Talent is Never Enough by John Maxwell

2020, book 29: “As a leader, I am always asking myself, Am I helping others make progress? I am vigilant about how I spend my time, with whom I am spending it, how it fits into the bigger picture, and whether it produces results.” — John Maxwell

Finished on May 1, 2020

This book is one that I’ve now read twice and am going through a third time. Each time that I’ve gone through it, I’ve learned new things and have been impacted differently. It’s interesting to learn about patterns and then spend time in real life observing them. There are so many people with incredible potential that honestly don’t make anything of themselves.

It’s like a bird living in a cage. An eagle raised with eagles. It’s like the elephant who grows up with a rope tied to them. By the time that the elephant is fully grown, they are tied to the same rope. It’s always held them before so they mistakenly believe that it would still prevent them from leaving their location in present day. Yet, it could only restrain them if they used a fraction of their strength.

Pg. 17, Cartoonist Charles Schulz offered this comparison: “Life is a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.” What are we saving those gears for? It’s not good to travel through life without breaking a sweat. So what’s the problem? Most of the time it’s self-imposed limitations. They limit us as much as real ones. Life is difficult enough as it is. We make it more difficult when we impose additional limitations on ourselves. Industrialist Charles Schwab observed, “When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.”

Execute execute execute. I don’t know how many people can say this in how many different ways before it’s fully ingrained in the heads of everyone. I used to think about procrastinating — but I often remind myself that my world won’t move until I do. Only the results matter. Nobody sees the practice — everyone sees the execution… or lack of it.

Pg. 51, Successful people initiate — and they follow through.

There is no explanation or elaboration that could do justice for the simplicity of the following segment. Which are you? Do you try to cut corners? When you’re paving a new road, if you cut corners, you knock yourself down at the knees.

Pg. 55, When it comes to initiative, there are really only four kinds of people:

1. People who do the right thing without being told
2. People who do the right thing when told
3. People who do the right then when told more than once
4. People who never do the right thing, no matter what
Anyone who wants to become a talent-plus person needs to become the first kind of person.

This is echoed by countless countless people. I see it all the time now. I’ve been part of the hiring for numerous people and it has become evident that those who are most successful are those who displayed tangible success in the past and exhibited strong characteristics of success in the future also.

Pg. 57, Tom Golisano, founder of Paychex, Inc., offered this considered opinion: “I believe you don’t motivate people. What you do is hire motivated people, then make sure you don’t demotivate them.”

“Nobody is coming to save you.” Have you ever heard that? Like it or not, it’s true! “Nobody cares, work harder.” Everyone has their own struggles, their own devils, and their own problems. Do you really think that anyone would take the time and energy needed to prioritize your needs above their own? Maybe once. Maybe twice. But three times? Ha! No human can save you.

Pg. 59, Dick Butler asserted, “Life isn’t fair. It isn’t going to be fair. Stop sniveling and whining and go out and make it happen for you. In business, I see too many people who expect the financial tooth fairy to come at night and remove that ugly dead tooth from under the pillow and substitute profitability just in the nick of time at the end of the fiscal year.”

Get started. If the earth stopped rotating, how difficult do you think it would be to begin rotating again? I’d rather not find out.

“It is much harder to stop something already in motion than it is to start something that is stopped. It is even harder still to induce motion into something that is without movement.” — Harrison Wendland

Pg. 64, Novelist Louis L’Amour, who wrote more than 100 books and sold more than 230 million copies, advised, “Start writing, no matter what about. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

Michael E Angier, founder of SuccessNet, stated, “Ideas are worthless. Intentions have no power. Plans are nothing… unless they are followed with action.”

This is what really matters in life. We are called to make disciples of the nations but if we are not positively impacting other people, how can we ever even dream of doing that? It’s moment by moment and day by day but every interaction matters.

Pg. 71, As a leader, I am always asking myself, Am I helping others make progress? I am vigilant about how I spend my time, with whom I am spending it, how it fits into the bigger picture, and whether it produces results.

The people who become true winners are able to forget their mistakes more quickly, push forward faster, and move beyond the struggles that once paralyzed them. John Maxwell writes below that, “business dictates (being a good forgetter), and success DEMANDS it.

Pg. 77, A retentive memory may be a good thing, but the ability to forget is the true token of greatness. Successful people forget. They know the past is irrevocable. They’re running a race. They can’t afford to look behind. Their eye is on the finish line. Magnanimous people forget. They’re too big to let little things disturb them. They forget easily. If anyone does them wrong, they consider the source and keep cool. It’s only the small people who cherish revenge. Be a good forgetter. Business dictates it, and success demands it.

Another important question is who else can do the work that needs to get done. If someone else can be or should doing the work that you are working on, then why are you doing it? Most times, there is not a good reason and the work should be delegated.

Pg. 94, Every minute spent in preparation saves ten in execution. The questions I ask myself before a trip are really very simple:

What work is to be done?
How is it to be done?
When is it to be done?
Where is it to be done?
How fast can it be done?
What do I need to get it done?

“The leader makes the position.” There are so many times that we see, and maybe in the sports world, it is the most visible, that a true leader can come in and turn everything around. If people cannot rally around you and cannot understand what it is that you care about, it’s going to be incredibly hard to win and experience success.

Pg. 162, Margaret Thatcher remarked, “Being a leader is a lot like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are one, you aren’t.” The position doesn’t make the leader; the leader makes the position.

Courageous leadership means that when the going gets tough, or when the going gets rough, you know what to do — and then you do it. It means by any means necessary, you get the job done.

Pg. 164, Courageous leadership simply means I’ve developed:

1. Convictions that are stronger than my fears.
2. Vision that is clearer than my doubts.
3. Spiritual sensitivity that is louder than popular opinion.
4. Self-esteem that is deeper than self-protection.
5. Appreciation for discipline that is greater than my desire for leisure.
6. Dissatisfaction that is more forceful than the status quo
7. Poise that is more unshakeable than panic.
8. Risk taking that is stronger than safety seeking.
9. Right actions that are more robust than rationalization.
10. A desire to see potential reached more than to see people appeased.

Whether you want them to or not, the people around you will influence you. If you spend time at restaurants with people drinking beer and pizza all the time, it’s likely that you’ll begin to have more of an interest in drinking beer other times that you have pizza. That’s just one very small way that the actions of those around you can and do also influence the life that you lead.

Pg. 232, Life is too long to spend it with people who pull you in the wrong direction. And it’s too short not to invest in others. Your relationships will define you. And they will influence your talent — one way or the other. Choose wisely.

Remember that while some of these are good on their own, they are great when used all in collaboration. There are going to be people who try to hold us back from our potential and knock us down to their level. Why give them an advantage and make it easier? I don’t know about you but I have some pretty large goals that I’m on the path to attain. We need to keep living, keep striving, and keeping pulling ourselves up to the next level.

Pg. 274, I want to encourage you to make the thirteen choices described in this book. And every day remind yourself about how these choices can help you:

1. Belief lifts my talent.
2. Passion energizes my talent.
3. Initiative activates my talent.
4. Focus directs my talent.
5. Preparation positions my talent.
6. Practice sharpens my talent.
7. Perseverance sharpens my talent.
8. Courage tests my talent.
9. Teachability expands my talent.
10. Character protects my talent.
11. Relationships influence my talent.
12. Responsibility strengthens my talent.
13. Teamwork multiplies my talent.

John Maxwell is one of my favorite people to learn from, I can tell that he always strives to be genuine and authentic. A true leader is someone who can be honest about their shortcomings or past missteps and I think that John does an excellent job being authentic. As I am midway through this book as I write this, I look forward to seeing the new aspects that impact me.

I gave this book a 4/5

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