Today it’s my pleasure to introduce to you Carla Harper.  I’ve never met Carla, but I have great admiration for her work.  Carla and I became friends from our emails that stemmed from her website, which is www.MissionStatements.com.  Those of you who know me well know I love strategic planning;  mission statements are a natural fit.  When I learned of Carla’s website and business, I immediately signed up for her daily newsletter, which features an inspiring quote.  If this piques your interest, go to her website for an easy signup.  Carla featured my book, Serving with Significance on her website soon after it was published.  How special is that?

Carla has written two books.  The first is Worthy, which I recently read.  Worthy is set in North Carolina, soon after World War II.  It’s a coming-of-age novel with more than a bit of mystery.  If the Melungeons have fascinated you as they have fascinated me, you will definitely want to read Worthy.

Carla’s second book is a daily devotional, The Worthy Girl’s Guide to Life.  I was disappointed to find it’s out-of-print;  Carla’s making some changes to it before a reprint. I was delighted that she sent me a page from it based on Proverbs 16:18.  Carla writes in this devotional about the life of James Madison, whose “life is a testament to what happens when people who won’t give up intersect with a sovereign God.”  I look forward to the reprinting of The Worthy Girl’s Guide to Life.

Thank you, Carla, for being my guest blogger this week.  Let’s read some more of Carla Harper’s wise words, which are tools for any leader’s leadership toolbox:

Discerning when to stay, when to go, and when to lead

Maturing is a lifelong process, and it’s a choice. Most of us never fully mature because it’s just too hard. We’d rather remain in our comfort zone. A comfort zone results from personality traits, experience, and the residuals of how we were parented. 

The problem is that it takes hardships, discomfort, and confrontation with unpleasantness to work out grown-up ways of being. Leaders are people who first learned how to lead themselves and then took opportunities to lead others.

We get to face situations regularly that present three basic choices:

  1. This is not going the way I want. I’ll take my toys and go home.
  2. I’m not being treated well. This is potentially a bad situation that could harm me, my reputation, and possibly those I’m responsible for leading. I’ll back away.
  3. I’m responsible for this situation and these people. I must call on wisdom and lead. 

Each choice is somewhat dependent on the role we’ve been placed in, but the important point is the thought process. We develop leadership skills by forcing ourselves to think through each situation with the three choices as questions.

There’s a time and place for each choice.  Use discernment before reacting to any situation, even if in a split second. Emotions are the triggers that let us know that it’s time to pause and discern – anger, irritation, frustration, confusion, hurt. 

Ask these questions:

-Am I simply not getting the respect I want or my way in this situation? Do I need to just “get over myself?”

-Are my personal “boundaries” being violated here? Is someone or something within this situation unhealthy for my team and me? Do I confront in hopes of making things better, or is it best to walk away?

-Am I in charge of this situation? Has someone put me in a position of accountability for the outcomes? If yes, you don’t get to just leave. You must call on personal experience and wisdom as well as other wise people you trust for guidance, if possible. 

Every time we stop and ask internal questions, we win. We grow as a leader. Even if things don’t turn out so good, we still are maturing. The next time something comes up, we remember the process and how things turned. 

Copyright May 18, 2020 by Rebecca Henderson and Carla Harper.

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