A Christmas Leadership Story

The smell of the Holiday fills the air; smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pine. I love the smell of pine. A memory floats in and I return to our farm house in Michigan.

My brother and I head down the path with a wagon and an old rusty saw. We are focused on finding a beautiful Christmas Tree. The air bites at my ears. I long for a hat that doesn’t itch. I give in and put on the itchy wool one that is in my pocket. We are laughing and excited. He is thirteen and I am eleven.

This is a rare brother-sister journey together. Our usual way is annoyance, bickering and trying to get as far away from each other as possible. Today, however, our mission has united us. We are in a joyful mood.

The feeling of freedom and beauty fills my heart and imagination. Snow crunches under our feet. I lick my lips and am surprised to taste a hot chocolate mustache. We had each had a delicious cup of hot chocolate before leaving the house.

The joy we feel fills our hearts. We laugh and he says, “won’t Mom be surprised when she comes home and the tree is up!”

We turn the corner and there it is, the perfect tree. It is tall and full. It nearly touches the clouds. We walk circles around the tree to size it up. Is it the one? I throw myself on the snow and wiggly my way under the tree branches, pine needles poking my face, as I turn to look up. Yes, this is the one! We have found the perfect tree, round and full, with a perfect point for the Angel.

My brother begins to cut it down, thrilled with the power of the hand saw. The saw, which we found in the barn, is very dull. With each movement of the saw it sticks and grunts. My brother is determined to cut the tree down. He moves the saw back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I notice sweat beads forming on his red chapped cheeks. Finally, after what seems like a forever, the tree gives way and starts to lean.

I shout, “It is going to fall!” He stands up quickly. We both run to grab the tip before it hits the ground.

Our walk back to the house is challenging. We hadn’t prepared for how to carry the tree back. It is much bigger than the wagon. We do our best to drag the wagon along. One leading the way and the other guiding from behind. The wheels of the wagon are full of snow and the tree seems to get heavier and heavier.

Once we reach the house, we have to push the tree through the doorway. Upon standing it up, we realize it is three feet too tall! Groaning, my brother goes to get the saw. My giggling erupts from the core of my belly. I can’t help myself. My brother begins to laugh too.

As I am reminded of this day, I contemplate the power of love, adventure, mischief and accomplishment. These were the many feelings that we both felt that day. We were connected and aligned to a purpose. Nothing was going to stop us from accomplishing our task and surprising our Mom. In our teamwork, we were flexible, resourceful, and worked well together. The true meaning of teamwork.

I share this story because of it’s connection to leadership and because of the Holiday Season. This story demonstrates the power of teamwork and a common purpose. My brother and I aligned to a purpose found a way to faced the obstacles together. We worked in partnerships to achieve a result. For me, this is a leadership lesson. I encourage you to take a moment and consider areas of your work and life where a common purpose would bring about positive feelings, the ability to overcome obstacles and ultimately achieve a unified goal.

I also encourage you to explore how to bring the feelings of joy, connection and commitment into your every interaction. Finding ways to create moments that capture nature’s beauty, space for alone time, togetherness, adventure, friendships, love and the chance to feel the magic of it all.

Sending blessings for the special moments that connect you to your heart!


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