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If you’re looking for a good book on leadership that’s easy to read and not too long, then Dr. Henry Cloud’s 9 Things A Leader Must Do is for you.  It’s written in a simple, straightforward manner, but manages to remain personal at the same time.  Dr. Cloud gives enough life stories to explain his point, but not too much.

I’ve always loved reading leadership books by John Maxwell, but sometimes his books are just too long and could not be really considered “light reading.”  Over the Holy Week break, I read Dr. Cloud’s book and liked it a lot.  I found myself relating to his 9 principles/things to do.

I’m sharing just a few insights I learned from this book.

On Handling Difficult People

  • Take responsibility for your own reactions and how you let difficult people get to you.  There is always a better way to react to a particular situation or person.
  • Manage your expectations.  This is so true! I always expect too much from myself and put the same expectations on others – hence I always get disappointed.
  • Do not depend on them for things they cannot give – approval, love and validation. This is related to the previous point.  I expect others to like me, love me, validate me, give me their approval.  But maybe they are not the people from whom I should be looking for these things.
On Achieving our Dreams
  • We can achieve big goals by taking small steps over time.  This is actually common sense, but many people still find this very hard to do.  Dr. Cloud explains why:  “Wanting it all right now keeps you from having any.”
  • Do not take any action without considering its future implications.  We need to see not just the good that may happen in the future, but also the bad so that we can prepare ahead.
Although the title says “9 Things A Leader Must Do,”  this book isn’t just for people who are in a leadership position already.  It’s for everyone who wants to take hold of their life and lead it in the direction they wish to.  After all, you don’t need to be “Senior Manager,” “Director,” or “Head” in order to be a leader.

I’ve decided to end my Facebook hiatus.  Over the last two weeks that I deactivated my account, I had the following realizations:

1.  No one can make me sad or angry unless I give them the power to do so.  Just as no one can make me truly happy unless I am happy with myself, with what I have, with my own life.  I can’t force people to like me, but I can make myself think of what is good in me – and also of what is good in others.

2.  I can choose how I get affected by people around me.  I can’t control what people will say about me or my family, but I can choose to ignore negative comments and focus instead on the positive and uplifting ones.

3.  I really need to manage my expectations.  Sometimes I expect too much of people and place on them the same expectations I put on myself.  Sometimes I expect people to behave in a certain way because that is how I was raised to believe.  I’ve realized that a lot of my B.S. (belief systems!) have been deeply ingrained in me that I seem to think that the universe operates the way I think it should…pero hindi pala!

4.  I have so much to be thankful for – a loving husband who accepts me for who I am and who is not perfect but loves an imperfect me; two bright, loving and talented kids who think the world of me; parents who support me in everything I undertake; and two smart siblings who are not just my blood relations but my truest friends as well. And of course my good friends who are always there for me.  Truly I am blessed and I should not complain. 🙂

This Easter season is not just about celebrating the Resurrected Christ.  More than rejoicing, it is also a time for us Christians to renew our lives because we who are risen with Christ must focus on things above, and not on things below.  Easter teaches us not to focus on sorrow, pain, and death.  It tells us that beyond the bad, the negative, and the painful, there is a resurrection; there is light, goodness, and joy.

I just pray that no matter what the circumstance I find myself in, I will always go back to these Easter realizations and dwell on those things above – the good, the positive, the uplifting.

Today is Good Friday.  Today we see the best example of how much it hurts to love.  The love that Christ has for us is not the kind of love that we see on television or read about in cheesy novels.

Christ’s love is sacrificial love, a love that gives without expecting anything in return, a love that accepts the beloved’s faults and yet continues to love just the same.

As Christians, we are commanded to love one another as Christ has loved us.  This is not the kind of love that media popularizes – love that is based on feeling and physical attraction.

It’s not easy to love the way Christ has loved us.  I know.  I’ve loved and I’ve been hurt, especially by the people I love the most.  It hurts to give so much of myself, and yet my love and giving is not appreciated so much.  I sometimes want to cry out and say “Enough!  I don’t want to give of myself anymore!  It hurts to love and not be loved back as much as I do!”

But as I reflect on Jesus’ Passion and Death this Good Friday, I realize that I have not loved Him enough if I complain about giving of myself.  If I truly love as Christ does, then I should be ready to get hurt.  If I truly love others the way Jesus Christ loves me, then I cannot love enough.  If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not real love.