You haven’t lived until you have been to a state fair, and even more specifically the Minnesota State Fair. We joke that the people watching is worth the price of admission and often comment that we wonder where these people are the other 355 days of the year. It is entertainment because many of these people are very different than us.

The thing is, this is why we are intrigued with every little thing. Yes, everything. Just think about it for a minute, if we open our eyes to the differences in people in a positive way (and sometimes even the negative thoughts) – we learn things. Lots of things. « My 4th grade teacher would have scolded me had I written the word ‘thing’ that many times in one paragraph. So for the sake of Mrs. Wallace, I will explain the ‘things’ a bit more.

Tell me this, have you ever just watched a speaker on stage to understand why they do the things they do? Or have you ever listened to a webinar or podcast to figure out the point of their show or understand their offer at the end? Oftentimes 100’s of people could listen to the same show and hear something different. Heck, you may be at the state fair and not even think twice about the zebra print zubaz circa 1989 that the guy in front of you is wearing, because you still have your pair in the bottom of your dresser. We all have a different perspective. We don’t just people watch, we perspective watch.

Understanding why people do what they do is intriguing. We watch gobs of reality tv, learn from ted talks, scroll social media like it’s our job (well… in our case it kinda of is) and we share stories with people over wine, coffee dates and lunches every.single.day.

Why? Because different is truly intriguing. It is easy to throw on the judgement hat, but I want to challenge you not to focus on differences or even similarities – but to find their perspective.

This last month I have spent time interviewing business owners that are doing something a bit different in this world. Maybe not always the craziest industry or brand new idea – but in some way they shifted the perspective on the usual way of doing business. They have truly shined a bit brighter than others in their industry. In these interviews I didn’t just focus on the shiny stuff, cause it is never just bright – sometimes (actually most times) there is a dark and not so shiny spot in our journey as entrepreneurs. You will notice that these business owners persevered through these moments.

Today I introduce to you the ‘Shine Bright’ podcast. I can’t wait to hear how you like it. Listen here »»» bit.ly/ShineBrightPodcast

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When I step on a stage, my first question is usually something like ‘Who in here classifies themselves as a leader?’ You may not be as shocked as I am to hear that not many people raise their hand. In fact, I usually need to coax them to think about what a leader really is, and I get a few more hands.

The English dictionary states that a leader is: the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.

Whoa – I think the word ‘commands’ is what throws us off or maybe the fact that we believe that we have to be an expert to be a leader.

This is wrong. So very wrong.

In fact, you only really have to be one step ahead in order to lead. Now let’s all take a deep breath, and soak that in.

Here is the deal, most people don’t know WHO they are leading. So the scary part is in the unknown. Once you do that work (you know, the ‘define your perfect client’ work) – things become more clear. Like you almost picture yourself as the momma duck with your fresh baby ducklings waddling behind you.

Right, because in order to lead – those babies might even be on your heels. This is awesome, why? Because then it pushes us to walk a little faster.

Those followers force us to be one step ahead. I remember being in the grocery store with my Mom and begging to push the cart, cause I wanted to be just like her. The thing is I would oftentimes run the front of the cart into her ankle – I was SO eager to be close. This is what you want as a Mom and as a leader.

In fact, I just started a monthly leadership lunch with my team at tena.cious and we discussed people in our lives that we looked up to as a signifiant leader. Some of the qualities were profound, here are a few:

» Inspirational
» Has trust in others
» Creates a path to get ‘there’
» Big vision thinker
» Confident
» Push you before you are ready
» On trend
» Assertive or straight forward

Our lists were two pages long and this was compiled from almost 10 people, our answers vary but I think I could sum it up » they care. Not one of the people said ‘they are the smartest person I know’ or ‘they were super successful’ or ‘they knew more than me’…Do you get it?We all have people watching and waddling behind us ready to knock right in to us and hopefully, if we are lucky – they start leading their own little waddlers.Leaders create leaders. They don’t do this by being the best at something or by having all of the answers – they do this by caring and showing the way.

Nothing is scary about caring.

you got this,

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Let me take you back to 1999, not to a party, but to hang out in a factory in good ole Brainerd, MN. Joyful, right? I think I literally cut this memory out of my brain, but thankfully it came back so I could share it with you.

I was working on an assembly line for my summer job. My mom happened to manage the department and I was pretty darn good at it since I am wickedly competitive and love a little challenge. We worked on various machines, sometimes with a partner, and produced parts for telephone boxes. Now I know how enticing this may sound, but before you go put in your application – read on. With the combination of my Mom being the boss and me cranking out parts excessively, you would think this would have been the secret to a successful and easy summer, right? Nope, wrong.

You see, the factory was filled with women that had been punching the clock, doing only what they were told, and no more. I ruined that.

The women hated me. I set a new level of excellence, and they enjoyed being average. When training me, they actually told me the maximum that anyone does. When I ran it by my mom, I remember her telling me she herself could do more – challenge accepted.

See, my mom led.

Leaders run ahead, clear the path, and stay on it with you.

The thing is, why didn’t these other ladies see this same challenge?

My mom led me because I asked. But what happens when people don’t ask? They can’t just be left behind to fend for themselves. They become complacent, ornery and eventually they quit, retire or die. Honestly, this wasn’t really my mom’s task to motivate these ladies; they were making their quotas and the upper management was ‘happy’. But what if she had lit a little fire under them?

I believe that everyone on this earth needs a little push from time to time. Whether it be a child, your employee(s) or your client.

Who do you know that needs a little fire lit? Leave a comment… you know I want to hear your story.

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Now more than ever, this world needs leaders to step up and take their place, to show up with everything they were given. Like REALLY show up, on purpose.  

I fed my soul last week in a hotel conference room with 40+ powerful women (and one very strong man). We expanded in every area of our lives and you can bet that I am going to share a bit of that journey with you.  

My first words in my notebook were ‘create conversation leaders‘. Whoa. I learned that this is one of my many purposes here on this side of heaven. Not only is it my purpose, it hurts to not talk about and to not see others doing the same.  

In the room we were asked about our desires and the resistances around those desires. At first I got selfish with my my thoughts (which isn’t a bad thing, might I addBUT then I went deeper. I dug right into my soul and found it there. My desire is to lead others in a way of grace, love and extreme compassion. Don’t mis-hear that — this is not to push my views, thoughts, or advice on anyone. That is the very opposite of what my heart and soul is yearning for. I will lead those that crave mentorship, growth, and my expertise.  

Leading has been a part of my blood since the minute my little bro jumped out of the womb. He didn’t exactly call it leading (or ask for it) then… but I digress. My point is that this really isn’t a shock to me that leading is my desire, but I was making excuses, up until now. Pushing out appointments with my staff, asking Angie to handle internal situations that really were my responsibility and well, a lot of other things I won’t bore you with.   

I, like you, make excuses. Now I know I just wrangled you right in to my crazy — but I saw you slowly drifting away. I bet you can feel that I am going to hold you to something. Cause you know what? Someone has to. Thank you for listening. For me and for you. 

In the end, I summed this all up into one juicy sentence, and here it is:  

» I uncomfortably invest in others.  

I am done with excuses and ready for expansion. My first thought each morning will be » “Who am I investing in today?” Now doesn’t that sound yummy?  

Leaders gotta lead. We have to show up. Not just for those following, but for you, the leader.  

Your desire may not be leading in the capacity that I just described, but if you are reading this then you are alive, which means someone (even if that is only one person) is following you. They are watching, they are listening, and they are more than likely waiting for you to show up.  

My Q to you this week is » What is your desire? And part two… how can I invest in you? 






P.S. Shout out to George Kansas and Tracey Trottenberg for holding such a big space for us this week. You are incredible human beings, God was totally on His game the day you were made.

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