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  • 10. Being a Person People Trust

    Building Integrity Into Your Relationships "We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are." -- John C. Maxwell Trust doesn’t come easily for me, perhaps because of my personality, but more likely because of a worldview that was shaped by my childhood experiences. As a result of this, I need to preface this post with two encouragements. First, in order to become a person people trust, you need to learn to be a person who trusts others. Please don’t read that statement as an instruction to trust all people because there are people in the world that you should not trust (i.e. the opposite of our points on being a person people trust to follow), but what I mean is that you need to learn to be open to trusting others. As I’ve already stated, trust doesn’t come easily for me; but for a large part of my life, I wore that truth like a badge of honor, proud of my ability to hold everyone at arm's length. But it has taken years of self-reflection and growth to realize that if I want to be in a relationship with someone, I need to take the hard road and be open to trusting them, even if there is a chance that I will get hurt or disappointed. Second, in order to become a person people trust, you also need to be a person that you, yourself, can trust. As we explore the five points to being a person people trust, consider how you apply them to yourself — how do you think about yourself, how do you talk to yourself, do you believe in yourself, etc. I recommend this again because of personal experience, the same experiences that taught me that it was easier not to trust others. But as John Maxwell says, “It’s important to be what [we] ask others to do. We teach what we know, but we reproduce what we are.” With that, let’s get into how you can be a person that others trust! Appreciate people for who they are Often we appreciate people for what they do, not for who they are. We appreciate them when they achieve, produce, or perform in a way that makes our lives easier or makes us look good to others. But the people in our homes, our workplaces, our churches, and our communities have value because they are unique. They have their own personalities and strengths, and each person has something to contribute to the world because of their intrinsic value. To be a People Person others trust, you must learn to see people for who they are, not just for what they can do. Encouragement causes growth The saying, “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar,” rings true when developing trusting relationships with others. Do you know someone whose criticism or faultfinding is like vinegar to your life? Do you feel good about yourself and others after being in their company? Do they help build your confidence, or do they tear it down? Obviously, we all have faults and shortcomings, but encouragement promotes growth, while criticism merely breaks the spirit. To be a People Person others trust, find ways to encourage others to give them the confidence to reach new heights. Believe the best John Maxwell often says, “how we view a person is reflected by how we treat them. If we have a high expectation level and believe in people, we will encourage them.” This doesn’t mean that you hold them to an impossible standard, rather that you understand their value, recognize their potential, and respond to them “not as they are, but as they can be.” Many people have low expectations of themselves, but to be a People Person others trust, treat everyone like they are top of the line, or in John’s words, “like a 10”; see their potential, and help them see it for themselves by how you respond to them. "A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way." -- John C. Maxwell Help others be successful Have you ever tried something hard and succeeded? “Winning increases our self-image, our outlook on life, and lifts our expectation level. It gives us the confidence that we can succeed again.” The best way to help others be successful is to align their personality, strengths, and abilities to their tasks; otherwise, you are just setting them up for failure. As a People Person others trust, learn to discern the preferences, strengths, and desires of others and match them to the available opportunities. Equip people for future growth One of the hardest things for people who understand the importance of growth to realize is that we can only be responsible for our own growth, we can’t force growth on anyone else. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t equip them for growth. John Maxwell gives four equipping steps for a People Person others trust to follow: Demonstrate the benefits of growth in your own life. Prove that success is possible by connecting them with others who have been where they are and grown through it successfully. Provide opportunities for growth for them to take advantage of. Stand back and encourage. This week, consider the following questions: Which of these areas do you need to develop in how you relate to yourself? What steps can you take to promote growth in this area? Which of these areas do you need to develop in how you relate to others? What steps can you take to promote growth in this area?

  • 9. How to Be a Person Who Can Handle Criticism

    Learning to Use Confrontation as an Opportunity to Grow "Criticism is something you can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing." -- Aristotle Learning to correctly handle criticism, whether receiving or giving it, is one of the most difficult lessons for a People Person. No one likes to be criticized, and most of us don't like offering constructive criticism because we are afraid of confrontation. But as a People Person, effectively navigating this challenge will determine our success in our relationships with others. The first thing we need to acknowledge when facing criticism is our attitude. If we face criticism with a negative attitude or fear, we respond poorly and will likely sabotage our relationships -- with ourselves, our people, and our work. Don't allow the threat of criticism to be an obstacle on your road to development and success. If we, instead, look at criticism as an opportunity to learn, we will be better equipped to respond positively and will likely strengthen our relationships as a result; criticism is another opportunity to grow and become better as a result. We shouldn't ask, "Will I face criticism?" but rather, "How can I handle criticism well?" 6 Tips for receiving criticism 1. Understand the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. Consider whether the criticism is meant to build or tear you up. Consider and learn from it if it is intended to build you up. If it's intended to tear you down, let it go, and don't internalize it. 2. Don't take yourself too seriously. You will make mistakes, even silly ones. Accepting that your capacity for error doesn't change your value or skill will help you be more relaxed when receiving criticism. 3. Look beyond the criticism to see the critic. First, consider if your critic is someone with good character you respect. Second, what is their consistent attitude -- are they often critical, or are they generally positive? Third, are they alone, or are others offering the same criticism? 4. Keep physically, mentally, and emotionally in shape. Suppose you are physically exhausted, sporting a bad attitude, or emotionally triggered. In that case, your response will likely not be at its best because your view of the world and ability to cope will be distorted. 5. Surround yourself with positive people. When given the option, spend as much time as possible with positive people who will build you up. If it takes three positive experiences to overcome one negative experience, give yourself every opportunity to bounce back. Also, positivity is contagious, so it will help you ward off a critical spirit too. 6. Concentrate on your mission, change your mistakes. Recognize that you can do hard things, even if you make mistakes. It is often easier to give up in the face of criticism. But keep your mission in mind, acknowledge that you will make mistakes, learn from every one, and finish well. "Correction does much, but encouragement does more. Encouragement after censure is as the sun after a shower." -- Goethe 6 Tips for offering criticism 1. Check your motive. The goal of any criticism should be to help, not harm. Consider if the issue personally impacts you, if you are trying to make yourself look better, and how your criticism will help the person grow and develop. 2. Make sure the issue is worthy of criticism. Are you being critical, or will your criticism matter? Don't get distracted by petty complaints, but keep your eyes on the goal of adding value to others and helping them reach their potential. 3. Be specific and timely. Remember to always criticize in private and be specific -- tactfully say precisely what you mean and give relevant examples to offer context. 4. Attack the problem, not the person. Remember that the person has value, whether or not they are getting everything right. Ensure your criticism is about finding a solution, not making a personal attack. This will not only build up the person you are criticizing but also help you maintain your credibility. 5. Don't compare one person with another. Comparisons will always cause resentment and hostility. Recognize that not everyone is the same -- in personality, strengths, or methods -- and tailor your constructive criticism to the individual and not based on anyone else. 6. Look at yourself before looking at others. John Maxwell always says, "Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place." Consider the situation from the other person's point of view before offering criticism, and you might find that you need to change instead. Consider the following questions: When was the last time you received criticism? How could you have handled it better? How can you grow from that experience? When was the last time you offered criticism? How could you have handled it better? How can you grow from that experience?

  • 8. Loving Difficult People

    Understanding and Helping Difficult Personalities "When you realize that people treat you according to how they see themselves rather than how you really are, you are less likely to take personally their behavior toward you." -- John C. Maxwell People will always be our biggest struggle and greatest asset; it's true in our personal and professional circles. The beauty of humanity is that we are all so diverse, but that same diversity often causes our greatest conflicts. While healthy relationships with difficult people can seem impossible, it's not outside the realm of possibilities if you are willing to have the right perspective and respond intentionally to the challenge. I've realized in both my personal and professional life that the key to getting along with people is first understanding myself -- my personality, my emotional triggers, my stories, and my preferences -- so I can control how I respond to others. Only then can I clearly turn my attention to them -- their personality, their emotional triggers, their stories, and their preferences -- so I can better understand why they are responding a certain way to me. As you continue to read, I want you to envision someone with whom you don't have an ideal relationship and consider how you might be able to improve that relationship by considering our main points. What is my Perspective? John Maxwell writes, "Most of the time, our relational problems stem from the fact that we ourselves have problems or issues that haven't been resolved." You see, most of us respond to others the same way we see ourselves, and we can't hope to improve our relationships until we can view ourselves more clearly and work at resolving our own stories, insecurities, obsessions, desires, and needs. You are not responsible for how others treat you, only for how you treat others, because while you can't choose how others will respond, you can decide how you will respond. How Do I Understand Personalities? In today's world, there are a myriad of personality assessments that can help develop your understanding of yourself and others. One of my favorites of these assessments is the DISC assessment which assigns the participant with a primary and secondary personality theme -- Dominance, Influence, Steady, and Compliant. Each theme has specific traits that may cause challenges or conflict within our relationships if we don't understand them -- task-oriented versus people-oriented, active versus reflective, open to change versus likes consistency, more communication versus less talkative, etc. Personalities are not good or bad in and of themselves; it all depends on how we understand and use them. For more information about the DISC and other assessments I offer to help you develop a healthy awareness of yourself and others, please check out our website. "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." -- Viktor Frankl How Do I Handle Problems? Problems in your relationships are inevitable; if you handle them correctly, you can strengthen your relationship; if not, it can cause frustration, stress, division, and hurt feelings. Your ultimate goal in addressing problems should be to present the truth in such a way that builds the relationship up rather than tear it down. Unfortunately, unless both parties are willing to work on the problem, it is unlikely that a lasting resolution will take place, and eventually, ending the relationship is the only solution; however, this should always be the last choice once you have ensured you have done everything you can to handle the problem well. The whole story will never be pieced together accurately unless everyone involved comes together. Site facts rather than impressions or emotions. Ensure you control your emotions; the angrier you are, the less objective you'll be. Be specific; let the other person know exactly what the problem is. Always allow the other person to tell their side of the story. Don't hold a grudge; find a resolution and act accordingly. Consider the following questions. How do you need to take responsibility in your relationships this week? How can you better understand yourself and the other person to improve the relationship? What steps can you take to reconcile a current relationship problem?

  • 7. You Can Be An Encourager

    Using Your Skills to Inspire Others to Excellence "The key to encouragement is knowing what gives people courage, what spurs them on to action." -- John C. Maxwell Too often, we focus -- as leaders and as peers -- on what others are doing wrong. But what would happen in our homes, businesses, and communities if we got more excited about the potential in others than their failures and encouraged them in their strengths rather than exert our energy and theirs in attempting to fix their weaknesses? Research shows that our brains more quickly recognize a negative experience and that for every negative experience, it takes three genuinely positive experiences to counter the emotional and psychological effects. Consider that for a moment, for every discouragement you feel or express to another; it takes three encouragements for our brains to recognize the positive emotion. While you may not consider encouragement to be a big deal, it can have a tremendous effect on someone's life. So as a people person, encouragement is your key to helping others succeed, so how can you incorporate it into your daily interactions? As a business and leadership coach, I will focus our attention on how this applies specifically to being an encouraging people person in the workplace. Still, the general principles apply to all areas of our lives. When Can I Be an Encourager? As a general rule, encouragement should be given when: Someone achieves a goal or accomplishes a difficult task. Someone is feeling discouraged or low. Someone is trying something new or stretching outside their comfort zone. Someone is facing a complex or challenging situation. Someone exhibits a valued behavior or attitude. Notice that only two of these incidents are related to when a person is already in a positive state, but more often than not, we need to offer encouragement when it is hardest and the person is likely not at their best. What qualities should I encourage? When encouraging someone to reinforce a desired behavior or attitude, you must first identify the factors associated with long-term success and aim for quality, not just quick fixes. These qualities might include the following: A positive attitude Loyalty Personal growth Creativity Risk-taking Decisive action Innovation Productivity Teamwork Dependability Consistency "When you encourage others, you, in the process, are encouraged because you're making a commitment and difference in that person's life. Encouragement really does make a difference." --Zig Ziglar How can I offer encouragement? While encouragement is more of an art than a science, you must develop an understanding and sensitivity to those around you to offer genuine and meaningful encouragement. Meaningful encouragement means that not everyone will feel encouraged in the same way, and you need to recognize the different ways you can offer encouragement in the moment. These methods may include: Recognition (public or private) for a job well done or effort put forth Monetary or gift rewards Autonomy in tasks Personal growth opportunities Quality time together Words of affirmation Offers of support or assistance Promotion or increased responsibility Consider who you can intentionally encourage this week. While you may think that encouragement should be spontaneous (and it can be), it is a good practice in intentionality to plan. Write down the names of those you want to encourage, along with how and when you will encourage them. Be specific. Be intentional.

  • 6. How to Be a Person People Respect

    Understanding the Value of Your Character "Good character, with honesty and integrity at its core, is essential to success in any area of life. Without it, a person is building on shifting sand." -- John C. Maxwell The world is full of examples of leaders -- business owners, politicians, church leaders, actors, etc. -- who have been elevated only to come crashing back to earth when their shortcomings and failures come to light. Probably one of the most well-known quotes is from the world of Spider-Man; whether you know anything about the Spider-Man comics, movies, or related media, you likely know it: "With great power comes great responsibility." But despite its popularity, most people don't understand this precept or don't take responsibility for their own power, only thinking that it belongs to someone else. Many people live on the principle that they can do as they please with their choices and lives; the individual doesn't really affect the many. But the reality is that we are all connected by our choices, whether in leadership positions or not. Opportunities for failure abound, but mistakes can be avoided if you watch for the warning signs in your life. Of course, no one is perfect, but you don't have to step into every pitfall if you are alert and intentional. The following questions may alert you to the warning signs. Consider how your answers might impact others' respect for you and your character. 1. Am I Keeping My Priorities Straight? Priorities can shift if we're not paying close attention to them. For example, maybe you started your business because you wanted to spend more time with your family as a result of controlling your schedule. But if you aren't intentional in your choices and boundaries, you could easily allow the pressures of running your business to take over your priorities instead of your family. It's okay if priorities shift during different seasons of life, but you want to ensure that those shifts result from intentional choices, not simply a lack of focus. Make a list of your current priorities. How do you set boundaries and keep those priorities in focus? 2. Am I Asking Myself Difficult Questions? Whatever you do or set your mind to, consider these questions: Why am I doing this? Consider your motivation; if you're doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, you're setting yourself up for failure. How should I do this? Consider your assumptions; just because something was done a certain way before doesn't mean it should be done that way again. When should I do this? Consider your expectations; we tend to want immediate success without considering the consequences or impact or understanding the process for long-term success. Is there an area of your life where you are operating under the wrong motivation, assumptions, or expectations? Make a list of any possible stumbling blocks. 3. Am I Aware of and Honest about my Blind Spots and Tendencies? Awareness is the key to intentional action. You have unique characteristics, talents, and strengths that can either draw people to you or push them away based on your intentionality. For example, if your strength is in the area of communication, you are likely easy to talk to, able to fire up a crowd or tell a great joke or story, and draw people to your energy. But on the flip side, you may be a poor listener, an attention seeker, or a chatterbox if you aren't intentional. Take a moment to consider your blind spots and tendencies. Do they draw others to you or repel them? If they draw others to you, what do you need to watch out for if your intentionality starts to slip? If they repel others, how can you intentionally use your characteristics, talents, and strengths well? “Unlike your fingerprints that you were born with and can't change, character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing. ” — Jim Rohn 4. Am I Accountable to Someone in My Life? It's difficult for us as humans to submit ourselves to the scrutiny of someone outside of ourselves. Still, accountability helps us be honest about our lives and allows us to gain a greater perspective on our lives. Write down the name of someone you are accountable to, personally or professionally. How do they hold you accountable? How do you respond when they hold you accountable? How does this accountability help you be more intentional with your choices and actions? 5. Am I Overly Concerned with Building My Image? As a people person, it is important that you are more concerned with "walking the walk" than giving others a good impression. Being authentic in your interactions builds trust and respect with others. Answer these questions: Do I make decisions based on what is right or what is most easily accepted? Do I change my personality, speech, or actions according to the people I am with? Do I care more about who receives the credit than getting the job done well? Do I care more about looking good or serving others?

  • 5. Motivating People for Their Benefit

    Developing the Art of Drawing Out the Best in People "Effective Persuasion is a result of relating, not ruling. It speaks to the heart as well as to the head. Therefore, persuasion does not make use of force or intimidation." -- John C. Maxwell I sat at a table with three business owners, prepared to spend the day discussing what steps needed to be taken to increase the company's profitability. It was evident from the profit and loss reports that something needed to change in the way the field technicians tracked their material usage and charged the customer for that material. After hours of presenting ideas, identifying obstacles, and asking questions to move us forward, we finally came to a solution that everyone agreed was manageable, didn't place too much responsibility on any one person, and could be implemented as early as the next day. At least, that's what we thought when we parted ways. However, the next day, as I listened to one of the owners present the solution to the field techs, I realized that we had failed to successfully persuade this owner that the solution was best for the company and the workers. Getting people to do something without convincing them it's the right thing is not the result of effective motivation or persuasion; they are just accommodating us, often because they feel intimidated. This means that we have not convinced them, nor have we met their needs. While we often think about the negative connotation of persuasion and liken it to manipulation, true persuasion is sweet, like honey. It should be an act of relating to what the other person needs and wants and connecting with them where they are. It speaks to the heart through emotion and to the head through practicality. Persuasion is the act of drawing others to a conclusion that is in some way beneficial to them without force or intimidation. John Maxwell gives seven key principles to understand persuasion better and how you can develop it to be a people person. 1. Know Precisely What You are Trying to Accomplish Before you can persuade others on any issue, you need to know your end goal. To help you identify your objective, keep in mind the 5-C's: Consideration - What is the needed response? Credibility - What must I do to get the needed response? Content - What must I say to get the needed response? Conviction - How must I say it? Conclusion - What steps must I take to get the needed response? 2. Place Yourself in the Other Person's Shoes You don't persuade others from your perspective but by understanding their perspective. To help you put yourself in someone else's shoes, consider these three questions: What does this person know? Find out what is unique to their life experience and what is important to them. What does this person feel? People do things for their reasons, not yours; those reasons are emotional and based on what they are feeling due to their experiences. What does this person want? If they see that what you want can also give them what they want, they will be much more open and receptive to you. 3. Expose the Problems Immediately Always deal with potential problems or objections upfront. This helps to build trust and credibility. You will have to deal with the problems at some point; better to do so at the start before they have the chance to fester and create barriers and negative feelings. “You can get everything in life you want if you help enough people get what they want. ” — Zig Ziglar 4. be Prepared to Take a Risk Most people, when attempting to persuade others of their point of view, become fearful that they will fail, but that fear is then conveyed to their audience. Effective risk-taking leadership occurs when your audience senses your conviction and confidence, so make your best case and be prepared to stand by it, regardless of the consequences. 5. Appeal to the Higher Vision "Appealing to a higher vision is helping others become not only what they are capable of becoming, but what they want to become." It's your job, as the persuader, to help them understand what you are trying to accomplish and empathize with the values you are promoting so that, emotionally, they want to give you the response you are after. 6. Know When to Stop The primary reason people lose arguments is not that they are wrong but because they don't know when to quit pushing their point of view. When you belabor your point, you only weaken your position; instead, fall back on the fourth principle! 7. Cover Your Topic with Enthusiasm Enthusiasm is contagious and will often give you the edge you need. "A speech without enthusiasm is like a landscape painted entirely in shades of gray -- there is form but not color." This week, consider something that you need to be persuasive about; maybe it's a sales pitch, maybe it's team buy-in for a company change, perhaps it's convincing your spouse to take a vacation or your kids to clean their rooms; or perhaps you're not sure what you want to accomplish (though you know there is something that you need people to help you accomplish). List how you can apply these seven principles to your relationships with the people in your life this week.

  • 4. Becoming a Person People Want to Follow

    Developing the Qualities of an Effective Leader "Leadership sets the standard, whether the organization is a business, a church, or a family. The higher the standard, the more effective the leadership." -- John C. Maxwell What does it mean to be a leader? Is it a position or role that an individual fills? Is it an action or something a person does? Is it a personality or character trait? In the simplest of terms, a leader has influence with others. As such, a person may have a leadership position, but if they are not affecting the thoughts and actions of others, they aren't a leader. Did you know that you are a leader? Whether you consciously realize it or not, you have an area of influence; the true question is, are you an effective leader? Imagine that you're holding an open umbrella. Under the protection of that umbrella are all the people that you have influence over -- your family, your friends, your church, your business/workplace, your school, your community -- and the success of these circles can never, will never, rise any higher than the level at which you hold the umbrella. Leadership sets the standard, and the higher the standard, the more effective the leadership. As such, you should strive to be the most effective leader possible. John Maxwell gives us five nonnegotiable characteristics that every effective leader must have; let's explore them now! An Effective Leader Must Feel a Sense of Calling Effective leaders feel a strong sense of responsibility to take their place. People who are "called" discover something bigger than themselves, whether a mission, challenge, goal, or movement draws them to take action and bring others along with them. This calling can be defined as that "have to" feeling, a sense that they have little choice but to answer the call. An Effective Leader Must Be Able to Communicate Effective leaders can communicate their message to others and convey their strong belief in those who follow to carry it out. To be an effective leader, you must find a way to ensure that your vision is seen, implemented, and added to by others. A leader sees the big picture but understands that it cannot be made a reality without the support of others. An Effective Leader is Creative in Handling Problems The reality is that everyone faces problems, but an effective leader can creatively find solutions. The key is to use the problem as an opportunity for growth and change. Effective leaders know how to turn their challenges into learning opportunities and can help others do the same! “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant. ” — Homer An Effective Leader is a Generous Contributor One of my favorite Maxwell quotes is, "The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him [or her] but the number of people he serves." Effective leaders understand that their purpose isn't just to provide the vision and then stand back and watch others do the work; part of their calling is to roll up their sleeves and get to work with everyone else. They understand that they have something to give, and they do so freely. An Effective Leader Acts Consistently No one has ever been an effective leader for the long term without consistency. Socrates once said, "The first key to greatness is to be in reality what we appear to be." Effective leaders are consistent in how they : Respond to their people; this builds security. Demonstrate their principles or values; this provides direction. Carry out their projects or responsibilities; this builds morale. This week, consider the following questions: On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the effectiveness of your influence? Have you identified your calling? If yes, how have you answered the call? How have you communicated your vision to others? How can others help you bring your vision into reality? What was the last problem you solved creatively? How did that solution impact your influence? How can you serve others this week? When will you take that action? In what areas do you need to grow your consistency? How can you implement change this week?

  • 3. How to Be Confident with People

    Learning to Feel Comfortable with Others "Confidence in oneself is the cornerstone to success. It is difficult for those who don't believe in themselves to have much faith in anyone else." -- John C. Maxwell Do you remember the children's book The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper? This was one of my favorite books growing up, and it remains an inspiration to me today. As the story goes, there was a little train filled with wonderful toys and treats for little boys and girls, but when it came to a mountain, it suddenly stopped and could go no further. There was something wrong with the engine! The toys ask several passing engines for help to get over the mountain, but each engine, despite its qualifications to help, refuses to do anything for the little train. Then came a little blue engine, small as can be. When the toys asked her to pull them over the mountain to the waiting boys and girls, she replied, "I am not very big. And I do not pull trains. I just work in the yards; I've never even been over the mountain." But the Little Blue Engine looked at the toys and treats and thought about the children on the other side would be missing out if the train didn't make it to the other side. She pulled up close, took hold of the little train, and said, "I think I can climb up the mountain. I think I can. I think I can." The Little Blue Engine began to pull, and slowly, the train started to move! The Little Blue Engine went up the mountain, all the while saying, "I think I can. I think I can." At last, she reached the top of the mountain, with the city lying below. "The boys and girls will be so happy," cried the toys, "all because you helped us, Little Blue Engine." The Little Blue Engine just smiled and puffed down the other side of the mountain, saying, "I thought I could. I thought I could." So why is confidence so important to your success? The first reason is that confidence offers stability in your life. John Maxwell equates confidence with contentment, which he defines as "taking your present situation -- whatever obstacles you are facing, whatever limitation you are living with, whatever chronic condition wears you down, whatever has smashed your dreams, whatever factors and circumstances in life tend to push you under -- and admitting you don't like it, but never saying 'I can't cope with it'." In other words, contentment is having the confidence that you measure up to any test you face. When you fall into despair and defeat, your life becomes unstable. The second reason is that confidence stretches you. People who lack confidence rarely stretch because they are unwilling to take risks. In a previous installment, I discussed the Law of the Rubber Band. John brings that analogy back by saying, "When insecurity keeps us from stretching and growing, we end up with a life that is as unexciting and useless as a limp rubber band." The third reason is that confidence makes you a better people person because confidence is contagious and helps you to believe in others. John writes, "Insecure people are afraid to risk building up others with compliments because they are constantly in need of compliments themselves." But a person with confidence is a person who brings out positive changes in people! So how can you boost your confidence? Acknowledge Your Value Confidence does not mean that you have an inflated view of yourself, but it does mean that you recognize your value. Do you know that you have value? If you don't acknowledge that you have genuine value and are capable beyond what you might feel, you will never grow in your confidence. You cannot consistently perform in a manner inconsistent with how you see yourself. Remember to grow through your circumstances Confidence does not result from an absence of problems; instead, it results from growing through those problems. Next time you find yourself in the midst of a circumstance that could shake your confidence, remind yourself that you have the opportunity to change and grow through that experience. Develop Friendships with Confident People There will always be someone around to remind you of what you aren't, haven't been, and never will be, but if you want to be confident, you must surround yourself with confident people who believe in you and are willing to encourage you. “Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ” — Helen Keller Quit Comparing Yourself with Others Comparisons will always leave you feeling wanting or cause you to look down on someone else. Confidence means that you can recognize your unique contribution and strengths regardless of your expectations or the expectations of others. As a person of growth, your objective is to be better today than you were yesterday, which you can have confidence in! Remember Your Past Successes Did you know remembering how you've succeeded in the past will improve your ability to succeed again? Confidence that you can overcome and grow through challenges often comes from experience. You did it before, so you can do it again! Develop Your Strengths As a people, we are often far too consumed with fixing our weaknesses or flaws rather than focusing on what is "right" with us! But what effect do you think that negative focus has on your confidence? Instead, if you focus on and develop what you do well, you will build your confidence, be more successful, and be able to recognize and encourage others to do the same. This week, consider these six ways to build your confidence: Acknowledge your value. Remember to grow through your circumstances. Develop friendships with confident people. Quit comparing yourself with others. Remember your past successes. Develop your strengths. Which of these six areas do you struggle with the most? What action can you take this week to boost your confidence in one of these areas? Which of these six areas do you do well? How does that success increase your confidence? How can you intentionally help someone in your circle increase their confidence?

  • 2. What Draws Others to Me?

    Understanding What People Like About You and Why "If you desire to become a people person, then you need to develop an appealing personality that causes others to respond to you." -- John C. Maxwell What is it that draws people to you? John Maxwell sums that exceptional, magnetic quality up in just one word: charisma. You can likely identify "charisma" in someone else, maybe even yourself, but can you define what it means to be charismatic? The internet defines charisma as: A compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. A personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm. A personal quality of presence or charm that compels others. That certainly sounds like something we could all benefit from having, so how do we get it? The good news is that charisma is a quality that we can develop! "Each one of us has certain abilities that will increase the charisma of our personality" if we learn how to be intentional. Let's dig in and define the outstanding characteristics of charismatic people. John Maxwell does this by using "charisma" as an acrostic. Concern Help Action Results Influence Sensitivity Motivation Affirmation As we go through each of these, remember that these are not simply born within you. Instead, they are attainable by anyone who cares about other people and wants to develop their relational skills. Concern - the ability to show you care Charismatic people have developed the ability to show concern for the feelings, needs, and interests of others. You can sense their interest and care when you are around them, and you feel important because of their attention. Help - The Ability to Reach out Charismatic people are helpers; they make an effort to see others profit by helping them solve their problems. Tell them it takes time. Expose yourself to their problems to relate to them. Assure them of your confidence in them to overcome. Creatively help them find a solution. Offer them hope through the process. Action - The Ability to Make Things Happen Charismatic people always seem to be in the middle of something exciting. They have the ability to say things creatively and confidently do things. They are never dull. “Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are in making them feel good about you.” — Dan Reiland Results - The Ability to Produce Charismatic people want to be on the winning side of life, but they not only want to win but also want others to win. This creates productivity! Charismatic people use their strengths to help others. Influence - The Ability to Lead What happens to you speaks of your circumstances. What happens in you speaks of your character. What happens through you speaks of your charisma. Charismatic people can influence people to move forward through their experiences, expertise, and example. Sensitivity - The Ability to Feel and Respond Charismatic people have the ability to be sensitive to changing situations. They display discernment and courage by leaving their comfort zone to make others feel comfortable. Motivation - The Ability to Give Hope The secret to motivating others is to provide them with hope. Charismatic people achieve this through learning affirming skills, and problem-solving techniques, verbally encouraging others, and conveying belief and support in others. Affirmation - The Ability to Build Up Charismatic people intentionally affirm the accomplishments of others. They think the best of others, believe the best in others, and express the best to others. This week, honestly consider your charisma level by grading yourself for each statement on a scale of 1 to 10: 1 = not evident in my interactions with others 10 = highly apparent in my interactions with others I make others feel important by showing concern for their feelings, interests, and needs. I take the time to help others solve their problems. I use creativity in my communication and confidence in my actions. I use my strengths to ensure the success of myself and others. I can influence people to move forward through my experiences, expertise, and example. I get out of my comfort zone to make others feel comfortable. I convey hope to those around me. I verbally and actively believe in others and expect them to respond positively. If you're on the lower side of the scale, in which areas can you actively improve your score, and how can you take action this week to grow? If you're on the higher side of the scale, how can you further develop your charisma and take action this week to continue your growth?

  • 1. What Draws Me to People?

    Understanding the Qualities You Enjoy in Others "The basis of life is people and how they relate to each other." -- John C. Maxwell Today is our first week in a new chapter of a new book! After much consideration, I've decided to guide us through another John Maxwell book titled, Be a People Person. But before we jump into the wisdom within the pages of the first chapter, I have to be completely honest and confess that I would never have considered myself to be a "people person." If you've ever interacted with me, you may find this confession slightly shocking since I am generally a bubbly, engaging individual who has chosen a profession that is all about people. I show up to every event with a smile and a skip in my step, ready to value and add value to as many people as possible, but by the end of the day, I long to retreat to a place of solitude. As a general rule, people wear me out, and I'm much more comfortable being alone than in the company of others. If you ask people who have known me for a decade or more, they'll tell you that I've come a long way in finding balance, including others in my life, and not burning out. But if I've learned one thing, being a "people person" isn't about personality, preferences, backgrounds, careers, religious beliefs, etc.; it's about consciously choosing to value, respect, and intentionally connect with others. As John Maxwell says, "The basis of life is people and how they relate to each other. Our success, fulfillment, and happiness depend on our ability to relate effectively." I believe this so strongly that I have built my entire personal and professional life on that foundation. As we grow through these eleven chapters, I hope you will be better equipped to understand your own tendencies and intentionally navigate the challenges we all face in connecting with and relating to one another. Think briefly about the qualities and characteristics that the people you enjoy spending your time with possess. Which characteristics drew you to them? Are there similar characteristics that different people share? How do you feel when you are with these people? John Maxwell offers five universal qualities everyone needs, likes, or responds to in relationships. 1 - You want others to encourage you. There is no better exercise for adding value to others than reaching out and lifting people up. As you consider the people you enjoy spending time with, how many regularly offer you encouragement? I would wager that you don't have many strong relationships with people who tear you down rather than build you up. 2 - You want others to appreciate you. William James once said, "the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." How do you feel when others express their appreciation for your work or contribution? How do you feel when they make you feel appreciated for who you are and not even for something you did? When we treat others as important, they will respond accordingly! 3 - You want others to forgive you. It's no secret that part of being in relationship with people is that inevitably you will get hurt, and you will hurt others; often, this pain is not even the result of conscious or intentional action. Consider a time when you hurt a good friend. How did you feel when you realized the harm that had been done? How did you feel based on their response to you? While hanging on to a grudge gives some a sense of satisfaction, the truth is that people who do not forgive are hurting themselves far more than they are hurting others. “The happiest people are those who have invested their time in others. The unhappiest people are those who wonder how the world is going to make them happy.” — John C. Maxwell 4 - You want others to listen to you. Whether you are telling a story, offering an opinion, sharing an update on a work project, asking a question, etc., something profound happens when someone gives you their full attention and actively listens to you. Think about a time when you tried to connect, and you could tell the person was not listening. How did this make you feel? How did you respond? 5 - You want others to understand you. Research shows that approximately 50% of workplace conflict and almost 70% of marital/relationship discord result from misunderstandings and miscommunication. Have you ever been misunderstood in your personal or professional relationships? What was the result of that misunderstanding? How did it make you feel? This week, consider someone in your personal or professional life that you enjoy spending time with and answer these questions: How do they exemplify these five qualities in their interactions with you? How do you respond to them when they exemplify these qualities with you? How does this relationship make you feel compared to one that does include these qualities? Now consider these qualities for yourself: How do you exemplify these five qualities in your interactions with others? How do others respond to you when you exemplify these qualities with them? Which of these qualities do you need to be more intentional to develop? How can you be more intentional in developing that quality, and when will you start?

  • #15: The Law of Contribution

    Growing Yourself Enables You to Grow Others "I would rather have it said 'he lived usefully' than 'he died rich.'" -- Benjamin Franklin Over the last 14 weeks, we have covered every chapter of John Maxwell's book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, except the last. We've covered a lot of ground: You must be intentional because growth doesn't happen by accident. You must know yourself to grow yourself. You must see value in yourself if you want to grow. You must reflect in order to grow. You can't rely on motivation to grow but must add discipline. You have to cultivate the right environment for growth. You must develop strategies to maximize growth. You must grow through the hardships of life. Your character determines how high you will grow. You must stretch yourself to keep the tension between where you are and where you want to be. You have to trade some things today to get something better tomorrow. You have to be curious if you want to keep growing. Your growth is accelerated by learning from good mentors. Your growth continuously expands your capacity. And as this book comes to a close, John and I share the same hope "that this final chapter will inspire you to be all you can be so you can help others to be all they can be. You cannot give what you do not have. But if you have worked to learn or earn something, you have the ability to pass it on to others." Any progress you make in your personal growth also opens the doors for others. John Maxwell calls this "adding value" to others, I call it making positive ripples, but the end goal is the same -- every day, you have the opportunity to do good in the lives of others. So how do you increase your opportunities to help others and make a significant contribution in your lifetime? Think of yourself as a river, not a reservoir. Most people who make personal growth part of their lives do it to add value to themselves; they are like reservoirs that continually take in water but only to fill themselves up. But they should be a river; whatever water they receive, they give away to others. This requires an abundance mindset, a belief that there is more than enough to fill everyone up, and as long as you keep growing, you will never experience scarcity and will always have much to give. Giving your time, expertise, and resources without expecting anything in return is an unselfish act that makes the world a better place, and when you focus more on the wants and needs of others, more of your own wants and needs will be met. John gives several key elements to help you cultivate an attitude of contribution: 1 - Be Grateful "There is no success without sacrifice. If we succeed without sacrifice, then it is because someone who went before us made the sacrifice. If you sacrifice and don't see success, then someone who follows will reap success from your sacrifice." -- Unknown 2 - Put People First "How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these." -- George Washington Carver 3 - Don't Let Stuff Own You "Just the very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, does something within us. It destroys the demon greed." -- Richard Foster “The measure of success is not the number of people who serve you, but the number of people you serve. ” — John C. Maxwell 4 - Define Success as Sowing, Not Reaping "If you live life with the intention of making a difference in others' lives, your life will be full, not empty." -- John C. Maxwell 5 - Focus on Self-Development, Not Self-Fulfillment "Self-fulfillment thinks of how something serves me; self-development thinks of how something helps me to serve others. With self-fulfillment, feeling good is the product. With self-development, feeling good is the by-product." -- Fred Smith 6 - Keep growing to Keep Giving "The greatest give you can give to someone is your own personal development." -- Jim Rohn This week, consider the following questions: Is my underlying desire in life self-fulfillment or self-development? Are my efforts designed to make me feel good or make me be my best? Is my goal to be successful (when I add value to myself) or to be significant (when I add value to others)? Am I trying to achieve so I can feel happy or so I can put myself in a place to help others win? These distinctions may seem subtle, but they make a difference. Trying to feel fulfilled is a never-ending restlessness because you will never be fully satisfied with your progress. However, trying to develop yourself is a never-ending journey and will always inspire you because every bit of progress is a victory. Next, make one list of your top 3-7 goals or dreams and another list of the names of the most important people in your life. Be honest with yourself; which comes first -- the people or the dreams and goals? Make the decision to put others ahead of your own agenda. Serve others instead of yourself. Commit to it, and then invite others in your life to hold you accountable. And remember, sometimes the seeds you sow take a long time to grow. But you will always see a harvest.

  • #14: The Law of Expansion

    Growth Always Increases Your Capacity "There is no finish line." -- Nike Simon Sinek writes in his book, The Infinite Game, "infinite-minded leaders understand that “best” is not a permanent state. Instead, they strive to be “better.” “Better” suggests a journey of constant improvement and makes us feel like we are being invited to contribute our talents and energies to make progress in that journey." If you think you've reached the top, it's time to check yourself. If you're still breathing and of sound mind, you still have room to keep increasing your capacity and be "better." Authors Robert J. Kriegel and Louis Parker agree that "the potential that exists within us is limitless and largely untapped... when you this of limits, you create them." The only way to increase your capacity internally is to change how you approach personal growth. Learning more information isn't enough; you must change your thinking and acting. How to Increase Your thinking Capacity 1 - Stop Thinking "More Work" and Start Thinking "What Works?" Because more of the same usually results in more of the same, more work will not necessarily increase your capacity. Instead, focus on what you must do, what you ought to do, and what you want to do. Ask yourself, What am I required to do? What gives the most significant return? What gives me the greatest reward? 2 - Stop Thinking "Can I?" and Start Thinking "How Can I?" "Can I?" is a question filled with hesitation and doubt. It is a question that imposes limitations. But "How can I?" assumes there is a way; you need to find it. Most of your limitations are not based on a lack of ability but a lack of belief. Every person has the potential to grow, expand, and achieve. The first step is believing that you can. The second is perseverance. As Price Pritchett says, "everything looks like a failure in the middle." 3 - Stop Thinking "One Door" and Start Thinking "Many Doors" Expansion means: There is more than one way to do something successfully. The odds of arriving anywhere increase with creativity and adaptability. Movement with intentionality creates possibilities. Failures and setbacks can be great tools for learning. Knowing the future is difficult; controlling the future is impossible. Knowing today is essential; controlling today is possible. Success is a result of continued action filled with continual adjustments. “Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ” — Oliver Wendell Holmes How to Increase Your Capacity for Action 1 - Stop Doing Only Those Things You Have Done Before and Start Doing Those Things You Could and Should Do The process of expanding your potential is ongoing. It ebbs and flows; opportunities come and go, and the standards you must set for yourself are constantly changing. What you can do changes as you develop, and what you should do also evolves. And as hard as it can be, you must leave behind some old things to take on new ones. 2 - Stop Doing What is Expected and Start Doing More Than is Expected To expand your potential, you have to rise above average by Asking more of yourself than others ask of you Expect more from yourself than others expect from you Believe in yourself more than others believe in you Do more than others think you should have to do Give more than others think you should give Help more than others think you ought to help Doing more than is expected trains you to develop a habit for excellence that compounds over time. Continued excellence expands your capabilities and your potential. 3 - Stop Doing Important Things Occasionally and Start Doing Important Things Daily To do what's not important every day does nothing for you. It merely uses up your time. To do the right thing only occasionally does not lead to consistent growth or expansion in your life. But consistently doing the right thing daily leads to personal expansion. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, "the purpose of an apple tree is to grow a little new wood each year. That's what I plan to do." He also wrote that our destined end is "to live that each tomorrow finds us further than today." This week, consider if you have made the mental shift from "I can't" or "Can I?" to "How can I?" Ask yourself these questions and write the answers: If I knew I could not fail, what would I attempt? If I had no limitations, what would I like to do? If finances were not an issue, what would I do with my life? Do you look at them and think, "That's far-fetched" or "Impossible?" Or do you look at them and think, "How can I do that? What must I do or trade to make this happen?" If your thoughts fall under the "I can't" responses, spend some time figuring out what's stopping you from believing you can make the changes necessary to expand your life. Next, consider if you have a plan and a system to ensure you do what's important daily. Make a list of what is essential for you to do daily, then figure out how to follow through on each of those priorities every day to expand your potential.

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