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Archive - May, 2010

Two Words That Can Change History Pt. 1

Imagine the Possibilities

“What” and “If” are two little words that, on their own, keep sentences moving.  But put them together…and suddenly the world is ripe with possibility.  Radical possibilities that could change us completely, and alter the course of history.  The idea is so big that I can’t even put all my thoughts in one post.  I’ve been stewing on it all weekend…dreaming about it at night…contemplating while driving home from work.  I tend to believe when that much thought occurs about something, it’s for a reason.

We all have our own ideas and dreams, but I’ll share the “what if’s” that have been stirring my heart these past few days:

  • What if every child in the world never had to wonder if they are loved?
  • What if we lived each day thinking about the legacy we’ll leave behind?
  • What if we continued city-wide weekly volunteer days, even after a catastrophe has passed?
  • What if we always gave each other the benefit of the doubt?
  • What if you began to realize a life-long dream, no matter the cost?
  • What if we thought more of wealthy people who use $100k to buy clean water for poor countries, rather than buying a new Bentley?
  • What if you truly believed it’s easier to forgive than hang on to anger?
  • What if our government was once again something worth believing in, instead of a constant source of discord?
  • What if each person chose a day when they’d love openly and unconditionally? Imagine the ripple-effect.
  • What if your “Bucket List” became “Business as Usual?”

Can you feel it?  Is your heart beating faster?  Is your mind running wild with ideas of what these things would look like?   What has to happen to move these from “what if” to “happening now?”

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The Power of Recognition

There is something special that happens when you see people lifted up for their accomplishments. Most people are truly happy for those who have been recognized and it creates a sense of community not easily broken.   It also generates much excitement as people think about the possibilities in their own lives.

Lately, I’ve witnessed several different examples of public recognition that not only make my heart swell with pride and happiness for the recipients, but also gain more respect for those giving the recognition.  As I was sitting in a Business Review meeting yesterday, I watched as one leader continually put the focus back on members of her team–she was ultimately accountable for success or failure, but made sure those in the room knew that her team was making it happen.  I found myself shooting emails to several people who’d been bragged on in the meeting, and each person replied with joy, knowing that they had been recognized.  And today, we had our quarterly All-Employee Meeting where annual performance and core values awards were given out.  I teared up as I watched several of my coworker friends be lifted up for their hard work, perseverance, and innovation.  The room was electric with the happy hearts of those who’d been awarded and those who got to be a part of the celebration.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned having been both the giver and receiver of recognition:

1.Hard work Does pay off-It doesn’t take a genius IQ, a magnetic personality, or living at the office to be seen as someone worth moving up the ladder.  But getting in the trenches, showing people you want to learn, and treating others as you want to be treated are surefire ways to get noticed.

2. Being true to who you are Will set you up for success-Sucking up only gets you so far.  Sure, it can work, but only to the person you’re sucking up to (meanwhile no one else can stand you). Being real is harder, but in the end frees you up to live out your goals.

3. Recognition breeds loyalty-Mark Schoenwald, our President at Thomas Nelson, is one of the most authentic, people-focused, consistent leaders I’ve worked for.  He makes time to connect with people, is an open and consistent communicator, and makes it a priority to never miss an opportunity to brag on others. I’d follow him most anywhere because he’s earned my respect in spades.

4. Recognizing others lifts you up too-It takes confidence in yourself as a leader to step out of the spotlight and give credit to others.  And in doing so, you earn respect and credibility.

Make it a point today to lift up someone publicly.  You will make their day, and that will make yours.

“Don’t worry when you aren’t recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”-Abraham Lincoln

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The Mother’s God Gives Us

I’m not an expert on the subject of mothers.  My real mother and first stepmother both left my dad at critical ages in my life.  When I was 17,  my dad came home from a six week hunting trip with a new wife I’d never spoken to.  I left home when I was 17.

The events of my childhood helped shape who I am as a mother, so I don’t regret having gone through them.  But because of them, it’s always been challenging to me figuring out which “box” to put women in.  I’m aware of my walls.  It’s almost a proving ground–if women stick around, they prove they are worth me putting trust in.  And it’s to those women that I write this post today.

God always has a plan-even when we can’t see it.  And when I think about the women who’ve had a powerful impact on my life, I’m keenly aware of God’s love shown through them.  He knew I needed women in my life who’d show me grace, encourage me, teach me about patience, foster the strengths hiding inside, kick me in the butt when needed, and understand that I’d try to push them away.   Without them, I’d never have been able to put water under the bridge and reconnect with my mother and dad’s wife to allow them to be the wonderful grandmothers they are.

If you have women in your life who have different DNA, but lift you up and walk the road of life with you, please take time to thank them this Mother’s Day. I’m thanking God for mine.

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The Heart of a Community

Photo credit-The Tennessean

Images like this have made me cry this week.  By now, you know all about the great 500-year flood we had in Nashville over the weekend.  The damage is heartbreaking.  The stories of lost friends and family members, ruined homes, and flooded cars is gutwrenching.  We have a long road ahead of us to get Nashville and many parts of Tennessee back to what it was.

But beyond the loss, was something amazing.  A community rose up immediately.  Folks were putting boats in the water and risking their lives to help those stranded.  Local media teams were taking chances in volatile weather to keep us informed. Within a 24-hour period, over 7,000 people had signed up as a volunteer at Hands on Nashville.  And even still, there are teams of people who will spend at minimum, the rest of this week helping folks get back into their homes, but more likely, weeks and months.

Many tears have been shed and hearts ache as we watch those we love struggle with what will be a long road back to “normal”.    I can’t help but wonder what the silver lining is in all of this.  One thing is for sure…residents of Nashville and surrounding counties will never again wonder if we are a real community.  Lifelong friendships have been borne and faith has grown out of the muddy waters of this flood.
I am so proud of this city and thankful to be Nashvillian.

If you’d like to donate funds, here are two (of the many) reputable sites: Hands on Nashville and CrossPoint Church.

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