Thanks Again

In a recent Live Like It Matters Challenge I encouraged you to write a thank you. The real kind…. the kind you write out and mail.

Who did you send your note to? I thought of several people I could thank, like teachers that influenced me more than they know. Or past employers. Dale L. Buchanan, Attorney at Law gave me a job when I was a senior in high school. I was a co-op student and left school early every afternoon to work in his office for a few hours. It was a growing, bustling organization and they provided a place for me to learn and gain office work experience.

I thought of my family and friends and parents of friends. Coaches, team members and colleagues and bosses from long ago. Pastors, camp counselors, college classmates, professors, and mentors. And I was thankful. So thankful.

I’ve been encouraged and supported and taught and inspired by so many wonderful people. They’ve given me so much. Some of them know…….but most of them don’t.

A kind word spoken at just the right time. A hug when I felt the most discouraged. A new opportunity. A smile. Another chance. Guidance or advice. Sometimes nothing more than a listening ear. But it mattered. It all mattered.

And that’s why we should thank someone. We all have those people that touched our lives significantly and we hope they know it….we think they know it……but they don’t.

So tell them.

I wrote my thank you to a friend I met a decade or so ago. She recently moved to Houston and I miss our lunch dates. I hope she knows she’s important to me, but just in case…..I wrote her a note. I hope it brought a smile to her face knowing how much of a difference she’s made in my life and the lives of my children.

This challenge made me realize how wonderfully blessed I am and has motivated me to thank others. I urge you to do the same. Take some time to think about the people who have influenced you in some way. And thank them. Face-to-face over lunch, in a note, email, or text. Just thank someone.

I’m going to send a note to a certain big time lawyer that may have forgotten all about a high school senior that worked for him decades ago.

When I originally issued this challenge almost two years ago I’d intended to write the thank you note to Dale L. Buchanan, Attorney at Law but for some reason didn’t follow through. I’m really going to do it this time.

You all hold me to this!

10,000

You’re more influential than you think!

I had the opportunity to share my favorite leadership lesson with a small group recently. Not only is it my favorite lesson….it’s been the most valuable.

I was in my 20s when I read John Maxwell’s book “Developing the Leader Within You”. The most important words of that entire book for me were these:

Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted person will influence 10,000 people in his or her lifetime.

I was astounded. To think that I would impact 10,000 or more people in my lifetime was amazing. And humbling.

I still have the copy of the book I read twenty something years ago. The 10,000 statistic is a pre-social media number. It’s not a stretch to guess that the most introverted person will impact an exponentially greater number of people in his or her life……50,000. Maybe even 100,000 with Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and all the other ways of connecting with others.

The statistic might have changed but the main point of John Maxwell’s book is a timeless truth: At its most basic, leadership is influence.

I know God used that truth to inspire the way I live my life. That’s why I’m so passionate about Living Like it Matters.

Jesus said Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16  light-bulb-1246043_1920

We’re mistaken if we think our influence only happens when we’re speaking in front of a crowd or leading a team or managing employees.

Part of the thousands we touch are the people we meet day in and day out. In the grocery store, at the bank, in the park and at the drive-thrus.

Part of your thousands is the tired unnamed waitress that served you lunch on Sunday. It could be a young man in your daughter’s class struggling with his identity or the homeless couple sitting on the curb near the mall you drive past each day. The flustered cashier ringing up your medicine at the pharmacy or the UPS delivery guy.

Do I see them? Do I smile and connect with these that come across my path? Do I ignore them or dismiss them? Or think they’re less than?

Our influence reaches even to those that are watching us from a distance. How we live matters. Our attitude and actions toward others. How we work and play and love and give. It matters.

I’ve missed too many opportunities to be light or to speak life-giving words or to simply smile and acknowledge the person beside me.

I don’t want to miss any more…..I have thousands of lives to impact.

So do you.

Live like it matters.

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For the next several weeks I’m going to post ideas on how we can Live Like It Matters. I began my Live Like It Matters challenge 2 years ago on this blog. Some of the challenges will be new ideas and some will be reposts of past challenges. Either way I know I can use the reminder to live like it matters. Maybe you can too.

 
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