New Castle News

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August 30, 2012

Tim Kolodziej: 8 leadership lessons I learned while cutting the grass

NEW CASTLE — So, I’m cutting the grass the other day.

Not one of my favorite things to do, but I kind of like it for the workout it provides. Since my mower’s self-propel function is broken, it feels like I’m pushing a blocking sled around the yard for three hours. Better still, it’s three hours that my mind can wander, usually without interruption.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I love to unearth tales of leadership, faith and inspiration in the everyday activities of life. I believe there are no accidents. We are all part of a much, much bigger story then our own little affairs, and each Thursday I enjoy sharing with you what I’m learning.

Believe it or not, in-between the grass clippings and the sweat drippings, I was able to gather a wheelbarrow of leadership insights while mowing the lawn this week.

So let me empty my bag now.

•Lesson 1: No matter how prepared you are for the task at hand, there will always be ups and downs. Especially if you live on a hill.

•Lesson 2: If your yard is filled with trees, you will have times when the outlook is sunny and bright, and others when it can quickly turn dark.

•Lesson 3: If you live in an area where the sun beats down on your lawn for most of the day, you’ll learn that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. It’s greener where you water it.

•Lesson 4: Sometimes, even when you do things with good intentions, it will still come back to bite you in the butt. And both ankles. And wrists. And calves. And inner thighs.

You see, I ran over a bee’s nest with the lawn mower the other day, and apparently they do not take kindly to being roused from their hole in the ground. I counted at least nine places where they stung me, including twice on the toosh. Which leads to ...

•Lesson 5: No matter what decisions you make in your role, you’ll likely be attacked from all sides. (See previous entry.)

•Lesson 6: When you’re immersed in a critical situation, you can’t worry about what you will look like to those watching. I can only imagine what the neighbors were thinking as I appeared to be performing a combination of a tribal rain dance and The Dougie while struggling to shoo some angry bees out of my drawers. Man, I hope I’m not on YouTube somewhere.

•Lesson 7: If you’re in a leadership position of any kind — supervisor, coach or parent — count on the ups and downs, the dark days, and the attacks from all sides. Just keep mowing.

•Lesson 8: Because if you do your job consistently and with care, it always leads to lush growth.

Now where did I leave the Benadryl ...


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