“I want to make a difference with people who want to make a difference doing something that makes a difference in someone else’s life” John Maxwell.
As with all things in life, the past two months have passed at light speed. I am going to recap the leadership lessons that have resonated with me since the March 7 blog about Payton Manning and Jim Isray showed that it is possible to end a relationship with style and dignity.
The Lessons are:
- History matters; pay attention: I was fortunate to participate as a speaker at the University of Wisconsin “Women In Leadership” conference at the end of March. It was one of the most memorable events in my rather short lifetime (my mother tells me that I haven’t begun to live yet). I met Gloria Steinem at dinner before the event and was able to listen to her remind us that our job isn’t finished yet. She pointed us back to the history of women on this planet called Earth. She has fundamentally changed the opportunities available to women in the United States and has given those of us from other countries implied permission to go forward with ‘gusto’. Her reminders made me think of Nellie McClung in Manitoba who is responsible for me being a person under the law and for having the right to vote.
- Family matters; spend time together: Doris Christopher, the CEO Emeritus of the Pampered Chef, shared the fears, successes and cautions of being a woman entrepreneur in an industry where the focus is on mentoring women business owners. She talked about the importance of sharing a family meal time. I remember those from my childhood. It doesn’t happen as often now. In fact, it is hard to remember the last time that I shared a meal with another adult, other than my husband, my grandchildren and their parents, where the cell phone wasn’t part of the meal. I wonder how we ever survived without the TV on and the Bluetooth headset attached to our ear. Doris is right. It is a relationship imperative to find one hour a day where we focus on our partners, children, friends or self.
- Violence isn’t all verbal or physical: I was able to sit in a session by Brenda Bowers. She was a phenomenal speaker with a tough subject. Brenda talked about “Lateral Violence In The Workplace”. As she shared the concept with group of engaged women, it became apparent to all of us that we have engaged or been the target of lateral violence. It shocked me to find out that when I roll my eyes because the speaker is droning on and on and on that it is a form of lateral violence. There was a lot of lessons in her talk. Enough for a blog topic all on its own.
- Fit matters: I am fortunate to be a Founding Partner in the John Maxwell Team. I spent three days in August 2011 being mentored and coached by John and his team in West Palm Beach. John is the first person that was able to keep me in my seat for three days without worrying about my phone. One of his phrases was ‘Don’t Send Your Duck to Eagle School”. I think the quote was used by someone else but for now I will attribute it to John. In today’s world, we are told that we can be anything we want if we believe hard enough. Well, I am never going to be an astronaut or fighter pilot, but I am very good at what I do. I have told many people that ‘you can do all the cosmetic surgery you want on a duck to make it look like an eagle but … under the skin, it is still a duck.” Find your passion and live it to the fullest. You can be an Eagle making a living doing a job that rocks your world. Everyone else and their opinion can go hang.
It is important for us to reflect on the lessons of life. I count in my reminders Boadecia, Nellie McClung, Elizabeth Stowe, Margaret Thatcher, Mrs. Baillie, my daughter and my mother. In fact, my mother is the first ‘feminist’ that I ever met.
Find the people who have made a difference in your life and say thank you. To quote my mother, ‘take the time to put it in writing.” Before you get excited, she doesn’t mean email. She means a card, envelope, stamp and a heartfelt message in your own handwriting. Sometimes, the smallest acknowledgements make the biggest difference. Do it today.