Monday, August 30, 2021

2009 - Leadership and Influence


Myself (L) Jackie ( C - sporting cool 1968 glasses) and two of the 3 Little Pigs
(Bonus to those who can name the pigs?)

(Fifty Nifty Years in the United States)

Jackie has always been my older sister. It just worked out that way. She has always been there. That plays on so many levels.

I am not sure what it is like to depend on someone so much and then no longer have them there. My sister has been the example for me on how to allow your faith to carry you through what can be one of the most difficult life lessons.

I can’t’ mention Jackie without mentioning Tyler too. This was the year that Tyler turned for the worse with his cancer and later on we lost him. They were together for over 25 years and they both had a great influence on me.

Early in their marriage, Tyler told me one day that he was disappointed with the direction I had been taking and I should consider following a different path. His words turned me around and like being brashly scolded by an older brother; I changed how I decided to be.

And Jackie who has always led the way in my life, has changed how I see my faith life but watching her lose Tyler and come back from the loss with a fierceness that I would say is miraculous. Her faith has been an example and a light for me. I cannot imagine a time when she has not influenced my life.

It was her simple question about work at the age of 15 that led me into over 36 years of service to the YMCA. It was her and Tyler that allowed us opportunity with the early days of my family that led to a home. And it is her example in the face of massive grief and loss that shows me how faith can change your perspective on everything.

John Maxwell says “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothingless.” The leadership the Jackie has provided is powerful and profound. I remember my parents and grandparents telling us from an early age that in the end, we would be all that we have of our childhood family. Being just 13 months apart, we were often asked if we were twins. This was always complicated early on since our mother made a lot of our clothes and we were always coordinated. I recall thinking of t as a compliment since being younger, I was thought of as older.

And yes like most siblings we argued. And yes, there was the time she stabbed me in the eye with a butter knife. Or the time she threw a gasoline soaked towel in my face. And all those times she would sit on my stomach and tickle me while I laughed so much that I could not catch my breath and my lips turned blue. So much of those run of the mill, early and normal childhood events between siblings.

I maintain, as does John, that the Law of Influence should be required reading. It builds over time; there is a reset; and truly knowing and understanding it. Jackie has been that guidepost for me for the entire time we have been in these Unites States and for my entire life. She never has had a title other than being my big sister.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

2008 - Leadership and Communication Styles


Collin Pelletier (leading with song)

(Fifty Nifty Years in the United States Series)

I loved his communication style at camp (this was the YMCA Camp in Florida from 2004-2009). This camper was all about paint ball and he taught me a thing or two about communication.

Collin was one of our paintball campers (at least that’s what I called them). At 12 or 13 he spent about a month at camp each summer. Yes, we had a paintball program and when I arrived at that camp, I was not an advocate at all. It wasn’t until I met Collin that I was convinced that there were great outcomes for the program.

Matt “Copperhead” Sheah (who I blogged about recently) first brought him to my attention and asked me to come to a morning period to watch Collin in action.

At 13, Collin was in charge of his team. He was a foot shorter and thin as a rail and took over the minute he stepped onto the field. He talked and taught everyone about the need for communication and that actions were needed more than words. When I think of what he brought to the field, I think of his influence, his intuition, his magnetism and most importantly, his connection.

I was captivated by how he connected to his team on an emotional level. Collin left camp in 2008 and I have not seen him since that summer. I continue to hear from Collin regularly. His most recent correspondence reminded me about the power of prayer. (If you are not a prayerful person, perhaps thinking of prayer as the law of attraction.)

John Maxwell talks about communication being the greatest skill. Collin showed, clarity, continuity, and creativity in his style and manner. He reminds me that the things you need are there and you just need to reach out and ask for it and it will show up in your life. He is not the first to have taught me this. He is the latest to have reminded me that of which I already know.

I am so grateful that the Collins of the world continue to show up on my journey over the past 50 years in these Untied States. What a joyful and amazing thing it is to learn from the young people we are blessed to serve. Nelson Henderson said it best, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Thank you my friend, Collin.

Post Script: You can see Collin featured in this Outdoor Channel video from the series, Camp YMCA - Collin is mostly on the first episode and a bit into the second. Episode 1  Episode 2  Episode 3

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

2007 - Leadership Adding To Others


Josh (L) and family

(Fifty Nifty Years in the United States Series)

Josh Greene is an amazing soul that worked harder in one day than most people do in a week. He is from Georgia, USA (originally) and he was quiet and reserved; as well as an Eagle Scout. I know those things don’t seem to relate.

When I met him, I stayed in what was his home and became my family’s home. When you think of American, Southern hospitality, I think of Josh. I would ask him three questions and he would often answer with one or two word answers so I would often keep asking questions until I learned more about him.

He was always able to get things accomplished which I credit due to his Scouting background. I have been blessed with amazing young folks who work hard and I think of Josh when it came to working.

In my work with leadership development, I have used Myers Briggs as a way to determine not only personality types. It was a tool that l utilized with my support staff (what I call a directing team) on how they would work with one another. And more, it was great predictor on how they would communicate with one another.  During our support staff orientations we would spend an evening playing “Castle Risk” a version of the Hasbro/Parker Brothers RISK game. (I had mentioned this in previous BLOGs)

Knowing each person’s MB type allowed me to watch how they would potentially work together, collaborate and more importantly communicate. I could team Josh with anyone (with rare exception) and he would get things done and make his partner or alliances look good.

In one of my typical “standing” staff meetings, folks would share their top three priorities for the day. Josh would often go last and list how he had already take care of his top three and half of everyone else’s list before the morning program rotation at camp. John Maxwell calls this his Law of Addition.

It is what I learned from Josh in his steady, calm quiet resolve to do more than anyone else. It was never competitive in anyway; it was his gift to the team. Leaders aren’t always the loudest or most outgoing and the center of all things. As a leader, he was adding value to others by serving others in addition to his own work.

He captured alliances in what he did by being the one that got things done and could be relied upon to often solve the issue or challenge. When we had early morning programs, Josh was often the first one there who had everything ready to go. I imagine Josh continues to be that in all that he has done and all that he will accomplish.

I often think of one evening when Josh had a particular challenge in life and there was a knock on my door. Given the circumstances and knowing who he allowed in to his inner circle, I was astonished to see him and honored that he came to me for advice and support. I knew in that moment I had just become a member of a very special group of people. John Maxwell 11th Irrefutable Law of Leadership talks about a leader’s potential being determined by those closest to them.

Josh adds value to all and he is still adding value to his family and those he serves in his community. I met Josh in 2004 and for just over five years he helped determine and support all that I was determined to do and be great as a member of my team. I am honored to have been allowed in his inner circle for that time. For this I am thankful to Josh as I have traveled the past 50 plus years in these United States.

Summer Staff Questions - Good Leaders Ask Great Questions Series (5 of 10)

   Good Leaders Ask Great Questions Inspired by E.J. Lugo This is our 5th week this summer, I'll be posting several questions that you s...