J Calaway

Lead with Diligence

J Calaway - Lead with Diligence

The Lost Art of Hard

Hard Things Picture

Have you ever simply done something because it was hard?  I think we have lost the Art of Hard.  Those things that need to be done or would challenge a generation to be greater if we did them simply because it is hard.  Yet I keep hearing, reading, and seeing the easiest way to do something, 5 easy steps to fix your marriage, loose weight, find a mate, get rich, or get the job you’ve always wanted.  President John F. Kennedy challenged this nation to go to the moon in less than a decade.  Why?  Simply because it was hard, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

8 Benefits to doing the Hard Things


Tests and increases your energies, skills, and capacity.  Without doing anything hard you never know what your capable of or increase your capacity.


Doing the hard thing creates a willing spirit in you and others around you.


Doing the hard thing requires vision in yourself and those around you.  It develops focus and purpose in your life and organization.


Doing the hard thing requires organization, goal setting, administration. Dedication and discipline are forged in the accomplishment.


Doing the hard thing requires you to involve others and learn team building skills.


Doing the hard thing develops new ways.  NASA has pioneered 6,300 new technologies from the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission.  Easier ways are found to do the hard thing so you can move on to achieve more.


Doing the hard things develops an attitude of winning and determination.  Each time you accomplish something that is hard there is an expectation and culture of “We can do this”.


Some wish us to stay where we are but when you choose to do something hard you progress into new areas and new adventures.

All great and honorable actions are accompanied by difficulty.–William Bradford, 1630

The worthwhile and important things are hard.


Question:  What hard thing have you done lately?

10 ways we miss saying “I love you”

I love you HeartWell, Valentines Day is over and the delivery people are rushed as fast as they could to finish the last of the chocolate, flower, teddy-grahm deliveries to get home to their valentine.  I’m a little cynical when it comes to valentines.  Don’t get me wrong; I love to tell and show my Valentine (who is my wife, best friend and lover) how much I love her.  It just seems to be so much pressure for one day.  I’m the spread it out all year long kind of guy.  As I was thinking of some creative ways to say “I love you” I thought of some ways that we might miss.


Here are 10 ways to say I love you through out the year:

  1. Say “I Love You”

  2. Pray

  3. Exercise

  4. Eat Right

  5. Put Work Away

  6. Show Up; No really, Show Up!!!

  7. Write Notes (with your hand; Hint: you need paper and a pen)

  8. Rest

  9. Quantity of time (quality will come through quantity)

  10. Put down the smart phone, tablet, ipad, Facebook, Twitter, and look up, you’re missing them saying “I love you”


Question: What ways do you say “I love you”?


3 Things you DON’T Do in a Relationship

connection keyboard picture

Connecting with people is an amazingly wonderful and dangerous adventure.  Whether it is in a marriage, parent, work, or social relationship it is an adventure.  We are all messy and connecting with each other can and will be messy at times.  To have a High Quality Life-Giving connection with others takes work and forethought.

To have this kind of relationship for the life long haul don’t do these three things:

 Don’t Stop Talking

  • Communication is the tie of all relationships
  • If there is no communication there is NO relationship
  • Talking cannot be overrated.

Don’t Be Inflexible

  • Relationships are with people.  Need I say more!
  • Inflexibility will diminish your capacity
  • There will be up times and down times in all relationships
  • Learn to accept both the ups and downs and
  • Being flexible will give space when space is needed and deep connection

 Don’t Stop Listening

  • Communication is a 2 way street
  • If you are not listening and only hearing you missed your opportunity to understand before you talk.
  • Listen with empathy—Listening from their point of view.
  • When you truly listen you add value to the other person.

High Quality Connections is what makes up our life.  They are the only thing that matters.  Work at them, focus on them.

Question:  What is your definition of a High Quality Connection?

4 Ways to Make the New Year NEW

New Year -- Fresh Start

How to make the New Year NEW

The New Year is an incredible time.  I love the feeling of getting a clean slate and seeing what can be written on it.  Yet too many times we come to the end of the year and there has been nothing changed.  We are still dealing with the same stuff.  The average person makes the same New Years Resolution 10 times without success.  That would be the definition of a rut.

What can be done about it.  Here are 4 things you can do in the next 45 days to break the routine and accomplish something new this year.

4 Things to do in the next 45 days

Start something new

  • It’s a new year so make it new
  • Breaking out of the old ruts sometimes simply takes doing something new
    • Read something different
    • Try a new kind of food
    • Attend a different kind of entertainment
    • Sign up for a different activity or service project

Go on a retreat

  • If possible do a 3-day prayer, strategy, planning retreat
  • If not possible to do 3 days then at least take 1 day and retreat
  • Do this with your team, spouse, or family.  Establish together and alone times

Do some kind of fast

  • This is a good way to refocus for the new year
  • Benefits both spiritual and physical being
  • Aligns your body, mind and spirit.

Connect in a greater way

  • Creator

    • Start praying everyday if you haven’t been
    • Start reading or doing a basic devotional Bible study
    • Start a deeper Bible study than you have been
  •  Church

    •  Start attending if you are not
    •  Start serving if your are simply attending
    •  Start financially and physically contributing
    •  Join a small group
  • Community

    • Set a goal for how many hours you plan to serve the community
    • Join a volunteer/civic/neighborhood group
    • Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, shelter, homeless center, school, boys & girls club, etc.
    • Attend the town council meeting
      • Find out what is needed and volunteer to help

5 Ways to Beat the Resolution Odds


The odds of you keeping your New Years Resolution aren’t good.  That’s why many people give up making New Years Resolutions.  That doesn’t make much sense either.  It doesn’t matter what your resolution is.  As long as it is designed to better you, your family, or your community, keep making them.  The effort is better than doing nothing at all.   But the fact remains only 2% of all resolutions made in January are still in effect the following December.

  • In business or organizational terms 70% of organizational projects or goals fail.
  • ¼ of people who make New Year’s Resolutions will give up after one week.
  • The average person makes the same New Years Resolution 10 times without success.

Accomplishing something resolved is not for the faint of heart.

It is hard work!

But you can do it!!!

It just takes a little thought and some discipline.

Here are 5 things you can do to beat the Resolution Odds

1.  Create a Plan

Set down and think about and write down what needs to be down and when in order to accomplish your goal.

2.  Connect with someone

Tell someone your resolution and ask them to hold you accountable.  Set up a time when they call or ask each week or day how you are doing.

 3.  Create an Environment

Connect with those who believe you can accomplish your goal.  If it is weight loss get rid of the bad food and connect with those who won’t buy you Cheetos.

4.  Connect with Information

Look for information on your goal.  If your resolution or goal is to write more, read a book on writing, follow a blog, sign up for a writing class.

5.  Create a System

Systems are a powerful tool to use in accomplishing goals.  A system is an interconnected group of tasks that accomplish a larger goal.  If you’re goal is to exercise more, create a system.  Establish a certain time everyday to exercise, make an exercise room or space in your house or join the gym.  Each component of the system relies on the other components.

These 5 simple tasks will increase your likelihood of beating the resolution odds.  But there is one thing above all that you need to have

Discipline – the simple determination to not quit.

 Question:  What are Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Breaking Bad – 5 Steps to Break Bad Habits


“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits”, William James 1892.  When you woke up this morning, what was the first thing you did; coffee, shower, exercise, read the paper, check email, brush your teeth? Whatever you did, it was,

bad habits picin all probability a habit.

A habit is an action, activity, or thought process that is repeated over time that becomes part of the semi-involuntary actions of a person.  Habits take time to instill and are quit easy to establish if the reward of the action is immediate.  

Habits are powerful!

What is a bad habit?:  Any action, activity, or thought process that does not progress you toward a preferable future.  Our habits dictate our future.  Take these steps to break bad habits.

 Realize the habit is bad

Ask yourself if what you are doing is beneficial for your life today and tomorrow or just beneficial for your immediate emotions.  “Is this cake I’m eating at 12:30am in front of the fridge every night helping me be sharp for my meeting tomorrow or just quenching my appetite right now?”

 Don’t break it alone

In many cases you didn’t make the habit alone and you will not break it alone either.  Make new relationships with people who are living the way you want to live.  Break the relationships that are keeping you in the bad habit.  Enlist friends, professionals, pastor, church, and family to help.

 One step at a time

The habit wasn’t formed in a day or a memorable event.  Habits are carefully crafted over time.  Breaking it is going to take even more careful attention and time because this is for your future and not for today.  Mark Twain said “Habit is Habit, and not to be flung out the window, but coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.

 Keep the future in mind

How do you want to end up?  Where do you want to end up?  How you live your life today will determine where you are 50 years from now.  Do you want to see your great grandchildren married, retire as the CEO of the company, or celebrate your 75th wedding anniversary?  Close your eyes and picture it.  Keep that preferable future in mind every time you act, think, or make a decision.

 Replace bad habits with positive behavior

Replace cigarettes with exercise, desserts with fruit, soda with water, negative relationships with positive.  If you just stop the bad habit then all you have is a hole in your schedule, mind, and actions that must be filled.  The old proverb, “You can more easily drive out a tough nail with another nail.”

We are not guaranteed a certain future.  Sometimes the best and the brightest die young or tragedy strikes even when the best behaviors are in place.  We cannot control life.  But we can control our actions and habits to give the best future possible.

Question:  What good habits do you have?

VidCast [06] R128 Leader-Leaders that Deliver-Part 3

Leaders that Deliver are Disciplined

R128 Leaders are leaders that deliver.  In VidCast [05] part 2 we focused on leaders that deliver are leaders who are decisive.  In VidCast [04] part 1 we focused on leaders that deliver are leaders who are dedicated.  In part three of R128 Leaders-Leaders that Deliver we look at the role discipline plays in our lives.  There are three areas that need discipline in order for you to be a leader that delivers

  1. Disciplined Thought-Life

  2. Disciplined Relationships

  3. Disciplined Schedule

Without discipline in the private world there is no win in the public.  Leaders that Deliver are leaders that are disciplined.  Take a look at this VidCast and determine today to be a disciplined leader.

Question:  What area do you need the most discipline in?

Timex Mentality–Resilient Leaders


Timex watch pic

Leaders are continually challenged to be effective in every season, shift, change, or circumstance.  

In order to be more effective in changing times, leaders must be resilient. A resilient leader is a leader who:

  • Can fail and get back up,
  • Realize what he or she is doing is no longer effective and make the necessary changes.
  • Has the Timex Watch mentality—takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

It is hard to be resilient. The basic idea of resilient leadership, is that the leader keeps coming back, doesn’t quit, stays in the same place, and continues to move forward in the face of opposition or changing times.

Resilience–the fact you need to be resilient means there is an opposing  force.

Sometimes resiliency is the ability to shift in focus.

What was effective in the past may be ineffective today. Your good idea in one season is a bad idea in the next. I have been in my current position for the past twenty-three years. I will never forget a meeting I was in with my leaders. They were talking about some of the things we were doing and how out of date and ineffective these programs were. I started getting a little ticked off, because all the ideas they were talking about were my ideas. They were my ideas fifteen years ago. I realized if I am going to be a resilient leader I had to change. What was a good idea fifteen years ago could be a bad idea today.

3 Keys to Being Resilient

1. Retool

Culture has changed in so many ways. In just the past five years technology and communication have dramatically influenced how the world relates and communicates. Leaders who are unwilling to adjust in the face of culture and paradigm shifts will not be able to reinvent or retool themselves or their organizations.

2. Reset 

Being willing to put aside what used to work, even if it was your idea, is the mark of a Resilient Leader. The ability to bounce back speaks to the leader’s humility and tenacity. Humility means the leader realizes what was working is no longer working and is willing to change.

  • What you do is not as important is why you do it.
  • How you do is not as important is why you do it
  • Your motive/message are priority above method

3. Rebound

Realize not every fight has to be fought, not every wall has to be conquered, and not every river has to be crossed all in the same day. Resilient leaders know how to call it a day and come back to the fight tomorrow.

  • Realize not every battle needs to be fought
  • Realize not every battle will be a victory
  • Realize in every battle there are casualties


Question: What do you do to keep coming back—to be resilient

Leadership Lessons from the Foundations of Freedom

patriotic eagle in clouds picRemember The Foundation of Our Freedom

Today we in the United States celebrate our freedom.  She is a great nation that has stood for freedom and liberty from her inception.  Yet the freedoms we celebrate and enjoy everyday in this nation do not come from the laws or the legislature of the land.

We can learn some from the foundation of this country and use the foundation to lead everyday.


“In God We Trust…One Nation Under God”


 3 things faith brings

  1. Trust
  2. Belief
  3. Behavior


“…for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith.” 

–Mayflower Compact

3 Things that Bring Focus

  1. Prayer
  2. Community – Faith Community (Church)
  3. Truth – Absolute Truth


“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” 

–Edmund Burke

3 Things you need to fight

  1. Action
  2. Standard
  3. Family

Celebrate It Well!!!

Guilt Free Vacation

Here is a post I wrote last year.  Thought it would be good to repost it.

It’s vacation season and there is nothing better than packing up the mini-van and kids and heading out on a family trip.  A few days with the family can be a highlight of a child’s life or it can become a speed bump in the road to family bliss.  Here are a few things to consider when planning a guilt-free vacation or holiday family trip.

1.    Do Not Go in Debt

This should go without saying, but I am going to say it anyway.  DO NOT GO INTO DEBT TO GO ON VACATION!!!  Ok, maybe I yelled it.  But you get the point.  This can take some creativity, effort, and a good sense of what you can afford.  If all you can afford is to pitch a tent in the back yard, then pitch a tent in the back yard and call it vacation.

2.    Do Not Go with Regret

There is another area of a guilt-free vacation.  What I mean is prepare for the vacation.  Here are three things you need to do before you go:

  • Get your work done or delegated

Don’t take work with you.  Make sure all items are completed or you have communicated with everyone what needs to be done while you are away

  • Deal with unresolved issues

The risk of a vacation going bad is high if there are unresolved issues within the family.  Many times families can live with issues because we are busy and doing our own thing.

The schedule is clear and you are together usually for at least a week.  Any unresolved issues will come out.  This may be good but does not bode well for a guilt free vacation for all.  Regret will follow.

  • Share expectations

Communicate to your co-workers that you are on vacation and at what level you expect any communication.   Also, share your expectations with your family.  One family member may have the expectation of sleeping in until noon everyday while, another family member may have the expectation of waking up at dawn to go hiking.  This can lead to a disappointing vacation at best and an all-out-war vacation at worst.

 3.    Do Not Go Alone

My point here is about not being alone even though everyone is with you.  Find activities that everyone can enjoy or at least make compromises.

When my kids were in their pre-teen years we took a three-week vacation to Florida to visit the Mouse (aka Disney World), I was ok with going, but not completely excited.  I was more interested in visiting the Civil War battlefields that dot the route from northwest Indiana to Orlando.

As we began to plan the trip, we told our kids we were going to visit all these battlefields.  They were not too impressed about seeing fields, cannons, earthworks, prisons, and museums.  So I said I would make a deal with them.  If you will enjoy and learn during the time we visit the battlefields, I will enjoy (not just act like it. but really enjoy) the Mouse House .

The whole three weeks we were gone everyone got to do what they loved doing.  We all enjoyed each other and no one was alone.  We learned, celebrated, and became closer as a family simply because we determined not to go alone.

Question:  What kind of vacation do you like taking—leisure or active?