This is day four in our series commenting on leadership lessons learned from our mentors. Thanks Kelly, Courtney, and Carly for responding first! It’s great to hear each of your voices, the different stages in life that you are in, and how leadership impacts who you are today. Such great stuff!

Today, another Carlee teaches us what she’s learning. I’m humbled that she would pick me to write about. I learn just as much from her, as she does from me. Thank you Carlee!

During my short 21 years on the planet I’ve had some unique experiences with leaders in different areas of my life. Some leaders I’ve experienced ruled through imposing fear on others in hopes of reaping results. Other leaders I’ve witnessed, on the other hand, have led quietly with grace and confidence as they encourage their mentee’s. As I pick apart these two VERY different types of leaders I’ve encountered, I can’t help but be thankful for the opportunities to learn from all of them. So when I was asked to write a guest blog post about a mentor and leader in my life, I immediately thought of my dear friend, Brooklyn Lindsey. We met on twitter (yes, twitter!) a year ago. Since our social media interaction, Brooklyn has become one of the quickest forever friends I’ve ever made. Walking through life with her as my mentor and friend this past year has been such an invaluable learning experience. Trying to narrow it down to 3 things that I have learned (because I am forever learning) from Brooklyn is quite challenging so here is my attempt. One overall theme that Brooklyn has taught me as my mentor is to love well and deeply. She has modeled this beautifully in three simple, yet profound ways:

  1. Offer encouragement– She is always positive. Not a “rainbow puking unicorn” type of positive, but she does try to point out the good in every situation.
  1. Genuinely listen– She is always there to listen. And I mean really listen. She isn’t afraid to tell me things I might not want to hear (in a loving way of course). I think that’s what makes our friendship authentic.
  1. Be available- She is always just a phone call, coffee date, or early morning jog away. Whether it’s for accountability purposes or just a spur of the moment lunch—she takes the time to invest in me (as well as many others). And for that I am so grateful.

Every day I try my to make it my goal to love people in my life the best way I can. One way I’m working on this is by simply being available. I’m learning to say “no” to things that aren’t as important so I can be available and ready for a “yes” that could have great potential. I’m learning to do a few things well rather than spread myself so thin I barely have time in the day. Brooklyn’s example has helped me grow so much in this area. I could probably publish a book of all the awesome things I am learning from her, but I’m still soaking them all in.

Carlee– there are only a few people on the planet that I trust enough to go jogging with. You understand why and are still my friend anyway. I’m learning from you too. Thanks for your kindness. I look forward to hearing how other people learn from their closest friends!

Carlee is a recent education graduate of Florida Southern College and is completing her Master’s Degree in 2014-2015. She swam competively for FSC for FOUR years. That alone, deserves pause and loads of cheering (written by Brooklyn–thought you would want to know because she’s also really humble and would never say that–ever). She’s a teacher and will be traveling to serve the Daraja Choir next week in Uganda. After that, she’s wide open to whatever dream God wants to dream in her. Carlee tweets @carleegirl92





Palm Trees - Brooklyn Lindsey - Lakeland, FL - Speaking

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