I have returned to the question that blew up in my face at this time last year; the reasons why I serve. The past twelve months have given me the opportunity to ponder this and really assess what is important. I stared at my boys, upon my childhood beach, and found myself sifting the grains of sand through my fingers. My mother-in-law had been on my mind and her favorite daytime soap opera’s song entered my head, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives.” I chuckled out loud and drew a line in the sand.
I have finally defined my boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. They are not according to what others expect or want to hear. In stepping away from busy-work I mentally sifted through the layers that have defined me. Some were superficial; others buried deep down amidst responsibilities. I re-organized and shifted my purpose; opened closet doors with skeletons and put them to rest. My lines are no longer blurry. Then the tide came and partially washed away my line.
I’ve talked of staying within the four lines that create my safety box; my comfort zone. I’ve always assumed my life would be on the straight and narrow; that I would reach my destination in the most efficient way possible. But those lines are never straight; they go widely off-course, and in the days of my life most times they are wavy and off-center. But I must always have a baseline; the foundation that I must find my way to return to. I seek to find my center; the core of my beliefs. The world pulls me in opposite directions, like magnets, and I must always realign my thoughts and actions to what I find acceptable.
I say what I mean and mean what I say.
That used to not be true in recent times. I filtered my words to keep the peace. But when I am not at peace within; why would I try to pretend to make things right for anyone else? At the end of the days of my life, at the pearly gates, I am accountable for myself, “…to make straight the path to the Lord.” John 1:23. I cannot lead by example if I cannot stand for what I believe in.
A good leader is not defined by strengths; but in intimately knowing weaknesses.
I sit in the cold conference room finally saying the words I’ve needed to say. I no longer serve a certain population because I have lost respect for the leaders who represent it. The ones who say what they want and do not follow through. The ones who smile to your face and turn their back behind closed doors. Whether it is the workplace, a civil/volunteer organization or a social group I’ve realized the reasons why I serve aren’t solely for the mission statement.
In recent weeks it has dawned clear how I operate and why. It matters; the people I serve with and serve for. The leader who is fair and balanced; not showing favoritism. The people who are giving and hospitable; without conditions. The workers who do what needs to be done, without excess fanfare or introduction. Just as with our business, our customers choose to stay with us because they have a relationship with us. Most companies’ goals are to produce quality products and customer service. But when the problems arise, and they always do, our company works with our vendors to make things right. Those who speak their mind, sometimes loudly, but speak their truth still garner my respect. I am a person that will own up to my mistakes. Those who smile and create drama and never seek resolution do not deserve respect. The ones who think they are doing you a favor by keeping quiet to keep the peace and pretend nothing is wrong. They are in a class all of their own.
My line is drawn and remains steadfast; one I now choose not to step over, even when blurred.
I serve with people and organizations who are fair; who do great things for others because they want to. It is not for their children or hidden agendas. They understand my need for transparency and when problems arise, they talk them through. They stand true to who they are and aim for authenticity; even if we choose not to agree. Those who stop questioning and just do what needs to be done. It is what I seek in all my endeavors, both professional and personal. I am my father’s daughter and it is my strength. It is the details that are my weaknesses. My love language is in service. I am a work in continual process; pushing my line out towards infinity. Infinitely expanding and growing…