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I just heard that internet searches for “spring cleaning” are up over 183%.  I am not surprised.    I think a lot of us are ready for a fresh start.  And our closet is a great place to begin!

I’m a gal that loves order and organization. For me the bliss of spring cleaning is not just about getting to organize my home, but also donating the things we don’t need. I am a firm believer that as we let go of the old, we open the door to receive the new. Try giving away things with an abundant attitude and watch what happens!

Spring Clean

Whenever I clean out my closet I do so with a happy heart, because I know each and every piece of clothing and pair of shoes is going to be put to good use.  No need to cringe when deciding whether or not to give up that perfectly new sweater you never wear.  Find a great charity in your area and spread the joy.

Free yourself of old baggage—literally and figuratively—that may be hanging around in your closets.  I promise you’ll find it liberating!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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Sometimes on the way to your dream you get lost and find a better one. Now more than ever I am finding people are truly reevaluating life.  Perhaps with our ever-changing landscape now is the perfect time to step back and ponder what other paths we might have taken, what passions and pursuits we wished we had let our hearts follow.  It is okay to change our minds and it’s never too late to start.


So what new adventure might you begin?  What does your heart long to do?  If you are starting something exciting be sure to comment and let me know!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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Several years ago I was talking with a woman I considered invincible. She was an athlete, a woman who ran marathons, went backpacking alone, and climbed mountains most of us only view from the ground. I was telling her how much I envied her courage and lack of fear. She looked at me and smiled, and then told me something I have never forgotten; she was afraid too.

It was an amazing revelation to me. The people we admire for daring such courageous feats are really no different than us. The difference isn’t that they aren’t afraid and we are–the difference is that they move forward anyway.

I keep this quote hanging on my bulletin board, “When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Audre Lorde.

Audre Lorde

Go ahead dare to be powerful!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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We may not all have the moxie to walk across a high wire nearly 3000 feet above the Yosemite Valley floor, but we all have hopes, dreams, and secret ambitions.

My daughter sent me a truly inspiring video a while back that actually made me gasp out loud. And I can’t seem to stop thinking about it.

So what was so jaw dropping about this video? Well, first it’s a video of my daughter’s childhood best friend. Libby was like part of the family when our kids were growing up. And now she has accomplished something no other woman in the world has!

Take a look for yourself and see the height—literally—one person went to achieve her dream.

Click here to watch Lost Arrow Spire

Every dream begins with having the courage to take that first step toward a goal, and the persistence to keep putting one foot in front of the other until we reach the other side.
We don’t all have to walk across Yosemite, but we do have to go out on a limb in order to reach our dreams.

Dream Big,

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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The way we spend our time is ultimately the way we spend our lives.

reflecting on lake austin

What do you always think about doing, but don’t actually do?

What does your heart desire? Have you always wanted to run a marathon, take a trip to the land of your ancestors, take a photography class, learn to speak another language, plant a garden, write your history, or volunteer at a local charity?

Commit to making this be the year you actually do it! The reality is we make time for whatever is truly important to us. If it is really a priority we find, carve out, and create the time.

The way we spend our time is a reflection of our priorities. How will you be spending your time?

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.

~Mother Teresa

I think women are a lot like lamps.

Over the last forty years, research studies have shown that women’s overall level of happiness has dropped.  This decline in happiness has no connection to whether or not we have kids, how healthy we are, what career we choose, what our income is, how old we are, or whether we are single or divorced.  The bottom line is: Women are loosing ground on the happiness scale. I personally believe it is because we are running on fumes and are simply out of oil.

Is your indicator warning light flashing low, low low? Is it time to put more oil in your tank?

Make a promise to yourself this year that self care will be a priority. Move yourself to the top of the list and begin to put Oil in Your Lamp.  

Start by giving yourself a few minutes of “me time” to watch the link below. Click on the inspiring link and turn up the sound on your computer so you can really feel the message of this beautiful little movie and then share it with someone who also needs oil in her lamp.”>src=”

Blessings for a NEW year!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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Last year for Christmas I got a Goat, Water, a small business in Haiti, and a Brain.  Please allow me to explain…

My son donated a goat in my honor through Heifer International.

My daughter donated to Kiva in my honor.  Through Kiva I was able to fund a woman with a micro loan for her business in Haiti.

My husband donated drinking water in my honor to a village through Charity Water.

My sister donated her brain (postmortem of course) in my honor to the Brain Bank at The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center.  Read the book My Stroke of Insight and you will understand why I am passionate about this research.

Throughout the year these gifts have brought me such joy.  I smile whenever I think about the incredible work these organizations are doing and what a difference they are making.

This year the charity gift that is top on my wish list is a donation to Grameen America.

Grameen American was founded by one of my heroes, Muhammad Yunus.  Professor Yunus began the Grameen Bank, a system that has succeeded with remarkable results in the villages of Bangladesh.  Now Professor Yunus has brought his wisdom and vision to America. Grameen America provides affordable micro-loans to help financially empower low-income entrepreneurs.

Join me in giving gifts that give back this year.  I have the honor of being part of 12 Days of Giving an innovative social media campaign to raise funds for charities through Crowdrise.  I have chosen Grameen America as my charity.

To encourage you even a bit more… If we reach $2000 for Grameen Amercia, I will Bungee Jump!  Something my kids have been trying to get me to do—and I have been desperately trying to avoid—for many years!!  Follow the fun at the Twitter hashtag #12DaysOfGiving

Please show your support by clicking here

Make the Holidays Bright!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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Apparently I am a slow learner.  For several weeks I have been referring to a situation as a pain in the ass.   I like a drama free zone, and it has been anything but around here lately.  One of those times, whether on the home front or at work we all want to look back on—not be in the middle of.

I know better.  I write about, talk about it, and truly do get the power of our words.  And here I have been week after exasperating week going on and on about what a pain in the ass this situation is.

horses ass

Blame it on lack of sleep, blame it on a moment of weakness, blame it on oops I did it again, but you know how this story ends…  guess who has a pain in the ass?

That’s right boys and girls I am now writing about the literal pain in my ass — the flare up of my sciatic nerve.

Who feels like a horses ass now?

Lesson learned.   Note taken.  A painful reminder that our words have power.  Change of plans, from here to forth I shall be saying, wow I am so lucky to be learning so much from this exciting process.  I am sure it’s all working out exactly as it is meant to be.

Giddy Up!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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I often hear women and men question whether or not they have what it takes to see their idea through.  People frequently come to me for advice about how I found the courage to follow my passion and start my own company.  The fact is many people are selling themselves short.

If you are raising kids, you are already using the very same skill set you will need to run your own company.  The demanding life of a parent is excellent training ground for being a CEO.

1. If you can manage children, you can manage employees

Ask any business owner to tell you their top challenges and inevitably managing employees will be high on the list. Raising children will give you lots of relevant practice!

2. You have already been a CFO

Creating a budget for your family prepares you to manage financial plans for your business. Continuing good financial habits and discipline is critical as you raise your next baby.

3. You have the hours down

Owning your own business is a 24/7 commitment and it usually takes a long time to reap what you sow.

4. Take the sticker chart concept and move it to the boardroom

If you apply the same Gold Star technique to your leadership style, you are going to do just fine!

5. Now you have help!

If your kids are old enough, give them the gift of coming to work with you sometimes to see how a business works.  Teach them the valuable skills of entrepreneurship.

6. Creating the company work schedule will be a piece of cake

After organizing multiple soccer practices, dentist appointments, back to school nights and dance lessons, putting together a simple office schedule will be no problem at all. And now you have Excel!

7. Any parent of a toddler has had plenty of practice with negotiation

So you can thank your two or three year old as you negotiate contracts and work out sweet pricing deals for your business.  Remember where you honed those skills when it comes time to set their allowance.

8. Parenting is really networking 101

Being a mom or dad forces you to network and that skill will be invaluable for your business.

9. Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-o to a tree

Patience is a skill that can’t be taught, but must be acquired for both parenting and business building.  Raising kids helps you acquire more patience than anything else in life.


10. Treat projects like Lego’s

If you have ever watched kids building a Lego contraption you have witnessed the ultimate teamwork.  Bring that same level of collaboration and enthusiasm and success is bound to follow.

11. Don’t forget to sleep like a baby

I recently heard Arianna Huffington say the best way to get to the top is to sleep your way there!  Literally!  Her advice is to get a solid 8 hours of sleep a night if we want to be effective in our businesses.

12. Set a good example

I started my first business because I wanted to be an example to my daughter. I wanted to show her that it was possible to follow your passion and be a good mom.  She showed me I was right.

Having kids has certainly taught me that life is full of curve balls. In the very wise words of Alfred A. Montapert, “Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.”  You will need to be able to do the same thing as a CEO.  So you better put on your big girl panties and eat your Wheaties!

I originally wrote this post and it first appeared on the insightful and informative site

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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One of the things that was really important to me after starting my first business was continuing to eat dinner together every night as a family. During the early years it was a real challenge and we had to get very creative. We literally moved our kitchen table down to the office. We also ate out a lot—okay more than a lot. You know you haven’t cooked in a while when you yell, “come and eat,” and the kids all jump in the car. But to us it wasn’t nearly as important what or where we ate, as it was that we ate together.

Early on, my incredibly-ahead-of-her-time mother-in-law taught me one of the most valuable lessons on this subject: use paper plates. Linda used paper plates at almost every meal except Sunday dinner—and even then sometimes she would just whip out the Chinet. At first I thought this was a bit odd and frankly uneconomical, even a little indulgent, but after I had my own children I realized just how smart this woman was. I can’t begin to tell you how much of my sanity has been saved by paper plates. (And before I get letters about my wastefulness, please keep in mind we recycle, and all of the water I am saving by not running the dishwasher everyday!)

Seriously, paper plates are a mainstay at our house. I will never forget my then seven-year-old daughter Harlie coming home from having dinner at a friend’s house and reporting that “it was really strange… Lauren’s Mom ironed the napkins and then we had to eat off these hard plates. I didn’t like it.” I tried to explain that some people do things differently than we do and that is okay. But Harlie still couldn’t figure out why in the world you would spend so much time cooking dinner, ironing napkins, and then washing dishes. She was baffled that Lauren’s mom not only cooked so many different foods (think four-course meal), but that she also took the cuisine out of the pots and pans and served them in entirely different bowls. After years of seeing the spaghetti go straight from the stove top to the table at our house, this was simply beyond her comprehension.

Of course hearing this, I immediately started thinking that I was a terrible mom. However, immediately it was what Harlie said next that put things back into perspective for me. She said “All Lauren’s Mom did was work in the kitchen, and when we asked her to play Uno with us she couldn’t because she had all of those dishes to wash.” As quickly as my mind went down the path of unfit mother I realized that, in my child’s world, having time to play a card game together was far more important than what was being served and what it was being served on! It also dawned on me that for my daughter paper plates were (and are) just “normal.”

The point is adults should take lessons from children on adaptability. Kids are amazingly resilient and don’t have nearly as many expectations as we adults do.


Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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The other day I was trying to untangle a bunch of necklaces that had become twisted up together in one big ball of knots.    After about twenty extremely frustrating minutes on this mess it became quite clear to me that the harder I pulled on each chain, the more ensnarled it all became.

tangled jewelry

Half an hour into this tedious mess I decided to just relax and work each chain with patience.  Slowly I began to tug at the ball of knotted up necklaces, winding each chain up, back, around and gently through until at long last it was free from the twisted up pile.

It dawned on me when I finished the project, just how much this process is like life in general.  When we try to force things, pulling too hard in the wrong direction, life fights back.

When we relax and go with the flow, life tends to unfold just how it is supposed to.

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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Often, after I have shared a personal story during a speech or workshop, women approach me, expressing a deep sense of gratitude for my willingness to reveal my warts and all. The discovery that they were not alone in their imperfections was like water on dry ground for these women. You could almost hear their collective sighs of relief, You mean I am not the only one?

Women today face more challenges than ever—accompanied by feelings of being overwhelmed and spread much too thin. More and more of us are raising our hands and speaking up, telling the truth about how we feel. And as we do, other women are saying, “Me, too! Oh, thank God I’m not the only one!”

As we become more open and honest with each other—more willing to admit maybe we don’t love being a mother every single day—maybe we can’t remember the last time we actually had time to shave our legs—maybe our white picket fence life didn’t turn out the way we thought it would—maybe we aren’t rock stars at work every single day—maybe it is okay to say we are each doing the best we can—even if sometimes the best we can do is mediocre.


Slowly we are starting to realize we are not alone. That is why I wrote Oh Thank Goodness It’s Not Just Me! A celebration of the circle of strength women share— the common experiences in all our lives. The undeniable fact is that there is comfort and reassurance in knowing we are not alone.

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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For a long time, I was really just a two dimensional person. It was all about work and family.  For many years it stayed that way.  I had to cut out just about everything else. But I think I am wiser now.  I am trying to find more balance in my life.

I always thought of balance as a state of peace and stillness. However, I have a new concept of what balance means now. I believe that balance is really more like walking on a balance beam. You’re always making little movements here and there to stay centered and stay on the beam. You’re never completely still.

I understand there will never be such a thing as perfect balance in my life.  Instead, I’m constantly re-adjusting my schedule and shifting my priorities.

As long as we keep finding our center, making small adjustments, and walking the straight and narrow I think we are going to stay on the beam. balance

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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They say don’t sweat the small stuff, but maybe it is the small stuff that actually matters.

I have been thinking about all of the weight we give to the big decisions in life. How much pressure we place on ourselves to make the right choices when it comes to deciding on a career path, buying a car, whether we should hire this person or that person, picking a place to live, and other big moves.

Think of all of the time and energy we put into the big decisions in our lives…

Yet we virtually ignore the small decisions in our lives. We hardly give a second thought to all of the tiny matters throughout the day. Whether or not to stop on our way to work for that $5 cup of coffee, or pick up that magazine at the checkout stand.

Maybe the decisions we aren’t making are the very ones that are deciding the true direction our lives take…

Many people ask me how I got the start up money to launch Femail Creations, the catalog company I founded from the ground up many years ago. It pretty much came down to French fries.  When I say that people tend to look at me like I am crazy. But it was the simple choices, like giving up fast food and going to the movies that allowed us to save every penny we could and ultimately helped me get Femail Creations off the ground.

imagesSometimes it is as simple as skipping that side order–and believe me that is the true definition of delayed gratification for a girl who loves her French fries!

More and more I have come to believe it is actually the small seemingly inconsequential decisions that make up the fabric of our lives.

It’s the small stuff that matters, always has been, always will be.

Small decisions lead to big dreams!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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An amazing thing always seems to happen when a group of women get together —we discover we are not alone.

For some reason women always feel like we are the only ones who, fill in the blank…. have the inability to remember someone who we met just a week ago (thank you Laurie for letting me know I am not the only one!), or have who adult kids living at home that you can’t get to move out (there are apparently more of you with this problem than without), or have switched careers in your 50’s or 60’s and feel lost.  Whatever it is, you are not alone.  And there is power in sharing our stories.

Time and time again when I am with a group of women inevitably, I hear the statement, Oh Thank Goodness, It’s Not Just Me! That is the genesis of why I wrote the book.

You and your girlfriends will enjoy this little movie!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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I would like to publicly apologize to my Dad.  Back in the day, when I was growing up I used to think it was down right cruel of my father to hide his stash of Pepsi from his kids—especially this kid!

He had gone so far at one point he actually started locking his favorite soda, cereal and candy in a drawer in his filing cabinet.  At the time I thought it bordered on child abuse.  A few decades later I realized it was nothing short of the desperate act of a man simply trying to enjoy a cold soda.

Having now endured the torments of my own children I have what one might call “perspective” or “clarity” — others might refer to it as “crow pie”!  As I too have resorted to my own desperate acts as a parent. If you were to visit my home today you would find my own stashes.

Just the other day I literally laughed out loud as I reached for my stash of chocolate, swedish red fish and Diet Dr. images-2Pepper.  My Dad would be so proud.  My hiding place not only has a lock—but is refrigerated!

You taught me well old man!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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In my home we frequently use the expressions, get an “app” for that, or we need an app for that.  As an iphone loving family app’s are part of our vernacular.  So when I got my own apps, it was VERY exciting!!!  As far as my twenty-something kids were considered Mama had finally hit the big leagues!

Winning all kinds of awards over the years–didn’t impress them.  Being in Oprah’s magazine–didn’t impress them.  Running a 10 million dollar company–didn’t impress them.  Getting an App–now that impressed the hell out of them!  You know you have done something right when you become your child’s Facebook status!!!

My Stepping Stones and Permission to Dream cards are available as an App, inspiration has arrived for your phone!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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Ladies what is the deal?  More and more of us gals are starting to wonder out loud why it is okay for men to walk around like Sasquatch while women get dirty looks if we show up with a tiny bit of stubble on our legs.

We are expected to fight nature and wax, shave, tweeze and otherwise electronically torture ourselves into sleek hairless creatures.  Why is their hair okay and our hair somehow unacceptable?

I am simply getting fed up with this notion of demanding increasingly less and less hair on women while men get to wander around perfectly comfortable with their five o’clock shadows, their Andy Rooney-like eye brows and their hairy backs!

My friend, who shall remain nameless—okay it was Doug—told me that he thinks women should all be getting Brazilian waxes. Oh really? Ladies, lets start suggesting all men get the Guyzilian wax!  A past issue of Men’s Journal says this is a sign of the apocalypse—well guess what guys—we thought the same thing when Brazilian waxing became trendy!

old swimsuit

When traveling in Europe much to my delight I discovered that women there were lounging at the beach eating carbs, avoiding razors and enjoying themselves! Hmmm… I think they are on to something!

They say all fashion is cyclical. So when is that full length swimming suit
coming back?

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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My dear friend BJ Gallagher is the author of this post in honor of “Take Your Child to Work Day”.   Enjoy!

Every April when “Take Your Child to Work Day” rolls around, I think of my friend, author and entrepreneur Lisa Hammond. She was a young mother of two when she started her business almost 20 years ago. And she managed to keep her sanity while building her business, raising two children, and creating a strong, happy marriage – all at the same time!

Over the years, Lisa has told me some great stories about her multi-tasking life as a Mompreneur. She’s learned a few things that can help all of us juggle our commitments to work and family.

Lisa encourages women to be creative: “Find what works for you and your family,” she says. “It may not be traditional or even conventional, but that’s OK. Don’t be bound by what your parents did or what other people are doing – explore and experiment to figure out what works for you.”

Lisa explains:  “In my case, what was important to me was having dinner together as a family every night – no matter what. It didn’t matter if it was served on good china; it didn’t even matter who cooked it. But it did matter that we ate together.

“In the first year of my business, I was working out of our home, so it was easier to have meals together every night. My kids were five and eleven, so they were in school much of the day. My husband ran our construction business so he was gone all day, too. In the evening, everyone was at home and we sat down at the kitchen table to share dinner together.

“My second year in business, I needed more space so I moved my business out of the house. I moved our kitchen table, too!  I figured out that it took too much time for me to leave work, come home, have dinner, and then go back to the office to finish working. It was much more efficient for my husband to bring the kids and the food to me.

“I would stop working and have dinner with my family. I created space at the office so my kids could stay and do their homework in the evening. There was a rock-climbing gym across the street and sometimes they would go over there and train when their homework was done. We spent our evenings together as a family – but we did it in my office, not at home. That’s what worked for us.

“Did we have gourmet meals every night? No. I would make a pot of soup or chili – and that was on a good day!  But more often we had takeout Chinese food, Mexican food, or even pizza. But you know what? We had fun! We enjoyed our meals together every night and focused on the quality of our time with one another. Who cares if the food of homemade or not? It really doesn’t matter.

“We had an unconventional family life in those early years while I was building my business and raising my kids, but those were great years. Sometimes I’d put the kids to work helping me pack boxes. We were a family that played together and worked together. We had both quality time and quantity time!”

I asked Lisa what else she did to build a healthy family while she built her business.

“My husband moved his office to where I had my office so we could spend more time together. For us, the couple that works together stays together. And with shared office space, we were able to provide even more cohesion for our kids. My husband and I have always agreed: Family is #1 and work is #2.”

I asked Lisa how her business is today, now that the kids are grown:

“I don’t have to juggle so many different responsibilities, that’s for sure. But I think back on those early years as some of the happiest years of my life. In fact, I still have my kitchen table at work – I moved it into the break room. That’s where my employees and I sat for a cup of coffee or lunch. It makes me happy to have my old kitchen table at work.”

I asked Lisa what advice she has for single Mompreneurs who don’t have husbands to bring them food and help out with the kids.

“If you don’t have a spouse, it’s essential that you build a good support system for yourself – friends, extended family members, neighbors, other single moms. Build your tribe. Everybody needs a tribe – whether you call it a clan, a club, a posse, a support group, or a gaggle of girlfriends. You need a tribe even if you’re married – but you need one even more if you’re single.

“I always encourage women to be creative, be innovative, and figure out what works for you. And above all, cut yourself some slack! Don’t try to be Supermom. Give up perfectionism – it’ll kill you. Don’t worry about a clean house or home-cooked meals. Your kids don’t want Martha Stewart at home – they want a mom who takes time to eat meals with her kids, a mom who listens and enjoys time with her kids, and a mom who doesn’t sweat the small stuff.”

Lisa Hammond is coauthor of OH, THANK GOODNESS, IT’S NOT JUST ME! Woman to Woman, Heart to Heart (Simple Truths)

Click link to view It’s Not Just Me! the MOVIE

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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A while ago I was searching all over my house for a certificate I needed to find.  It was an important document so I thought it might be in the safe.  Yet as I started pulling everything out of the safe, I had to laugh.  What is in my safe wasn’t legal papers or fancy jewelry.  My safe is filled with photo albums and old home movies.

It’s something my husband has teased me about for years.  We have ended up with bigger and bigger safes so I could fit more and more pictures and things of sentimental value—not monetary value, but irreplaceable items.

So as I searched for this document, which alas wasn’t even in the safe, I had the pleasure of looking at old photos and flipping through the pages of baby books and such.


The things in my safe are the items I most treasure and want to protect.  For those are the things that represent what truly matter to me.

What do you value and what to keep safe?

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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It seems that we are being given reminders in both large global ways and in small personal ways to focus on what matters.  A new sense of hope and opportunity seems to be emerging. Let’s embrace it! Find the time to give back, speak and show your affection often, keep promises, believe more strongly in first steps.8930

Let’s begin putting our intentions into action. I am talking about a new way of approaching life. The way we spend our time is ultimately the way we spend our lives. Devote your time and energy to what really matters.

What do you always think about doing, but don’t actually do? What does your heart desire? Have you always wanted to run a marathon, take a trip to the land of your ancestors, take a photography class, learn to speak another language, plant a garden, or volunteer at a local charity? Let this be the year you actually do it! The reality is we make time for whatever is really important to us. If it is truly a priority we find, we carve out, we create the time.

One of the first quotes I added to the deck of  inspirational cards I created called Stepping Stones was a favorite by Ivy Baker Priest, “The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.”   It’s fun to say that now both my Stepping Stones and Permission to Dream cards are AP’s for the iphone!

Sometimes on the way to your dream you get lost and find a better one. It is never too late to start living the life you were meant to live!

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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Today, I’m hosting Day 9 of The 10 Commandments of Leadership Blog Tour. For 10 days, 10 blogs are highlighting and discussing each chapter from The 10 Commandments of Leadership written by Eric Harvey and Steve Ventura.

Regardless of if you a leader of a large organization, a small group of peers, or your own family, you are often leading, and they count on you to be effective.

The best leaders are in service of a vision and a mission greater than themselves.  When we are following our passion to make a difference that enthusiasm is contagious and will be felt amongst our team, within our companies and in our families.  Inspiring others to serve by example is the hallmark of all great leaders.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” — Max DePree

Read on. Lead on. Choose to be the most effective and respected leader you can be.

EXCERPTED from Chapter 9 of  “Strive to Serve Others”

It was a Tuesday morning many years ago. And it’s one we will always remember. On that day, we learned one of the best leadership lessons we have ever received. We had just begun a meeting with the head of a new client organization. After the customary exchange of pleasantries, we noticed something on her office wall. It was a framed poster with a few simple, yet unbelievably profound, words:

A “boss” CONTROLS.

A “leader” SERVES.

Which will I be, today?

Without question, that poster captures the true essence of effective leadership – and the core principle of leadership commandment number nine: SERVICE.

As a leader, your role – your purpose – is to help others, to guide others, to bring out the best in others. Your position exists because people have needs. They need assistance; they need direction; they need resources; they need support; they need inspiration; they need accountabilities … and a whole lot more. Meeting those needs is what your job is all about.

You Serve Others When You …

  • Make providing exceptional customer service a performance requirement for everyone on your team.
  • Demonstrate respect and empathy for every individual.
  • Tell people what they need to hear rather than want to hear.
  • Hold team members accountable for doing quality work.
  • Contribute to others’ success and well-being.
  • Make sure that everyone on the team does his or her share.
  • Keep everyone focused on the organization’s mission.
  • Maintain a positive, productive, and safe working environment.
  • Set the example and tone for everyone to follow.
  • Provide resources and information, and remove obstacles.
  • Do what’s right … what needs to be done – regardless of how difficult it may be.
  • Hire and promote people of quality.
  • Help team members learn, develop, grow, and achieve their personal goals.
  • Know the way and show the way.
  • Commit to being the very best leader you can be.
  • Embrace and practice The 10 Commandments of Leadership.

To lead is to guide, to guide is to help, to help is to serve. Remember that. Apply that. Strive to Serve Others.

QUESTIONS for Chapter 9
A Paradox of Leadership is that “The people who work for you are also the people for whom YOU work.” Briefly discuss your feelings about this idea and how it may apply to you.

Now is your chance to win! Here’s how…

1. By 12 midnight (Eastern) tonight: Post your answer to the above question (as a comment) on this blog and your name will be entered into a drawing to receive a FREE copy of The 10 Commandments of Leadership. Your name will be entered into the drawing a second time if you send us a tweet by copying and pasting the following:  @Leader_Solution I commented on Day 9 of The 10 Commandments Blog Tour

2. By 12 midnight (Eastern) on January 28, 2011: Post your answer to each day’s question (10 comments in total) for a chance to win a $100 Gift Certificate to

Be sure to click here to learn more about the book and see the schedule for

The 10 Commandments of Leadership Blog Tour.

Lisa Hammond
The Barefoot CEO ®

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