Poetry through symbolism can convey a very strong message, this is a great example.
God made them very beautiful, the trees;
He spoke and gnarled of bole or silken sleek
They grew; majestic bowed or very meek;
Huge-bodied, slim; sedate and full of glees.
And He had pleasure deep in all of these.
And to them soft and little tongues to speak
Of Him to us, He gave wherefore they seek
From dawn to dawn to bring unto our knees.
Yet here amid the wistful sounds of leaves,
A black-hued gruesome something swings and swings;
Laughter it knew and joy in little things
Till man’s hate ended all. -And so man weaves.
And God, how slow, how very slow weaves He –
Was Christ Himself not nailed to a tree?
By Angelina Weld Grimke – Written during the Harlem Renaissance
Leadership is a huge subject and I claim to be no expert, neither will I be trying to cover it off in one post. So I will focus on what came into my thoughts today.
Being a leader is not something everyone embraces easily, in fact many struggle with it and shy away from it. Why?
Well mostly I have heard some of the following statements expressed, ‘I hate being the center of attention!’ ‘I don’t want the responsibility,’ ‘I don’t like standing before people!’ or ‘ I like working at the back as part of the team.’ Any of this sound familiar?
Truth is a leader, a good leader, can lead a team from the front or from the back depending on their style but either way they will have responsibility, they will have to be seen at the front from time to time and their work will bring attention on them because a burning light can never be hidden.
So what makes a good leader, truth is I think there are many things but these are a few I recognise and appreciate?
- A leader that does exactly what the tin says – lead. They have a vision or know how to give clear direction to resolve a problem or start something new.
- They demonstrate qualities that others admire and wish to attain for them-self.
- They speak not just for themselves, but for others, especially their team.
- They make the difficult choices and ask the challenging questions?
- They have strong moral values or principles which they stand by. They do not drop these easily in the face difficulty, money, power or position.
- They are able to connect or relate to people and so gain a position to influence others.
- They are able to support someone even if means, that person can surpass their achievements
- They are able to build something with the support of others.
- They are able to delegate in order to build others, and harness their strengths
- Some how they can find the positives
- They take risks when they need too.
- They always want to learn and push their own personal boundaries
- They never stop, even after adversity
Now, there are many paths that lead into leadership, some by default, some by clear ambition and some because its imposed upon you. So needless to say, leadership will reflect both good and bad leaders.
Types Of Leaders
The Figure Head: Some leaders can seem to be more like figure heads? In that, they are where they are not because of the quality of what they do, but down to the quality of what the team do for them. Harsh, but true.
The Loner : The leaders who do it all them self, why? Because they have no idea how to build a good team through relationship and rapport. Therefore, there is a lack of trust outside of them self and its easier to do it them self instead of asking or delegating. This can lead to over work, stress and burn out. Now there may be a genuine argument that the leader has a poor team around him. But I would say rarely, do you find the case where a good leader has no positive impact at all on an individual, even one.
Mr or Mrs Friendly: Leaders that want to be everyone’s friend and please everyone. Fact is, I believe you can’t. Because at some point, difficult conversations have to be had. Those challenging questions and observations have to be faced and said. If someone holds enough respect for you then they will take the rough with the smooth. Sometimes, you have to clearly identify the elephant in the room, and this may cost blushes and make people uncomfortable. the word ‘No’ may also need to be said.
People are always the greatest resource and investment. Whether its a business, a church, a family or a group. Therefore, a leader has to show consistency in what they say, which I think often aligns with their core values.
One of my many favourite stories from the bible is the story of David and his ‘Mighty Men.’ David was a King who was a great leader because of his influence with others. He had built up and immense army and he had some of the most amazing soldiers and leaders in it. This was because he acquired their trust because he lead by example.
These men loved David to the point they would lay down their life for him, even go into the enemy’s camp to get water from a particular place, just because he mentioned it. Their love had grown over time by going through the same battles and sharing the challenges, victories, and heartache that comes from be soldiers and friends in war.
In the story of Ziklag 1 Samuel 30 all their families and possessions were taken by the Amalekites and they were devastated to the point where his own men wanted to kill him. (no one is perfect or infallible). Breaking points occur in leadership and this can define who you are or finish you.
But David did not abandon his faith and asked God if he should go after them? He was directed to go, so he set out with 600 of his men. However, the journey was hard and they were travelling at a great pace and some of the men became exhausted, 200 of them in fact, resulting in one-third of them having to be left behind. The rest went on and the long and short of it was they were able to rescue their families and take the possessions of the Amalekites as spoils of battle for themselves. Now, when they arrived back at the point where they had left the 200 exhausted men, some of David’s men did not want to divide the spoils equally as they felt they had done all the work and the others had done nothing to deserve such a payback. All they felt the 200 were entitled too were their wives and children. But David said ‘NO!’ Everyone was to get the same share, because the battle was won because God made it so. If God had stated otherwise, no one would be receiving anything in fact they could all have dead or been seriously injured.
David recognised what was important and ensured everyone benefited because all had lost something. All had done their best and God’s direction was for the benefit of everyone. The 200 had used up all their energy. Not everyone has the same capacity or capability. Giving your all is as much as anyone can ever do.
It takes a lot to stand in the middle of an agitated group and represent what is right for the greater good. I think that is an admirable quality for any leader.
As with anything, Good Habits can be learned and Bad Habits replaced. Being a good leader comes from making good choices.
Sometimes you may feel more like a pin cushion than a leader but keep shinning your light. Learn how to support people in the right way. Even if you need to learn a few things. Find yourself a good mentor. They can be in work or out side of work. Either way a good mentor brings the best out of you so that you in turn can bring the best out of others.
I would also encourage you not to deny what you have but to use it. A good leader makes such a difference to people.
Until next time. Continue to be the person you want to be.
Aqene7 = Peace
One well-known story I have loved in the Bible, is the story of Gideon. Often told to show how someone who is doubtful of them-self puts a few challenges to God in order to be convinced that what is being asked of them is truly from God. But I got intrigued by something else.
For me it was where Gideon was found – ‘Threshing wheat in a wine-press?” Judges 6:11. This was during a time when the children of Israel were being impoverished by Midianites who were literally draining their resources and livelihood. However, Gideon was managing to disguise what he did by ‘Threshing wheat in a wine-press.’
When things are seemingly not working in your favour its hard to see any glimmer of hope let alone an opportunity to some how get through. But Gideon utilise something that was not designed for the purpose he used it for, in order to survive. He realised that it was unconventional, but also for that very reason, no one would be looking for wheat in a Wine-press. It takes ingenuity, cunning and risk sometimes in order to not end up like everyone else.
Dare to be different!
Opportunity goes against the grain sometimes. It means going out of step or against the tide of normality and conformity. Its requires courage because the enemy doesn’t like being out smarted or made a fool of.
Albert Einstein said that
We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Likewise, opportunity cannot be seized with the same mentality that gave you your comfort zone. Once you see an opportunity you have to be willing to pursue it, action it and make it happen. So you need to challenge yourself and seek a new set of ideas. Being unconventional, being different, doing the unexpected, may not be that crazy an idea.
So here’s to renewed thinking!
Until next time – Continue to be the change you want to be:-)
Aquene7 = Peace
My two-year anniversary is fast approaching and I cannot believe I am still blogging!
I remember being both excited and uncertain all at the same time, as I looked into ‘Starting my own blog’ oh so many months ago. I did some research and being me of course I also did do some planning. In fact, it was a goal to be achieved and that is how I approached the whole concept of ‘Blogging.’
Some of the best advice I found was to choose an area of blogging that you could write about for a long time, in other words you could sustain. You didn’t want to start something and then find four months in say, – you no longer had anything to say. This made me step back slightly, as I considered what on earth would that area be? In the end I decided it would be in the area I did throughout my life, encouragement!
You didn’t want to start something and then find four months in say, – you no longer had anything to say!
The next consideration was what platform to use as there were so many avenues to choose from i.e. via your own business website etc., but as you can see I decided on WordPress simply because I found it relatively straight forward to use and I liked the numerous free template options it gave and the fact that you could change this easily if you wished.
One of my go-to guy’s or sites was ‘Pro-Blogger‘ I found it very helpful, but there is a wealth of information out there and within WordPress to assist ‘newbies.’ Don’t get overwhelmed by it all. I say approach blogging like a cake and break it down into whats manageable to you. There are some seriously impressive sites and bloggers out their but at the end of the day you can only do you. People follow out of interests to themselves. Either your posts or blog has connected with them or they simply just want to build their own blogging world, their is always self interest at play:-)
‘ Don’t get overwhelmed by it all’
In the early days I decided to hand write a number of posts in a book first, so that I could have a ‘library of work so to speak,’ to draw on when posting. I think this was a tip I picked up on, as at the time, I had no idea how much inspiration I would have nor how many posts I could realistically do. Could I do more than one post per day or not? How inspired would I be? who knows but I would just capture whatever thoughts came to mind in a book because I knew I wouldn’t necessarily have my laptop all the time. Off course you can do this kind of management within WordPress, but at the time, I neither new this nor did I understand WordPress enough to use it so sensibly:-}
My very first post was at 1:04 am on the 2nd October 2013:-) Yep inspiration to write for me can happen any time of the day or night. It is called “6 Good Habits That Equal Change’ and I remember when I hit the publish button I wondered who would read it? It was such a stupid time of the night, but I was so pleased at writing something, that I knew could be seen by someone else. You see most of my past writings were in note books and besides one or two close friends no one saw them.
I was so shocked that within about 10 minutes of publishing someone liked my post, in fact they re-blogged it! I had no idea what re-blogging was, but this person was on the other side of the world and to know someone so far away read and liked something I wrote was the biggest encouragement I could ever of had.
they re-blogged it! I had no idea what re-blogging was
Do you remember your first post and how it felt?
Over the months WordPress was an absolute learning curve, trying to get my page to look how I wanted and to reflect me. Blogging 101 was great and I learnt so much during the weeks it ran, and its a great place for anyone who wants to improve their blog and their blogging skills.
In support of new bloggers I thought I would start a ‘Freshman’s Blog Page’ as I know there are absolutely thousands of bloggers within the WordPress community all with a voice to be heard.
I love blogging, and its a great way to connect with other writers and their world. I find it absolutely fascinating when I see the different countries my posts have reached, places I know I would never see. So happy blogging people!
Be the change you want to be! Until next time.
One of the things they encourage you do in order keep your blogging alive is to find various ways to inspire your thoughts – prompts! Some people have a jar filled with pieces of paper with words, single sentences, themes, etc., to act as triggers for their writing.
I came across this photo and totally loved it! It evoked so many thoughts for me, as my eyes danced from one feather to the other. Studying, comparing and examining each one. It was like a long, cool drink for my eyes, because I absolutely adore colour:-)
No feather is perfect. They are all damaged in some way simply because they are by nature fragile and delicate. A bit like people.
They reminded me of a very special day in my life when I had gone to a retreat in support of a dear friend of mine who was having a very difficult time in her life. It was a Christian Retreat, and one of the ministries they ran there was in Arts & Crafts. They had an art room that contained various types of paints, pastels, crayons, charcoal, etc. It was very cluttered and aged with years of use, with splashes of paint all over the place – far from being a pristine space. There were props of many types and exhibits of artwork people had completed and left behind, was now pinned, in no particular order on the walls.
As I looked on the table I saw a sea shell that caught my eye, so I sat down and got my self some paper and started to draw its outline using charcoal. I had not sat down and drawn anything for years, since Secondary school in fact. Art was one of my best subjects but I didn’t focus on it and when I left school I left my art world behind me.
The room was quiet and cold because it was winter time. I was the only one in there, well that’s what you would think. But spiritually I was far from being on my own. I came to the retreat as I said, to support my friend. As far as I was concerned, I was fine and life was in a good enough space at that time.
I paid a lot of attention to the shell, ensuring I captured its shape, any shading shadows or elements of light, its swirling patterns, etc. Parts of the shell were complex, but I focused on doing my best. Then I heard a question clearly arise in me. ‘Why are you only using black charcoal? “ Does it have no colour? So I looked at the shell again and clearly it had colour, beautiful pastel colours of pinks and white. So I started to add colour to my drawing. As I worked on it I then heard a voice inside once again saying ‘that is you’. The Holy Spirit adds colour to your life. I then thought about me and at that time I lived in clothes that were predominantly, black and dark. Rarely, would I buy something that was pink, red, orange or yellow. I knew why. it was because I wasn’t happy with me. I wanted to blend in and colour drew attention, and I so did not want that.
‘Why are you only using black charcoal? “ Does it have no colour?
It was a very profound moment for me, and I must admit the tears fell at that moment of realisation. I was not living my life true to me. You see I loved colour and I always loved creativity from I was a child, but I stopped acknowledging it. However, from that day, my life changed and colour is now always in my day, because I wear it! In fact, I actively seek it in my clothes and in things for my home.
You see God cares about all of you and I believe he is very practical in how he relates to you. Who knew I was also in need of healing? There was another ‘ahah!! moment for me on that retreat but that’s another story 🙂
Who knew I was also in need of healing?
I know many women hide in one way or the other behind their clothes. But I would like to encourage anyone who has reduced or eliminated colour from their life to seek a way to bring it back. I have always shunned the limit light and being center stage. Comfort was to be the one at the back or the one lost in the crowd.
But not anymore. Now its just about a focus and determined mind and doing what needs to be done. Its funny, by recognising the importance of colour in my life that day I recovered a part of me. A part I was hiding and no longer acknowledging.
It’s funny how we try to strip colour from our life, as nature is the greatest display of colour. In nature colour is important, it shares a language that is not spoken but displayed. Life isn’t life without vibrant colour reflecting through it.
It’s important to be true to yourself always.
Be the change you want to be, until next time.
Aquene7 – Peace
Sometimes I just do random and today’s post is a prime example of that, thoughts in my head captured on a page. So I considered:-
Life could be described as a ‘Big Masquerade!’ couldn’t it? I have heard this said before at some point in my life, so it’s neither a personal light bulb moment nor a unique thought by myself.
But, how honest are we as people with our lives and how we portray it each day? We here it in companies today and it’s all part of the accepted corporate and political buzz words bantered around, ‘We must be transparent.’ But what does that truly mean? My perception of transparent – isn’t necessarily in the same place as yours? Another goody is, ‘being authentic.’ At what point does ‘authentic’ and ‘transparent’ become too much? Over said and with no meaning anymore?
How real are we to be as we spin, twirl, dance and walk our way through life?
Some of us are elaborately dressed in our masks and costumes. They are stunning in their design and formidable as a defense. While others are more simple, plain and subdued. Perfected in the art of camouflage, the goal of being unnoticeable in the affray of colour and action that goes on around us.
All you see are the eyes, often described as the ‘window to the soul.’ But even here the art is to reveal nothing. Flirt and smize but be sure to move on, never give too much away.
Even before our loved ones the dance continues. At what point do we really lay bare? Rest on our laurels? Even before God we hide 🙂
Where do our masks appear? Where would you say they become evident? At a guess I would say in our feelings, emotions and attitudes. So I asked myself a few things to see and try to gauge my own internal reaction. Is it a positive response or one of negative agreement?
Q. Trust – Do I trust like that of a child, easily and happily? hmm err?……… (got that right!:-)
Q. Do I wear my heart on my sleeve? err?…… what do you think?
Q. Do I like being in control? How & When do I use it?
Q. Being openly vulnerable am I comfortable with that?
Q. Love, is that gauged and measured or am I a free spirit?
Am I being too cynical or is there an uncomfortable truth in all of this?
Masks…… who is truly without one of some shape or form? Who can say they truly know someone inside out 100% That they face everything and that they hide nothing of them self?
I think there is always meant to be an element of the unknown about us. After all what’s left of interest when a book is read? Question is, what percentage of us is the unknown and the hidden? 90%, 80%, 50% maybe just 20%? Where does balance find itself in any of us? Guaranteed if it could be measured it wouldn’t be in the same place for all.
Well that’s my random moment of thought over… until next time:-)
Be the change you want to be.
Aquene7 = Peace
I love nature. There is so much in nature to be fascinated by and wolves are a prime example. I feel they often get misrepresented as blood thirsty, wild and ruthless creatures but the truth is they are far from that.
I always appreciate wisdom shared via quotes, stories, poems or proverbs, so I really liked this story my cousin shared which is a Cherokee Story. Its well known, but I only discovered it this year:-)
One evening an Old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said:-
My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil – It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-petty, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.
The other is Good – It is joy, peace, love hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather “which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Native American Cherokee Story