Regular People, We Lead

Friends,

So I was at Easter Mass in a small town “up north.”  I judged: This seems to be a very average little church.  Modest outside and in.  The priest, preaching, choir, all seemed to me stunningly regular.  One of the stained glass windows had a brown puppy in the foreground.  Some average voice of an angel in my own mind noticed all this rating and judging I was doing.  It asked me to ponder what might lie within the joy of different folks, as at that moment they lifted their regular old arms and their regular old small town hearts at the end of the “Our Father” prayer.  Perhaps they celebrated triumphs over cancer, alcoholism, a soldier son come home from Iraq, or some other avoidance of threat, evil, or ill.  Who could know what kind of rebirths they were giving thanks for?  And who was I to judge the significance of their lives?

Two young teenage girls, perhaps sisters, sang a duet from the pulpit after communion.  With every measure their nervousness faded, and their enthusiasm rose, ‘til in the end they were singing for all they were worth.  In full voice, they sang as Joni Mitchell once wrote of a street musician, “real good, for free.”  And I thought: What a gift to lead in our own average worlds!  Where life matters to each of us, and we live for those times when we can lift our arms in joy or our hearts in shared songs.

We don’t have to make it to the Sweet Sixteen or the Final Four or the cover of Time to have what we do matter.  It helps to remember, reminded by your better angels, that we’re all in the end regular, normal people, whose lives are improved when you

Lead with your best self,

Dan

Listen for Stephen Covey who joins me on my radio show on Saturday, April 5th at 7:00 AM.  We’ll chat about the “7 Habits” and his upcoming program at Eagle Eye Resort on April 9th.  You can listen across the Michigan Talk Network or from my website, danmulhern.com.

8 responses to “Regular People, We Lead

  1. I frequently think about the quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” The people who make a difference may not be in Washington, they may be in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, in Iraq, in Lansing, in Petoskey, or anywhere in between. You’re right, Dan, we shouldn’t always wait for someone else to lead, and to make that difference.

  2. Dan:

    We are all leaders, no matter who we are, what we do, where we live, or what our titles are/are not. Why? Because leadership is about having impact, and we impact our environments and the people around us, all the time in big and small ways. So, as leaders, we constantly are given the oportunity to ask ourselves what kind of impact we want to or are having, and make our choices accordingly. The best leaders are the ones who lead from their hearts first. This does not make every decision easy, but means that every one is made “whole heartedly”, and thus from love and kindness- even the tough ones. Imagine what would be possible if each of us was constantly leading with our hearts!

    Linda

  3. I would like to believe that we are all regular, normal people trying to do good in the world and trying to help people of all faiths, ethnic backgrounds, and racial backgrounds but as I look to Washington, D.C. I see in the White House a person who loves to use people as cannon fodder. He reminds me of the saying, “The only difference between men and boys are the price of their toys.” What are the most expensive toys in the world? It’s America’s nuclear arsenal.

    I love to go to Mass on the vigil of Easter. It is a time when the Mass can run between two and two and one half hours. In Church we have new people being baptized, receiving their first communion, and/or confirmation. For two hours I can be away from the real world of man’s inhumanity to man.

    It truly would be great to believe in Leo Buscaglia’s words that there are no super human beings. For all people to be regular, normal people would be a great joy.

  4. Two thoughts about “regular:” A few days ago, in the midst of a stress-filled series of transitions and decisions at work a comment was reported to me that I don’t think I was supposed to hear. A long tenured employee said to a co-worker, “I really hope Mike decides to stick it out here. At least he listens.”

    Today, coming in from another day in the same circumstance, as the door closed behind me I heard from different parts of the house six young voices yelling “Daddy’s home, daddy’s home” in no particular harmony.

    That’s my kind of regular and my kind of choir.

  5. I believe we approach our jobs/positions/life reflecting the leadership we see around us. Good leadership and poor leadership are reflected in those who follow. This puts a very large burden on those who are leaders by choice, position, or by nature.

    Regular people provide this leadership in our schools, churches, neighborhoods, stores, etc. Thank goodness we have so many great “regular” people holding “regular” positions in our normal daily lives who provide us with roles models and lead us without our even knowing it. Without them, I hate to think of where this country might be today.

  6. there are no supra-regular people, no regular people, no sub-regulars…only…people. we all lead in different ways, even the most devout of followers. leadership is profoundly within each self. It simply matters how we equitably choose to let it show…

  7. Regular people leading is often all we have. When I see a father or mother guiding three, four, even five children with them through a grocery store I think that is leadership. It is not easy to control four little persons, and that while carrying one.
    Leadership is an hard to measure trait. Our elections seldom test leadership. These are contests between a small number of persons, and often only two against each other. I have now and then heard it said that leaders of high office are not extraordinary people, but ordinary people in extraordinary situations.
    A leader does what makes things better and not worse. A leader brings people together. A leader talks to every kind of person involved with an issue. A leader takes time to learn, and will admit to and ask forgiveness for their errors. A leader teaches my setting a good example. None of these traits has to do with commanding armies, or balancing trillion dollar budgets. These apply to the parent leading his own children, or the head cashier, the choir director, or the school crossing guard.
    Mark John Hunter – Alpena

  8. Regular people leading is often all we have. When I see a father or mother guiding three, four, even five children with them through a grocery store I think that is leadership. It is not easy to control four little persons, and that while carrying one.
    Leadership is an hard to measure trait. Our elections seldom test leadership. These are contests between a small number of persons, and often only two against each other. I have now and then heard it said that leaders of high office are not extraordinary people, but ordinary people in extraordinary situations.
    A leader does what makes things better and not worse. A leader brings people together. A leader talks to every kind of person involved with an issue. A leader takes time to learn, and will admit to and ask forgiveness for their errors. A leader teaches by setting a good example. None of these traits applies exclusively to commanding armies, or balancing trillion dollar budgets. These apply equally to the parent leading his own children, or the head cashier, the choir director, or the school crossing guard.

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