J Calaway

Lead with Diligence

J Calaway - Lead with Diligence

I Just Can’t Wait To Be King!!!

lion king picI just finished listening to Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast. I highly recommend you subscribe and listen to it consistently. In his latest podcast he talked about the dangers of autonomy. As soon as he started I remembered a scene from one of my favorite movies, “The Lion King”. In the seen Simba is desperate to become King. He will be the lion king someday but he’s just a boy. He breaks out into the famous song “I just can’t wait to be King”. The idea is, when he becomes king he will do what he wants, say what he wants, no one to tell him to do this, go there, or sit here. He is his own boss.

What a great life that is. To be the king of my jungle.

We all want to arrive at the place where no one is telling us what to do, where to go, when to show up. We are the boss that is telling everyone else where to go, what to do, and how to act. That sounds great but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

What’s to point of being the boss or the “king” if no one is there to follow?

But the point of being king is not; to do what we want, but to self-lead so others can follow. A confident, diligent leader is one who is willing to submit and learn to follow long before they learn to lead. If we are going to be diligent leaders we must first, and always be submitted followers.

Here are some characteristics of diligent leaders:

  1. humility
  2. confidence
  3. understanding
  4. care
  5. wisdom

Question: What are some characteristics you see in diligent leaders that follow?

15 days to 2015

15 days leftAre you ready.  In the midst of parties, family, shopping, and ending 2014 strong, are you ready for 2015.

Have you thought about it?

Has the thought crossed your mind, “How do I want my 2015 to look?”

You have 15 days to decide.

Here’s what you can do

Set a plan

Take some time this week.  Get by yourself, even if it is only for 1 hour

Ask yourself some questions:

  • How did I do in 2014?
  • What would I do different?
  • What would I do the same?
  • What do I want to accomplish in 2015
  • only list 3-5 things (don’t go overboard) that’s a sure fire fail!!!

What do I want to learn?

Answer those questions:

  • Once you have the answers list the answers out.
  • Break them down into bit sized pieces.
  • Get specific:

If you answered,

  • “I want to spend more time with my kids”
    • how much time?
    • Doing what?
  • “I want to get a promotion”
    • What is it going to take to get that promotion
    • More education?
    • Telling your boss you want more responsibility?

Set some goals:

  • Put them on the schedule
  • If you are doing a workshop or class put that on your schedule
  • Set deadlines and goals for accomplishing the tasks

Activate the plan

  • Now, set the appointments
  • Enroll in the class or workshop
  • Accomplish one thing on your list this week
  • Action breeds momentum!!!
  • Make the calls you need to make. 

Be Accountable to the Plan

  • Show someone your plan
  • Ask them to check on you throughout the year on your progress
    • (If you don’t have anyone I’ll do it!! Just message me, I’m serious!!!)
  • Expect to succeed!!  Talk about your goals and plans for the new year as if it is going to happen
    • Tell people what you are doing and what the outcome is going to be
    • This causes a sense of expectation in them and accountability in you.
  • Change your mindset
    • Promise yourself you are going to accomplish this.
    • Confirm in your mind you will not quit!

Question:  What are you plans for 2015?

The byproducts of Thankful Thinking

The thinker 2Being thankful is a state of mind.  A way of thinking.  It is a discipline of our thought life.  Our thoughts left unchecked will move to self-centered, rights-based, foolish thoughts (Romans 1 in the Bible talks about that).  Thankful leader’s speculations turn to purpose, prosperity, and are filled with promise.  But it takes focused determination for our thinking as leaders to be based in thankfulness and gratitude.  Leaders who discipline themselves to be grateful in their thinking have some pretty cool byproducts in their lives.

Thankful Thinkers:

  1. Their lives become full of every kind of decency
  2. Virtue
  3. Generosity
  4. Compassion
  5. Contentment
  6. Sanctity of Life
  7. Peace Makers
  8. Their standard is Truth and Transparency
  9. Forgiving
  10. Quiet—They do not share other peoples issues
  11. Loyal
  12. Love God
  13. Respectful
  14. Humble
  15. Give others credit
  16. Creative in ways of doing Good
  17. Honor their parents and previous Generations
  18. Understanding
  19. Their Word is their Bond
  20. Trustworthy
  21. Sympathy/Empathy
  22. Merciful
  23. They realize these byproduct produce prosperity but that is not why they are thankful.
  24. They hang out with others who have these same characteristics.
  25. They encourage others to do the same.

On this Thanksgiving Day take a moment to check your thinking, your motives, and your company.  If any of these need to be changed then discipline yourself now and become a leader know as a Thankful Thinker!!!

Question:  How do you discipline yourself to be a thankful thinker?

Purpose of Thanksgiving—Remind us where we have been

Thanksgiving 2014A couple of years ago I posted a thanksgiving post that referred to President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving day proclamation.  In that proclamation he stated that we are to be thankful.  Yet the focus of our thanksgiving was not just to each other but to God.  I believe if we are going to be truly effective leaders we must be thankful and grateful leaders.  The Purpose of Thanksgiving is to Remind us.  We are told in Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him and praise his name.

Reminds of where we have been

Why do we give thanks?

  • To remember
  • Focuses on remembering where we have come from.
  • We are reminded of our roots, our beginnings, failures, and successes, valleys, and the mountain tops.

Reminds us of the standard — Foundation

  • Thanksgiving – Pilgrims, Religious Freedom, it promotes Worship
  • Thanksgiving – People groups coming together, it produces family
  • Thanksgiving – Protection from outside forces, it proclaims unity

Reminds us of What got us here – Focus

  • Focus is on God—His blessings and prosperity have sustained us.
  • Focus is on those around us—Family, Friends, Co-Workers.
  • We did not get here alone. 
  • We did not do this alone.

Reminds us of What price was paid – Freedom

  • God paid the Ultimate price for our freedom—John 3:16.
  • Every generation has paid the price for Freedom.
  • Some Generations more than others.
  • Everyone we have in our lives has paid a price.
  • Thanksgiving reminds of the price paid.

Question: What does thankfulness remind you of?

3 Ingredients of a Change Agent

Martin-Luther-95-thesesToday is Halloween and for most people they are looking to take their kids out to a harvest festival, trick or treating, or find a party to show off their creative side in the costume they choose to wear.  This day has morphed into many different things throughout history.  Satan’s birthday, all hallows eve-before all saints day, the day of the dead, and on and on.  But this day is also known for something that happened 497 years ago.  And for many this one action still affects us today.  Today is reformation day.  The day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg Castle.

This little action created a huge impact.  This is quite possibly the single most impactful event in church history if not human history since the coming of Christ.  It sparked the great Reformation, launched the protestant section of the Church, and pretty much changed the way we do life on a daily basis.

Now this is not a lesson in theology or a debate on which way to worship is right.  I’ll leave that for another day and group.  I was simply intrigued as to what do change agents have to have in order to make such changes.  What do they possess that causes them to act in such a way as to still affect generations after they are gone. 

I came up with three:

Courage — what are you willing to face for the change?

  • Luther was willing to face whatever came.
  • What are you willing to face?
  • If it’s not much the change may not be worth it or you may not possess the courage to carry out the change.

Cause — is the change worth it?

  • Is the change a cause worth your effort, resources, time?
  • There will be a fight, there will be loss.
  • Is the change you are fighting for really worth the loss you may incur?
  • If the outcome is better than staying the same then it is worth it!!!

Conviction — do you believe in the change?

  • Conviction is deeper the opinion.
  • You will die for a conviction.
  • If you will die, loose your job, friends, or money for the change then it’s a conviction.

Question:  What other Ingredients do you think a Change Agent needs to possess?

49 things in 49 years

49th Birthday PicToday I turn 49 years of age.  I woke up in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in the Mackinac straits on lake huron.  Pretty amazing life for a kid that went through second grade twice (I think I liked my teacher).  If 7 is the perfect number then 49 may be the perfect age being 7 sevens.  I’ve made mistakes and got a few things right.  My wife, kids, and grandkids (works in progress) the grandkids that is.  And all the while absolutely loving life. 

I thought maybe I could give you something for my birthday. So I sat down this morning and listed 49 things I’ve learned in the past 49 years.  I hope this is not too presumptuous to acknowledge my own birthday and think I have learned something along the way, but if it is, so be it.  As I close out the first half of my first century (yes I fully intend to live well past 100 years) here is what i have learned:

  1. Be patient
  2. forgive
  3. accept forgiveness
  4. give
  5. be happy
  6. have joy
  7. laugh
  8. cry
  9. Never pass up a lemon aid stand
  10. Dream
  11. Believe
  12. Enjoy everything, everyday, and everyone
  13. Love
  14. Trust
  15. Exercise
  16. Learn
  17. Read
  18. Teach
  19. Be Flexible
  20. Change
  21. Be Disciplined
  22. Try everything once (well maybe not everything, but you get the point)
  23. Practice
  24. Have a Vision
  25. Get a good night sleep
  26. Manners count
  27. Know when to talk
  28. Know when to shut up
  29. Yell every once in a while
  30. Be passionate
  31. Focus
  32. Study
  33. Take Vacation
  34. Celebrate
  35. Create
  36. Walk slow through the crowd
  37. Say please and Thank you
  38. Look them in the eye
  39. Don’t burn bridges
  40. Everybody’s a Keeper
  41. Faith is foundation
  42. Truth is the standard
  43. Be Teachable
  44. Serve
  45. Be Generous
  46. Enjoy Life
  47. Party
  48. Embrace humor
  49. Be Trustworthy

What have you learned through your years???

Power of Presence

power of presenceIt was about 7:30am on an amazingly beautiful spring day. My wife was laying on table in an operating room.  Our third child was coming and due to complication with our first, Vicki (my wife) had to have a C-section. Her face was turned to the doorway. The Anesthesiologist’s back was to her and the door and he was prepping her and monitoring her vitals. I simply walked through the doorway and the Anesthesiologist looked at the monitors and turned around. Vicki smiled and the Anesthesiologist said to me you’re the best drug we have. When Vicki saw me she calmed down. Her heart rate, BP, breathing, everything seemed to go back to normal. The power of presence is incredible.

We are human beings not human doings.

The Power of our presence shouldn’t be underestimated. Have you ever walked into a room of people you know, love, and lead and see their faces? It’s not about the money you made, the things you’ve done or the gifts you bring. It is simply you took the time to be with them.

When your present:

  • You add value
  • You add stability
  • You add sincerity
  • You add security
  • You add honor

The term diligent leader can be rewritten, as one who draws near. In our age of technology and virtual relationships this one principle of leadership is becoming an endangered species.

Presence is imperative in:

  • Times of crisis
  • Times of change
  • Times of celebration
  • Times of loss
  • Times of expansion

You cannot delegate your presence–Only you can be present

You cannot be present for everyone but you can for those you directly lead.

Your presence is powerful when you:

  • Put away distractions (no phone, no texting)
  • Get your work done early
  • Look them in the eye
  • Pay attention
  • Give affirmation


Question:  What are some times you have been present and it has made the difference?

3 habits that will cripple your leadership

R128 Leadership Crutch picThe need for fully healthy and strong leaders seems to be increasing. The reason is too many leaders are crippled by their habits. Leaders by nature deeply want to help people, that’s why they are leaders. Yet we get into certain habits we don’t even realize. There are 3 habits that cause leaders to hobble around as if they were on crutches and never seem to heal or through those crutches away.




Crippling Habit #1—Comparing – Focus on others

  • Never leads to excellence
  • Determines the least common denominator
  • “…At least I’m not like him…”
  • “…Why does she get all the good stuff…”
  • Hides what you have
  • Focus is on their progress not on yours
  • Their path becomes your boundary
    • Called keeping up with the joneses
  • Demands a winner – you ultimately win they loose.
    • Or you compare yourself to those who are better and you become defeated

 It is not Goodness to be better than the worst – Seneca


I often find myself in the midst of other men and women doing what I do. When I get around them I am tempted to compare myself to them. Their circumstances, experience, and surroundings cannot possibly match mine. It will always be an unfair comparison.


Crippling Habit #2—Criticizing – Focus on Self

  • Form of Pride
  • You think you can do it better than others
  • Put you up above the one you criticize
  • Critical spirit is different than critique
  • Critical spirit skews your perception
  • Focus on the negative over the positive
  • Points out the wrong and never sees the right

Getting into the habit of criticizing clouds your perception and vision. Criticizing leads to excuses and blame shifting. It’s a focus on what is wrong over what is right or good.

Crippling Habit #3—Complaining – Focus on Problem

  • Makes you the victim
  • Is focus on the problem not the solution
  • Leaders are problem solvers not problem pointers
  •  Is the hit and run, drive-by-shooting of organizations.

Complaining keeps you wandering in circles. The Jewish people of the Old Testament (the Bible) wandered around in the desert for 40 years partly because of their habit of complaining.

These three habits are partners. They usually run together and limit, stifle, and eradicate influence in the leader. The leader is left limping from one ineffective meeting to another not accomplishing anything.

3 things to do to stop the habit

  1. Compare to yesterday – Be better today then you were yesterday
  2. Evaluate – Ask those around you how you can help.
  3. Creativity – Solutions come from creative minds not complaining voices.



What habits have you seen that Compliment the Leader and not Cripple him or her?

Don’t Let Memories Steal Reality-5 Ways to Keep Memories-Memories

1st apt picThe other day we went by our first apartment we lived in 30 years ago. My heart sank when I saw the dilapidated old house. It was run down and probably needs to be condemned and demolished. My memory of the house remained the same as when we moved in. You know the feeling, when you meet someone you remember as a 10 year old kid 10 years later. You still see them as you remember them. Our memories don’t age even if those in the memory do. Many times leaders fall into the same problem with their leadership. They keep using things that should be condemned or demolished. Worse yet they continue to treat the next generation like they are still 10 years old.

5 ways to keep your memories memories

  1. Keep visiting the memories of your life in reality – Go back and see how far you have come!!!
  2. Spend time with the next generation or 2 behind you – They have insight you need
  3. Remember but do not ponder – Don’t Wish for the good old days, they weren’t as good as you think.
  4. Realize memories stand still – Time and culture doesn’t
  5. Realize memories are in HD – They tend to be bigger, brighter, better than they really were.

Let memories make you thankful. Let reality make you diligent!!!


Question: Have you ever let memories dictate your reality?

1 hour to WOW! your week–How to start your week

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weekly schedule pick

Here’s a Post I wrote a while back.  Make your sunday afternoon or monday morning productive and WOW your week!!!

Has this happened to you; Friday comes and you look back on your week and wondered if you actually accomplished anything at all?  For many years I have started my day in a certain way, everyday the same way.  I wrote about this a few months ago in a post Determine Your Day.  But a few years ago I began purposely starting my week.  I found starting my day right was good, but many times events of the week crowded out the good intentions of the day.  Here’s how I do it.

 1.  Join a faith community – Church

  • I always start my week in church

(I know, I’m a pastor—It’s my job—when it wasn’t I still started my week in church)

  • This always reminds me to put first things first
  • I am encouraged when I am around people of faith

On Sunday afternoon or early Monday morning I take 1 hour and prepare for my upcoming week.  I first review, then preview, then schedule.  Here is a breakdown of how I do it.

1 hour to WOW! my week 

2.  Review

  • Accomplishments and projects in progress
  • This helps to know what needs to be dealt with
  • What communication needs to go out?
  • Good job and thank you notes for accomplishments

3.  Preview

  • I look at the overall schedule of what is coming up and make the necessary adjustment due to the events of last week.
  • When I preview my week I can prepare myself for a heavy schedule or a light one.
  • I also prepare my family for the possibility of missed dinners, family events, or the need to reschedule events. When my kids lived at home we would have a weekly family meeting/dinner to go over the weekly schedule for everyone.  The weekly family meeting became a strategic part of family life.

 4.  Schedule

  •  Set Goals to accomplish
    • If deadlines aren’t made there can be no accountability
    • Keeps me purposed and productive
  •  Schedule the important things
    • Family time
    • Exercise time
    • Social time
    • Spiritual time
    • Mental/personal time

Keeps me focused and doesn’t let days and weeks go by without sharpening the saw (Keeps me sharp).

  •  Schedule meeting and appointments
    • This gives an overall view of the week
    • Helps to avoid double scheduling and overbooking
  • Schedule tasks
    • This seems to be a no brainer but many times when I don’t schedule and prepare my task list it doesn’t get done.

Question:  What do you do to be productive?


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