Let the spirit of love gently fill our hearts and homes.

Let the spirit of love
gently fill our hearts and homes.
In this loveliest of seasons
may you find many reasons for happiness.

May you have a joyful present
and a well remembered past.

Whatever is beautiful.
Whatever is meaningful.
Whatever brings you happiness.
May it be yours this holiday season
and throughout the coming year.

Best wishes for Happy Holidays
and a magnificent New Year.

You Should Get Some Holiday Spirit (even if you’re a hum-bug)

A few weeks ago I was listening to an OnBeing interview with the Indigo Girls and one of them (Emily Saliers, I think) something along the lines of spirit is not mental and that being in your body takes you out of your head.

This notion has stuck with me as we enter the heart of the holiday season. With our to-do list of cards, presents and wrapping things up before the end of the year, we spend a lot of time getting things done.

You’re there looking at the holiday lights but not really, because you’re thinking about the next 3 gifts you need to get.

But the present, NOW, is when you can plug into your world and the spirit of what’s happening. Pausing to completely take in what is happening around you. To pause is a verb. You must choose to get out of your head and soak-up the spirit.

Spirit is an Attitude and Atmosphere

 “Spirit“ has several definitions: essence, courage, will, character, disposition, mood and more.

 It’s an attitude and an atmosphere.

There’s a lot of spirit this time of year.

Holiday spirit is not the cinnamon scented candles or cookies.

It’s the positive feeling you experience on vacation and during periods such as the winter holiday period. When you supposedly slow down (regardless of which creed you look to for inspiration and guidance) look to appreciate the excellent and beauty in the mundane.

It’s the Act of Seeing Excellence and Beauty in the Mundane

To appreciate who and what is in your world for what they are. Not what you hopes are for them or what you wish they were like, but just as they are.

To recognize the value of the small things in life. The simple pleasures. The every day task well done.

 Yes, I know that sounds trite. But it’s important.

That Leads to Bright Spirits and Good Health

Appreciation of beauty and excellence is associated with life satisfaction and good mental health. Those little moments add up and have exponential power.

To see those moments you need to pause and focus on what you are actually touching, or smelling or seeing, without immediately judging it. Give it a quick minute to reveal its nuances and wonders.

Paying attention to what and who is  around you, what’s spectacular or beautiful is like being able to can some of the spirit to open it later in the year. May you have many jars in your cabinets.

 

The Honey vs. Vinegar Approach to Leading

Kindness is being purposeful and generous with others. It’s certainly what we try to do during the Holiday Season.

At least in our personal lives.

But what about leading with kindness? This is not about being the nice boss. Or even having a leadership title.

Leading with kindness about having strength in your purpose and warmly inviting others to help realize that purpose. Like using honey as bait, it’s irresistible.

I think this approach applies to leading a Girl Scout troop or Fortune 500 Corporation and every other group in-between.

Kind Leaders are Strong

Kindness is not weakness. You must be, strong, honest and fair when:

It’d be easy to berate someone, to instead cut a little slack, while firmly pointing out what missed the mark.

Cutting ties when there’s no good way forward. If you’re having the same conversation over and over, it’s time to end the relationship or leave the topic alone for good.

And Bring Out People’s Best

You’ll help people discover their best. As you coax people to make use of those best-of-self abilities your steady look-‘em-in-the-eyes gaze as puts a backbone in your leadership when you:

Make the new gal lead on an important project and help her think through how to match-up her abilities to the task at hand, so that it’s a successful effort.

Redirect a team member who undercuts the value of her contributions and stagnates, to prevents a loss for him and the team.

Share an encouraging word about the best you see in people. The toss away “good job”, becomes a way you point of the value of what’s just part of the job. ‘“Job well done Sam. Talking with Mrs. Cliburn about the repair work done on her car, so that she understood is key to maintaining our reputation. And to building a lasting relationship, because she knows we’ll treat her right.

Encourage specific actions and use of people’s abilities and you’ll get more of those, easily.

Make People Feel Good They’ll Do Well

A kind leader makes people feel good: joyful, excited and appreciated.

Good feelings trip the “Do more of this” signal, which inspires people to strive for bigger goals.

They’re linked to flexibility in thinking. Thinking about something in a new way (new ideas) and thinking about oneself in a new way (‘hey turns out I can do that)’.

They push people’s creativity button, that’s needed to keep up with the pace of change.

Where we feel good we want to spend time and do well.

My invitation to you is to find 1 way everyday for the next 3 days to be a kind leader. See what happens when you do. If you have a quick minute, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.