Today is Thanksgiving. One of the days of the year that I look forward to like no other. I love to watch the parades on TV with my kids. I love to eat all of the good food. Actually, I have to tell you that it’s not the turkey that excites me. I know…it seems almost anti-American. I like turkey. I don’t have anything against turkey. But, for me, I really enjoy the sides – the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, and the mashed potatoes…and of course, the desserts. Oh, and the mashed potatoes.
But, of course, this is the day where we give thanks. As leaders, I believe that thankfulness must be a part of our DNA. We should be thankful for those that we lead. We should be thankful for the influence that we’ve been given. We should be thankful for being able to fulfill our God-given purpose.
This year, for me, I am especially thankful for 3 leaders that have greatly impacted my life and the path of leadership that I find myself on today.
#1 – Mr. Jenkins
He was my 6th grade teacher. He was also a police officer. But, during parent/teacher conference that year, he told my parents that I was a leader in his class. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, however. He was communicating to my parents that I was using my natural abilities to influence others to get them to do things and behave in ways that they shouldn’t. But, the fact that he used the word “leader” to describe me called out something in me that has been growing ever since. And, for that, I am thankful.
#2 – Mr. Bramer
He was the president of the company that owned the hotel I worked in when I was 19 years old. I had come to a point in my life where I decided that the hotel business was no longer what I wanted to do. It had become tough and I was ready to give up. Mr. Bramer heard that I was thinking about leaving and he pulled me aside. He told me that he had his eye on me and wanted me to be the first person to participate in a newly established Manager Trainee program. He noticed me. Out of all the employees in the organization, he recognized that I was someone that he wanted to invest in. I agreed and the rest is history. But, because he noticed me, I continued down a path of leadership that has brought me to the point I am at today. And, for that, I am thankful.
#3 – Mr. Bradford
Ok, I’m only using the “Mr.” for consistency sake. Mr. Bradford is my current “boss,” Robby Bradford. He is the Senior Pastor of the church that I serve at. In the four years that I’ve known Pastor Robby, he has taken two very big chances on me. He first hired me as a Student Ministries Pastor and Principal of the K-8 School at our church and then he promoted me to Executive Pastor. I was, at the time, someone with very little experience in churches and no experience as a pastor. But, he took a chance on me. Since then, he has continued to invest in me and show me grace over and over again. He is a man of great faith and someone who I have learned so much about leadership, pastoring, faith, and life from. Because of all of this, I am thankful.
We all have our different paths that have gotten us to the point we are at today. So, who is it for you? Who was it that called out the leader in you, or noticed you, or took a chance on you? Post their names in the comments below and tell me why you’re thankful for them…