Hike Leadership Forward – Generosity

One of the most powerful characteristics of effective leadership is generosity. Acts of generosity distinguish inspirational leaders from adequate ones. In fact, generosity is a character quality of contrast. It puts leaders into one of two camps as it divides attitudes and motives with clarity.

Imagine a room filled with 50 leaders (I know that is a pretty large room, but it is going to get even bigger). Have all the leaders that are most concerned with the bottom line of this year’s budget move to the right and all the leaders who strive to ensure the highest possible morale among the employees move to the left. Those leaders known for generosity will be together talking about morale.

Mixed the leaders up again. Explain that each of the companies they represent has just been given a million-dollar donation. Have all those who want to brainstorm about potential capitol improvements and upgrades to their facilities move to the table with chocolate cookies while those interested in an equitable plan to increase salaries gravitate toward the potato-chips, the generous leaders will be chomping on the Frito-Lays.  

Lead the 50 leaders into the adjacent room with two displays. One colorful display shows brochures on improving the profit margins for the coming year, the highest ratings of return on potential investments, the minimal legal requirements designed to address payroll cost and other HR issues. The other display provides handouts on employee vacation options, professional training seminars, and intrinsic motivational incentives. The group of 50 will quickly divide themselves by the priority they set toward generosity.

As a leader, let me urge you to consider generosity in your ministry. I would agree that generosity often involves money and the constant struggle to balance the budget and maintain financial stability. But consider how you might be generous in other areas, like:

Resources – from donuts to a break room; from pens to cell phones; from a hammer to a tool belt.

Time (your and theirs) – your availability (office hours) to listen and their time for refreshment or vacation.

Expressions of value – sharing your gratitude for the value that others bring to the team is a great form of generosity.

Respect – generosity can take the form of demonstrating respect for the person, their position, and their performance.

Recognition and Praise – one of the greatest gifts of generosity we can give to our team members is the verbal expressions of praise and the shouts of honor that we lift on their behalf. Let those words echo in the hallways with gratitude.

Conversation – how often does the employee get to talk with the boss? How often does the boss listen to the concerns and needs of the worker? Generosity in conversation does not cost much money, but it can produce incredible profits.

Input – be generous with constructive feedback and genuine concern. Make the company stronger by helping others become more successful. Be generous with your wisdom and insights from experience.

Now imagine you are one of the 50 leaders. Are you eating cookies or chips? Which set of brochures are you taking home for closer review?  

Picture of room filled with leaders found at What do you call a room full of People Puzzles Portfolio People Directors? – People Puzzles Ltd     

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Hike 2021 Forward – Week 17

This tree has some stories to tell

I have enjoyed hiking all of my adult life.. I am not a marathon runner. I have never excelled in sports, although a was part of a city-wide championship Little League baseball team and I spent many hours on a basketball court perfecting my fade-away jump shot. But there was something about walking in the woods of West Virginia that provided a physical challenge and a satisfaction of completion.

After completing my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2014, I knew I wanted to continue to create a walking challenge for myself. I’ve have some sort of walking goal ever since. This year I adopted the “Walk the Year” goal. I started this hiking challenge of walking 2,021 miles in 2021 on Friday, January 1 with a hike of 7.6 miles. Consequently, my hiking week goes from Friday through Thursday. This past Thursday, April 29th, ended Week 17 of the journey. Thanks to a 10-mile hike on Tuesday, I surpassed my minimum weekly goal of 39 miles ending up with 45.4 miles for the week. This total does not come close to my best week (Week 10 = 56.1 miles), but it was still a profitable seven days.

Since I just completed the fourth month of the year and I am closing in on the 800-mile mark (782 so far), my mind wanted to know which month was most productive. I apologize right now for going a little crazy with the numbers, but when you are doing a solo challenge the only competitive edge you have is against yourself. Feel free to skip this part and check out my photos for the week. But here it goes a quick monthly review:

January = 188.8 miles with an average of 6.1 miles per day.

February = 183.0 miles with an average of 6.54 miles per day.

March = 222.79 miles with an average of 7.19 miles per day.

April (I added in April 30’s total of 6.7) = 187.47 miles with an average of 6.25 miles per day.  

I am hoping that the month of May will be filled with great weather and lots of miles. I am officially retiring my current walking shoes on May 1 and blessing my feet with a new pair of Altra’s on May 1.

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Hike Photos Forward – Photo of the Week

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Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward: The Farmer

There are many word pictures that captures aspects of leadership and describes the role of the leader in an organization. One of the more powerful metaphors I can think for the leader is that of the farmer. Now, I am not a farmer (or even a farmer-wanta-be). My thumb is not green and I have never even cared for a backyard garden, but I have an idea of some of the characteristics of a good farmer that reflect the attitude of an effective leader. If you are a farmer, please let me know of other insights that I can add to my word picture.

Let me suggest seven seeds that a farmer and leaders have in common.

Seed One, the farmer plants many seeds with the desire that they will produce a harvest. Jesus tells a parable about seeds and the different soils that the seed fall upon (Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8). The farmer casts the seeds filled with the expectation that the vast majority of the seeds will fall on the good soil and will produce an abundant crop. So, the leader casts the seeds of information, inspiration, truth, and vision with the anticipation that his sowing will result in a productive harvest.

Seed Two, the farmer cultivates the seeds with diligent oversight. So much of what growing process takes place under the ground and out of the sight of the farmer, and yet the farmer pays close attention to what he can see and addresses what is obvious. So an effective leader give careful inspection to what he can see understanding that so much of the growth of his team/organization occurs beneath the surface of observation.

Seed Three, the farmer patiently waits for results that are outside of his control. He trusts that the sun and the rain and the nutrients in the ground will produce good fruit. An effective leader must develop the ability to wait. This runs contrary to the nature of most leader – they want to be in control, they want to be active, they want to DO something. But somethings (often most things) are outside of the ultimate control of the leader. He/she must trust that God is at work providing the sun, rain, and nutrients for his seeds.

Seed Four, a farmer takes great pains to weed and remove hindrances to the crop. As careful as the farmer is to prepare the soil and provide the best environment for growth, the weeds are there to steal the nutrients and choke out the crop. The leader needs to be aware of the weeds that face his/her team. The weeds might come in the form of disagreements, or personality conflicts, or personal agendas, or poor work ethics, or prideful responses. Once the leader becomes aware of the weeds, he/she must remove the hindrances in enable growth.

Seed Five. The farmer knows the right time harvest crop. The farmer’s experience and his/her research has resulted in wisdom and understanding into the growth process and the harvesting protocol. If he/she harvests too early he/she will miss the ripeness of the harvest. If he/she waits to long the crops will wither and dry or even drop the harvest to the ground in decay. So a leader must be discerning in the decision making of his harvesting. Taking a risk too early could be costly and premature; waiting too long to act, might result in missed opportunities and discouragement.

Seed Six, a farmer keeps current on the best practices and trends in the production of crops. New methods of panting or harvesting crops, improved seeds for more production, innovative fertilizing techniques, better ways to harvest/control water supplies – all these countless more ideas must be evaluated and implemented as the farmer stays up-to-date. A leader that is not current with the trends in his/her profession will find him/herself outstanding in his field. NO, he will just be left out – standing in his field. Even when the leader chooses to reject a current innovation (and there are many innovative ideas to stay from), he/she must be aware of the trends and know why he/she has decided not to apply that idea to his/her team.  

Seed Seven, a farmer watches the weather and protects the crops from disaster. Several movie clips come to mind when farmers are faced with the freezing temperature that threaten the orange crop, or the wave of locust coming to destroy the fields of wheat, or the torrential rains that bring the floods of death to a harvest. The farming community jumps into action and does everything humanly possible to save the harvest before the disaster arrives. A leader must constantly keep at least one eye on the horizon. Anticipating the threats and pitfalls and quagmires and locust and the ice storms of life can be critical to the health and life of an organization.

I am sure that the true farmers that might be reading this blog post are either laughing at my ignorance or angry with shallowness, but I hope that this metaphor might get you thinking about how leadership involves planting, nurturing, and harvesting.  

Hand of corn picture found at Corn School: Pre-Planting Variety Checks & Refuge Planning – RealAgriculture

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Hike Fun Forward: Special Days May 2 – 8

May 2 – Lemonade Day

This day should really be called Lemonade Stand Day, because the main focus of the day is to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in young people all across the country. It is a day to give youth of our neighborhoods an opportunity to experience the “taste” of business success.

If done correctly, the days preceding lemonade day should be filled with plans and preparation – prices (don’t forget to have resources to make change), posters, recipes, location determination, and production of the liquid product. The young business owners must be ready with the freshest, best, most delicious lemonade in the history of mankind as they prepare for success.

This is a great opportunity for parents to teach their children about the costs and profits of the venture; of the risks involved if the sales do not outweigh the costs; of the importance of customer service; and of the importance of quality.

My goal for this day is to take an walk around the streets of my neighborhood with some bills in my pocket and see if I can find some entrepreneurs to inspire. It is also a good day just to relax and enjoy the refreshment of a tall, cool glass of aid from the lemon tree. vest in Businesses face challenges, too. If they’re given lemons, well they make a

May 3 – Two Different Colored Shoes Day

This sounds like such a fun day that anyone who owns two pairs of shoes can enjoy. I think this day is supposed to celebrate our uniqueness, but I see the fun in being creative – two different slippers to breakfast, two different tennis shoes for the jog; two different leather shoes to work; to different socks to go along with the shoes; one sandal and one rain-boot; one cowboy boot and one Croc. This is truly a day that can help you “stand out” as long as you can stay on “both feet.”

Family dress up time or a crazy party with friends could fit nicely into the wacky day. Warning: be sure to get one left and one right shoe – otherwise blisters might ruin the day.

May 4 – Star Wars Day

Bring out the costumes and the light sabers. Turn on the VRC with Episode 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or,,,,you get the idea. Try noy to overdo the “May the fourth be with be you,” but definitely include it in your daily conversations. Store clerks, school bus drivers, next door neighbors, librarians, and others that enter your world will get a kick out of hearing your words of greeting.  

According to daysoftheyear.com, Star Wars fans didn’t first this play of words. It was first used in 1979 when the first female British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher took office on May 4. The Conservative Party placed an advertisement in The London Evening News, which read, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

Enjoy the day – TRY talking like Yoda until your kids tell you to stop (Remember: “Do or Do not, there us no try”); wear a jedi robe to work (unless you will get fired or work have a standard uniform – I can see every policeman and foreman showing up in Jedi robes)

May 5 -Cartoonist Day

On Sunday, May 5, 1895, the subscribers of the New York World discovered a new feature in the morning newspaper they found Richard Outcault’s full-color drawing of a barefoot boy with a mischievous grin called The Yellow Kid. Some consider this the first published comic strip and the first commercially successful cartoon art. Celebrate cartooning and cartoonists today. Check out artists like Bill Watterson – Calvin and Hobbes;  Chic Young – Blondie;  Bill Keane – Family Circus; Garfield – Jim Davis; Peanuts – Charles Schultz; or one of your favorites. Find some funny strips to share with others.

Try your hand at cartooning. Come up with a good clean joke or funny saying and have everyone in the family come up with a cartoon to capture the funny idea on paper.

May 6 – Day of Prayer

It is hard to believe that the United State Congress declared the first Thursday in May as The National Day of Prayer, but I am so thankful that it continues to be part of the special days celebrated in our country.

In the early 1950s, a young evangelist by the name of Billy Graham led prayer services on the steps of the Capitol (February 3, 1952). Later that same year, Congress proclaimed a joint resolution for a National Day of Prayer and President Harry S. Truman declared that the day be observed on July 4, 1952. The observance was moved to the first Thursday of May by President Ronald Reagan

Prior to this yearly date set aside for this important activity, Americans have been intermittently called to prayer : July 20, 1775 – The Continental Congress issued a proclamation recommending “a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer” be observed; In 1795, George Washington proclaimed a day of public thanksgiving and prayer; John Adams declared May 9, 1798 as “a day of solemn humility, fasting, and prayer;” Abraham Lincoln signed a Congressional resolution, during the Civil War, which called for April 30, 1863, as a day of fasting and prayer.

Everyday should be a day of prayer, but let’s be faithful and patriotic as we participate in this important national day of seeking God’s blessing and direction on our lives.

May 7 Space Day

Space Day honors the extraordinary achievements, benefits, and opportunities in man’s exploration and use of space. The disciplines of technology, science, engineering, and math are so important for careers in space-related jobs. Space-age technology has impacted the lives of all of us – from computers to TANG, from memory foam to baby formula, from dust busters to space blankets, from the freeze-drying process to infrared thermometers, from the insulin pump to the computer mouse.

So many occupations have be advanced and impacted by the space program: meteorologists, chemists, physicists, biologists, teachers, photographers and writers just to mention a few. See if you can think of ways that the space program has impacted your life. We’ve been exploring space for less than 60 years and yet the benefits that have resulted NASA have been life-changing.

As much as man has done with space, this day should be used to stand in awe of what we do not know, of the transcendent nature of the Creator, of the ne who holds all of space in the palm of His hand. I think it is special that Space Day follows the Day of Prayer

May 8 Train Day

Just as the Space program has opened an unexplored frontier, so the train revolutionized the world. From horse powered to electric engines, the iron horses called trains opened America to a westward expansion. Transporting people, supplies, and dreams, the rails that crisscrossed our nation enlarged our borders but connected our families.  

Here are some interesting train facts:

1. A train’s speed can reach up to 350 mph. The current world record of a train’s top speed being 357.2 mph. 

2. In 1865 after the assassination of then-president Abraham Lincoln, a funeral train carried his body through 180 cities on its way to Lincoln’s home state. This funeral train made front-page news and was used as inspiration in establishing train travel around the world.

3. The first American locomotive lost to a horse. In 1830, a steam engine called the “Tom Thumb” which was capable of going 18 mph. As it underwent tests near a railroad, a horse-drawn train pulled alongside it and was challenged to a race. The Tom Thumb quickly pulled ahead until it broke a belt. This allowed the horse-drawn train to finish the race first.

4. The longest train ride in the world is a trip that travels from Portugal to Vietnam. This train trip is 10,056 miles long and takes approximately 12 days to complete. 

5. The longest direct train route is found in Moscow. This is provided by the Trans-Siberian Railway and it spans a total length of 5,778 miles.

6. From the oldest to the latest, the train transport systems have been powered by several sources: Horse-pulled, Steam, Diesel, and Electricity. 

50 Interesting Train Facts That Will Surprise You | Facts.net 

Pictures found at Lemonade My story in recipes: Honey Lemonade; Shoes National Two Different Coloured Shoes Day! / Irregular Choice Blog | Irregular Choice; Star Wars Lisa’s Little Bits: May the Fourth Be With You! Blog Hop (lisaslittlerascals.blogspot.com); Prayer PRAY, PRAY, PRAY (miraclesforyoutoo.blogspot.com); Space Pictures from space! Our image of the day | Space; Train Bullet Trains – ACP Rail

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Hike Thru-hikers Forward – Update: April 16-22

Pippi started her attempt of a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail on March 16; Dave and Annie Rothman (Rock and Roots) stepped out one day later (March 17); and The Hoot, a team of five women, began their adventure on March 21. Pippi’s last post was on March 30. The Hoot started this week down from five to two women: Five Pair and Mileage. Both Rock and Roots are still moving forward. Here is a quick summary of the online journals submitted by these brave hikers as they have experienced a very cold and wet spring.

The Rothman’s: Rock and Roots

April 16 – Bears in the camp!

Rock and Roots and those camped around the Groundhog Creek Shelter in Deep Gap were awakened several times during the night with a visitation of a family of bears. Some hikers lost their food bags hanging in the trees and they all joined together in the morning to clean up the forest of the “hiker trash” distributed by momma and baby bears.

Shortly after the day’s hike began, Rock and Roots encountered a wonderful Trail Blessing – hot coffee, fresh produce, veggie soup, and vegan cheese and crackers. Rock and Roots made it to Max Patch early in the day and enjoyed the incredible view it offers. They ended their day at Walnut Mountain Shelter having trekked 13.1 miles and hopefully leaving the bear cubs behind.  

April 17 – Trail Blessing

No bears last night. Rock and Roots got on the trail about 8:30. They noticed the transformation of the forest as the flowers are beginning to bloom with color. About lunch time they encountered a great expression of Trail Blessing. A huge spread from breakfast waffles to burgers, along with a table of snacks. They ate well and picked up some nut bars and oranges for the trail.  

After hiking 9.9 miles, they arrived at their planned destination (Deer Park Mountain Shelter). They arrived before 3 pm and had plenty of time to rest and settle in. They even took the time for some tea and coffee before dinner. A small rain shower said “hi” as they prepared for their night’s rest. They have plans for a short 3.5-mile jaunt tomorrow into the trail town of Hot Springs, NC

April 18 – Hot Springs

Rock and Roots along with a number of thru-hiker buddies got an Air B & B house in Hot springs. The hikers hiked the 3.5 miles into the trail town and arrived in the morning, just in time for the local brewery to open. It was packed with hikers and was quite a hit – the Taco bar was the spot of choice for lunch. 

Rock and Roots completed shopping for their resupply including food for a nice breakfast and a special pasta dinner for Monday. Check-in at the Air B&B was at 4:00 pm, leading to a refreshing shower and the use of the washing machine for their clothes. Dinner was served at the Iron Horse followed by a soak in the Hot Springs at 9:30. Thru-hiking can be so difficult.

April 19 – Zero = Rest

The day was spent in Hot Springs resting and enjoying the town.

April 20 – Fantastic Lookout Tower

After a nice stay in Hot Springs, Rock and Roots and their buddies (often referred to as “tramily” – trail family) all hiked out together. After a few miles they were all spread out along the trail enjoying a sunny day. They took a short side trail later in the day to the Rich Mountain Lookout Tower and took some video of the amazing views. After a 10.7-mile day, they ended up at Spring Mountain Shelter around 5:15, having ample time to set up their tent, make some dinner, and play a couple of games of chess with fellow thru-hikers before crashing for the night.

April 21 – 300 Big Ones

The goal today for Rock and Roots was the 300 mile marker and the Jerry Cabin Shelter which is located at 300.3 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia. They woke early and packed quickly because of the rain.  After arriving at the Little Laurel Shelter (a memory for me of my 21st night on the trail) the rain had stopped but the temperature began to drop.  They left the shelter and hiked a rather challenging section of the trail requiring quite a bit of climbing and over rocky terrain. They arrived at Jerry Cabin Shelter 6:45 after trekking 15.4 miles. As they were finishing up dinner, the scenery turned into a winter wonderland. The cold temperatures and snow encouraged the couple to retreat into their tent and the warm of sleeping bags – with the satisfaction of a goal completed.

April 22 – Fuzzy Details

David and Annie’s online journal skips April 22 and 23 and continues on April 24. The details of each day’s journey is difficult to discern. They have been doing some slack-packing which makes destinations and direction (north or south bound) a bit confusing. My best guess is that they hiked from Jerry Cabin Shelter to Hogback Ridge Shelter (14.7 miles) on April 22. They both seem well and enjoying the backpacking experience thanks to the kindness of Miss Janet and Tiger (two trail angles who are providing support to this couple).

The Hoots

Mileage is on the far left; Five Pair is just to Mileage’s left

April 16 – Great Hostel – Sore Ankle

With 20.6 miles of hiking between the Hoots and Hot Springs and with bad weather predicted for the weekend, Five Pair and Mileage decide to make a big dent in the journey today and leave a shorter hike tomorrow to arrive at the trail town. They get a shuttle ride back to Max Patch and begin their trek to a new hiker hostel (the Happy Gnomad Hiker Hostel) 14.0 miles down the trail. The hostel turned out to be a 5-star experience and the day ended with fine accommodations. Five Pair is struggling with ankle pain but anticipates an easier hiking day tomorrow with only 6.5 miles to cover.  

April 17 – NWB

The morning presented itself with the blessing of a short distance to Hot Springs but with a major concern – Five Pair woke up with an ankle that was NWB – Non-Weight Bearing. The two Hoots made a decision that Five Pair would visit an urgent care facility in Asheville while Mileage would solo hike to Hot Springs. Five Pair would join her there after the ankle was evaluated. The owners of the Gnomads Hostel agreed to drop Mileage at the trailhead and transport Five Pair to the Asheville urgent care.

Mileage was dropped first and before hiking one step, she was greeted by a special Trail Blessing event: waffles topped with strawberries, as well as Cadbury eggs for “dessert.”

Five Pair’s results were somewhat predictable: doctors advised six weeks off the trail to allow her ankle to heal. Realizing that Five Pair was most likely not going to take that time off, the physician provided wrap that Five Pair could use when she to the trail. Reuniting in Hot Springs, the Hoots went about resupplying and dining. The day ended with the Hoots satisfied and looking forward to rest and RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for Five Pair.

April 18 – Hot Springs Zero

The Hoots took the planned zero day in Hot Springs. Five Pair was faithful to the RICE protocol and the day was spent staying dry, relaxing, and evaluating the contents of their backpacks.

April 19 – And Then There Was One…

Mileage at Max Patch

The Hoots exited Hot Springs by hiking a mile across the bridge over the French Broad River and back into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Six miles of walking brought them to Tanyard Gap, and a discussion between Mileage and Five Pair. The ankle wrap was not providing the support needed, her injury felt worse, and she had already taken a fall that morning.  Five Pair decided to get off the trail and take care of herself (with a glimmer of hope that she might be able to rejoin Mileage at a later date). As Five Pair waited for a shuttle from Happy Gnomad Hostel to pick her up, Mileage hiked out of the gap to continue her trek.

Mileage hiked another five miles to the Spring Mountain Shelter where she would call it a day for a total of 11 miles and an accumulated 285.9 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

April 20 – 300 Miles!

Mileage put in some good mileage today as a solo hiker. She ended her day at Jerry Cabin Shelter having trekked 15.9 miles. At the 12-mile mark for the day, Mileage arrived at Big Firescald Knob describing it as “incredibly rocky and steep” and ” a rock scramble with hands.” She passed the 300-mile mark today, but settle down for a cold and chilly night in her tent.

April 21 – What? Snow and Sleet in April?

Mileage began hiking today with two companions: Fidget and Gourmet. As they began the day’s hike the cold and damp conditions, turned onto sleet and snow. After six miles, the trio decided to find some warm accommodations. With no cell phone coverage, they continued walk for two more miles. Once the towers were available, cell phone service connected the hikers to the Supper 8 and reservations for the night.  

The three hikers walked another mile and a half to a parking lot at Devil Fork Gap and a shuttle ride. They arrived at the Super 8 cold and wet. But the heat was turned up, laundry was done, hot showers were enjoyed, and a quick visit to the grocery met all their needs.

Total miles for the day=9.4.

April 22 – 20 Degrees – Ouch

8.5 miles completed today. Mileage, Fidget, and Gourmet got a morning ride to Devil’s Fork Gap around 10:30 and the sun greeted their steps. As the day progressed the temperatures dropped, and the wind increased. Despite their layers, hats, and gloves, all three began to feel the sting of the lower temperatures and wind-chill. The predicted weather was a continued high wind and temperatures below 20 degrees F. on the mountain. Mileage and her companions sought the safety of Nature’s Inn hostel, located just off the trail in Sam’s Gap in Flag Pond, TN. The hostel was a small cabin with a common room and a wood burning stove (a source of real joy for the cold hikers).

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Hike Leadership Forward – Forgiveness

As one makes a list of the top ten leadership characteristics, forgiveness does not usually make the list. I find that rather sad because I see the spirit of forgiveness as being essential for effective leadership. Forgiveness brings healing and healing is needed in so many dimensions of life. Wounds of the heart, stabs to the mind, and crushes to the spirit can all benefit from the salve of forgiveness.

There are various relationships that are encountered by a leader and a wise leader allows forgiveness to reign in every one of them. Honest mistakes, misjudgments in decision making, plots and schemes to cause harm, inexperience, immaturity, revenge, and stupidity can all result in errors and wounds in the life of a leader.  How a leader responds to these disappointments and affronts will determine his/her impact. Italian psychologist Roberto Assagioli (1888-1974) stated, “Without forgiveness life is governed by… an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” And Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” Which philosophy will we choose?

Healing is a coin with two sides. One side has the offense committed against us and the other has the offense committed by us. The one side sees us needing to grant forgiveness to others, while the flip side shows us needing to seek forgiveness. It might be the same coin, but each side brings very different perspectives, different emotions, and different mindsets.

To deal with forgiveness when you are the recipient of wrong, involves a positive resolution of anger, disappointment, feelings of betrayal or abandonment, the reality of a broken trust or a confidence. Any or all of these elements brings strong emotions that can lead to blinders in making right responses. There are two quotes that help me put these natural responses into a supernatural setting. First,  Bernard Meltzer (1916-1998 American radio host) once said, “When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” The hurt and results of the past are still there, but forgiveness can bring a future of healing.  Second, Max Lucado, American author and pastor, shared, “Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing you were the prisoner!” Forgiveness is as much for you as for the offender. A lack of forgiveness can serve as a jail cell… for you.

A leader so often steps where he/she should not, put his/her foot where it does not belong, and offends a person’s feelings, work, and confidence. When you have been the idiot and have wrong someone else (Okay, maybe that is never you and I should say, “When I have been an idiot….), the process of forgiveness takes on an entirely different look. Humility, repentance, and genuine sorrow must flood your mind and heart as you move toward seeking forgiveness. One of the keys to this side of the coin is to approach the situation without anticipating or demanding an apology from the other side. In most situations both sides have done something wrong. However, in seeking forgiveness, the best attitude is to clear the air of what you (I) have done, to seek forgiveness for your (my) failure. On this side of the coin, the goal is to clear the conscience so you can walk away having done all you can to be in right relationships with others.   

Forgiveness can bring healing to relationships and think about the various levels of relationships on the life and ministry of a leader. Healing in relationships with partners; healing within the team; healing in relationships with customers; healing in relationships with competitors; healing in relationships with those outside the company. I understand that forgiveness can be costly; however, forgiveness can also yield great rewards.

Forgiveness picture found at the following blog: Ten Ways to Show Someone You’ve Forgiven Them | gracestories (wordpress.com)

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Hike Books Forward: April 1-10

During the first ten days of April, I had the opportunity to read or listen to fourteen books. I was a little disappointed in the majority of them, but three were worthy of recommendation: one sci-fi anthology, one volume of Christian fiction, and one book on leadership.

Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales – Justin Richards

This was an unexpectedly, well-written sci-fi novel. I thought it might be rather corning mixing Doctor Who with fairy tales, but the author pulled it off with a nice flare of creativity and a unique approach to some sci-fi within the world of sci-fi. The doctor in his blue box made an appearance in some of the tales, while other stories were given their origins in cultures visited by the time lord such as the Sontarans and the Slitheens. Some of the fairy tales stared the classic antagonists of the popular TV series like the Cybermen and the Weeping Angels. A nice feature of the audiobook involved the narration. Each fairy tale was read by a different voice. One of the surprises for me was the story of Jak and the Wormhole read by Tom Baker, my personal favorite actor who held the role of the 4th doctor for seven years.  The more knowledge you have of Doctor Who and details of the series, the more appreciation you will bring to this novel, but I liked the sci-fi spin given to some familiar characters.

The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently – Tony Dungy

Anthony “Tony” Dungy served as a head coach in the National Football League for 13 seasons. During his career he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs and won Super Bowl XLI with the Colts during the 2006-2007 season.  I appreciated the Christian perspective and the biblical principles that were part this recent book. Mentoring is a keen interest of mine in my current role as a mentor to doctoral students during the dissertation writing process.

As a career coach in the NFL, Tony’s many examples fell to the arena of sport and the coaching dynamic. He shared about fellow coaches, his mentoring of both players and assistant coaches, and the strategy of other high profile coaches, both positive and negative. If you love or appreciate football, this book will be an enjoyable read. If you are striving to be a better mentor, this book will contain some helpful insight.

It was not the greatest book on leadership that I have read in recent years, and yet, it contains some thoughtful perspective and important, practical advice for organizational leaders.

Wrapped in the Rain – Charles Martin

This novel relates the story of two adult half-brothers, Tucker and Mutt, that have survived abusive childhoods under the violent hand of an alcoholic father. Tucker seems to have risen above the wounds to become an international photographer while Mutt has withdrawn into a hospitalized, low-functioning schizophrenic The plot thickens as Mutt runs away from the mental hospital and an old girl of Tucker’s (Katie) appears back in town with her young son and a bruised face.

Must of the novel takes the reader back to the redeeming grace in Tucker’s childhood in the person of Ella, their housekeep and nanny who poured her unconditional love and grace into the lives of the two boys in her care.    

Charles Martin writes in a way to grab your emotions. He is a master of creating relationships on paper that breathe the hopes and heartbeats of reality. I thoroughly enjoyed this offering of insights and interpersonal dynamics from a Christian worldview. The well-written book is well worth the time to read.

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Hike 2021 Forward – Week 16

I have just completed Week 16 of my personal walking challenge of hiking 2,021 miles during the 2021 calendar year. April 16 to April 22 was a fairly good week, Monday brought in the most mileage for the week (9,1) thanks to my phone calls with my doctoral students. My plan is to walk while I talk with my friends about their progress in writing their dissertation. I have call at 6:00 pm and another at 8:00 pm BY the time I record some verbal notes on my phone, each call last just about an hour which equates to about 6-7 miles. If I can grab a quick hike during the day, I can accumulate a nice total for the day. My least productive day was Tuesday. I was house bound most of the day with reading and preparation for meetings, so I was only able to squeeze a short walk about the neighborhood for 1.7 miles.

Final numbers for the week: Total miles = 45.7 (6.7 miles over the minimum 39 miles/week). Grand total for the year to date = 720.96 (almost 97 miles ahead of schedule). Enough numbers!

The weather was nice this week except for some freakish snow on Wednesday. I had to scrape the snow off my car in the morning, but the accumulation was 95% melted by noon. I also had a great week of interacting with people. I had the opportunity to serve on two online dissertation proposals, to meet with two discipleship groups, to interact with an administrative team at church, to connect via five standard phone conferences, and to reconnect with a dear friend at a local coffee bar. I began to get a little concerned about fitting my mileage into the busy week and then I realized the importance and the higher priority that people should play over a personal walking goal. I conscientious relaxed and enjoyed my people time trusting that the miles would work out. God is faithful and He gave me the time each day to surpass the minimum for the week.  

Here are a few more photos from the week.

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Hike Photos Forward

April 26 – seven years ago
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