Don’t be a Noun

This past weekend, My wife Emily and I celebrated our five-year anniversary. For any of you that know me, you know it has been a busy five years. We moved twenty-two hundred miles, twice. We’ve had two children twelve months apart, and we have two dogs. My daughter, the oldest at just over three, has lived in all four of our homes. We re-lived the past half-decade over dinner and relished in how blessed we are to have each other. Emily and I have always been very cognizant of the fact that you need to communicate, especially with travel now a part of our lives.

When I was younger, I read that the word love is not a noun, it is a verb. Love is not a person, not a place and not a thing. Love is an action. I have never forgotten that, Emily and I talk about it often.

Every day when we wake up, we make a choice to love one another, and to show that love in action. Whether it be simply doing chores around the house; or getting up a bit earlier to bring the other coffee. There are days we do better at making this choice, and there are days that we fail at it. It’s simple, but it is very important to understand.

After our conversation, I started to think about other words in life that mirror the same concept. Being that my anniversary shares the same weekend as Mother’s Day, naturally motherhood came to mind. Clearly a mother is a person, and that fits the description of a noun, but any mom will tell you that being a mother takes serious action. I know Emily is always busy doing one thing or another, I don’t know how she does it.

Manager is another word that came to mind. There is a problem with that word since a manager can simply be a person and not perform any action. We have all had a manager like that. We call them “cave dwellers” in my industry. I bet you have a name for them, too.

Some managers are untrained and don’t know what to do. Others are simply bad at their job and don’t care. Some managers are poorly managed themselves and the trend just goes down to their employees. Managers can be off site too, if things remain status quo they may not need to be around. There are many, however, that take action all the time; I have a better word for managers like that:


Leader is a very similar word to love. A leader is not a person, not a place, and not a thing. To lead is to take action. There are many ways to lead others, but all require some sort of action to be taken. I don’t know a single example of a person that has successfully led by simply having a title, or position.

To be a leader it takes choices made with purpose. You must make the choice every day to go to work and perform at your best. You don’t have to be a person of authority for others to follow your lead either. Don’t be afraid to try it out yourself, When you go to work, each day remember to make that choice. To work with purpose, don’t be a noun, be a verb.

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