Leaders Not Saviors

podcast Sep 27, 2021
Josh Kalinowski - Leaders Not Saviors

What does it mean to be a leader?

For many of us, it means having the ability to guide, advise, and inspire others. It means making an impact to change our community through actions. After all, many leaders have not only made their mark on society for being skilled individuals, but they're also remembered for being kind-hearted as well.

However, it's not easy to become leaders because most of us confuse them with being saviors. A savior is a person who rescues or saves someone from an unfortunate situation. Sadly, when we mix up the concept of leadership with the idea of being a savior, we end up in frustration. It's because when you're trying to be a savior, you're chasing after the commitment of others who aren't listening and not doing the actions you need in the first place.

Remember, leaders are more than just leaders — they inspire others to be their best. To do this, we need to recognize who we are and change some aspects of our character before we can help those around them. Our guest for today knows exactly how to do this, as he just wrote a book on this subject. I'm ecstatic to have Josh Kalinowski talk about what it means to be a true leader!

In this episode, Josh and I also discussed his pro career and the lessons that he has taken from it. Lastly, we get into the topic of how one can start on their leadership journey, and you might be surprised to know how simple the answer is. 

This is going to be a fun episode as we learn from the best. So without any further delay, let's dive in.


Who Is Josh Kalinowski?

Today's guest is serial entrepreneur and mentor, Josh Kalinowski. He's a former pro baseball player, and 13 years after that career ended, he's established himself as a CEO of multiple companies. He is a man of faith, father of four, and husband to a rock star woman. Josh is intensely focused on empowering men and women to live a life of extraordinary impact, influence, and faith. Starting many of his companies by napkin or handshake, Josh challenges the status quo by wringing out every second of every day and inspiring others to do the same. 

As a former professional athlete, he also knows the importance of taking risks, discipline, and vision to overcome challenges in pursuing dreams. Josh has trained himself to unapologetically and relentlessly pursue excellence despite fear, setbacks, and opinions through his personal failures and victories. As a personal coach and mentor, Josh helps people uncover their passions and live out their purpose. His fire for life ignites the flame in those who wish to burn bright.

Josh and I met somewhat recently, and he's just one of those people who you just have an instant connection with because you love what they're about. You love what they stand for, want to cheer and support them, and just be a part of what they're doing. I just knew I had to bring him onto the podcast for a great conversation!


From a Professional Baseball Player to a Leader

Josh felt blessed to live his goal to become a professional baseball player. However, when he was 26, he had the most significant disappointment and devastation in his life when that dream was taken away. His jersey came off, and so did his identity. He left the game broken physically because of the injuries that he sustained. Josh was also financially broken because he had always envisioned himself as a successful eventual hall of fame athlete who would make millions of dollars. Worst of all, he was mentally broken —Josh felt he no longer knew who he was.

"The age of 26 was a tough time in my life. It took me the next 13 years to overcome that failure and language that I continued to listen to and preach to myself." – Josh Kalinowski

How many people do you know have gone through the same thing? Many of us are at the top of our game but have no idea who we are or what our purpose is once we lose it. This is true, particularly when transitioning from a job to entrepreneurship or from one industry to something else. We feel hopeless trying to redevelop ourselves and our identities.

This is what Josh means by brokenness, and it can come in a few different ways. Yet, whatever it may be, one thing's for sure — life will change for the better once you start to have clarity on who you are.

"At the age of 44, I know who I am because I know whose I am. I am more purpose-driven than I've ever been in my life. I have full clarity on what I'm supposed to be doing in my life, and now it's just a matter of me showing up every single day to say, ‘yes’ to it." – Josh Kalinowski

This is how the former-baseball-player-turned-entrepreneur came back from the lowest point in his life. It's why he's living a much more purpose-driven life as a leader today.


The Games Are Over, but Life's Not

Just like what happened to Josh, many of us have experienced this at some point in our lives. Maybe we had this great dream of becoming someone, and it didn't work out — perhaps we were not good enough, or the timing wasn't right. It's also possible that we lost our jobs or got laid off, and suddenly, life hit us like a ton of bricks. We know what it’s like to see everything crumbling down (expectations, dreams, jobs) and feel like we're at our lowest point in life because we don't know how it'll go from here.

But those moments are also when we tend to experience a spiritual awakening. This becomes the most critical time for us where we can start picking up the pieces and rebuilding everything from scratch. This is the essence of Josh's book entitled, Strike 3 - What to Do When the Game’s Over, but Life's Not.

"My former audience were ex-athletes. As athletes, we don't feel like anybody else can understand what we're going through once we lose our loved sports, … but what I found out was that not only were athletes dealing with these tough situations but military men and women going into civilian life after decades of service. They're usually used to excellence, and now they're dealing with subpar results. Also, more than 40% of CEOs experienced a massive setback in their life once they stopped becoming CEOs." – Josh Kalinowski

So how can we prevail over these feelings and stop telling ourselves, “This isn't how my life is supposed to be?'' In his book, Josh discusses the two ways to go around this.

"I will say that, first and foremost, if you're in this situation right now, start digging. You need to start digging till you finally get down to the bottom of that pit. Once you've done that, you need to have honest, hard conversations with yourself about the situation that [you’re] in. Once [you’ve] figured it out, the truth of that story, [you’ve] got to take ownership of it." – Josh Kalinowski

By digging deeply into yourself, you can understand what went wrong and what needs to be done in dealing with the situation. While this may sound easy to some, not everyone is willing to do these steps. To be fair, it’s not easy — we are sometimes forced to face some ugly truths. However, there's always something good that comes from it.

"By owning your story, the truth of your story, you can have a powerful foundational piece to start making momentum in your life." – Josh Kalinowski

These words of Josh’s are not inspiring, but empowering, too. It's empowering to know that we don't need to be saved by someone else but rather save ourselves. It makes us realize that it's up to us to deal with our own problems and become better from them rather than constantly seeking help from others. 

It is in this aspect that we learn to stand as leaders of our lives. From here, we can eventually live a life of leading others rather than trying to save them. Because we understand the struggle and where others are coming from, we can lift them up.

This is what Josh meant when he said that leadership is not being a savior. By learning to overcome our own challenges, we become ready to teach other people how to deal with their lives for the better. Remembering his words, you can truly be a leader, and you can take the burden of becoming a savior to others off your shoulders.


How Humility Can Transform Us to Become Leaders

Once we have done the two steps that Josh advises us to do, the next step is to give authority away. It might sound contrary, but Josh explains how leadership can be achieved through humility.

"One challenge to our personal growth is we don't surround ourselves with people who have high standards, … but we've got to start surrounding ourselves with them. This is one of the things I love about your program because it allows us to surround ourselves with better quality people." – Josh Kalinowski

By being humble, we give authority to the right people to transform our lives for the greater good. In some cases, it may be God himself, but it may also be a family member or a friend. It’s all about finding someone who is more successful and accomplished than you are for guidance. Josh further explained:

"Giving away your authority in your life means that you're finding mentors, friends, acquaintances, and leaders within your industry or in your community. You're putting them at your table, and giving them permission to hold you accountable for the things that you said that you want in your life. … As humans, we're too prideful, but I will tell you that the greatest leaps and bounds that I've experienced in my life are when I've sat at the feet of other men and women and listened to what they've said." – Josh Kalinowski

When you allow the right people to critique you, it shows awareness that you don't have all the answers. In the end, you don't feel burdened because you know that there are other people who are more equipped to provide guidance. 

Are you willing to follow Josh's advice? I hope you are, as it is through this that you can fully understand your life. Humility is where it begins, and it is how you can lead yourself and others in the right direction.


Why You Should Listen to This Podcast Episode with Josh Kalinowski Right Now…

Friends, there is a massive disconnect between what we believe will make us successful leaders and how we can actually become them. I hope that Josh's advice on humility, surrounding yourself with better quality people, and giving up your authority to the right people helps to begin repairing some of these divides. 

What I really love about this podcast episode is the actionable advice Josh gives right from the beginning: "Dig deeply within yourself and be accountable for your actions.” Do you know why? Because that allows you to live a life that's proactive, not reactive. Combine it with humility, and you have the ingredients to become your own leader before leading others.

I'm grateful for Josh's openness and honesty and his willingness to give away his leadership secrets. I'm confident that you enjoyed this episode as much as I did! If you want to connect further with Josh, definitely check him out on Instagram @joshuadkalinowski and on Facebook

If you found value from this episode, it would mean a lot to me if you would take a few seconds and write a five-star review and maybe share it with some of your friends on Apple Podcasts. I'd be so grateful! I'd also love it if you would tag me, @kyle_depiesse, and Josh, @joshuadkalinowski, on Instagram with your most noteworthy takeaways from the episode! 

Cheers to your success! I'm rooting for you. 

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