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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lessons From the Road


It's no secret, I love to ride. I've owned Yamaha's, Kawasaki's, Honda's, 2 Harley's, and now I'm on a Suzuki Volusia (love this bike!). I've never really ridden with a group before, more of that "Lone Wolf" mentality that seems to fit my personality. But recently I've started riding with my pastor and friend John Donnerberg, and our church has formed a rider's group that meets often to, well you know, ride. This has been good for me as I now pay more attention to others around me on their bikes, what they're doing on their bikes, and how we all interact with each other at 70 miles an hour. But the greater benefit is how riding with a group is causing me to be more concerned about others and how my actions, or lack of appropriate action, affects the other rider(s). Hmmm, there is a leadership lesson in there and it accentuates my basic leadership equation that Leadership=Relationships+Influence. It really is that simple. All relationships (whether on a bike or not) impact each other, even if for a brief moment. Once I recognize that I pay more attention to how I may be influencing those relationships. Every relationship, no matter how brief the interaction, allows me an opportunity to be a positive influence, and thus be a leader. What about you? Are you fully recognizing the relationships in your life? Are you taking the opportunity to be a positive influence? We really are all leaders.
Hmmm, I think I need another ride...
Lead Strong,
Shawn

Friday, July 17, 2009

Time is Short

Wow, approximately 54 days and counting till little Jackson Cooper enters the world. I have to say approximately because after 3 daughters I have realized that the due date is really the doctors best guesstimation. I wonder if being an older dad will make me a better dad? As I look at 3 great daughters, all unique in themselves, I wonder what kind of influence I have ultimately been? Have I lead them closer to Christ? Have I taught them the value of relationships? Have I showed them how to make their journey through life joyful and thus successful? Have I instilled a sense of responsibility in them to take the initiative and be leaders in all of their interactions (remember, my philosophy of leadership is Leadership = Relationships + Influence? One thing I do know is that I have created 3 biker dudets! That is worth something, right? And, I already have Jack's first leather motorcycle jacket picked out. Since Rochelle travels the ear ring and tat will come when she's out of town (jk Rochelle, but it would send a shock wave through your family that would be felt several states away, lol).

I can be a leader at work, in my role in the church, and other areas, but if I am not first a leader in the home I am no leader at all. Rochelle needs me to be, Cori, Megan, and Emily need me to be, and in less than 2 months Jack will need me to be. Christian, husband, father, leader have to come in that order.

Wow, so much responsibility - but greater privilege. Hmmm, I think I need a motorcycle ride to let it all sink in. I wonder if I could find a car seat to fit my bike?

Lead Strong,
Shawn

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lessons from a tomato plant...

First, let me tell you right up front that I never claimed, nor do I pretend to be a gardener, or for that matter know anything about gardening (hey, I grew up in Flint, MI. We make cars, not vegetables). Now, with that disclaimer out of the way, my wife Rochelle (who by the way grew up on a ranch in Booker, TX, so you would think should have a working knowledge of this gardening stuff) decided to plant some tomato plants this year. Humoring her I went along with the idea. After all, I may not know how to grow them but I like to eat them non-the-less. It’s now been about 6 weeks since those plants have gone into the ground and the plants themselves are huge, measuring over 4 foot tall and about the same size in diameter. They look good and have a lot of “green” tomatoes on them, so in my impatience I keep asking, “when are they going to be ready to eat?” Rochelle just laughs and tells me that it takes time (although in reality she is just as impatient as I am, if not more so). What we're learning is that the fruit has to have time to grow, be nourished, and ripen. When the fruit is ready we’ll have all the tomatoes we can eat.


As I keep thinking about the lessons I am learning from our tomato plants I realize just how relevant they are to what each of us do everyday. Regardless of what we do each day, our lives are filled with relationships, and each of those relationships needs time, attention, and nourishment. As Rochelle and I are learning, “when the tomatoes are ready we’ll have more than we can eat.”


Some of relationships in our lives need a little special care and attention today. Keep nurturing each of them. And when they’re ready they’ll produce more than we can eat. That’s really what leadership on all levels; personal and professional, secular and spiritual are all about, nurturing relationships with people, being patient, and reaping the harvest of our labors. We are half way through another year. Now is a good time to stop and think about each and every relationship in our lives. Do any need a little special attention today? There's no time like the present, let’s keep building those relationships, nurturing them, and reaping the harvest.

You’ll never look at a tomato plant the same…



Lead Strong...


Shawn