On January 23rd of this year I was on one of our group mentorship calls and this particular call happened to be hosted by John Maxwell. I had recently been selected to be part of the President’s Advisory Council for the John Maxwell Team and wanting to lead by example while serving in this position, I wanted to get John’s take on what would be the best way to honor him, his brand and his legacy as our team continued to grow.
I should know by know that when you ask John Maxwell a question, you better be prepared for the answer. I have come to respect and appreciate John on many different levels but the one thing that really sticks out to me is that in almost everything he says there is value. Sometimes it’s just to get you to change your thinking a little bit but most of the time there is a real call to action within his response.
This time was no different.
As I tried to craft the question so as to produce the most meaningful response (like that’s needed on my part), I anxiously awaited my new orders. Little did I know what was about to come at me would change my life forever.
John said “Barry, I want you to be ready. Be ready so that when the opportunity for you to make a difference in someone’s life comes up, you are prepared to seize that moment. That’s the best way you can honor me.” As if that wasn’t enough, he followed up with this; “And Barry, when we see each other in Orlando next month, I want you to come up to me and tell me these three things:
1. What I said.
2. What you learned.
3. What you did.
I suppose for a moment I thought I might get some great one liner that John is famous for, but not on this day. Whoever said “be careful what you ask for” was right.
Needless to say, those few minutes with John on the other end of the phone that night changed my view on what my purpose is. I know what it is now, it’s building what matters and what matters is people.
I followed John’s instructions and about a month later when I sat at a dinner table with him, I answered those three questions.
“What you said John was that I need to be prepared, be ready for when the opportunity comes around to help someone, I can.”
“What I learned was that becoming ready is a process that we go through to develop our own skills first so that can use what we have learned to help those who need it. As you have taught us; you cannot give what you do not have.”
“What I did, and will continue to do, is learn every day. To continue to do the things that improve me as a person so I can be stronger for those around me. And I will seek out and make time for the ones I am able to influence.”
I could see the emotion in John’s eyes as he told me that my story had inspired him. But as much as that period in time felt rewarding, I knew that those three questions were one’s I would apply daily to what I am doing and I have clarity that I better have the right answers.
“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his time when it comes.” – BENJAMIN DISRAELI
John used this quote as he described the Law of Process in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Life is a process and until we commit to being part of that process we will simply remain a spectator in life.
About the Author:
Barry started a leadership development business called Building What Matters in 2011. An international speaker, trainer and coach focused on leadership, communication and personal growth, Barry adds value to those around him every day. Barry believes in building what matters and what matters is people.
Contact Barry at http://www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/barrysmith to learn more about what he does to Build what Matters!