what I see leadership as. I think it’s an immense challenge to try and sum up such a large subject matter into such a small space, however less is more and as Albert Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” so, here’s my simple description of leadership…

Leadership is any thought or act that is worth teaching, repeating or copying.

I see a great parallel between this definition and something that was seen as a crucial message by a wonderful, world-changing, woman who walked the earth and lived a live of service and as such, leadership. To give my definition some more rounding I share something she had posted as something important in her residence. It was Mother Theresa who shared:

People are often unreasonable, illogical,
and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
 
If you are kind, People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
 
If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
 
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
 
What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
 
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
 
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
 
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
 
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
 

Now, don’t get caught up in the God thing – if you do and that stops you going further due to not having that connection, I don’t believe you are serious about leadership. Leaders are able to consider all people, beliefs and views. If it makes you more comfortable, just take out those final two lines and if you are serious, read on. I see the great connection with this reflection and with leadership as I see so many of the points made in this reflection that can be tied in by simply replacing ‘do it anyway’ with, ‘lead anyway’. All of these acts or virtues are worth learning and doing and the actions of true leaders are done because they are seen by leaders as the right thing to do, not due to seeking any sort of result or payoff.

I’m under no illusions that there are immense amounts of material out there on leadership these days too. I am conscious of the risk of ‘yet another leadership blog’ and just rehashing all of that stuff. I do believe that principles are certainly principles so leadership hasn’t really changed all that much over thousands of years but I truly believe and hope that you agree that my take on some of this may be a little different to the usual ‘stuff’ and that this place will discuss things in a different way than you’ve experienced before.

This place is not, as I see it, about many of the traditional views people may have about leadership and if you are not challenged in thinking here, I am not doing my job. I want to flip some of those views on their head and talk about leadership as not always being the big grandiose type of acts but also great things done in small, quiet ways. Mother Theresa did things like this. Gandhi did things like this. They were so great though in their ‘littleness’ that their acts ended up becoming famous. However, I know so many people who don’t have such fame yet I consider leaders, possibly even more so, as they do those quiet things that are worth teaching or repeating, thus demonstrate leadership. I will also cover how I see and have implemented such leadership in business, in teams, in organisations, just to be clear there is a place, a very strong place, for this type of leadership in those places.

I begin with the end in mind though. So what is the end? Well, if I am to take the great message I have heard repeatedly in my life, that in fact there is no end and you’ve never completely ‘made it’  in the pursuit of excellence, then surely that is the end unto itself. So…

We need to get off our ends and see ourselves as a constant beginning.

This place is a place, my place, to share the different ways I’ve encountered great leaders, how they’ve impacted me, lead me to change, and ultimately been a part of me accepting and living the leadership role that’s been uniquely asked of me through the person I am with the gifts I have and the life I’m being asked to live.

I would love for you to join me so we can journey together for the travel is only the more richer when taken with company.

My ultimate hope is that as we journey together and you face situations where you have been challenged by the sorts of issues that were covered in the reflection that Mother Theresa valued so much, that you will draw strength and in the final wash up you can look at any action you may have taken and…

Lead anyway.

Daniel