The Serving Leader

Serving Leader

Everyone loves a good story. Even better is a story that can be personal to you, where parts of the story are really parts of your story. Add to that story lessons that we can learn, that can move us to apply those lessons that are taught. That is what this book does, through a story of a father and son who have little it common or so it seems. How many of us have parents who we can’t seem to please, or who don’t recognize or acknowledge our efforts or accomplishments? This is a story of a father and son who are worlds apart but through tragedy come back together.

This book comes with some pretty powerful contributors with Forwards by Leadership experts Ken Blanchard and Orrin Woodward. Ken Blanchard best known for his book The One Minute Manager, and Whale Done is a legend in the leadership world. Orrin Woodward is the international best-selling author of Resolved and co-author of the NY Times Best Seller; Launching a Leadership Revolution. He is founder of The LIFE company and Independent Association of Business “Leader of the Year”.

The authors of The Serving Leader Ken Jennings Ph.D. and John Stahl-Wert, D. Min. both have extensive education, and a wealth of experience leading and teaching. Mr. Jennings is a past co-director of the Global Leadership in Healthcare Program at University of Michigan Business School, and has a Bachelors in Behavioral Science from the Air Force Academy, and was an adjunct professor at Columbia University Business School. John Stahl-Wert is President and CEO of Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation and on the faculty of Geneva College’s Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership.

“Five Powerful Actions that will Transform your Team, your Business and Your Community” That’s the tag line just below the title describing how this book, The Serving Leader, can impact us.

This book delivers. Read it, then give me your feedback.

I’d love to hear if this book impacted you the way it did me.

I’d love to hear your story.

Your Legacy

2013

Another year has passed and we are one year older, one year wiser, and have one more year to be thankful for. Thankful you say? “This has been a bad year, this went wrong and that went wrong. Things didn’t turn out the way I had imagined. Yes I am one year older but no farther ahead than when the year started. In fact I am no farther ahead than I was 5 years ago” We’ve heard people say this or we’ve made some of these comments ourselves.

It’s a New Year and that means it’s time to begin a new beginning. I had a mentor tell me years ago, “You can’t work hard enough to overcome a negative thought process” so let’s start with changing the way we think.

Let me give you some thoughts to help guide you towards your incredible future.

First…. Be thankful you are here to read this.

Second…Let’s change our input. What we tell ourselves. Maybe we need to change who we associate with. Pick up some good books, CD’s, DVD’s that challenge your thinking to improve. Attend a seminar or find a good church. Find a mentor who will be willing to coach you and to whom you will stay accountable to.

Third…Define what the rest of your life will look like……Your Legacy

Benjamin Franklin had 3 phases of his life. He was first an Entrepreneur, then an Inventor, and finally a Statesman. I could give countless examples of people who started late in their life, who started over, who failed at first and then succeeded beyond their wildest (and their in-laws) expectations.

Don’t let another year slip by. Begin your legacy today. I want to share the importance of starting on this journey today by sharing an article from a friend of mine Kristen Seidl.

I spent some time talking with a woman who was 82 years old the other day. She was in an assisted living facility where, because of some health issues, she couldn’t take care of herself on her own anymore. Her husband had already passed away and she only had one son who never married and moved away about 13 years ago. I could tell there was an emptiness inside her as her only son calls about once a month and has only visited once since she first moved in over a year ago. I began to ask some questions about her life and some of the memories she had from when she was younger. But the responses I got were completely not what I expected. I knew this was a divine appointment.

Looking back on her life, she shared some regrets. Her first regret was not having more children. In her generation, it was not uncommon for families to be 5-10 children deep. She had mentioned that in her earlier days, prior to being married, she experienced sexual abuse which scared her to the point that she never wanted to get married or have children. She said that if it wasn’t for the stigma and pressure for women to be married back then, she might have been alone her entire life. She carried that fear with her and was never able to resolve it even after having a child. She said her second regret was not having a better relationship with her son. She knew that he was her priority but because she couldn’t erase the memories from her past, she just ‘did what she had to do’ to raise her son but that was it. As he grew up, he became more and more distant to the point where he moved out at 16 years old. Her son is now in his early 50′s and he too never got married or had children. Her last regret was that she feels like she wasted most of her life by living in the past. She told me that as a child, she wanted to be an actress and travel all over the world. She loved being in the spotlight and making people happy and said she was a very lovable young lady. After the abuse, she couldn’t imagine being in the spotlight. She gave up on all her dreams and isolated herself from the world for years. After she married, she said her relationship with her husband was cold and distant and she said if it wasn’t for her commitment to God at the alter, she would have never stayed with him. “We were basically roommates” She said.

Today, looking back she wishes she would have pursued her dream of acting. She wishes she had a better relationship with her husband and son and she wishes she could go back in time and start over and live a more purposeful life. Now she lives with the pain of regret. Upon learning all this, I feared asking her about legacy because I didn’t want to hurt or offend her, but ended up asking anyways since she seemed to be very comfortable around me. I proceeded with, “Now I know I am young but I think about this all the time. I think about my actions today as a reflection of my legacy later. I don’t know how long I will be here so I want to make sure my actions count now. Have you thought about your legacy and what type of legacy you would like to leave behind?” I may be a bit naive but again her response surprised me. She told me that practically her entire life she didn’t even think about the end of her life.  She focused so much on things in the moment that the future rarely entered her subconscious. She knew that if she thought about the future, it would guilt her into changing and pursuing something bigger. She felt safe in her mediocre lifestyle and was afraid of letting go of her past. She was trapped in her own thoughts and found peace there. But now looking back she says she thinks about legacy all the time. Although now she feels it’s too late. I tried to encourage her and offer some suggestions so that she could find peace with her regrets and still leave a positive legacy. I also asked if I could share her story with others to give hope to those struggling with an addiction, abuse, trauma, divorce, neglect or any other crisis so they could hopefully overcome those struggles and still be able to live a life of significance and not look back on their life with regrets. She was so delighted by that and I could just feel the weight of regret being lifted off her shoulders. I told her I would help her leave a legacy that will impact so many lives through her story. I will also continue to visit her and help her relive the positive memories from her past and share comments from people who have been impacted by her story.

Leave a comment and share what steps YOU will take starting this New Year on building your legacy.