1. Place Yourself on the Calendar First.

If we wait until things “slow down” to do the things that really matter, they will never get done.

Place the following ON YOUR CALENDAR as appointments and don’t allow anything to get in the way:

  • Personal Development: Spending time alone with God

  • Personal Growth: Reading and Study Time

  • Personal Relationships: Spouse, Family, Friendships

  • Personal Exercise

  • Personal Recreation and Hobbies

At first it may sound narcissistic to think that as the leader I should place myself first. In reality, as the leader, the best gift I give to my organization is a healthy me. Therefore, I must place myself on the calendar first.

2. Go To Bed Earlier. Get Up Earlier.

I used to hate mornings.

I would not consider myself a natural morning person and I’m never very nice before my TWO cups of coffee in the morning.

I also used to love late night TV. Letterman is still my all time favorite.

However, years ago I gave up late night TV. If my mind was going to fresh and focused in the morning, I would need to make a commitment to go to bed earlier!

For the last fifteen years, I have gone to bed between 9 and 10 PM. Guess what happens/ How do you get up earlier? Go to bed earlier!

The most valuable, uninterrupted time of my day always comes very early in the morning when no one else needs me. I can get more accomplished from 6:30-8:30 AM than I can in an entire afternoon!

Uninterrupted time equals more disciplined time.

Who’s our best example? His name was Jesus and one example of his impact in the early morning hours states, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” Mark 1:35 (NIV)

3. Get Accountable.

When setting new discipline goals, always make them public.

You may fail to meet your goals, but if you don’t have accountability, you don’t have a prayer of meeting your goals.

Without accountability, I will compromise…I will cheat….I will give up. If I am accountable, my odds for success go up greatly.

By the way, if you really want to be held accountable, ask your Spouse to hold you accountable!

Awhile back I set a new goal to take it to another level from a physical point of view. It conveniently came right before swimsuit season. I typed out the following goals and printed them off FOR MY ENTIRE FAMILY:

  • No Sugar

  • No Sweet Tea

  • No Sodas

  • No Sugar Substitute

  • No Fried Food

  • No Chips of Any Kind

  • 2 Workouts Every Day

  • Salads for Dinner

This was tough…but guess what? I was successful (for the most part) because I made myself accountable!

4. Focus on One Area of Discipline at a Time.

Don’t try to change everything…at least not all at once!

Don’t write yourself off as being an undisciplined person and use that as an excuse.

Self Control is a fruit of the Spirit. You can do this. Start with one area. Focus on one new area of discipline.

One area of discipline spills over into another area. Before you know it, you have become a more disciplined person.


Focus on progress not perfection.

The only way you fail is to quit. Don’t give up!


Face your fears.

That’s how you conquer them. Don’t dismiss them; face them. Say, Here’s what I’m afraid of. I wonder what I could do to change that. Face your fears today.

2. Exercise your willpower to change direction.

You don’t have to keep doing what you’ve been doing the last six years if it’s not yielding the benefits you want. Pick a new destination and go that way. Use your willpower to start the process. You don’t have to repeat last year. Clean up the errors. Invest it now in the next year. Watch it make the difference.

3. Admit your mistakes.

Sometimes you have to admit them to others. Here’s one of the best phrases in the English language: “I’m sorry.” Those words could start a whole new relationship. They could start two people going in a whole new direction. Admit your mistakes to yourself. You don’t have to babble about them to everyone in the neighborhood. But it doesn’t hurt you to sit down and have a conversation with yourself and say, There’s no use kidding myself. Here’s where I really am. I’ve got pennies in my pocket and I’ve got nothing in the bank. That’s what I said after a Girl Scout left my door. I had a conversation with myself and I said, I don’t want this to happen anymore.

4. Refine your goals.

Start the process. Set some higher goals. Reach for some higher purpose. Go for something beyond what you thought you could do.

5. Believe in yourself.

You’ve got to believe in the possibilities. You’ve got to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. Believe in yourself. There isn’t a skill you can’t learn; there isn’t a discipline you can’t try; there isn’t a class you can’t take; there isn’t a book you couldn’t read.

6. Ask for wisdom.

Ask for wisdom that creates answers. Ask for wisdom to deal with the challenges for today and tomorrow. Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better.

7. Conserve your time.

Sometimes we get faked out. Motivational speaker Bill Bailey says the average person says, “I’ve got 20 more years.” But Bill says you’ve got 20 more times. If you go fishing once a year, you’ve only got 20 more times to go fishing, not 20 years. That fakes you out.

8. Invest your profits.

Here’s one of the philosophies that my mentor, Earl Shoaff, gave me: Profits are better than wages. Wages make you a living, profits make you a fortune. Could we start earning profits while we make a living? The answer is yes.

9. Live with intensity

You might as well turn it up a notch or two. Invest more of you in whatever you do. Be a little stronger; be a little wiser. Step up your vitality contribution. Put everything you’ve got into everything you do and then ask for more vitality, more strength and more vigor, more heart and more soul.

10. Find your place.

If you just work at a job, find the best place you can serve well, and sure enough they’ll ask you to occupy a better place. Keep doing a job well; do the very best you can. That’s your best way out.

11. Demand integrity from yourself.

Integrity is like loyalty. You can’t demand it of someone else; you can only demand it of yourself. Be the best example of loyalty and you’ll get loyal followers. Be the best example of integrity and you’ll have people around you who have integrity. Lead the way.

12. Welcome the disciplines.

I can’t give you much better advice than that because disciplines create reality. Disciplines build cities. A well-disciplined activity creates abundance, uniqueness and productivity.

13. Fight for what’s right.

It’s extraordinary to be able to say: “I fought for my kids; I fought for what was right; I fought for good health; I fought to protect my company; I fought for a good career that would bless my family. I fought a good fight.” It’s good to fight the encroachment. Opposites are in conflict and you’re in the middle. If you want something valuable, you’ve got to fight for it.


Intentional Leadership® is an approach that aligns desired outcomes, core values, and fundamental purpose for a significant increase in results. Intentional Leadership goes underneath the surface to determine what drives people’s behavior and undesirable performance. Intentional leadership is about making sure people are engaged, alig ned, held accountable and see the big picture. 

Also intentional leadership uncovers and change underlying beliefs, assumptions and practices to assure that leaders are exemplifying the behaviors and communicating in a way that is consistent with desired outcome. 

Intentional leadership identifies the gaps between what the organization says is important, and what is actually occurring. It assure that the leaders of the organization are exemplifying the behaviors and communicating in a way that is consistent with desired results.

Intentional leadership is about guiding key leaders and influencers in a process of developing trust, credibility and respect. The process includes  healthy dialogue, information sharing and constructive conflict build a foundation for new results.

Intentional leadership is about connecting members throughout the organization using a process where they can genuinely participate in, commit to, and spread the  vision throughout the community. 

Intentional leadership takes on a strategic planning process, guiding from vision to execution, and helping to operationalize the vision, purpose , goals and culture of the Organization 

Intentional leadership results will be to develop a  systems and structures to ensure accountability, sustainability and follow through.



Great leaders talk less and listen more.

That’s counterintuitive because I think in the back of our minds it’s easy to imagine that becoming a great leader will one day make us Yoda: you spout wisdom while people gather at your feet.

But the truly great leaders I’ve been around listen with astonishing frequency.

There are a few reasons why listening is a fantastic leadership skill.

First, it’s easy to misjudge a situation. I do it all the time. The longer you listen, the more you understand. You pick up nuances. You gain context. And often, in the process of listening, what you think about a situation changes.

Second, when you listen, the person you’re engaging with feels heard. Nobody likes to be dismissed, judged, or blown off. When you’re engaging with someone who talks but never listens, that’s exactly how you end up feeling.

Third, when you’re talking you’re not learning. As many leaders have said, you never learn when your mouth is open. Even for those of us who are verbal processors, that’s still true.

If you want to become a better leader, shut your mouth. Talk less. Listen more.


The best leaders ask questions. A lot of them.

Often when I’m around top leaders, it can be hard to get a question in because they keep asking you questions, even though (arguably) you have far more to learn from them than they do from you.

The other day, I got an email from a top podcaster who asked me a question about my show. He probably has 3x the downloads I do, but is always seeking to learn, grow and adapt.

Which of course, makes him the great leader that many (including me) see him as.

Great leaders rush to a question far more than they rush to an answer.


Sometimes you can meet a truly world-class leader and miss the fact that you’ve met one.


Because they’re not going to brag about themselves. Then you google them later and realize they’ve written a bunch of best-selling books, lead at a very high level and are a sought-after expert.

Whenever you meet a leader who tells you how great they are, they usually aren’t. Great leaders honor others, not themselves.


When you’re in a crowd, it’s not that hard to spot the social climbers.

Not only are they the ones who are looking past you to see if there are any more important people in the room they need to connect with, but they also seem less interested in you than they are in what you can do for them.

In my experience, truly great leaders don’t get to the top because they climb but because they connect. They’re interested in other people. They learn from them. They listen.

Sure, you can get to the top by climbing, but the truly great leaders don’t climb over you. Instead, their greatness comes from their desire to connect with you.

They care about you, no matter how much or little you bring to the table.

And isn’t that the kind of leader you be around anyway?


It’s never been easier to criticize, and now that everyone has a phone and some followers, more people than ever are doing it.

Great leaders never take the time to criticize. Why? Because they’re too busy contributing.

You kind of have a choice in life: you can be a critic or a contributor. You won’t be able to do both over the long haul.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at things critically or occasionally critique something, but that it does mean is that your opinion and comments are collected to help you shape what you’re building.

The problem with a lot of critics today is that they’re building nothing.

You might argue that they’re trying to build up their self-esteem or find some significance through their negativism. But great leaders realize you can’t build yourself up by tearing other people down.

This bears out again in talking with top leaders; rarely do they spend time criticizing others. They just don’t go there.

So you really have to make a choice. Are you going to contribute, or are you going to criticize?

If you want to become a great leader, stop criticizing and start contributing.