What’s in it for me?

Do I really want to go back there?  That was the question I asked myself the other day when I got a phone call from someone who is practically my second mother.  She was describing some issues her daughter was having and reached out to me for help.  “You’ve just always been there,” she said.   Prior to my moving to Oklahoma, her daughter (Lori) and I used to be close-we hung out or talked almost every day.  I didn’t realize how one-sided our friendship was until I removed myself from the situation.  Making that choice was one of the best decisions I have made.  Even though I now live hundreds of miles away, I maintain frequent contact with her Mom.  Her Mom asked me to write a letter to Lori as part a church project.  When I read the request in an e-mail, my gut reaction was “No way- I am done with all of that.”  Her Mom called later that night and we chatted.  During the course of the conversation, I understood why she sought my help and ended up changing my mind.  I no longer feel like I have to fix Lori or let her problems bother me.  Even if I have moved on, I still care about her well-being.

Before beginning the letter, I’ll admit that there was a part of me that wanted to just unleash on her…share every thought that was going through my head.  But that would have served no good to her and this was not about revenge-it was about getting her on a healthier path.  While it took at least 3 drafts, I finally completed the task.  I am glad I chose to go through with it as well.    

I am so blessed to be surrounded by true friends and sincerely want the same for Lori.  This morning at church, the homily discussed wells and the times we need to cover up the bad ones and look for a cleaner well.  As I sat listening to Fr. Jim speak, I smiled.  I was meant to help Lori cover up the damaged well and embark on finding a new one.  God works in mysterious ways and I am grateful he gave me the chance to answer the call.

Lesson in leadership

Last week I attended an invigorating event where the keynote speaker was John Maxwell. It was put on by Journey Church of Norman and NormanNEXT, the latter of which I’m a member.  I really enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.  To be honest, I only knew a little about John Maxwell before the event.  I am on the Special Events Committee for NormanNEXT so I had a role at the beginning-helping at the Will Call booths.  It was a great spot to be as I got to see everyone come into the church.  A lot of attendees were from OU so I spotted them easily.  After most of the crowd was seated, the volunteers got the go-ahead to grab a plate of food and find a seat.  First up for the guests were Mayor Mick Cornett and former First Lady of Oklahoma, Kim Henry.  Granted, I am still learning about the state I now call home, but I have heard nothing but good things about the mayor of Oklahoma City, Mick Cornett.  He’s a very dynamic, energetic individual that has the city’s interests at heart.  When he had his turn, he referenced when he first thought about entering the race for mayor.  It was neat to hear him talk about how he realized that he needed to start dressing like a mayor (as in little things like wearing a suit and tie).  He also didn’t think his front yard looked like it was where the mayor lived….so he took more pride in it.  I enjoyed hearing that an made me think about my professional goals.  Do I look the part?  Do I act like what I want to be?  Would someone take me seriously?  If the answer is no to any of those questions, I need to figure out how to tweak what I’m doing, how I’m appearing.

Sitting in the chair next to Mayor Cornett was Kim Henry.  I have met her before at football games but not sure if she would know my name.   But, that’s not important.  I related to what Kim had to say in that she is more the type who likes to stay in the background, out of the limelight and work to get things done.  She’s better in small groups vs. large crowds.  She’s very down-to-earth and I appreciate that quality in people.

After a small break was the guest of honor, John Mawell.  I won’t share every detail of his speech…mainly because there were so many good things he said, I can’t remember them all. But, toward the end, I did start to jot down some notes.  He stressed to be successful, you have to:

  • Know your purpose…to have a purpose means you are anchored.  Ask yourself these questions: What is my passion? What are my strengths?  When you answer those, you have your purpose.
  • Reach your maximum potential.  Grow to be the best.  “Growth isn’t an automatic process,” Maxwell stated.  Stretch out of your comfort zone (this took me a while to be okay with this but I’m getting better each day with it).
  • Sow seeds that have value and give value to others.  Ask yourself this: How will I add value to people?

Maxwell also listed some qualities that help make a person successful.  They include:

  • Be good with relationships
  • Be mindful of your attitude-how do you see life?
  • Be aware of how people see you….are you a plus or minus in their life?  Do you bring them down or lift them up?
  • Be able to equip and train others well.
  • Know how to influence and lead others.

Clearly I walked away with a new perspective on leadership.  I am very glad I went and had the opportunity to hear him speak.  If I am fortunate to be in a leadership position one day, I hope I can exhibit those qualities to the best of my ability and be able to influence others just as John Maxwell has influenced me.

I’ll encourage you what he encouraged all of us: Be A Positive!