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Highly successful people fail a lot is because they learn from it, you know, the value of a failing is learning.
Hello and welcome. I'm Shane Parrish, and you're listening to the Knowledge Project, a podcast dedicated to mastering the best of what other people have already figured out. This podcast helps you better understand yourself and the world around you by exploring the methods, ideas and hard fought lessons learned from some of the most incredible people in the world today.
I'm talking with leadership guru John Maxwell. John is the author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership Developing The Leader Within You and the 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. His books have sold more than 30 million copies in 50 languages. We talk in depth about leadership and why the greatest challenge of leadership is leading yourself. Why is mid-life review at 40 left him questioning why he wasn't where he wanted to be and what it means to live a fulfilled life. Sit back, relax and get ready for a master class in leadership and life.
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Check them out at 80-20. Don't think that eight zero two zero dot AI and C. John, you've taught over six million people how to lead better. What surprised you the most during that time? Well, I think the biggest surprise is that most people. Don't qualify themselves as a leader, they think of it as a title or a position, and so whenever I talk about leadership, it's kind of like, well, I'm not one of those.
And yet what I do is I teach leadership and influence, nothing more, nothing less. And every person has influence and then they kind of get excited because I say I can help, you know, how to increase influence. You know that that appeals to you as a parent of children. OK, I can increase my influence, which as you do that, it's basically you're increasing your ability to lead people successfully. So I think what's been really a wonderful surprise is that once people understand and equate leadership and influence together, then they're all in there saying, hey, OK, I may never have a leadership position, but I would certainly like to be able to be an influential person.
And so they kind of dive into the leadership pool. Are there levels of influence?
I think you've written about them. What are those levels? Yeah, there are five. I wrote a book called The Five Levels of Leadership. What makes the book so helpful to people as they begin to understand that leadership is over, it's not a noun and that there are different degrees of leadership and that they can kind of find out where they are and then if they want to, they can have a game plan to go to the next level. So it begins at the very bottom, what we call the lowest level of leadership, which is the position level.
It's where you have a job title, job description that says you're a leader. Maybe they even call you a leader or supervisors or whatever. What's I think most insightful about level one, the position level is that it's the lowest level of leadership, and yet 80 percent of the people never get off of level number one. And I think they never get off of level number one because nobody's ever made them aware that there are other levels. It's kind of like, wow, I I'm now a leader, in fact, for debate just this.
Like last week I became a leader. John, I know that immediately that they think that being having the position of leadership makes them a leader, which it does it. So level one is position level. And that's where we that's where we normally all start. Somebody gives us a leadership shot. And then level two is the permission level, which is all about relationships. In fact, it's at level number two, that that the people, the people that you lead give you permission to leave because they like you and you like them.
And so there's a relationship synergy that begins at level number to get a lot more energy at that level from the people level number three at the production level. And I often say that this is where the credibility of leadership really begins, because people, if they're going to follow you, they have hopes that their life is going to get better. If you haven't been successful yourself, how are you going to make other people successful? You cannot give what you do not have it.
So level three is all about. Being personally successful, so I have the credibility and the moral authority to lead other people. Love will force the people to follow up. This is where. I don't really know how to lead myself, but I know how to help other people learn how to lead. And of course, that's that's the the main purpose of my book on the leaders greatest return is it's all about the fact that if you want to compound influence and want come down time, energy, money or anything like that, if you really want to compound it, you have to do it with others through others, which is a level four, then level five as PINNACLE, where you've done it so well with so many for so long that after a while you just kind of become bigger than life.
And why I teach these levels of leadership is to help people understand and be aware that no matter where you are, it's a journey, it's a verb. You've got to keep moving. And no matter where you are, you certainly can continue to grow and develop and hopefully grow up to another level.
Is it easy for us to gain awareness of where we are in this? Do we just like intuitively look at these and we're like, OK, I know where I am? Or is are there signs or cues that we should be paying attention to?
No, I think that there's a lack of awareness. In fact, I wrote that book because most people weren't aware that there were levels of leadership. They weren't aware that leadership is a continual growth process and that leaders develop daily data that they. And so I wrote the book to help a person become aware because you can't grow yourself unless you know yourself. And so I think it's very important to as a leader, to help people with awareness of where they are, you know, where they could be.
And when people talk about being self aware, I always say, I don't think so. I think that we all have blind spots. I do. I have things that I don't see about myself. And that's why I need other people to come around to, you know, care for me, but but want to see me obviously reach my potential. And so they sometimes the only self-awareness I have is the awareness that was given to me by someone else until I understood it and had a maybe a teachable spirit said, OK, I'm going to work on this area now.
Now that I see it, now that I know it. So I think a lot of my leadership writing, a lot of my leadership team. Really just help people be self aware where they are and it's kind of like what you know, where you are now, you can kind of get going in the right direction. But but sometimes I have to find myself before I can move where I want to be. And so, you know, the leaders greatest return, the five levels of leadership, you know, develop the leader with you 2.0.
These are leadership books I've written. There's a lot of awareness in it where it's kind of like I know that once you're aware, you're going to be able to improve yourself. So let me just kind of hold up the mirror for you, let you see yourself so that you can proceed.
You said in the past that if your level of influence is higher with the followers than the leaders, you're in trouble. Can you expand on that?
Well, I can. First of all, most leaders never develop other leaders. They just have followers. And the reason for that is very simple. Followers are looking for somebody to lead them. Obviously, they're looking for the light. Where do I get in and where we're going and how can you help me get there?
Whereas if you trying to develop leaders, they're not as needy and they're not as hungry to get in line and have somebody kind of show the way, in fact, they kind of want to put people in their. I used to laugh and say leading leaders like herding cats.
So when I wrote what I wrote this book, All the Leaders Greatest Return, it's kind of like if you read this book, I don't I don't promise you it's going to be easy, but I do promise you will be worthwhile.
I wrote the book because as a young leader and people that have are starting off and trying to build businesses, they have so many things that demand and call for their attention. It's kind of like I don't have time to invest in my people. I don't have time to mentor them because I've got to keep, you know, just try to keep this door open here. And it's a huge mistake because if you invest in people, they'll help you keep that door open and you won't have to be doing it all yourself.
But many people just don't see the return or the fact that they have so many other pressing needs right now that they they see the return. But they say, I don't have time to go there right now and it's only too late.
You realize that you. Yes, you should have.
Yeah, well, that happened to me, Shane, when I you know, when I turned 40, I did a kind of a review of my first half and I became a little discouraged because I had really developed and grown myself. And in the eyes of a lot of people, I'd been successful. But but I hadn't achieved yet what I wanted to achieve. And so I kind of, you know, just said, well, why am I not where I want to be?
And I came to the conclusion I had not spent enough time developing and investing in other leaders. And so, in fact, it was out of that experience that when I wrote the book, The 21 Irrefutable Loss of Leadership, it was all of that experience that I wrote, the law of the inner circle. Those who are closest to you determine the level of your success. And what I discovered was that that I had and reach my potential because I hadn't spent the invest at the time of the people around me enough so they could help me raise that level.
And so I made a commitment at 40. I'm now 72 and that was the rest of my life. I was going to spend that in investing in my people and developing them and helping them learn how to lead. And it was the greatest business decision I ever made because in the last 32 years, the return has been pretty, pretty huge. But it's been a huge return because all of a sudden I took the vision for me to we and I created a leadership culture, an empowering environment.
And what I did that these people came alongside of me and, you know, help me lift the load and help me do things. I couldn't have done it by now. That's really interesting.
I'd love to hear more about that sort of audit you did at 40. Like, how did you define success when you said you weren't as successful as you wanted to be?
Well, I think every person has kind of an idea. You know, you've got a dream and and you're not sure how it's all going to end up. But at 40, when I kind of was checking in with myself, what I knew was that one, I worked very hard. And number two is that people that from the outside, it would look at me would already consider me to probably be successful. But I felt within me that I had not yet achieved near the level of my potential, and yet I looked at myself and I said, well, I'm you know, I'm working very hard.
I'm not a lazy person at all. And so why am I not satisfied or why am I not to the level I think I want to be? And my conclusion, after not a long time, a few days of just innovatory, was that my team that I had, I brought them in to do a workload or to carry a workload for me, but I hadn't developed it. And so they weren't getting any better. And if they weren't getting any better than the company wasn't going to get any better.
And so I said, OK, I know what I'm going to do now. I'm going to I'm going to pour my life into these people and help them to get better, which is going to increase their capacity to help other people to grow to. And that's what I did at 40 and in the last 32 years have been just incredible. But they've been incredible because I I made a change. I you know, I called an audible at 40 and said, OK, John, your number one priority from now on this developing other people and the leaders greatest return is really a result.
It's kind of like the end of the story of what I began at the age of 40 to do. And now I'm looking at it. And I said, oh, my goodness, I wish when when I was 20, I would had somebody talk about developing the people around me and showing me how to do it, because now I know where the return is. When I was young, I just I just thought, work hard and, you know, stay focused and you'll get everything that you want to have or that you need to have.
But that's not true.
That's a really interesting insight. Have you had any other sort of insights as you've you've gotten older with how you determine success or satisfaction or happiness and love? Of course.
You know, I mean, Shein, when I started off, it was all about building my career.
And I did that. I did that. But I began to realize as the years have matured me, that that success and significance are not the same thing.
And success pretty much is about me and about what I've done in my career. And and, you know, I've taken care of my family, the money I've made, you know, and the house that I have and etc. and I all of a sudden I realized that there was a higher level of living there. And that was what I would call a living, a life of significance. And significances is all about others, it it's how did I add value to you today and how am I adding value to your listeners?
And and it's not about me. It's about improving the life of others. But I bet you do, too. I know a lot of successful people. They're not happy. I mean, they have a lot of stuff, but they're not happy. But but I've never known a person that committed the significance, which is adding value intentionally to others on a consistent basis. I've never known anybody that lived a significant life, which was all about others that that was unhappy.
And all of a sudden I realized that our unhappiness, sometimes disappointment, disillusionment is based on the fact that we thought that if we would take care of ourselves, our life would be fulfilling. And it's not we're we're too small or I mean, it's got to be more than just about me. And the moment that I kind of lose myself and taught it to others, I honestly start to find myself. And that's been that's been a major transition and growth area of my life also.
But I mean, there there are so many of them.
That's an amazing answer. I sort of see things very similar to what you do. I mean, happiness aside, one of the areas that you spend a lot of time researching and a lot of you spend a lot of time with successful people, I'm curious as to not only what successful people do that other people don't do, but also what a successful people avoid doing that other people seem to do. I had a mentor.
Let me tell you a story. I had a mentor and he wrote books and I hadn't written any books. In fact, I didn't have any desire to write any books nor having lunch one day. And so I asked him, I said, why do you write books? And he said, Well, I write books to influence people that that are beyond my personal touch. He said, I want to have influence and help people that I'll never get to know.
And when he told me that, I mean, something within me just clicked. And I looked at him and I said, well, then I'm going to write books, too. Well, I wrote books because I wanted to write a book. I wrote books because I wanted to expand and extend my influence beyond me. And so literally that, you know, that that was the catalyst to get me to write the books. And then after that discussion, I thought, well, if I if I'm going to add value to people that I've never going to know, I mean, what is it that I could say or what what what is it that the reader needs to hear for me to do that for them?
And, you know, how can I help people be successful? So about 16, 18 months for that period of time, I just studied success and observed successful people, did a lot of Q&A and and I just dived into this area of of what does it take to be successful?
I came up with the conclusion that the successful people do four things really well, regardless of what their occupation is or career. Those four things change our relationships. Highly successful people, artists are they're good with people.
You know, people will go along with you if they can't get along with you. So I said, OK, that I'm going to ride on relationships.
I'm going to I'm going to help people learn how to connect with other people. And then the second thing I discovered about successful people is they had the ability to to form teams and get people on the team and then to, you know, equip them and mobilize them and, you know, began to empower them to do help for the cause. And and so I said, OK, I'm going to write books not only about relationships, how to get along with people who write a book about equipping and how to train and develop people and how to build teams.
And then the third area I came to conclusion after much study was that successful people have what I would call an attitude, tenacity that allows them to get through it, overcome adversity. I said, OK, that I need to help people do that. I need to write about the attitude which the attitude isn't everything, but it's the mainstay. It's the main thing. And, you know, attitude only shows up during difficult times attitude. The attitude gives you no advantage during good times because during good times everybody has good attitude, mean when things are going my way.
I mean, I'm an attitude fine. But it's when the adversity comes and the challenges come. That's when my attitude becomes what I call the difference maker, so I said, OK, that I'm going to write books that that that will help people have an attitude to overcome adversity, difficulty and challenges. So now I've got relationships, I've got equipping, I've got an attitude. And then the fourth area I came to, the conclusion was that successful people influence others and and know how to lead.
And so I said, OK, I'm going to write leadership books. Going will teach people how to influence others and how to make their influence really count.
So that was clear back when my first book came out in 1979 for 40 years, my books have that continual theme of relationships, Equipe down to leadership. And what I discovered was that when I did that, you know, what was it, you know?
Thirty four million books later I was I was every time writing to write it not only in a felt need of a person, but in something that was going to make a difference for that person, that if they truly could do these four things and develop in these four areas and improve these areas, their life, their business, everything was going to be vastly improved.
So I've stayed in those lanes with all of my books and, you know, suddenly made me more towards leadership than anything else. Others lean more to relationships or attitude, but pretty much those books are going to continually be in those four areas because I think that's successful. People do those things you know really well.
And I do think that sets them apart from many times, from people that are not successful.
All those things seem like choices or different. A different way of thinking. Is that is that a good way to think about them, that their choices? Yeah. You choose to engage in relationships with people. You choose your attitude sharing.
The most exciting thing about what I do in writing books is that what I write about? If a person truly makes a choice to to improve themselves in that area, they'll have improvement. It's you know, I only want to write about things that people can grow and develop it.
I mean, it's there's no need for me to write something that's unachievable or unreachable. I it needs to be something where a person when I write a book, I want a person to pick up that book and basically say I can do this. And the moment that they have confidence that they can that they can begin to do this. Now, I become their best friend.
And again, the books that I write, I wanted to be simple and practical and applicable so everybody can look at them, you know, not only understand them, but they can do something with it. And I think that's a lot of the joy of writing is that what I write about is within the choice realm of an individual and they can choose, if they want to, to improve themselves. And at those who do choose that they're my kind of people.
They're the ones I keep writing for.
Talk to me a little bit about a confidence is is that something we're born with is is something we acquire. If we acquire it, how do we go about acquiring it?
Well, I think, first of all, I, I believe that there are people that some people over in comparison to others have a natural leaning towards being a confident person.
I think that there are some people that just OK, there's a there's a a naturalness about that to them, that they they're not working as hard on it as someone else that you'd have to say is maybe a born inward trait. So I think that there's a part of that in a person's life, whether it's leadership or confidence or whatever.
But even if it's a natural inclination or a leaning, that a person has to be self-confident. They have to develop it, you know, no matter what kind of natural gifts and talents you and I have, there still is a responsibility of ours to maximize those talents, learn and grow and prove and, you know, order our life so that we're going to continue to grow. And so when it comes to leadership and all of these, what I would call success issues in a life, it's kind of like, what are you doing with your life now to make it better or to improve it?
And I think that we all, to improve our life, have to be committed to a process. There's no quick way to get to the top. And it's a it's an uphill, steady climb. Leaders are not made in a day.
They're made daily.
And I think that I help people buy into that process of every day and I'm getting better. But it's not like it's one event or it's one moment so that all of a sudden, you know, quote made me I think that it's in the consistence, consistency compounds and I think it's in the consistency of doing the right things over a period of time that one day you wake up and you just say, wow, look, look what's happening to my life.
I know that I could say that to be true in my life. At 72, I look back and I honestly change. I could I could hardly believe these things have happened to me. But as I look back and reflect on what has happened to me, I, I do know this.
They didn't happen all at once. They didn't happen with a secret formula. They were a combination of day in and day out making today count and learning and and staying the course. And all of a sudden there's a compounding on the back end. This pretty it's pretty amazing, but it only happens on the back end because you are consistent on the front.
And one of the most underappreciated things I think about compounding is that most of the results come at the end, not at the beginning. That's right. And we're always looking for the results of the beginning and rarely at the end.
But that's that is just absolutely true. And so in the area, as we talked about confidence for a moment, I think this is I think this is a big miss for a lot of people.
I may have a natural bent to being confident, so therefore that give me a little bit of a bit of an edge in the confidence game, but here's what I know. If I don't back up that confidence that I feel. Was success, that confidence will become very shallow and very hollow after a while, and that's why I tell people, you know, you could like for a parent, you can affirm your children, tell their wonderful children and, you know, they're going to do amazing things.
But can I tell you something that they need to do some amazing things. The more I tell a person how good they are without them proving it to themselves, the more that that those words just have like meaning and they lack influence. And so I think in a one of the things I love about the leaders greatest return is that I really talk about developing the leadership culture in that book. And leadership cultures is all about behavior. It's kind of like vision is is what you see for your future.
But culture is who you are now. And my behavior today is determined what I will come tomorrow. And I think that I, I think that in confidence, developing a leadership culture where people have an opportunity in one chapter I talk about come to the leadership table where they have an opportunity to get in their leadership environment and get your ship discussion and ask leadership questions about leadership interaction. It's at that table that they kind of get emboldened to practice leadership and how a person really develops their leadership skills or develops the skills leadership others is by by practice, by doing it.
And here's what I know. If I had some success in leading others and get some wins under my belt, all of a sudden I. I replaced the confidence that has been given to me by affirmation.
I replace that with confidence that is given to me by accomplishment. And if you're just affirming me, but I'm not seeing results in my life, that that confidence gets shaken very quickly. But but if I've lived in an affirming, affirming kind of culture and then I'm starting the season of success, I'm getting some wins on my belt. Now, all of a sudden this confidence begins. I begin to own it.
It's I'm not borrowing belief from someone else.
I am now experiencing belief from what I've seen accomplished that I think that is a big turn for a lot of people in their life, that once they once they do the things that that they need to do to get a few wins under their belt, then that if they own it now, I don't have to continually give them information.
I think it makes it to report.
But but they're not waiting on that for because they now have experienced some success themselves. And so they have that self-confidence that really allows them to achieve on a higher level. I like that a lot.
And I think part of it comes down to yourself, too, right? Like before you you can lead others. I think you in some ways have to learn to lead yourself.
Absolutely. Get results through accomplishment which will create confidence, no question.
You know that people ask me what my greatest leadership challenge is and I always tell them what my greatest challenge as a leader is leading me. You know, it's easy to tell other people what to do or, you know, it's easy to say go ahead and charge that hill. But I got to go charge that hill and I've got to make these improvements. And it's easier to tell somebody what to do that, to do it yourself. So I think all great leadership with others begins with personal leadership myself.
The first victory I want to have in my life is is a personal. And, you know, if I've got a few of those, I can help you get some victories in your life also. But but I definitely believe that the credibility of leadership, the confidence, the leadership all begins with I when I lead myself. Well, if I can beat myself, well, then I've got potential leading up. But if I can't lead myself, well, you know why?
Why why would I want someone else to follow me? You know, to be honest, we a lot of people, they wouldn't be able to and wouldn't want to follow themselves because they haven't done that.
What are some of the mistakes that we make when we're trying to lead ourselves then getting our own way?
Well, I think that most of my sabotaging self leadership issues has been the fact that I was unaware.
But I don't think people purposely. You had a blind spot. Yeah, yeah.
I don't think they purposely go down the wrong path. I just think that they're aware and somebody has to come alongside and help me to deceive myself.
And, you know, I told somebody one time, I said, you know, blindspots means that they're blind spots. You have no idea. You're totally surprised when all of a sudden you see something that you've never seen before. And one of the greatest things we could do for others is to come alongside of them and help them with those areas again in the leader's greatest return.
I talk about that. I talk about the fact that, you know, with the people that are on your team, they need to they need to make some tweaky. They need to make some adjusting. And I can either let them go and not, quote, offend them or I can basically look, I've said, look, I care enough for you that I'm going to confront you on this issue. I'm going to I care enough for you to to be honest with you.
You know, Max, the priest had the first responsibility of a leader is to is to define reality. And the first definition of reality I have to have as a leader is for myself. And the moment that I can do that, I build a foundation for me to now build leadership on it. And that's a big difference.
And, you know, I tell people if they want to reach their dreams, make sure your foundation is solid and realistic.
I've talked with a lot of people. I'm one of the things that surprises me is nobody's ever come up to anybody that I know of and said, here's the one thing that's holding you back at work. I work with you. I know it. I believe in you. I want to help you. Nobody ever does that. Why do you think that is?
Why I think that I think a lot of times we don't speak to another person's life because we you know, we don't want to hurt them. You know, we maybe we want them to like us as a as a young leader.
One of my greatest weaknesses was that I wanted to make everybody happy. And I and I mistakenly thought that good leaders made everybody happy. And so I was I was much more concerned on making them happy that I was helping them.
And in fact, I remember when I wrote the Twenty One Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, I was signing books, Shane.
And so this guy brought up the 21 Laws book. Me and I started Sidonie Sajadi today, I read the book and he said, I disagree with with with one of your last.
And I smiled. I said, well, that's OK. I signed the book and handed it back to him. He never moved. He said, Wait, I don't think you understood me. He said, I read the 21 laws. And he said, I I disagree with one of those laws. And I guess. Right. I said, I understand what he said.
It's OK if you don't you don't have to agree with all the laws. I'm OK with that. Well, I was OK with that, but he wasn't OK with that.
So he's kind of, you know, kind of want to press me a little bit more.
And it's kind of like somebody coming up to me and said they don't agree with the law of gravity.
Well, OK, it's OK. I mean, I. I guess it's OK. Here's what I do know.
If you just go up to the top of a four story building and jump off very quickly, you buy into the law of gravity.
The you know, the law of gravity doesn't ask you if you buy into it or you agree with it. It just is. It's just a law. And I looked at him that day and I said, you know, I said, I don't write books to make you happy.
I write books to help you. And that that's that's just that's just life changing once you realize that that, you know, in my beginning leadership career, I just try to make everybody happy. And I was helping people, but I was trying to, you know, get them to like me and like what I was saying and what day I came to the realization that, you know, I'm supposed to be a leader, not a clown. So let's let's just be honest with people and do it in the right way to it privately.
Always have their best interests at heart to be there. I can give you a whole list of ways to approach people, but you don't we don't help people by letting them stay in their areas of blind spots and awareness. So there's no improvement to be made there. And people say, well, I think as they get older, they're going to get better. I don't know if it's a blind spot.
They're just going to get better as they get older, they're just going to get a lot more blind.
And so I think we really help people when we when we are open with them and kind.
And obviously you do it. There's a right way to do that. There's a right way to do that.
That seems like a great lesson to learn so much today seems actually about learning and unlearning and relearning. What have you uncovered about learning?
Well, I found that this learning and learning to read learning process is essential to a person's success. And in fact, I wrote another book later Shift. And in that I talk about this process of learning and learning and really learning.
You know, Harvard Business Review in the last year has come out with the statement that if you have a bachelor's degree in five years, that past history only has about a five year shelf life.
Now. And well, what does that say that be true? I've got to keep learning new things that and what I learned in college I've got to unlearn and then I got to turn around and reload again.
And that cycle never stops of learning, learning and free learning. And you know, I have a I have a wonderful company called the John Maxwell team, it's a coaching company. We have 30000 plus coaches, 162 countries around the world. And it's just been the fastest growing, largest successful coaching company in the world.
And people ask me all the time, how how has that been successful? Well, we have a cycle of success that we go through it. And that cycle has five parts to it. It's the first you know, the first part is to test the school, try something. We're not even really sure that'll work, but but but we need new ideas, and so let's try it. Well, right behind the test is the failure, if you test a lot of new things, you're going to fail and a lot of it because you never tried it before.
And often I say we're never good the first time. And so you test it and you fail. In fact, the reason you test is to find out what works and find out what doesn't work now when we fail. And by the way, failure, I think people missed this all the time to say failure is not the opposite of success. It's not like one, they're way apart and you either succeed or you're failing.
And if you're feeling you're not succeeding and failure, failure and success go together, they're not even supposed to be apart.
You know, it's not like I succeeded. It never failed or I always failed. It never succeeded at all. Success. There's quite a bit of failure. And and the reason that highly successful people fail a lot is because they learn from it that, you know, the value of a failing is learning. So when people talk to me, they say, well, you know, Charlie. Wow. You know, I've messed up in this area and I failed.
I can hardly wait for him to finish the story so I could ask him a very simple question. What did you learn from that? Because it's in the learning from our failures that really allow us to to do very well and to just really to excel so, you know, you test, you fail, you improve and or you learn. And the value of learning is to improve.
Learning is overrated unless it brings positive change in our life, and when you improve and get better, guess what? Then you re-enter. And you're back in the game, and when you re-enter, guess what you're going to do again, you're going to test fail to prove it, reenter and that learning a learning and reloading cycle really, really never once, never stops. Do you ever want to stop you because you've got to continually do the testing, pushing the envelope to have some failure to learn from it, to improve and make stuff better so they can get back in the game.
The process is so important for where you end up, so the process for just sort of not being focused necessarily the goal is obviously important, but it's the actual process by which you accomplish that goal totally.
You're exactly right. In fact, I think the mistake most people make is their goal oriented instead of growth oriented as who you become along the way.
That matters. That's exactly right.
You know, and when you're goal oriented, you basically are looking for a number or a time and a date and you judge how well you did by, you know, did you hit that goal or did you you know, did you reach that timeline?
And we began to lose sight of the fact that if work growth oriented, we're continually developing ourselves, we'll hit all of our goals.
Growth helps you reach your milestones in life. But the difference is that if you're continually growing, if you reach one of those milestones, it's not the finish line. So, like, OK, now what do I do with my life? How many times have I seen people who are it? And they worked hard and they finally hit that goal and then they kind of almost lost their way instead of understanding the value of growth. Now, what I started off as a young leader.
The first personal growth kit I had was a was a goal setting growth kit out out of Waco, Texas, with that is seven hundred dollars.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It's at seven. And it was all on goal setting. And so I'm very grateful I took the course and listen to all the tapes, did all the exercises and it helped me immensely. And so, you know, I started off being very goal oriented. But remember, if I go back to the story of my mentor, you know, and he said he wrote books and influence people, if I want to influence people, what will I write about?
I came up with relationships Equipe dad to leadership the moment I began to focus on being a person that really actually connects with people, being a person that develops teams, being a person who has an attitude that that just absolutely gets me through the dark times of being a person that influences the moment that I try to be that kind of a person. I left the goal side and I went to the gross side and that was life changing for me. I mean, to this day, I you know, if you're goal oriented, there's a finish line.
If you're growth oriented, there's no finish line at all like that. Yeah. And I and, you know, the leader's greatest return again takes us back to the fact that we want we want to grow ourselves and we want to grow our people. And if we're just committed to be committed to growing them and growing ourselves, then we have potential of having a very high return. But you're in the game for the process. You know, again, we overestimate change what we can do in a day and we overestimate the event and we underestimate the process.
And again, developing leaders is all about not just for today and equipping them to do something in leadership right now, but it's all about building people and developing people and expanding their life so that they are bigger people and they're bigger people and they're better people. And that just makes everything bigger and better for you as far as the return.
Yeah, I totally, totally agree with that point. I want to come back to two things.
One, you mentioned dark times and things seem to come so easy for you from turns of phrase to connecting with people.
I'm sure there's times when you felt like nothing is working. How did you persevere in those times? What did you do?
Well, I mean, have you had those times? Oh, I've had so many of those times. That's why I'm laughing. Shane, you know, first of all, when you see everybody and you just say, I think things come easy for them or they seem to be quite simple, you're just not seeing the total picture. You may be seeing a person that's just produced something wonderful or had a high return or a terrific result.
So, yeah, that that you may be seeing. But but it's it's it's like the iceberg, you know, two thirds of the issues under the water, you just you may be seeing the tip of the iceberg and it all looks good. But but trust me, you know, one of the things I teach people all the time is that everything worthwhile is uphill and it just is. And I think that the greatest way to build tenacity in a person's life.
Is to is to let them know in the beginning that it's not easy. Because I think that when we assume that success should be easy or that there is a secret to success, which there is, I think we set people up for failure. And the moment that I no longer don't, when the moment it's no longer easy or the mode of it that I'm not no longer finding that secret, I began to question myself. And so I think it all begins with a with with a mind set of life is difficult.
Everything worthwhile is uphill. I think we also have to teach with this mindset. Not only is it everything worthwhile, it's uphill. But I think we need to teach the value of failure and the value of of mistakes and shortcomings and humanness. I don't think that failure is the opposite of success at all. And I think this is a big mistake people make. I think it's kind of like failures in one corner and success is the opposite corner. And, boy, that you just don't want the two of them to meet.
Well, they do meet and they not only meet, they live together. And that with every success inside of that success is failure.
And I've never met anybody who just said, you know, I built the company is honest to God. It was easier than I thought. And we built it quicker than I thought. And we've made more money than I thought. You know, at that person's building, the company, they're on drugs. I mean, they're delusional. It's just not possible. And so if I believe that everything worthwhile is uphill, it gives me a mindset that I will always be climbing it.
No such thing is it's uphill. Then it's downhill. No, no, it's all uphill. It's all uphill. And so I now I start my life based on the fact that I'm going to have to consistently climb. Now, if I also help people understand the success and failures, they go together. And so that that would I am succeeding, there will be some misses and what I'm missing, if my spirit and attitude is right, I'll get some hits and it's not like my life has been all misses and no hits or it's been all hits and misses.
It's been hits and misses. And I think that a mistake that leaders make shame is they don't talk enough about the misses. And so what happens is people people see a successful person and and they begin to idealize way too quickly. And that bothers me greatly. I tell people I mean, they see me at a at a good time in my life and I return in time in my life.
And my biggest disappointment, if somebody said, John, if you could do one thing, one thing and only one thing. To encourage people to reach their potential, what would you do? What I would do is I would I would be able to show them how I got started. I would be able to put on the video where they would hear me speak when I was a good speaker. And where they would see me making my mistakes and questioning what I was thinking or what I was doing, and they would see my hesitations and they would, you know, they would they would hear my apologies when I look at the people and say, oops, I'm sorry, I, I missed that one.
And, you know, we got to do a little U-turn here.
We got it back up because if if they could see me in my beginning days, they would understand the power of process and and compounded that because the first of all, they'd be very encouraged because I wasn't exceptional in the beginning. And I don't think there's anything exceptional about me. If there's anything exceptional about me, it would be my attitude. I think my attitude is way above most people's as far as not quitting and getting back up and being my best friend and encouraging myself.
So I think that I think they would see a pretty amazing attitude, young age, but they wouldn't see amazing leadership or they wouldn't see and hear amazing communication. And I think what the reason I hate that this can't be that they can't see this is that they don't get a complete picture. They just have the finished product in the finished product. Looks a lot better than what really the life was all about. So I feel as a leader, compelled literally to let people know about my failures and my mistakes and and let them know that, you know, I didn't always make the right decisions.
And in fact, I'm not even certain making the right decisions is is is even. Right. I mean. When I look at my failures and mistakes, Shane, honestly, you know, somebody said, what would you like to go back and do them over? Would you like to have another chance? And there are a lot of things I should do over. Of course there are, but I don't think I want to do it over. I really.
I just don't like it. Here's why when I look at my failures and mistakes and Mrs.. What I learned from those difficult hours in that dark times, what I learned really helped develop my character. And and it to have all wins and no losses. Would be a person that in the long run would lack character, because character is is is is literally birthed out of adversity and you really never know much about a person until you watch him go through adversity and then all of a sudden, quote, the true colors begin to show.
And so, you know what I have liked to have made all right. Decisions. Well, I suppose for the ego, I would have, but but I think I'm a better person because of my mistakes and failures and what I've learned from them, that if I wouldn't have had the mistakes, failures, I think it makes me more human toward other people. I think it makes me more understanding to them as a leader. I think it it removes the gap.
And and I think that support helps you connect and develop relationships. No questions all the time.
Say, how do you go about learning from your past experiences? Do you have a process? Do you like what does reflection look like to you? How do you walk me through that?
Well, I'll be glad to. We hear a lot people say that, like experience is the best teacher. Well, it's a wonderful statement. It's just not true. Of. If experience were the best teacher, then everybody as they got older, would be getting better. And so. I would I think of experience being the best teacher I look at say no, a lot of people go through experiences and they learn nothing and they don't improve themselves.
I think evaluated experience is the best teacher. I think after the experience, we pull ourselves away and ask ourselves, what did I learn from that? What what did that experience have to teach me, my children when they were growing up? What when we have an experience, I'd ask a few questions. What did you love?
What did you learn? And I know I started with what do you love because kids migrate to OK, Dad, that was so much fun, OK? You love that. What what what did you learn from it? Well, what I was doing by those two questions as I was training my children to evaluate every experience that they go through and and it's it's and what is evaluation due to the experience? It again, it brings an awareness to us and anything that.
Awakens our awareness or brings it into what, a much more clear light? It's a real benefit to us. And so as I look at where I've come through it and what I've done and where I'm going, there's without any question about it of. The ability to reflect reflection turns experience into insight. And so the moment that I realized that if I spent some time reflecting, I'm going to pull out what that experience taught me. So I tell people, get beyond, you know, how you felt about yourself, you know, what did you learn?
What did you know?
What you know what what what what what did you experience that has potential to to make you a better person?
I think that's great. I want to thank you for the time, John. I want to end on maybe a more philosophical question in the sense of what does a fulfilled life look like to you?
Well, I love the questions and I love it for two reasons. A fulfilled life, I love that question because I think it's possible to have one. And I think many people do not. And I love that question not only because I think it's possible to have one. But I love that question because I believe that most people don't know the process to have a full life. And so when anybody asked me a question that I think. Is within reach of a person, I get very excited because it improves the.
So I think a fulfilled life is a life is live for others and that it's not about me, you know, I teach a lot of communication. And when people say I want to be a great communicator, rule or law, no one is very simple.
If you want to be a great communicator, get over yourself. Just get over yourself.
If I haven't gotten over who I am and I have got to well, I hope they like me. I hope I sound good. I, I hope they think I'm a good teacher. I hope I've got some depth by the moment that I'm concerned about how people perceive me is the moment that I began to put limitations on my communication skills. And so, you know, I tell people all the time, if you'll be a great communicator, get over yourself.
Well, if you want to live a fulfilled life, get over yourself. There's a reason for that is is that we are created and designed to be people that help each other. Society and culture works best when we are our brother's keeper works best for that. We value other people. And so a fulfilled life is one that I have I have forgot myself for. I never forgot. That's not a good phrase I've gotten over myself. I don't think we forget ourselves.
I don't think that's what I want to go to. But but. But what I have the ability to realize that focus has got to be to others, not myself. If you if you put that with valuing people, because what happens when I value people, I now begin to respect them in such a way that I will add value to that. Remember this, you only add value to the things that you value. You only add value to the people that you value.
So valuing people is core to living a fulfilled life. So it's not about me, it's about others, and it's about others because they have value. And then you put on top of those who thought this would be good. This is huge. And I love this one. It's not only that they value others, but they value them in such a way.
That they want to add value to the.
And now all of a sudden, you're not only your brother's keeper, your brother's lifter, and now every time they are around you and every time they see you and experience you, it's better for them.
And I think that the moment that you live for others, value others.
And intentionally add value to that. I think you're looking at life as a beautiful thank you so much. Thank you, Sheikh. You can find show notes on this episode, as well as every other episode at F-stop blog slash podcast, if you find this episode valuable, shared on social media and leave a review to support the podcast, go to F-stop logged membership and join our learning community. You'll get hand edited transcripts of all the podcasts and so much more.
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