60 Amazing Lessons I’ve Learned from Selma Wilson

Selma Wilson and Kristen McCall
Amazing photo of me and Selma by Courtney Davidson

For more than two years now I’ve had the privilege of managing Selma Wilson’s blog and social media, co-hosting her podcast Selma on Leadership, and as a result we have become very close. If you’re connected to LifeWay or B&H Publishing in any way, then you know and love Selma.

If you’re not, then allow me to introduce you to one of the most impactful Christian women I know. Selma is the former President of B&H Publishing, and the current Chief People Officer and VP of Organizational Development at LifeWay Christian Resources. She and her husband Rodney are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year, and have been involved in marriage ministry both as speakers and authors. But her favorite title is now Grammy to her grand babies and mom to her two daughters and “son in loves” as I like to say. 

Her wisdom in business, faith, family and life is a blessing to all who know her. Today is a special day to honor her as it’s her birthday (and it may or may not be a big one… ahem, 60)!!

Since you all can’t be directly mentored by her, I’m passing along some of the amazing lessons that I’ve gleaned from her. (You can click the links to read more from various blog posts that she’s written directly on that subject.)

60 Amazing Lessons I’ve Learned from Selma Wilson:


  1. Honor your spouse, in all situations.
  2. Praying together protects your marriage.
  3. Anger and conflict can lead to deeper intimacy, if properly handled.
  4. The foundation of marriage is friendship which has to be fostered.
  5. Conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  6. Have yearly Marriage Planning retreats. (I LOVE this idea!!)
  7. It’s so important to intentionally connect with your spouse, even if it’s quick. These 15 minutes add up to lots of really meaningful moments.
  8. There is grave danger of loss of spiritual unity and passivity.
  9. Don’t neglect actively DOING things with your husband.
  10. Don’t stop dating each other.
  11. Brag on your spouse whenever you get the chance!
  12. Remember that fundamentally marriage is about service and not what you “get” out of it.
  13. Affirm your spouse often.
  14. Learn your spouse’s love language and practice it if it’s not one that is natural for you.
  15. Don’t take your spouse for granted, the grass isn’t greener on the other side. You need to water the grass you have! 🙂


  1. Leaders are readers.
  2. Muster up your courage to be first. Being first makes a way for others that come behind you. (Selma was the first woman on the executive leadership team at LifeWay).
  3. Leaders get up early to start the day. Selma usually wakes up at 4:30 and you can tell how productive she is!!
  4. Crisis management: things will always quiet down and the news cycle moves on.
  5. People are more important than products or strategies.
  6. Always ask how your leader/boss is doing before you launch into a meeting: their agenda and priorities might be different than yours.
  7. Be intentional to have a list of people you want to learn from and schedule coffee or lunch with them.
  8. Don’t forget to think about who you are helping to develop and mentor.
  9. Be prepared: for interviews, your job, regular meetings or presentations.
  10. Diversity is a great thing.
  11. Submission is more powerful than rebellion.
  12. Don’t miss the moments: be intentional with your team and your colleagues. Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, and big wins together.
  13. Take time out of the grind to have FUN together: laser chase, lunch together, or company picnics where everyone brings their families and pets.
  14. Be a servant leader. Don’t expect your team to do everything, but pitch in and serve.
  15. Remember the WHY of what you’re doing. Times get hard, there will be difficult situations, but when you remember your mission, vision, and calling it will help you refocus.


  1. Being a perfect mom is a pipe dream, lay it down.
  2. You either parent out of a spirit of love or a spirit of fear. Choose love and don’t let the spirit of fear overwhelm you.
  3. Start Family Conferences
  4. Party Drawer and/or Celebration Plate: Selma had a party drawer when her girls were little and anyone could say it’s a “party night” and they’d get out the tablecloth and fun things and have a picnic in their living room! Too cute.
  5. Have a “feelings check” with your kids.
  6. The importance of letting go and letting your kids grow up and change.
  7. Don’t let work get in the way of making memories: stay home and have snow days with your kids!
  8. Get creative making memories together as a family.
  9. Don’t forget how much your children are teaching YOU as you parent.
  10. You have to die to yourself to be a parent.
  11. Admit when you’re wrong to your kids, and don’t act like you’re perfect or above reproach.
  12. Be a living example of how Christ loves and adores your kids and spouse.
  13. Steward your influence well. You may not be a CEO, but you are developing and influencing your spouse and your children. Don’t take this position lightly, you may be raising the President or Kingdom leader!
  14. Learn from your mistakes.
  15. Trust God with your children. You won’t always be there with them every minute of the day, and you have to let go and trust Him.


  1. Be a prayer warrior.
  2. Don’t neglect your devotional life. Spend regular time in the Word.
  3. Don’t live an “If only” life… “If only I had more money… If only I had a different job… If only I had a different spouse…” This kind of thinking leads to jealousy, resentment and bitterness. Be content with the blessings God has provided you.
  4. 80/20 rule and perspective. This applies to so many areas but 80% of the things in your life are usually good, but often we focus on the 20% of things that we want to change. Focus on that 80% and you’ll be much happier and much more content!
  5. Slow down. Selma said once, “Jesus never rushed anywhere, yet He accomplished all the Father wanted him to do.” Whew. How much of my life am I rushing to get somewhere? Or overwhelmed. I need to be still and stop more.
  6. Everyone needs a champion and a mentor. If you don’t have one, seek one out.
  7. Deal with conflict quickly in your life and don’t let bitterness creep in.
  8. Always be learning, constantly develop yourself.
  9. Don’t let distance diminish your friendship. Selma has friends all over the nation and regularly travels to see them. This is encouraging to me as I have friends all over the country and the world!
  10. Honor your parents. It’s been wonderful for me to watch Selma honor her dad who’s 90 now.
  11. Creative collaborating is way more fun that individual drudgery and “making” creativity happen. Our team meetings are so much fun!
  12. Once you’re in publishing, everyone thinks you’ll publish their manuscript. This isn’t a life lesson, it’s just funny.
  13. Have FUN in life!
  14. Laugh often!
  15. Celebrate wins: major and minor ones!

I hope you’ve gleaned some nuggets of wisdom from this list, and be sure you connect with Selma!

I hope and pray that my ministry, marriage and family will look like Selma’s when I turn 60. What an amazing blessing that would be!

3 thoughts on “60 Amazing Lessons I’ve Learned from Selma Wilson

  1. Hi Kristen. Glad to find you through Hope*Writers 🙂 The look of your blog is so inviting. I like its fresh colors and your smiles. I’m not familiar with Selma but she sounds like a force and a good one! Thanks for sharing these good take aways.

  2. I tried to contact Selma this past spring about a speaking engagement. I was a member of her church until my husband retired and we moved to upper East Tennessee. I know how great she is and have had the privilege to hear her many times. Does she still do speaking and what is her fee amount. We have a ladies conference every year in May. Would love to have her if it fits into our budget.

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