Mark Cole: Welcome to the John Maxwell Leadership podcast. Hello podcast listeners, Mark Cole here. And I'm excited to bring a bonus episode of the John Maxwell Leadership podcast. Now, if you're a regular listener, you know we are in the middle of highlighting Live2Lead. This is our annual half-day leadership event that is designed to help you grow and be your best leader. And we're excited because this year we have a virtual component where you can be a part of it as a podcast listener. We've shared a little bit about the vision behind this year's event. And over the next few weeks, you'll hear interviews with some of our speakers for this year's event, but we didn't feel like that was enough. Here at the John Maxwell enterprise, we don't want to meet your expectations, we want to exceed them. So our team thought it would be a great idea to bring you the best of Live2Lead, with two bonus episodes featuring John Maxwell himself.
I know you will enjoy this. So today you're going to hear the first episode from John. It comes from our 2018 Live2Lead. John was preparing to launch his book, Leadershift, and the lesson we're sharing with you today is called How to Leadershift Successfully. After the challenges and changes of 2020, we felt like this was the perfect lesson to share with you, not only because it is timely, but it really is an example of John at his very best. As always, you want to make sure you visited Maxwellpodcast.com/live2lead, click on the bonus resource button to download the worksheet for today. Now, sit back, get your pen, get your worksheet, and give John Maxwell your attention. Here is John.
John Maxwell: Thank you. Oh, I'm so excited. I'm so glad you're here and I'm glad not only you're here, but I'm glad all of our sites around the country and around the world are here. We have over 300 sites with John Maxwell team coaches hosting those sites. And I think that we just need to give each one of us a hand. So if you're in one of our simulcast sites around the world, or if you're here locally, let's just all give ourselves a hand because we're doing it together today, okay, doing it together.
And on your site, you have a John Maxwell team coach that's hosting you, and they are here today to add value to you. So I want encourage you, during the break times, go up, meet them. You want to know them. They're going to want to know you. They have a lot to add value to you, and let's just make it a great day, so let's get going. I'm excited. I have a book coming out in February, called Leadershifts, okay, Leadershifts and it's all about how to sustain and strengthen your leadership. So, let's just get going with a question. How many of you want to be a better leader? Raise your hand, you want to be a better leader? Okay. How many of you want the person that is beside you, to be a better leader?
You're doing good. You're doing good. Now, the real question is, how many of you brought that person here today, so that they would become a better leader, huh? Are you with me, huh? So look at the person beside you and say, "I hope you learn something today." Would you just tell her that, okay. When I use the term leadershift, what I'm talking about is having the willingness, the ability, to make positive changes in your life, as a leader, and in the life of the organization, the company, the group that you lead. That's what a leadershift is. If you make the right kind of a change, a right kind of a shift, you're going to become better as a leader, and the people around you are going to become better, because of that. I was asked recently in an interview, they said, "John, how do you stay on top of your game?"
It's a great question. I mean, how do I, at 71, still love leadership, still run the companies that I have, and do leadership the way that I do it? And I remember when they asked me the question, "How do you stay at the top of your game?" I remember my answer. And that is, "I realize that the game doesn't stay the same." It's like a baseball game. Okay, it's called baseball. But every game is different. It's no such thing as a baseball game, and the next game is going to be identical of the last one. Babe Ruth even said, "Yesterday's home run won't today's game." And so when we think of shifting, when we think of making leadershifts in our life, what we need to understand is we have to continually be in the process of change.
One of my earlier mentors, when I was in my late twenties, Olin Hendrix, was the one who shared with me. He said, "John, if you're going to grow, you're going to continually change. It's just a fact that if you grow, that means that your life will be full of leadershifts, that you will constantly be changing." On our John Maxwell team, one of the things I do, is I have what we call minute with Maxwell, which is just kind of a thing where I on online do a minute with a word. They'll give me a word. I don't even know what the word is going to be. And then I teach off of it for a minute. In fact, I had a guy come up to me the other day and said, "I watch a minute with Maxwell every morning." I said, "Well, good, thank you very much." He said, "I know how you can improve it." I said, "Oh good. Well, how could I improve it?" He said, "Have a half a minute. Yeah, just cut that baby in half."
You can get better, trust me. You can get better. But on one of the minute with Maxwell, they gave me two words and they asked me to kind of talk about for a moment. And the two words were fast forward. Now they picked that up from a theme of a company that I had spoken for. And when they gave me the two words fast forward, here's what I said. I said, "Here, let me take fast first, fast means faster. In other words, it's never going to slow down." I love people who say, "You know what? I tell you what. It's just the pace is going crazy. I can hardly wait for things to slow down."
Slow down? That means you're going to die. Things aren't going to slow down, fast just gets faster. And it keeps going, with technology and social media, fast just gets faster. I mean, fast isn't going to get slower. Fast isn't going to stop. Fast isn't going to call timeout, fast is faster. And let me say something about forward, forward is shorter. When you think into the future, it's not as long as it used to be. When I started off as a young leader, my goodness, I had a 10 year game plan, which was kind of the long range plan. You did 10 years, five years was mid range. Two year was short range. Remember I started to ask if you remember that, and then I look at you, you're too young to remember that. Trust me, okay, just believe the old boy, okay. That we used to have these little... five years, and now two years, I mean, that's like a real long range plan. You see fast is faster, and forward is shorter.
And if that's the case, which it is, if that's the case, then we're going to have to be able to leadershift faster in the changes that we want to make. So I just wrote down, and just think about these for a moment. You don't have time to write them down, but just give them some thought. I just wrote down some leadershift questions, such as, how open am I to change? Am I becoming a better listener? When will I begin to ask more questions? Can I become comfortable with ambiguity? And do I rely on my intuition enough? How adaptable am I, as I begin to lead? And I want to just say something about being adaptable. There's a difference between adaptability and conformity. You know, conformity is a negative quality of just blending in. It's becoming average. It's usually based out of a maybe a weakness of fear of rejection. And that's not what we're talking about today.
We're talking about adaptability, which is a positive quality, which is very proactive in adjusting, so that you can succeed and do better and grow. And it's a strength that's based on confidence, confidence in your intuition, and confidence in your abilities. So I want to spend the rest of my time, because I'm very excited about this, I want to spend the rest of my time talking to you about how to leadershift successfully, because that's what we all want to do. We all want to become a better leader. We all want to make these positive changes in our life, which will allow us to develop and grow in a larger portion of our leadership. So, how do we do this? So I'm ready. Now, I know you're ready. You're right there. I mean, you're on the edge of your seat. You're taking notes. I can tell you're ready, but I'm a little concerned about the person on your left.
And I can tell you're concerned also. I mean, as soon as I said, "I'm a little concerned about the person on your left," I noticed you just kind of went and said, "Yeah." It just doesn't seem to me that they may be quite as sharp as you. Now we're just beginning today, and I'm just letting you know that the person on your left, first of all, they're a good person. They're a good person, but they may need your help. And what I mean by that is, I mean, if you just kind of see them not quite catching, just take your notes and maybe say, "You know, I'll send you a copy," you know what I'm saying? In fact, just look at it right now, "It's okay. I'm going to help you." Go ahead and tell them, "It's okay, I'm going to help you."
So how do you and I leadershift successfully? Number one, let's go. We have to continually learn, unlearn, and relearn. Harvard Business review says that when you get your regular bachelor degree from college, it has basically a five year life span now. In about five years, six years, pretty much what you learn is going to be outdated, and you're going to need to update. And what I would like to do is I would like to, in this session, just kind of go through this little, kind of learn, unlearn, and relearn process, but by giving to you what I call the cycle of success, I think that if you and I want to be successful in this process of growing and just getting better, there's a five step cycle that I want to give you.
Now, this isn't mine. It's really Paul Martinelli's, who's the president of the John Maxwell team. We do year end reviews. And in our year end review last year, Paul began to walk me through this cycle of success that he uses in building the John Maxwell team. In six years, we've built a team of 20,000 coaches in 160 countries in the world. Isn't that fun? And a lot of it is because of his terrific creative leadership. And so we were talking, I said, "Show me that cycle of success that you have." And here's the way it works. Okay. You ready? Test, fail, learn, improve, reenter. And it's a cycle, test, fail, learn, improve, reenter, test, fail, learn, improve, reenter. Now, let me just take a moment and just share with you that this is how this works, because when you're making leadershift, if you're making positive changes in your life, there's a lot of testing.
You're going into territory that you don't even know it. Carly and I were doing a Q and A period at breakfast for a few of our people this morning. And one of the questions was talking about taking people where you've never been before, and going into unknown, uncharted territory. And as leaders, there are a lot of times that we're doing this. There's a lot of testing going. And when we test, there's going to be some failure. Is that not true? Let me, you're sitting on me a little bit too much on that one. So let's talk about how many of you failed at least once, today?
I love it. Somebody in the back, they got both hands up. Hey, hey, hey, here we go. I mean, for me, almost failure is a spiritual gift, okay. So whenever we're testing... It's a beautiful laugh. You're a little late, but it's a beautiful laugh. It really is. I know you're the one on the left. I got that, but we take it. We take it any time. Don't wait, huh. We take it any time, but we're all going to come short. We're all going to have failure. In fact, it's so much part of my life, I've written a book on it, called Failing Forward.
Hello? I wrote that book, look a lot of you are nodding, and say, "Well, I've read that one." Then I wrote the book, Sometimes you Win, Sometimes you Learn. In fact, when I wrote Failing Forward, I wrote it on a cruise. The story is, about a week before Margaret and I went on a cruise, I looked and on account of it was a two week cruise. And I thought, "Oh my gosh, two weeks. We're going to see the fjords of Norway." So I sat down with Margaret, and I said, "You know, two weeks to see the fjords of Norway. It's just, doesn't that seem a little long?"
Now I'm a person of faith, relax, relax. I'm person of faith. And God created the heavens and earth in six days, and we're taking two weeks to see the fjords of Norway. So we made a compromise, we went on that two week vacation. Anybody who doesn't believe in compromise, doesn't stay married very long. Hello? Hello. So we kind of did that little bit of compromise, kind of a deal, but the whole process was, she said I could write a book while we're doing the fjords of Norway. So we got this beautiful suite up front with all glass. And I got my illegal pad, because I write with a pen and a legal pad. And so we could see the fjords and we'd go in these [inaudible 00:16:18] and I'd be writing away. And then there'd be a fjord. And I'd stop, and I'd say, "Margaret, there's a fjord. Oh my goodness. Wow, that's something, isn't it?" [inaudible 00:16:27] "Oh, there's another fjord. Look at that. You know what? That fjord looks just like... that fjord."
Two weeks done, book written. 240 legal pages, full of scribbles and stuff. And there's a rubber band around it, and she's carried it off the ship and about halfway down, she stops, says, "John, John, John, loved the book. Thank you." I said, "What did you like about the book so much?" "Oh my gosh," she says, "You're so open about your failures. I mean, on every page, you talk about something you did that was stupid and another mistake you made." She said, "The readers are going to love this, but they're going to just be saying, "Oh my gosh, he did that. He did that? Oh, he did that?" She said, There's only one problem." I said, "What's the problem?" She said, "You didn't get all your failures in the book."
She said, "I see a series. Failure 101, 201, 301, four." I said, "I see a series." I says, "Well, I've written two, and I'm getting ready to write a third one." It's when you're testing, you're failing. And then you learn, but learning isn't enough. I know a lot people say, "well, I learned." Did you improve? Learning isn't going to help you. That's just mental. Did you improve? Well, we always kind of admire the person that, we call it tenacity, where they get up, and they get knocked back down, and they get up, and they get knocked back down. They just get up, knocked down and they just keep getting up and keep knocking down. And we say, "Oh my gosh, I admire them so much. They are so tenacious. They don't quit. I just love that. I wonder what makes them keep getting back up and knocked back down." Stupidity. After about two or three knockdowns, stay down. Stay down. Don't get up until you figured it out.
You want to learn, you want to improve and then guess what? Then you reenter. Today matters. And if you're really going to leadershift correctly, you got to value yesterday, but you got to live in today. I had a sign in my office for several years and it just said beautifully, yesterday ended last night. Yesterday ended last night. Get over it. If you were successful, I got something for you. It ended last night. You can't live on yesterday's success. If you failed, I've got good news for you. It ended last night. Today matters. We over-exaggerate yesterday. We overestimate tomorrow and we underestimate today. And it is today what matters. I can still remember sitting down with an author that mentored me in my early years. And I brought to him my latest book and we were having dinner and we're out in Colorado Springs.
And so I gave it to him. I said, this is my, I just came out to my latest book and I'll never forget. He looked at me. He said, "John, is this a real good book?" And I looked at him and said, "Oh yes." I said, "It's a real good book. It's a good book. And I'm proud of it." He said, "I'm glad." He said, "Because let me say something to you. The most important thing for you to do is every time you write a book, make sure it's your best."
"Because," he said, "If you put out a book that's not good, all of your readers, the next time another book comes out, they're going to ask, should I buy it or not?" He said, "Make sure that everything you do, is right there, it's at your best." And people ask me all the time, they say, "John, when you're writing books, what's your favorite book of all the books you've written?" And it's very simple. My favorite book is the book I'm writing. It's the book I'm doing right now. It's my favorite book. In fact, when I'm writing and I think, "Oh my gosh, this is so good. Why didn't I write this earlier? Yes, yes, yes!"
And then it gets published, and then I write another one. Oh, this one's better. Somebody said, "How long are you to write books?" I'm going to keep writing books as long as I think the one I'm writing is the best I've ever done. And the day that I don't get excited about what I'm doing today is the day I quit. You see your value yesterday, but, but you understand, you've got to live in the moment, you've got to live in today. The third thing you want to do is you want to rely on speed, but thrive on timing. You see, all leaders have something in common, regardless of culture, age, doesn't matter. All leaders have one thing in common, and that is they see more than others see, they see the big picture. I mean, that's why they're leader, and they not only see more than others see. They see before others see. So they not only see it bigger, they see it quicker.
And by the way, when I go back to the fast forward talk, I had a moment ago with you, when I started off, when things were at a slower pace, seeing more than others see, that was bigger than anything else. But can I tell you something today? It's been replaced now, now it's seeing before others see. Things are going so fast. You need to leadershift and change so quickly that it's seeing before, because there's a great advantage of seeing before, and get started first. Now, let me just say this. If you're in a group of 10 people and they all see more than you see, and they all see before you see, leadership is not your thing, okay. Okay. But seeing before is all about speed and seeing more, when you see more, it's all about the context of the big picture.
That's a lot about timing, but the before is such an advantage because it lets you get started first. I was having dinner a few years ago with Gail Deavers and you recognize that name, that great Olympic lady athlete that won more gold medals and any other track star. Oh, she was amazing, in fact when I was having dinner with her and her husband that night and her little, she had a little girl with her, she was getting ready for the next Olympics since she was really going to be in time trials, running against girls that were young enough to be her children. And so she's just an amazing, amazing athlete.
So we're having a great dinner and I'm waiting for this. I'm just waiting for it. So I finally get close to the end of the dinner and I said, "Gail, just what you've accomplished is amazing, as an Olympic athlete." "And gosh," I said, "I've been thinking about this. I've been hesitant to talk to you about it, but I just have to bring it up. I think if you and I ran a hundred yard race, I think I could win."
Now that wasn't very nice. That little smart Alec laugh of yours. I could even hear it in the other sites out there. And then she looked at me with this incredible disbelief. And she said, "What do you mean?" I said, "What I mean," I said, "I think if I ran a hundred yard race with you, I could win." She looked at her husband said, "Did you hear him?" "I heard him." And she looks back at me, and said, "You got to be kidding me." And then what really hurt, is she looked at my body.
I hate that. She looked at this Pillsbury Doughboy. You know what I'm saying? And she just says, "You got to be kidding me." I got her right on the edge. Just exactly where I want it. I mean, I got her, she was ready to take her heels off, go out in front of that restaurant, and we're going to run a block. I mean, the juices were going and I got her right where I wanted her. I said, "Now Gail, before we go out and race, I just want you to know, I can win, if you give me an 80 yard headstart." And she just kind of stepped back. And she goes, "Of course, of course, 80 yards, yes. Okay. If I give you 80, yeah, you could win race." Now, let me just say something, all dinner long, I thought about the 80 yards.
I so desperately wanted to say 70, but I got to thinking about 70 and I'm not sure, but on 80, yes, even this fat boy can roll across. Yes, I can win if I get... Now see, no, we're not talking about speech. He's a lot faster than me, but I got started first. It's getting started first, seeing before others see. In this leadership team, one of the things that's incredible, is that when you begin to learn to make these positive changes, you begin to understand context, which is more and the big picture. And then you begin to understand timing, and getting started, and being first. It begins to be pretty incredible. Let me just say this. When you see the bandwagon, it's too late to lead, okay. Number four, before I give you number four, are you learning something? Okay. Okay. Okay. I know you are. The real question is... Don't say anything. Just glance at the notes.
Can I go on, are they ready? Huh? Okay. And you'll help them, right? You'll help bring them along. Number four, number four, the big picture should keep getting bigger. When you leadershift correctly, that vision, that picture, it just grows, and it begins to expand. Last year was the 25th anniversary of me writing the book, Developing the Leader Within You. So my publisher came and asked me to do a revision of the book. I said I'd be glad to do a revision of that book. And in the contract, they said I had to revise 15%. So I went back to a book I wrote 25 years ago. I don't recommend this because I went into about three days of depression. I mean, I read this book and I kept thinking, "This isn't very good. I got to tell the two and a half million people that bought this. This isn't very good."
So when I started revising it, I didn't revise 15%. I revised 85%. I mean, it's almost like it's why it's called Developing The Leader Within You 2.0, it's a new book. I mean, it's the same title, but it's a new book. And the reason why 25 years ago, when I wrote that book, we were on the same page. We were on the same level. But guess what's happened in 25 years? I'm growing, the picture is getting bigger. I'm learning, I'm getting better. 25 years later, I'm here. But where's the book? The book's down here, I had to go back. I had to go back and catch up.
Somebody said, "Didn't that bother you? That you had to revise 85% of the book?" No, it just meant I'm getting 85% better. I'm growing. So you see, when you leadershifting correctly, the picture just gets bigger and you're expanding. And let me just put it this way. If what you did five years ago, still excites you, you're in trouble. You're in trouble. I mean, there's nothing worse than having leaders that are historians.
I thought leadership was kind of like going forward, but there are some leaders that all they do is talk about the good old days. And let me just tell you, the good old days, they weren't that good. You just got memory loss. They weren't that good. They weren't that good. The big picture should be getting bigger. Number five, live in today, but think about tomorrow. If you're going to leadershift correctly, you live now, but you're constantly out there. And why do you have to be thinking about tomorrow all the time? Because, the future has a way of arriving unannounced. It just does. I mean, all of a sudden it's here, and time just goes fast. And so we're living today, but we're constantly thinking about in the future. I sometimes do a teaching called advanced attraction, which basically simply says that if you know who you are and if you know what you want, okay, then what happens is once you know who you are, once you know what you want, then your mind will begin to think things that will get you what you want.
And your eyes will begin to see things that will get you what you want. And your ears will begin to hear things that will help you get what you want. And your mouth will start to say things that will help you get what you want. And your hands will help you do things that'll help you get what you want. And your life will begin to attract things and attract people that will help you get what you want. Now, it all begins, advance attraction always begins by the fact that you're thinking tomorrow. You know what you want, you know what you're going for. You know what you're going after. And then it begins to attract the people, the resources, the experiences that you need, to get there. Number six, if you want to leadershift well, move forward courageously, in the midst of uncertainty. Wow.
You see life expands or basically shrinks, based upon the amount of courage that we have. And when you begin to lead in uncertain areas and pathways that you've never taken before, one of the first things you do is, is you know that you move forward courageously, even when you don't have all the answers, even when you don't have all the resources in your life. There are some people that are saying, "You know what? I'm not going to go forward until I have all the answers." You'll never go forward. "Well, I'm not going to go forward until I have all the resources." You'll never go forward. Leadershifting means that you go forward courageously. You see, people, they don't follow titles and position. They follow courage.
And sometimes that courage means that you and I walking out, and we aren't certain and the future isn't completely clear to us. And it's the fact that we need to have moral courage to do the right thing, regardless. I was being interviewed the other day. As some of you, many of you probably don't know, but one of our organizations were major into helping bring transformation into countries. And it's an incredible project of basically in small groups, teaching real good values to people, and helping them learn those values, and live out those values until we can.
Our goal is to get the tipping point in any country of 10% of the population in these small groups, learning and living and fleshing out these values. And it's going well, but it's a big project. And so in the interview, they asked me, they said, "What do you think your odds are of ever transforming a country?" And I said, "They're very low." And I surprised him. He said, "Well, if they're so low, why are you doing it?" I said, "Because it's right."
My leadership isn't based on odds, my leadership is based on what's the right thing, what's going to help people. I would rather have something bigger than me, of which I never get there. Are you with me? I never get there. I would rather die never seeing a country transformed, knowing that we're in the midst of adding value to a whole bunch of people and teach it. I would rather die not arriving at something big, than to live embracing something small. You were created. I was created for something bigger than us. And I'm a person of faith, and I don't want to project that on you, but it's just very simple. One of my early mentors said, "John, do something so big that people who know you will look at you and shake their heads and say, I know you, you're not that good. You're not that good. God, must've helped you."
And I just at that moment said, "I'm going to embrace God's space. I'm going to do something a little bit bigger than what is beyond me, and maybe even beyond my team. That's what leadershifting is all about, making the shifts, the changes that will allow you to get there. One more point, number seven, realize that today's best will not meet tomorrow's challenges. Leadershifting is all about getting better. Everyone can improve.
Everything can be improved and every day has improvement possibilities. And we just need to do an autopsy on our success. I was having a conversation with Mark Cole, my CEO of my companies. We were traveling internationally and we were having a dinner conversation. And he talked to me about, he said, "John, I watch you get very excited about the moment and celebrate the moment. You celebrate really well the moment. But the next day I watched that celebration turn to dissatisfaction." And he said, "Can you talk to me? How can you be so thrilled with something that we just have done? And it was wonderful. And the next day you're already kind of moving on and dissatisfied?" I said, "It's very simple. It's the difference between best and better."
You see, I'm doing my best right now to deliver a teaching on leadershifts to you. And it's the best I can do. I mean, I've worked on it. I put the best stuff I know. And I got up early this morning and looked at it again. And I know I wrote the book, but I'm still rewriting the book. And I'm giving you my very best. I really am and it's my best. And that's good, because you deserve the best. You deserve 100%, but here's what I want you to understand, my best today can get better tomorrow.
And so when I go to tomorrow, the dissatisfaction is, how can I take the best now? And so, the best today becomes the floor for tomorrow. I build on the floor. I build off of the floor. It's kind of like, okay, that was good. I gave it a hundred percent, but a hundred percent was yesterday. And I got to give it a hundred percent again today, as my mentor, John Wooden so beautifully taught me when he would look at his ballplayers in practice and they weren't giving it a hundred percent, he'd go up to him and say, "Hey, you're not giving me your best." "I know coach, my gosh, girlfriend broke up with me last night, got exams, I'm tired. I'm giving you about 70%."
"Okay, 70%." He said, "Now here's the mistake you're making, you think you can give me 70% today, and you can make it up tomorrow." He said, "You can't do 130% tomorrow. You can only do a hundred percent." He said, "What you don't do today, hello, what you don't do today is left on the table forever. It's lost. It's lost. Leadershifting is all about taking best. And then tomorrow saying best was good yesterday. And it was my best and I have integrity in it, but I want it to be better tomorrow."
Mark Cole: Wasn't that an amazing lesson? It's easy to see where we felt like this was definitely one of our best in the best of Live2Lead series, but we're not done. We will have another bonus episode on Friday, October 2nd. If you enjoyed John's talk today, I hope you'll consider joining us for Live2Lead this year because we're doing something we've never done before. We're going virtual with Live2Lead. That's right. You can be a part of the 2020 Live2Lead event from the comfort of your very own home or office. We knew that 2020 was the perfect year to bring our event to your doorstep. And that's exactly what we have done.
You can join John, Allen Malali, Kat Cole, Steve Harvey, and thousands of other leaders at Live2Lead, and join us in answering today's call of values-based people-centric leadership. To learn more, or to secure your virtual ticket, visit Johnmaxwell.com/virtual, that's V-I-R-T-U-A-L. I hope you enjoyed today's bonus lesson. And I hope you'll go ahead and mark your calendars to join me and join John for next Friday's lesson, October 2nd, until then let's lead.