A Month of Melvin Maxwell (Part 2)

In part two of our series on the lessons John Maxwell learned from his dad, Melvin, John talks about the importance of encouraging others, working hard, and maintaining a positive mindset.

In the application portion of the episode, Mark Cole and Jason Brooks discuss the tension between human nature and leader nature, and the importance of authenticity in leadership.

Our BONUS resource for this series is the Month of Melvin Maxwell Worksheet, which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below.


Mark Cole:           Hey, welcome back to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast! My name is Mark Cole, and today I will be joined by Jason Brooks. Now, you know Jason, Jason has been working alongside us for several years on John's content and you're going to hear from him, you're going to hear from me the privilege of extending John Maxwell's legacy. Now, today, you are in part two of A Month of Melvin Maxwell. Who is Melvin Maxwell? That is John Maxwell's father. He was 98 years old when he passed away on July 4th of 2020. And so, when John began to reflect on his father's life, he developed twenty-nine things that has profoundly impacted his life because of his dad, Melvin. Today, you are going to hear part two. In fact, lesson seven through twelve of what John learned from Melvin Maxwell. You can go to Maxwellpodcast.com/Melvin, click on the “Bonus Resource” button and you'll be able to get all twenty-nine lessons. You can also go there and see John giving this talk live by video. But we hope you'll listen through the podcast today. I hope you'll be back with us because Jason and I will give you application on how we are applying the life of Melvin Maxwell, to our business and to our nonprofits. Now, here is John Maxwell!

John Maxwell:      I'm so glad you're back with me today as I give my second lessons on a tribute to my father. He passed away on July 4th, lived to be ninety-eight years and eight months, taught me a lot of great lessons. I want to, again, say to you that, perhaps, I'm going to share a few lessons that will be about faith and it's possible that you're not a person of faith and you know how much I value you. You don't have to be like me for me to value you. I value everybody. And so, when I talk about faith, I don't want you at all to feel offended. I want you to know that I just care for you, and I only talk to you about it because that's part of my journey, my dad's journey. And I think what you'll love about me when I do talk about it is that you'll find that there are some principles in faith that will add value to you whether you’re a person of faith or not, so it doesn't matter. I just want you to know that these were lessons that helped me, and my name is John and I'm your friend and I want to pass them on to you. Now, in my first, and by the way, you can go back and pick up last week's lesson if you want to, the first tribute to my father, I gave you at that time six lessons:

Add value to people.

Pray without ceasing.

Be consistent.

Share my faith. These are things dad taught me

Stay focused

Travel the high road.

Now, I'm a little bit in trouble, to be honest with you, in fact, I'll show you my sheets right here…there are twenty-nine lessons. So, I'm going to do my best to get through. I thought I would do this in three times with you, but I only did six which means I've got twenty-three to go. There’s a possibility there may be four lessons on tributes to my father, okay? Because I'm not sure I can get through in three, but let's get going and see how far I go today.

I'm going to start off with lesson number seven. Okay, this is one that, you know, he just lived out, and by the way, the lessons my father taught me were more than words they were his actions. In fact, some of the lessons were more actions than his words, which is kind of a good thing. You know, I often say that if you're not really good, you just tell. In other words, you talk. But if you're really good you show and tell; you not only talk but you back it up with your actions. My dad was a show and tell man. Lesson number seven: Encourage others. You have never met a person that was the great encourager that my father was. In fact, at his memorial service, one of the things I shared in giving my time of loving him and respecting him to others, one of the things I shared with him in the in the message was that, about him was the fact that he was a great encourager, and I closed my time at that memorial service by showing a five minute video when dad was eighty-eight, and I hadn't come up onto the stage at a place where I was speaking, and I gave him a few minutes to talk about what he was doing and how he just encouraged…oh my gosh, a crowd of probably six or seven thousand people, and they were on their feet giving him a standing ovation, and I did that in the memorial service because I wanted people that didn't know him, they just hear me talk about him, just really get to see him in action. But he was a great, great, encourager. One quick story, for a period of time, Margaret and I lived in a condominium and in the condominium at the bottom, it had a gym and so I had a terrific physical trainer named Josephine, I called her Joe, that would meet me on a regular basis and take me through the paces of working out. And when my father came to visit us at the condo, he loved to go down to the gym with me, and because he just loved Joe, and so when dad was there, he'd say, “Are you going to the gym today, son?” “Yeah, I'm going, Dad.” “Can I go?” “Oh, sure, you can go with me.” But I knew that if dad went with me, that she would begin me in my process of lifting weights and doing all the things I needed to do, and then within five minutes, she'd say, “Okay, John, start working your routine.” And she'd leave me. Where's she going to go? She's going to go talk to dad. And for the rest of the time, she'd be talking to dad, I'd be over there going through the paces. She wasn't even looking at me, because my father was such an incredible encourager, she loved to, literally, quote, sit at his feet, and he would pour good stuff into her, belief into her, positivity into her, and there was more than one time, I'm over there, I'm chopped, literally, to be honest with you, I honest to God, you know, she's listening to dad, she's with dad, she's not with me. And my father one day, I looked over, and he's got his hand on the side of her head and he's praying with her and tears are just coming down her cheeks and, oh, she just loved my father. Why? Because he was an encourager. I asked dad one time I said, “Dad, how do you know that people need encouragement?” Because he was encouraging everybody. I said, “How do you know they need to be encouraged?” He said, “Son, let me explain this to you, if they're breathing…” I love this! “If they're breathing…they need to be encouraged.” And that's exactly how my father lived his life. He called encouragement, the oxygen of the soul. If you were around my dad, get ready to be encouraged. He didn't know how to have a conversation without saying things that would be positive and uplifting into your life. A great lesson that my father taught me!

Another one, terrific lesson, was to work hard. My father was a very hard worker. In fact, he worked full time until ‘95. And he loved work, so work wasn't work to him. And it just literally came right down to the family and for my brother, my sister, myself, we all loved to work, and work isn’t work, and we find our mission, we find our passion, and it's just we can hardly wait to do it. So, he was an incredible example of working hard. But he also in that working hard teaching, he taught us to work smart. Not only how hard you work, but how smart you worked. And one of the things that he did that was just very helpful, I think, probably, this helped me the most in the family because I was a fun-loving kid, and not highly disciplined. I really just really wanted to do two things: play ball and be with my friends. And so, my father would give me the chore list and what he would do is he would give it to me at the beginning of the week and say, “John, here are the five things you need to do this week.” And some of them I had to do every day, like take out the garbage. But then, like I cleaned the basement or wash the car, I didn't have to do that every day. But I had to do it that week, and my father would say, “Now, you can choose when you want to do this. If you want to, in fact, you got the list you can go down and clean the basement now. You can go wash the car now, or you can do it tomorrow, or you can do it the next day.” He said, “You you get to choose when you do that work.” But he said, “I just want you to know by Saturday at noon, it has to be done.” And he’d say, you know, “Saturday afternoon, we're going to maybe go swimming. If you got your chores done, you can go swimming with us. But if your chore isn't done, you’ve got to finish your chores.” And I can still remember the day on Saturday afternoon when the rest of the family pulled out the car and I was at the front door watching them leave me because I hadn't cleaned the basement, and dad said, “Well, you didn't prioritize your time so you clean the basement, we'll go swimming.” It was my dad that taught me how to pay now, play later. Huge teaching in my life. In fact, he said, “Let me tell you something, if you pay now, you'll get to play later. But if you just play now, you'll severely pay later.” And he talked to me about how doing the right thing compounds into something positive and gives you options at the end, but if you don't do the first things first, you lose your options and then toward the end of life, the payment really gets compounding and quite severe and difficult. So, my dad just came alongside of me and helped me to understand how to put first things first, how to work hard, how to prioritize my work, and pay now, play later. And it was an incredible lesson for me that just literally…well, it's just literally revolution in my life, and to this day, to this day, I'm an early riser and I wake up early, and you know, five, five-thirty, I’m already getting my work done. In fact, my dad used to say, “John, it’s just very simple…” He said, “If you rise early and you work, and you prioritize your life well…” He said, “By the time everybody else is getting up you're already ahead of the game.” In fact, he said, “Be a person that everybody around you has to play catch up.” I love that! In other words, he said, “Get started first.” He was the first person to teach me, it's not the fastest person who wins the race, it's the one who starts first. So, work hard, work smart, get up early. It was just an incredible, incredible lesson that I packed away in my life and I learned for myself and it's made a huge difference, no doubt about it.

The next lesson is: Think positive. My father loved Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking, the writer of The Power of Positive Thinking, a tremendous motivational speaker in the 1900 hundred, 1960, 2000. My father loved him, and he loved his books. You know that my father put books in our hands starting in the seventh grade and paid us to read books. And one of the first books he put in my hand was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, and I'll never forget reading it and marking it and talking it over with my dad, and then one day he had a great surprise, he said, “Son, we're going to go to Columbus, Ohio next week, and Norman Vincent Peale is going to be speaking at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, and we're going to go hear him speak.” And I just read the book and I was all excited, and I not only went with him to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium the next week in Columbus, Ohio, but I had the privilege of meeting Norman Vincent Peale. My father really understood the power of proximity and, you know, bring your children around, you know, around people that have greatness. You know, my friend Diana Cusco, has a great statement, she said, “People move toward the conversations you have around them.” How true that is, and my father knew that. So, again, good books in my hands, good experiences but to think positive. It was from my father that I basically learned my positive life stance and a positive life stance is more than just a positive conversation, it's a positive way to live, and the positive life stance just simply says good things happen in life, bad things happen in life. It doesn't matter who you are, you're going to have good things happen to you and you’re going to have bad things happen to you. If I have a positive life stance, if I have a good attitude, the bad things that happen to me won't be as bad as if I have a negative attitude and the good things that happened to me will be better so, therefore, I choose to think positive. I learned that and I watched him live it, it was just incredible what I observed from him and it just allows me to walk in sunshine. My dad would say, “John, it's not what happens to you, it's what happens in you. You don't have control of the outward circumstances, but you do have control of your inward spirit and your inward attitude.” When I wrote the book, The Winning Attitude, one of the first books I wrote, really, I think maybe it's the sixth or seventh book I wrote. But it was the first book that really sold well, okay? Let's start there. Hey, it's the first book that other people were buying, besides my family, let's go there. And when I wrote the book, The Winning Attitude, it was just basically copying all of the incredible positive thinking, positive attitude stuff that my father had given to me, just incredible teaching. When I wrote the book, How Successful People Think, it came out of a conversation with my dad about how he thought and how he chose to think on the right things. When I wrote my first book, Think on These Things, it was out of Philippians 4:8, the things that are good, right, pure…think on these things. It was ingrained in me to think positively, and I look back at my life now, and I say my life was incredibly, unbelievably, beautifully changed because I chose the right attitude. And by the way, your attitude, your thinking, my father would say this all the time, is a choice. It's a choice. So, the attitude that I have today, whether it's positive or negative, I chose. It wasn’t something that, you know, my boss put on me at work and you know, “Well, if you had to live with my family, or if you had to work where I worked, or you had to live in the location I live in, you'd have a bad…” No, no, no, no, no, it's a choice. It's a choice, and we get to make that choice. Isn't it amazing some of the most important things like positive thinking and attitude, in fact, I wrote a book called The Difference Maker, and the whole thesis of that book is that attitude isn't everything, but it's the main thing, and I love that, and it's the difference maker. If you have two people that you're going to hire in your company, and both of them have the same experience, pretty much the same skill set, but one has a great positive attitude, and the other one has a very negative attitude…I mean, this isn’t an IQ test, who are you going to hire? You're going to hire the person that has the positive attitude. All things being equal, if you and I are on the very same level, all things being equal, if you have a great attitude, and I have a poor attitude, all things being equal, when somebody has to choose one of us but can't choose both of us, they'll choose you. I'll get left out every time. Why? Not because I lacked the ability or the talent or the experience or the skill, no, no, no. You had a better attitude. It gave you a step up on me. My father knew that and understood that and practiced that. Oh, we lived an incredible positive attitude environment; and my father had it to the day that he died, literally. A couple years before he passed away, he looked at me and said, “John…” he said, we were having lunch, he said, “John—" what was it? Ninety-six? He said, “I've been thinking about my life, I think my greatest days are still ahead.” As a man thinketh in his heart, my dad would teach me, so is he. It all begins there.

Another lesson my father taught me, this one's huge, also. Wow! This is a faith lesson, okay? My dad just taught me to put God first. You know, one of the things, we were paid to memorize as kids scripture and one of the things, the first things I was paid to memorize was the Ten Commandments, and I could still remember sitting together in our old family gatherings and standing up and quoting the Ten Commandments, and my father loved the Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Just put God first. Matthew 6:33, “Seek first God and His kingdom, and all of the things will be added unto you.” Now, I know this is heavy faith for some of you, but just hang on with me just for a moment, because there's an incredible principle that I learned out of it. He just basically said to me that, “God is your Creator, and God created you for greatness, and He knows what's best for you. Now, here's the question, if God created me for greatness, He created you for greatness. He sure did! Whether you believe in Him or not, doesn't matter, He still created you for greatness, and if He created you for greatness, and He gave you a purpose that would help you be great.” He said, “Doesn't it make sense the person who put it all together for you is the person that you should know the best? Because the more you hang with them, the more they'll help you fulfill that purpose and greatness within you.” I love that! So, he said, “Put Him first, and what you'll find is that if you'll put Him first, all the other stuff that you need in life, you'll get. But if you put everything else first and not God, you'll leave out of your life, the most important relationship that you could possibly have.” Now, I could go so many ways with this incredible principle. There's a tithing principle, again, whether you’re a person faith or not, there's a tithing principle that 10% of your income goes to good things, charity, God, faith things, things that are a building to other people. And so, he taught us to tithe with the promise that gives us in the scripture that if you'll put Him first financially, if you'll donate to good causes, not only your money, but your time, etc. What's the promise? That He'll protect you, and He'll keep you protected, and then He will pour out a blessing. In fact, the scripture says, God says, “Test me in this. Put me first, financially.” In fact, it's the only place in the Bible where God says, “Test Me.” I mean, usually when you test God it’s not a good thing. It's kind of like, I'm not sure you're right on that, but I'm going to push a little bit. But on this one, because money is so important to all of us, He said, “If you just put Me and My cause first than I'll open the windows of heaven, and I'll pour out a blessing for you that you won't be able to even handle.” He just, basically, teaches us put God first financially, and all these other things will be added to you. And my father understood that, and my father lived that, and my father taught that to us. As you talk to my brother, you talk to my sister, they would tell you that incredible principle of God first in your life has just given us incredible blessings. Blessings we don't deserve, blessings that we certainly didn't earn, blessings that surprised us. Why? Because God understands that if we put Him first and seek Him first and His kingdom, that He is obligated as God to take care of all the other things in your life. It was an incredible, incredible principle that my dad taught me.

Let me give you another one, my father, oh my goodness, the lessons that he taught me… he taught me to walk slowly through the crowd. I shared with you that my father was a college president and he would make daily walks across the campus just to see the students. He would time his walks with the time that kids would be out on the grounds, classes would be dismissed, and he would walk across the campus and I would walk with him many times, and it would take him sometimes thirty minutes to walk a couple hundred yards, because every student he would stop, and he knew them all by name. That was another thing he taught me to remember names. That's another story, another lesson. But he would call them out and call them by name and say, “How are you doing? How are your classes? Are we helping you? Is there something that you need me to do to help you?” And he would offer his hand to help them. He would sometimes stop and pray with them. He was interested, “How's your family back home? Are you okay?” In fact, when dad, the reason he’d walk slowly through the crowds is because whenever he was with people, they looked at him, waiting to see if he'd come by them because they knew they were going to get a dose of encouragement in their life. Today, if you would talk about this to the students at that campus, they would tell you one of the highlights of going to Circle Bible College, that's what it was called then, it’s Ohio Christian University now, one of the highlights was having seen dad on the campus walking through the people, because they knew that it was only a matter of time he was going to come by again, and he was going to encourage them. And so, walking slowly through the crowd, there's a lesson that I just learned, he said, “Just touch people, just touch them everywhere, always touch people.” And, again, people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. I learned that from my dad.

Now, let me give you one more, maybe, lesson. I don't know if I have maybe one, perhaps two, but maybe one more. This one is my father taught me to trust and obey God, and he said to me, “John, what you have to understand is that God knows what's best for your life, and His ways are higher than yours, and so you have to have faith and trust in Him to take care of you.” And he taught me that great principle that when he asked you to do something, do it! Obey Him. And he's always taught me that when He asks you to do something, sometimes it doesn't make sense on the front end, but he said, do it anyway, just do it anyway. And he taught me the great principle, that obedience is understood only on the back end, not the front end. After you obey God, all of a sudden, you say, “Oh, I see it! Oh, my goodness, I had no idea!” Isn't that beautiful? Isn't that beautiful? Just on the back end, on the back end, just obey Him, and you'll see God's hand in everything. I love the statement of Spurgeon that says, “God is too good to be unkind, He’s too wise to be confused. If you cannot trace His hand you can always trust his heart.” That's what my dad taught me. Trust and obey God. I kind of want to stop here just for a moment to share with you that I've given a couple lessons of faith again and it's possible that you are not a person of faith, but you are really interested in having a relationship with God, you just haven't had anybody show you how. Well I'm your friend, my name is John. And if you'll go to Maxwellfaith.com you'll watch me share with you the four pictures of God which basically help you to see God as He really is. Because the moment you see God as He really is, not as we think Him to be, you'll fall in love with Him and want a relationship with Him. So, if you go to Maxwellfaith.com, I'll share with you the four pictures of God and then our team will get to you, they'll reach you and if you decide to begin that relationship with God, we've got some free resources. No strings attached at all, just free resources we want to give you, a study guide and then I have a special surprise for you but if you decide you really want to make a relationship with God work or maybe He seems far from you and you kind of would like to get close to Him, just go to Maxwellfaith.com and I think it'll kind of maybe start you on a beautiful spiritual journey. Well, it's obvious that I'm going to do four lessons on tributes to my dad because I'm not even quite halfway through but I promise you, we'll put them all in four, and you'll get all the lessons dad taught me, helped me to live. Hopefully they'll add value to you. So, this was lesson number two on tributes to my dad. Next week, lesson number three.

Mark Cole:           So, welcome back.! Was that not an incredible—Jason, I can't wait till next week. I mean, is it next week yet? I can't wait to hear lessons thirteen through twenty-one, but that's next week, because today is lesson seven through twelve, and Jason, I'm glad to be sitting alongside of you today.

Jason Brooks:       Man, I'm glad to be back with you this week. I love hearing from John, about his dad, and I don't know if he's going to cover this later on, but if you've never sat down and thought about some of the lessons you've learned from the most influential people in your life, this would be a great exercise to just take an hour one day and carve it out and think through, who are the people who have spoken into your life and what are the things that they've taught you? Because as John is showing, there are people around us that can be incredible resources for our own growth. And I kind of want to jump right in, you know, one of the first points that John covers today is encouraging others. But he said something right before he dove in there, he said that some of Melvin's greatest lessons were taught through actions and not words and I wanted to ask you this question right off the top, why is it so important for leaders to live their message?

Mark:                    You know, boy, I love that question. I love that you put me on the spot with it. Let me say before I answer the question on why it's important, let me say this we have a philosophy around here with John's message, with John's brand, which is Melvin's legacy as well, we have a policy, a statement, if you will, around here, be the product. We are a product of the product. So, I don't just answer this question flippantly like, okay, here's the answer. I want you to know that this answer is baked deep within me that I believe if you are representing something, you should be a user of what you're representing. Because it all comes back to authenticity, Jason, when you say, why is it important for a person to live their message? You can't properly represent your message if you're not living it. You can't properly sustain your message if you're not living it. I know a lot of people that are not consumers of their message and the shelf life of their success is very short. It's very short lived. Now, I'm not saying that some people can sell something that they don't consume and not see instant gratification, instant success, but it'll never last…ever. So, if you want to be a part of something that sustains you, something that extends you, something that elongates your influence, you better represent something that you are consuming. Be a product of your product.

Jason:                    We could stop the podcast right there. That was awesome! And leaders, especially at the time that we're recording this, we're in the middle of the Coronavirus epidemic of 2020, there's all sorts of uncertainty and, man, if you are not living out the principles that you have espoused, this is the time that people are getting called out for that, and the leaders who truly are authentic, and are the products of the product, those are the ones that we're seeing people really come lean into during this season.

Mark:                    Let me say this, Jason, I was just, in fact, you and Jake were so kind to me. Jake produces our podcasts, Jason, your day job is to make sure that all of our content from all of our companies represent John Maxwell and then we get to do the podcast as fun. Jason produces it, thinks about it all the time. But I was late today, and you guys were extremely generous to me, but I was late because the boss was on the phone with me, John. John called and had some questions. We got into that conversation, we're talking about encouraging others, we got into that conversation and I was talking to him about a speech, a talk that I am developing that's going to be given to several thousand people next week. And John is so encouraging and is so intentional on encouraging me while he is giving me pointers on how to be encouraging. I think, for instance, this is one of the things we just talked about, I think that we're in a leadership crisis right now. Now, we're in a health crisis because of Coronavirus, we're in a financial crisis because of Coronavirus, we're in an emotional crisis because of coronavirus, and by the way, we have a crisis of division between people differences in our country and really frankly, around the world. There is still a lack of appreciation for diversity and a sense of superiority in so many people. We've got crisis. I'm ready to talk about leading from a place of opportunity in this crisis. So, I said, “John, one of the things—” I've got a couple of speeches that I'm developing. I said, “One of the things I want to talk about is the crisis of leadership, not leading through crisis, but the crisis of leadership.” He said, “Mark, don't call it the crisis of leadership, call it the opportunity of leadership. Because since there is a crisis, we as leaders that are about valuing people, and about making people the center of our focus, have the best opportunity ever of leading from a place of such deficit in leadership.” Now, with that one word, not only did he encourage me, but he showed me how to make my message more encouraging. John epitomizes what he learned from Melvin right there.

Jason:                    Well, I love that because it spins right into his third point from this lesson. I will come back to the point about working hard but his third point was about thinking positive. As he's encouraging you, he's encouraging you because he's looking not at crisis as a problem or an issue, he's looking at crisis as an opportunity. That's a positivity mindset. And so, I want to ask you this, you just gave a great example of it, but I want to challenge you to maybe come up with a couple of other examples. How does Melvin and John's positive attitude permeate the company today? And can you give me a couple of examples of how positive thinking has paid off for our company?

Mark:                    Yeah, there's a couple. You know, one is during this crisis that we're in, parts of our business, Jason, as you know, you're on our leadership team, parts of our business have completely dried up. And yet, our responsibility and our message has been, we may not have something that people will pay for because of Coronavirus restrictions, but we still have something that will be valuable to people. So, let's change the financial demographic of our organization and start value adding much more than value charging. And that's a perspective that we've changed. Another thing that we have done is we feel like John's message of adding value to people because we value people has been something that we need the world to hear. So, what we have done from a positive perspective, Jason, is every Monday since we've been shut down, so go back to March, every Monday, John has been on a Facebook Live. In fact, our podcasts are parts of this now, we take content from that, you and I give application to it. But that is a positive take that says the world needs to hear values based, people centric, positive messaging right now, amidst so much discouragement and so much bad news.

Jason:                    I love that and you know, it's funny the example that I thought of just off the top of my mind was the John Maxwell Team, that when that business unit first got pitched, you know, John was very positive about it. And you've shared the story about how you had some questions and some uncertainties and John just looked at it through a different lens, and now the John Maxwell Team is one of the most amazing parts of the enterprise and over 30,000 coaches, and we're getting ready to do the first online IMC event ever and, you know, thousands of people have signed up for this thing, and it's turned out to be, as John calls it “the legs to his legacy”. We've created this system of reproducing impact globally, and it comes down to John looking at an opportunity through that positivity mindset. I want to go back, because you said something in answering the question, leaders living out their message and authenticity, and you said that you could be inauthentic and see short term success, but you won’t see it last. And John was talking about working hard, and it spurred this idea, he said, you know, Melvin taught him to pay now, play later, which to me meshes with the infinite mindset that John has that we've talked about with Simon Sinek on the podcast. But so many leaders fall into the play now, pay later trap. What makes that so easy for leaders to fall into? And why is it that so many leaders find it challenging to put off immediate gratification for that long-term success?

Mark:                    Well, I think the human nature is the easy route. I don't know why, but for all of us. John complimented me today again, referencing a very recent conversation, John complimented me today on my work ethic. We were working through one of his talks that I'm doing, he said, “Man, Mark, I don't think I've ever seen a work ethic greater than yours, and I thought mine was pretty good.” Well, that's a compliment to me. To my human nature it’s not, I just got off a vacation. Jason as you know, and you and Jake asked me, “How was vacation?” I said, “It was long.” Now, do I love being with my family? Yes. I can tell you stories of feeling discouraged every time I go down to the airport. I hate leaving my family. But too much in a static position is not good for me. I told Stephanie, my wife, on this vacation I said, “Man, I was made to be a workhorse. I was made to have a plan. I was created that way.” Now that's a nature but I got to be honest with you, Jason, just like I have that nature to work hard, I have the nature to want to sit back on the things that I don't want to do. I have to retract from the difficult things in my life. I think that's human nature. We have to counter human nature with leader nature. Because leader nature must have an ability and a propensity to get things done. We have to fight it. So, I wish I could say, “The reason it’s so hard is because you're not a leader.” I don't believe that. I believe the reason it's so hard to have a work ethic is because you're human. I believe the reason some people don't physically visibly struggle with that is because they have worked hard to develop their leader nature and to suppress their human nature. I think that's the difference. It's not the difference of some people like to work hard, and others don't. Again, I'm a workhorse, I declared that this past week. At the same time, there are certain things I don't want to do. Guess what I want to do in those certain things? Retract and not do them. I have to overcome that propensity to put off, to procrastinate with my leader nature, which is to get things done.

Jason:                    Man, thank you first of all for the candor on that, but I love that. I'm not wired quite the same way that you are, but I am definitely wired to where too much downtime and I start to get fidgety. I need something to do. But, man, leaders if you didn't catch the point that Mark was making there, you know, a lot of times the price that we're unwilling to pay is the higher price. We’ll happily pay the easier price but some of the things that lasts the most and make the greater impact are the things that are hardest for us to do; but if we're willing to pay now, it pays off later.

Mark:                    Yeah, you know, let me give you again, I'm fresh on vacation and family illustration, obviously. By the way, for all of you out there, we wore masks. We were social distancing, we were being very, very, very aware of our background and I feel the need to say that because the last thing I want to do is create more division in the world. We have got to bring some unity into the world. So, I say all that. Now, let me come back though, Jason, and tell you, I asked my family I said, “Guys, we can get up at 3 a.m. be in the car at 4 a.m.…” By the way, we drove because my daughter thought it would be legendary. Where a 13-year-old even understood that word, I don't know. But we drove on this vacation when we could have flown to be legendary. But I said, “We can leave at 4 a.m. and have an extra day of vacation in essence by getting to our destination by 2 p.m. or we can get up at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and lose the whole day by being in the car, which would you prefer?” Well, they all wanted an extra day of vacation. Well, coming home, now we're all wore out. We're not going to vacation, I said, “Guys, we can wait and have a bunch of traffic or we can beat the traffic and get up again at 3 a.m., which would you prefer?” It's all in the packaging, Jason, because guess when I wanted to leave? Early, and my daughter wanted to leave early, but that was only two votes out of five, and I had to package to get the other three to make it a majority.

Jason:                    That's a great leadership lesson right there. If you didn't pick up on that one, how you frame the question, it goes a long way to determining the answer that you get, and if you want to get a certain answer, frame it the right way. I do have two other questions that I want to hit really quick. One of John's principles that he taught in this lesson was put God first, which is very similar to something that Stephen R. Covey talked about, about putting first things first. It's having the right priorities in your life and I wanted to ask you, how have both of those principles paid off for our enterprise?

Mark:                    Yeah, you know, and again, Melvin was such a person of faith, we all are. We don't make our podcast or even our message or even our content, a faith-oriented message, but it is a faith founded message. And so, for all of you that are kind of working through this series with us, and you don't have that same propensity to faith and certainly don't have that same propensity to our faith, that's okay. You are valuable to us. We want to be valuable to you and we want to add value to you. And so, as John says, just relax, we will not abuse or push that on you. But Jason, back to your question, I am a person of faith. My whole existence has been founded on that, and as is our company, our company has been founded on that, and so we therefore have a perspective that when we walk through things like this, losing Melvin, Melvin said—John's quoted this in the lesson, Melvin said at 97 years of age, I remember him making the statement, I was down with John. He said, “John—" he didn't really say it to me. I was just kind of a fly on the wall. But he said, “John, my best days are ahead.” I believe, on July the third, the day before he passed away, July 4th, I think Melvin was still in his mind, maybe not with his voice, but in his mind, he was still saying my best days are ahead. Well, guess what? They were. His best days were ahead because the impact that his life is having through this podcast, a hundred and twenty, a hundred thirty, a hundred forty thousand people an episode, the views that we're having on Monday, his life lessons are impacting more people in his death than they did in his life. Therefore, Melvin Maxwell was right because he doesn't put his faith perspective did not put his lifespan and influence into the framework of date of birth through July 4th, 2020. His faith reference put his life's work much greater than the span of his life. When you can put, as John said, put God first or as Covey said put main thing, the first things first, when you can do that, then you have a greater perspective, a bigger picture orientation. Melvin Maxwell, John Maxwell have a bigger picture orientation.

Jason:                    That's such good stuff, and it leads into the final question that I wanted to ask, because John said in his point about walking slowly through the crowd that people would look for Melvin whenever he was walking by, and I wanted to ask as a leader, as someone who whether you're at IMC or somewhere else people tend to gravitate towards you and want time with you, it’s certainly the case with John. What do some of us younger leaders need to do to make sure that people are excited to see us, instead of maybe a less positive reaction?

Mark:                    You know? So, that's a great question, and I would hate for the world to all be just like me. Now, I'm an opinionated, strong willed, type A, believe my way is the right way kind of individual, do not let me sugarcoat that. I wish everybody would do what I want them to do. However, in the reality of understanding this question, Jason, I want diversity. I love diversity. So, I'm a passionate person, I get up in the morning and there are many days I look myself in the mirror and I tell myself what I need to be thinking and how I need to be doing. There is a whoo, there is an attraction to that kind of a personality, but don't know mistake another personality that doesn't want nor have that whoo as needing to get that to want people around them, to have people wanting them around them. There are people, Jason, that does not want to be around my high energy, that wants to be around others. That thinks my high energy is way too much, over the top and perhaps even fake. I get that. So, the most important thing in wanting people to want to be around you, your question, is be you. Be the best version of you because when you are fully alive, you make the world come alive. When you are fully confident in yourself, you make people want to be around that confident person. People ask me all the time, what is the greatest thing you've learned from John? And I have about five go to answers, but one of them is, I love how he is comfortable in his own skin. He's comfortable in his own skin. You know what will make people attracted to you? Being comfortable in your own skin, not trying to prove something, not trying to fake something, not trying to achieve something, just be you and that will draw people into your environment and you'll be able to add value to them.

Jason:                    Man, leaders, if you haven't picked up on it, the consistent theme throughout this entire episode, is authenticity, be you and live genuinely out of your strengths, your giftings, your values, be yourself and it will draw people to you. And so, I’d give you this application, sit down and write down how you think you come across to other people. What do you think you present to the world that your idea of your authentic self? And then sit down with one or two friends, maybe a coworker, maybe a spouse, maybe somebody else that's in your trusted circle, and have them evaluate that list. Are you really living as authentically as you think you are? Hopefully, you'll get a confirmation that you are living genuinely, but if you're not pay attention to those areas that people bring up and see if you can bring those things into balance. Mark, it's been an absolute pleasure to talk about Melvin and John and the lessons that we're learning today. We've still got two more episodes to go. So, if you want to get the notes for today's podcast, you can go to Maxwellpodcast.com/Melvin, you can click on the “Bonus Resource” button and download the fill in the blank worksheet, and trust me, you're going to want to get that because it's got fill in the blanks for all 29 of the principles and lessons that John has learned through his father, Melvin. So, you're going to want to have that worksheet. But Mark, I'm going to flip it back to you and let you close this out with any additional thoughts that you have.

Mark:                    Thanks, Jason! Hey, I do look forward to the next two weeks, and I hope those of you in the podcast world will, as well. Jason, great questions, great adds today. Hey, don't forget, go to Maxwellpodcast.com/Melvin, and you'll be able to click on the “Bonus Resource” button and get the worksheet. You'll also be able to watch John visually do this lesson today, and finally, if you want to hear more what John's talking about with his right picture of God, this, “What do you mean, John, the reason most people don't have a faith perspective is because of a wrong picture?” Go to Maxwellfaith.com and that resource will help you, as well. It's free, it's yours. It's our attempt to add value to you. Hey, until next week, let's lead!

1 thought on “A Month of Melvin Maxwell (Part 2)”

  1. I am a Christian!
    These lessons are so good and important in life. I’m taking notes and sharing with my daughters.
    I pray one day they will listen to your podcast, but in the meantime, I will feed them the words of God as you share them.
    As a mom, I hope to make an impact on their life as your father did for you.

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