Christmas can create the tale of two mornings for us. I heard it said that there are four phases of our lives. One, we believe in Santa. Two, we stop believing. Three, we become Santa. Four, we start to look like Santa!
Growing up, every Christmas Eve we would visit my grandparents’ house. As a child, I vividly remember the ride home. My brother and I would gaze out the window looking into the sky for any trace of Santa’s sleigh. If it moved, if it blinked, we thought it was the big guy! We wanted to race home so Santa didn’t skip our house. When we got home, we set out the milk and cookies, then got in bed.
As children, our innocence prevails. We rush to bed in eager anticipation of what is to come the next morning. As we lie in bed, struggling to get to sleep, we dream about what the next day has to hold for us. We fade off without a worry in the world, with a deep belief in the good for tomorrow. We cannot wait!
As adults, our experience prevails. We stay up late preparing for what is to come tomorrow. Life presents stressors of deadlines to meet, things to assemble, and putting together the perfect Christmas for others. After midnight, we attempt to fall asleep dreading the early morning wake up call. Our busy mind keeps us awake making sure that every “T” is crossed and every “I” is dotted.
These are the tale of two mornings for each of us. This reflection of Christmas made me think about how we can approach each and every day as a leader. Leaders in the workplace, leaders in the community, and leaders of our family.
Here are four quick thoughts of what Christmas morning as a child can teach us as an adult:
Eagerly Anticipate Tomorrow
As a child, we eagerly anticipate tomorrow, especially when tomorrow is Christmas Day. When was the last time we had trouble going to sleep because we were so excited about what tomorrow had in store for us? To be honest, isn’t our experience as an adult a little different? Most of the time I have trouble going to sleep because I am not ready for tomorrow to get here. My mind runs rampant. I do not eagerly anticipate the tasks ahead, the deadlines to meet, or the crisis of the day.
How much better would we sleep at night if we eagerly anticipated tomorrow? What if for one second, we could allow our childhood innocence to overcome our life experience and look forward to what tomorrow has in store? The new adventures and opportunities that await us. Each day brings us yet another unique opportunity to better others and the world we live in. Eagerly anticipate tomorrow.
Tomorrow is a Gift
We have become numb to the notion that “tomorrow is not given.” We hear it, we say it, and we take it for granted. There is no statement that could be truer. We have all experienced loss firsthand, yet we get so buried in the busyness of today that we forget tomorrow is not guaranteed for us.
Through a child’s eyes, Christmas day is a gift. You look forward to what “the present” of tomorrow holds. We dream about what lies on the inside of this gift and what it could entail. Imagine if we looked at every tomorrow as if it were Christmas Day in a child’s eyes? It would revolutionize our approach to each and every day. Never forget that tomorrow is a gift.
Experiences Can Harden Us
Wisdom is generated from experiences. That is a good thing, it is how we grow. The side effect of wisdom is it can create cynicism as well.
I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Tim Elmore speak at a conference a few weeks ago and he used concrete as an example in regards to our lives. He talked about the concept that you tend to see the final product, but early in the process concrete is moldable. You can shape it, maneuver it, and can conform it to its surroundings. Over time it hardens and loses its flexibility. Just like us as we get older and more experienced.
Cynicism is the result of the hardening of our lives. It can make us look at so many things in a negative light. The more experienced we become in life, the more we have seen. We tend to know how stories end and expect certain outcomes of circumstances. We should resist our cynicism at all costs, it can harden us and limit our ability to dream.
Belief is a Powerful Tool
Ask a child if they believe in Santa and get a quick glimpse into the power of belief. The power of belief takes an ordinary person in a red suit and turns him into something magical. That belief allows him to have reindeer that can fly, elves that prepare millions of toys throughout the year, and the ability for him to deliver each and every one of those toys to children around the world in one night.
In leadership, belief is important. It is critical to believe in your people. If they know you believe in them, it will inspire them to do great things. People who feel believed in will go to any extent to support you as the leader and the collective organization. The child-like belief you have in them can be the most powerful tool that you have in your leadership toolbox.
In writing this, my prayer for both you and me is that we can look at tomorrow through the lens of a child. That we eagerly anticipate the gifts and blessings that are in store for us on the other side of a long night’s sleep.
There are a lot of good things waiting for us tomorrow. You tend to find what you are looking for in life. If you are looking for negative, you find negative. If you go in search of positive, you will find positive. It is all a mindset that we choose daily.
Perfect example. While writing this, I did a quick Google search on if Santa is real. My cynicism said that each child was a quick Google search away from having their dreams crushed. Well…I did not find what I was looking for. There were several people who had taken the opportunity to write about their belief in Santa right at the top of the search results. Those are the people that choose to see the best in tomorrow. They are who I want to be when I grow up!
Let’s choose to look at tomorrow as if we were a child and tomorrow was Christmas. Apply everything you ever felt on Christmas Eve to every tomorrow. Your world and the world of others will look a lot different. I promise.
Ordinary to Extraordinary Intersection
How can we look at every single day through the lens of child? What can we do to eagerly anticipate tomorrow?