Modeling Sacrifice

If you lead a team, then you must convince your teammates to sacrifice for the good of the group. The more talented the team members, the more difficult it may be to convince them to put the team first. Begin by modeling sacrifice. Show the team that you are:

•Willing to make financial sacrifices for the team
•Willing to keep growing for the sake of the team
•Willing to empower others for the sake of the team
•Willing to make difficult decisions for the sake of the team

Once you have modeled the willingness to pay a price for the potential of the team, you have the credibility to ask others to do the same. Then when you recognize sacrifices that teammates must make for the team, show them why and how to do it. Then praise their sacrifices to their teammates.

—The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork – John Maxwell



Touching A Dozen Lives

Most of the time we recognize the influence we have on those who are closest to us in our lives—for good or ill. But sometimes we overlook the impact we can have on other people around us. The anonymous author of this poem probably had that in mind when he wrote,

My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done,
Leave countless marks for good or ill ere sets the evening sun,
This is the wish I always wish, the prayer I always pray;
Lord, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.

As you interact with your family, your coworkers, and the clerk at the store today, recognize that your life touches many others’ lives. Certainly, your influence on your family members is greater than that on the strangers you meet. And if you have a high-profile occupation, you influence people you don’t know. But even in your ordinary day-to-day interactions with people, you make an impact. You can make the few moments that you interact with a store clerk and a bank teller a miserable experience, or you can get them to smile and make their day. The choice is yours.

—Becoming a Person of Influence – John Maxwell


The Power of Failure

Success doesn’t mean avoiding failure. All of us fail. As we travel, we all hit potholes, take wrong turns, or forget to check the radiator. The only person who avoids failure altogether is the person who never leaves her driveway. So the real issue is not whether you’re going to fail. It’s whether you’re going to fail successfully (profiting from your failure). As Nelson Boswell observed, “The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views mistakes.” If you want to continue on the success journey, you need to learn to fail forward.

Unsuccessful people are often so afraid of failure and rejection that they spend their whole lives avoiding risks or decisions that could lead to failure. They don’t realize that success is based on their ability to fail and continue trying. When you have the right attitude, failure is neither fatal nor final. In fact, it can be a springboard to success. Leadership expert Warren Bennis interviewed seventy of the nation’s top performers in various fields and found that none of them viewed their mistakes as failures. When talking about them, they referred to their “learning experiences,” “tuition paid,” “detours,” and “opportunities for growth.”

Successful people don’t let failure go to their heads. Instead of dwelling on the negative consequences of failure, thinking of what might have been and how things haven’t worked out, they focus on the rewards of success: learning from their mistakes and thinking about how they can improve themselves and their situations.

—Your Road Map for Success – John Maxwell