Cuddling new babies, making cookies, meals, cleaning and sharing family birthdays and memories has been the order of the day recently. In the short span of 30 days we’ve added two new family members~sweet baby girls, a book launch~a dream fulfilled, we’ve celebrated a first new home for one of our kids, and had the opportunity to love on, serve and spend a great chunk of time with each other.
It the legacy I choose. Family.
It’s what I value and what is important. Family and relationships.
It’s what I am praying and hoping will be the inheritance my children and grand-children will recognize as a faith builder in their lives.
As a leader I’ve come to realize over the years that at the end of my days the greatest influence I will have is within my own family. It will become my legacy ready or not. If I forget the gift that I’ve been entrusted to with these precious relationships, will anything else I do really matter?
There was a time as a young Mom that I just wanted to hurry up the years of raising my children.
I wanted to get on with life, with ministry, with having an impact as a leader, and I wanted them to cooperate.
The rewards were more significant as a leader than as a mother back in those days.
Driving the carpool, being the short-order cook, wiping snotty noses and being the homework gestapo didn’t get much applause.
God pretty much had to lovingly smack me on the side of the head and helped me to realize, that my family was my ministry! The life lessons I learned within the four walls of my home were the catalyst for deepening my gifts of ministry. At that season, it was the assignment that was primary, my children. Yes, there was time for ministry, but the greatest growth spurt as a leader were in those routines of being a faithful follower of Jesus and committed Mom. It changed my life and taught me how to be a servant leader by loving on my family and learning to be fully present.
Here are 5 things I learned about Leading from my Legacy and faithfully being committed to my primary calling as a Mom.
1. BE FLEXIBLE: Things don’t always go as planned ~ Life interruptions happen and we need to be flexible. Our attitude reveals itself when things don’t go the way we hoped they would. A leaders attitude in the midst of a shift reveals our character. Life is unpredictable, have a prepared response and ask yourself what is the worst that can happen if the plan falls apart? Be ready for a Plan B. As a mom, many, many, many, should I say it once more MANY times I had to resort to Plan B! Oh it was frustrating for this Type A, recovering perfectionist, always having to have the perfect plan type of person, but it broke me down to realize LIFE HAPPENS and it doesn’t always turn out the way I hoped.
2. WATCH YOUR MOUTH: People are listening to what you say, how you react, and how you respond. Ask yourself the question, do I react or respond in my leadership? Many times, I blew it as a Mom, I reacted instead of responded. My kids helped me to rethink how to grow up in this area. I learned this when I realized that I became a mirror for how they dealt with circumstances by watching me react or respond. It doesn’t sound so good when a 5 year old is mimicking their Mom’s less than mature reaction.
3. BE QUICK TO BELIEVE THE BEST IN ONE ANOTHER: Preconceived ideas and assumptions can kill a relationship. Ask yourself the question, why would a reasonable person act this way? It’s easy to allow our emotions to catch us and think we know how the other person feels. I learned to ask questions of my children. Using the why, where, how and what questions helped me to believe the best in them and wait for their heart to speak. When we assume the best in people, it breaks down walls and defenses and builds bridges of greater trust.
4. DON’T PUSH TOO HARD: Having a vision is noble. Pushing people beyond their limits for the sake of the cause is unhealthy. Know when to take a break and encourage those you lead to rest and restore emotionally, physically and spiritually. Growing up with the idea that ALL work must be finished before we can rest or play has caused me to drive myself too hard, my family and others. It worked until in my mid 30’s I crashed and suffered a five year depression as a result of not paying attention to a healthy rythym of work and rest. Knowing your limits as a leader and helping those you lead understand this concept will bring a greater sense of well-being and health to your team.
5. CELEBRATE SUCCESSES BOTH SMALL AND BIG: So often we focus on celebrating the bigger accomplishments. People expect them. It’s natural. But what about celebrating the small steps? Little reminders of progress help to keep going and to reach the finish line. I often wrote notes of encouragement to my family and put them in all sorts of fun places for them to find. Sometimes, it was just going to the store to get a doughnut for a good grade on a spelling test. Everyone needs encouragement. A hand-written note, yes you heard me, not an email but a note that you actually write out can make the world of difference to someone. A phone-call to say “Hey, I was just thinking about you and had a thought for you”…yes, a phone-call not a text, where someone can actually hear your voice. These are small but not insignificant ways we can celebrate others.
What have you learned about leadership from your legacy?