Change Your World – Together We Are the Answer

On January 26, 2021, John C. Maxwell will release his next book Change Your World! John himself says that this is the book he was created to write! So, we are very excited to give you a behind the scenes look into why John wrote the book in this one-on-one conversation between Mark Cole and John Maxwell.

Change Your World aims to show people how to be a positive change agent in the lives of others. Here are the facts: our world is in trouble, there is an answer, and you are a part of that answer. Join us in this episode to hear John’s inspiration behind the book, AND be sure to join us virtually on October 9th for Live2Lead 2020, where you will learn how be a positive change agent in your world.

Our BONUS resource for this episode is the Change Your World 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 to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. Mark Cole here. And I am excited because I'm joined once again by my friend and your friend, Dr. John C. Maxwell. John, thanks for being on again live with us today.

John Maxwell:   Oh my. I love this. I'm so glad to be with you and all of our listeners, Mark.

Mark Cole:        Yeah. As I mentioned last week, we're taking the next few episodes of this podcast to sit down with John and some of his friends, speakers that have spoken at a live event that we do called Live2Lead that's coming up this October. If you're just tuning in, you haven't heard the breaking news. We are excited because for the first time ever, we're going to have a virtual experience for our annual Live2Lead leadership conference. I promise you will want to take advantage of this opportunity. All you have to do is you can go to, and you can get more information on this event. That's taking place on October the 9th, 2020. When you go to, you'll get more details. You'll get the information on securing your virtual ticket. This year's lineup is going to be with Kat Cole. John, you remember when we heard her first?

John Maxwell:   I remember the first time I heard her speak. I looked at you and said, "Book her. She's fantastic."

Mark Cole:        You did.

John Maxwell:   I'm so excited she's coming to be with us.

Mark Cole:        She is the COO and president of FOCUS brands. And then your friend, Alan Mullaly, is going to be with us.

John Maxwell:   The best.

Mark Cole:        The best.

John Maxwell:   The best.

Mark Cole:        For any of you that lead teams that are trying to lead through times of transition, and aren't we all, this former CEO of Boeing and Ford Motor Company will impact you. And then for those of you that need a little laugh, need a little bit of understanding on how to be an entrepreneur, Steve Harvey, entrepreneur and entertainer extraordinaire is going to be joining us. John?

John Maxwell:   It's going to be so much fun. I love him.

Mark Cole:        I know.

John Maxwell:   This guy whenever we get together, he's always unplugged, but I mean, he's unplugged un-unplugged. He really is.

Mark Cole:        He is. And then finally Craig Groeschel, your friend. Craig calls you a mentor.

John Maxwell:   Terrific leader.

Mark Cole:        Yeah. Founder and Senior Pastor of Life Church. You're also going to get to hear, John, from you. Can you bring your A game that day?

John Maxwell:   I'll do my best. They let me show up every year. So I think if I don't want, they'll send me home.

Mark Cole:        You're going to do that. You're going to do that. So gang, you do not want to miss October the 9th, 2020. If you'd like to hear more about that, for more details.

Mark Cole:        Now last week, John, you and I talked about our event theme, which is the calling of leadership, the purpose of leadership. So if you didn't hear last week's episode, you definitely want to go back and listen to it. John shared some incredible insights into how he answered the call, his purpose to leadership and how you can as well.

Mark Cole:        Today, John, I'd love for you to talk about the content that you're going to share at Live2Lead. You're going to give us a preview today about what's to come in October. As some of you may already know, one of the things that John has been hard at work is his next book, which is Change Your World. It's how anyone anywhere can make a difference. This book releases on January the 26th, 2021, but John, you're going to give us a little snippet today, a preview, but then you're going deep with it on October the 9th. And I can't wait for this and I can't wait for the teaching today. So let's get started. I mean, you're ready to go. But are you excited?

John Maxwell:   Well, I'm very excited about it and I'm very excited about what I'm going to share, even the teaser on Change Your World. But Mark, let me ask you that that's going to be at our L2L conference. So that's for anybody that gets a ticket, correct?

Mark Cole:        That's exactly right. So this time, first time ever, John, you challenged us. Pivot, team. And so anybody can get a virtual ticket by going to

John Maxwell:   So what that really means, if you're listening to us right now, that you will at the L2L event be the first people to hear me as I teach for my new book, Change Your World. And so I'm very excited about that. And if it's okay, can I just kind of-

Mark Cole:        Let's go.

John Maxwell:   Take off. And by the way, Mark, any time you want to jump in, just jump in. I mean, I don't know why I always tell you that because you always do. So it's kind of like, why do I have to give you permission anymore? I mean, after a while, you're the boss now. So you can just do whatever you want to do. But you've heard me talk about people asking me the question what's my favorite book. And I always give the same answer. The book I'm writing is my favorite book.

John Maxwell:   But now I'm going to talk to you about my favorite, favorite book. There's difference between a favorite book and a favorite, favorite book. You see a favorite, favorite book is so stinking special that it's just a notch above your favorite books. And I always say, Mark, you've heard me say the book I'm writing is my favorite book. After Change Your World, I'm going to have to say the book that I'm writing is my favorite book, except for my favorite, favorite book. You see, because I will only assign two favorites to one book and it's the Change Your World. And so let me just give you the background. In fact, when I'm done, you're going to understand why it's my favorite, favorite book.

John Maxwell:   It's the book I've wanted to write since 1977. You got to have some history here because I've just got to kind of fill in context. When I say it's the book I wanted to write since 1977, what's interesting is I hadn't started writing books in 1977. My first book, Think on These Things, didn't come out to 1979. I wanted to write this book before I knew I was going to write a book and let me explain. You've heard me talk, Mark, about this. And some of you have also. That for Christmas, back in 1976, I received a book from my assistant called The Greatest Story Ever Told. And the title was just amazing. I could hardly wait to open up the book. And when I did, it was just blank pages. And I looked at Eileen and I said, "I don't understand. It says the greatest story ever told, and now we've got blank pages here." And she smiled. She said, "Well, go to the very first page." And I did.

John Maxwell:   And there, she had written me a note. And basically the note said, "John, you write this book. The pages are blank. You fill the pages with your dreams, your hopes, your desires, your prayers. You fill these pages with the things that you want to accomplish in your life." And I took it home. When you think of journaling, et cetera, I had never in my life journaled or anything like this, but I took this book home. And the first page, the first day that I took it home, I wrote. And the first thing I put in is "I want to make a difference."

John Maxwell:   Now, that's what I knew. I didn't know anything beyond that, but that's where I started. And I think that's very good for all of us. Because when I'm talking about Change Your World in a moment, you have to understand where this was birthed. This was birthed where most people live. And most people live. They really want to make a difference, Mark. They're just not sure how to make a difference. If you ask them, "Do you really want to positively touch lives?" "Yes, I do. I want to do that." But then you say, "Well, how are you going to do that?" That was the challenge. And so when I wrote, "I want to make a difference," that was from my heart, but there was nothing sophisticated about it. I mean, if you'd have said, "John, how are you going to make a difference?" I would look at you. And I said, "Well, I don't know. I don't know, but I just want to make a difference."

John Maxwell:   Now, the reason I tell you this story is because a couple of years later, 1979, I wrote my first book Think on These Things. And the reason I started writing books, Mark, was because my mentor Les Parrott, I was having lunch with him one day, and I asked him, he had written six books, and said, "Why do you write books?" I never had a desire to write a book. And he said, "John, I write books to influence people beyond my personal touch." And when he said that, I looked at him and said that I'm going to write books.

John Maxwell:   So I began writing books not because I wanted to write books. I began writing books because I wanted to influence people that were beyond my human touch. I mean, this is before social media. I mean, it's a whole different game today. I mean, in fact, I often think if I'd have been born in social media, I maybe never would have written a book because I could immediately done what we're doing right now on a podcast. Facebook, I mean all the different social streams and ways to do it. I may never have been an author. But back then, if you weren't publicly speaking in front of people, you could do tapes, but really books were the way to do it.

John Maxwell:   So that got me jump-started. So when I say all my life I've wanted to write this book, here's what I know. All my life. I've wanted to make a difference, which is what Change Your World is all about. How do I make a positive difference in the lives of others? And I love the title of the book, Change Your World. We're not talking about change the world. I'm not even talking about changing someone else's world. I'm talking about I've got to start where I am. I have to start with me. I have to start with my family, got to start with the people that I work with. I've got to start with my friends. How do I begin to be a positive change agent in the lives of other people?

John Maxwell:   See, I believe every one of you listening right now, I believe your heart is already beginning to kind of just pick up a little pace. You're beginning to say, "Okay, I want to do that myself." So this book is committed to doing that and helping you know how to do that. And as you know, a few years ago, I kind of made an attempt at this with my book, Intentional Living. I mean, I remember, Mark, you and I had discussions about we're going to write this Intentional Living book. I'm going to help people to go from no intention at all or no purpose at all to let's become intentional.

John Maxwell:   And so it was my first shot at what I wanted to do and it came out good. In fact, the book's been a really good seller. But probably a few months after it got out, I realized it still wasn't where I wanted it to be. And to be honest with you, it was my first attempt at Change Your World. And you've heard me talk about the fact you're never good the first time. And so I just realized that the book still was within me. And so it's been wanting to get out for quite some time. The issue was I think it was too early. It was too early. We hadn't had enough experience with transformation with countries yet to really see how do you really become a positive change agent.

John Maxwell:   So that's where it began. And so when I talk about this is my favorite, favorite book, there's a reason it's my favorite, favorite book because this is the book I think I was created to write. And it's just has taken me a long time to get to that journal.

Mark Cole:        I want to get to, John. I really I'd love for you to just spend some time on why you wrote this book. That's what I'd love for you to share today. But as I think about, there's a couple lessons that, podcast listeners, John gave us. One, you never stop. You keep trying. Two, don't put expectations on you the first time. But to get good, which is a second or third or fourth time, you got to have a first time. And then the final thing, John, is you now have literally hundreds of thousands over a million people have been through your transformation tables, through your nonprofit. You now have story after story, after story, you now have over 200,000 women and men that are facilitating values-based round tables right now.

Mark Cole:        You have over 1.5 million kids in values-based round tables that are either in classroom or yes, even right now, virtual. And so there's a degree of gravitas that comes behind this book now. There's a degree of experience that comes behind this book now that perhaps for one of the first times ever, you can now write from months, years, millions of people experience on what Change Your World looks like. So I can't wait. Let's get into why you wrote the book.

John Maxwell:   And you know what? One of the things, I'm going to give you a teaser here, but when we do the L2L, my friends, the introduction, which I don't have time to give you at all today, is my journey from where I just talked about of wanting to make a difference to where this book was. And as I wrote it and I developed this lesson, when you listened to that on... What's the date on?

Mark Cole:        It's October the 9th.

John Maxwell:   Yeah, October 9th. Okay. October 9th. Now, that's what when I'm going to do the whole unveiling of Change Your World. I'm going to not only talk about the book, I'm going to talk about how you can literally begin to change your world.

John Maxwell:   Okay. The way I started off is I talk about my journey and I just started writing the different steps of my journey. And when I finished, Mark, what I think was pretty outstanding was there were 19 steps, 19 steps from, "I want to make a difference" to "change your world." And the reason I'm talking about that now, just briefly, and again, when you're with me on the L2L day, October 9th, I'll go back to it, here's what I want you to hear. I go to talk to you that day about the fact that the greatest way to make progress is to keep moving.

John Maxwell:   And so many people, they think, "I want to make progress, but I don't know where I'm going. And I don't have know what the next step is. So I'm going to wait until I get some clarity." And I just say clarity comes from movement. It doesn't come from sitting, waiting for it to happen to you. And so I'm very excited about when I share that on our L2L day, but what really excites me is it's going to be more than Change Your World. I'm going to talk to you about how you step by step get closer to the person that you really were created to become. Does that make sense?

Mark Cole:        It does. And John, since you just put that out there again, don't forget, We'll get you more information and get you a ticket for this event that John's talking about on October the 9th.

John Maxwell:   Yeah, I want you to be with us because it's the most important talk I've ever done because it's going to be my legacy. It's more than a talk. It's going to be a way of life for me and for literally hundreds and thousands of people from this point on. So why did I write the book? Well, I wrote the book, first of all, because our world is in trouble and I don't even need to elaborate right now. I think every one of you listening to me at this moment realize that we're at a very difficult time, not only in America. In the world, we're just at a very difficult time. And of course COVID-19 and racial division and we're very divided as a country.

John Maxwell:   And I was asked the other day, Mark, how I felt during this COVID-19 all this pandemic. And the best way I can describe how I feel is I'm leadership sad. I teach all the time everything rises and falls on leadership. And I always emphasize the rises. Everything rises on leadership because it does. Well, let me tell you, it also falls on leadership, and I think our leaders are not doing well. And I think that we're not where we could be or where we should be. In fact, before COVID-19, I had already written the manuscript for Change Your World. And then we went to Israel, remember, and took that big trip. And when we came back, of course, we were in lockdown mode and quarantine, et cetera. And I rewrote the book, but I rewrote the book out of darkness, but it's a book of incredible hope. And so when you say, "Why did you write the book?" Well, we were in trouble, but I also wrote the book because although we're in trouble, there's an answer.

John Maxwell:   I had people ask me all the time, "Is this the worst that you can remember any time of America's history in my lifetime?" And I say, no, not really. There were two other times that were pretty difficult. In 1960s I grew up. I was a teenager in the 60s. And when you think of the assassinations of our leaders, when you think of the Vietnam War, when you think of the riots in the streets, that was an extremely difficult time. And then I go back to the early 1990s. Remember Enron and the corporate mistrust. In fact, on Time magazine, I think it was in 1992. The heading on the cover was "A summer of distrust."

John Maxwell:   And it was the corporate mistrust that Time Warner asked me if I would write a book on business ethics. And I said, I couldn't write a book on business ethics. And they said, why? I said, "Because there's just ethics. There's not business ethics. There's just ethics." And so then they said, "Well, can you write a book on ethics?" And I wasn't sure. I go back to this time and realize this was a Eureka moment for me. When I said I'm not sure if I can write a book on ethics, I told them very candidly that if you don't have any definites and absolutes in your life, where do you start? Everything you start to stand on just folds.

John Maxwell:   So I said, "Let me see if I can write a book on ethics in a culture like we have." And so our team got together and we came up with the conclusion that if I would write a book on that, based on the golden rule, treat others as you want to be treated. I mean, think about it. If everybody just live by the golden rule, we wouldn't have a business ethics problem or a community ethics or a family ethics problem. And so I wrote it on the golden rule and the book has done extremely well since that time.

John Maxwell:   But here's what I want you to catch. When I wrote it on the golden rule, all of a sudden, it just hit me that if you just teach values, Mark, if you just teach values, and if people will learn those values and live those values, you could lift your community. And I just think that this is just off the chart. And so let me just stop and ask you a question because you read it with me on my little listing talk here today and with Mark. Let me just ask you a question. Think about this for a moment. Okay. You ready? Okay.

John Maxwell:   This question though lets you just kind of ponder for a moment. Have you ever had a life-changing experience and you knew in that life-changing experience that you could really make a difference for other people if they just knew what you knew, if they just discovered what you discovered, experienced what you experienced? And I bet almost all of you, as you're pondering that right now, you might say, "Well, yeah, I have." There have only been two times where I could honestly say I found something that I just had to go out and tell other people about it because I knew it was a life-changing experience. And one of them is about my faith and relationship with God. And my second one is the one we're talking about right now, the power of values and how it can transform a community.

John Maxwell:   When I wrote that book on the golden rule and said, "Look, forget the rules, the regulations, the legislation, the bylaws, all the stuff. If you just value people and add value to them, it'll just change everything." And so I wrote the book because of this discovery that values make a difference. And I wrote the book because now to you, listener, because you are part of the answer. What excites me about what we're going to do at L2L this year is I'm going to do more than a talk. I'm going to do an equipping talk, which basically gives somebody that wants to make a difference some tools to go out and make a difference. So I mean, it's going to be a talk, but it's going to be an enabling, equipping conversation.

Mark Cole:        John, the first time I heard you say our world is in trouble and you're leadership sad, I've never heard you use language like that. You're a positive person. You always see the hope. You always see the inspiration, but you saw that. But here's what I love that you did. And this is what L2L is going to do and this is what this lesson today, podcast listeners, are going to do for you. Our world is in trouble. Yep. That's point one. There is an answer. That's what you had for Enron. There is an answer. And then now, this is what I love about you all the time, you're empowering people. Here's the third point, gang in podcast land, you are a part of the answer.

John Maxwell:   I love that.

Mark Cole:        I love that.

John Maxwell:   And that's why we're so passionate about our L2L this year. We believe this year... Every year we bring great speakers. So I mean, if you just want to hear great speakers and great talks that will help you apply to your personal life, your business, it's just a win, win, win. That's why L2L is so successful. But this year it goes beyond what we've ever done. This year we're putting in your hands a tool that you could be a transformational leader, and you are part of the answer. See, the challenge for us, Mark, is so many times when we see something like we're seeing today, we wait for someone else to step up, or we wait for the government to do something, or we say, "Well, why doesn't health care or how about education? Can't they step up? Or business or media, sports, arts?" You just go down the list of all the things that you and I wait for them to do something. And by the way, they're all doing something. And some of them are doing a very fine job.

John Maxwell:   But what we want you to understand is this is something that you can get involved in yourself right now because here's what we have discovered. Transformation is possible for anyone willing to learn and live good values, value people, and then collaborate with them to create a positive values culture. In other words, I wrote the book because, Mark, together we are the answer. I can look at you and say, Mark, you're part of the answer. But to be honest with you, you're just part of the answer. But together we're the answer.

John Maxwell:   In other words, we need each other. It's the law of significance. One is too small of a number to achieve greatness. It's the law of Mount Everest. As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates. It's what Mother Teresa said when she said, "I can do what you cannot do. You can do what I can't do. But together we could do great things."

John Maxwell:   Our wonderful friend Miles MacPherson wrote a book that you and I have been talking about a lot during COVID-19 called The Third Option. And what I loved about what Miles said in that book was, "It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about us." And I want you to know that Change Your World is a book about us and what we can do to make a positive difference. And it's a book full of hope. Even though I'm leadership, sad, the book makes me leadership glad. It's kind of like I would really be sad if I didn't have something to offer you. If I just said, "Well, yeah, we're in a hell of a shape and this has all fallen. I can't see it, the light at the end of tunnel." But the book is offers hope and I'm going to read only one part from the book because the rest of it you're going to have to just come to L2L. Okay.

Mark Cole:        That's right.

John Maxwell:   But this will wet your appetite because here's what I put in the book. You cannot overestimate the importance of real active hope for changing the world. Jonathan Sacks in the Dignity of Difference wrote, "One of the most important distinctions I have learned in the course of reflection on Jewish history is the difference between optimism and hope. Optimism is the belief that things will get better. Hope is the faith that together we could make things better. Optimism is a passive virtue. Hope is an active one. It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope." Most people would agree that optimism is greater than pessimism, but it's a fantastic thought that hope is greater than optimism. Now what makes hope greater than optimism? Very simple. We do something about what we feel, and that's what is huge.

John Maxwell:   Mark, I'm going to close with that. Remember we were with Casey Crawford, our wonderful friend over in Charlotte. And he has for underprivileged people he's gone into a community, and he's offered great hope by starting a school that they could be a part of. And we went over and visited them. Part of our visit was we had a Q&A with third graders. And so these little third graders had their hands in the air and it was so fun to sit on a stool. And one of the third graders was named Ethan and he raised his hand and he looked at me and he said, "Mr. Maxwell, do you ever feel deep down here," and when he said here, he was point to his heart, okay, he said, "do you ever feel deep down here," pointing to his heart "that you want to help people and make a difference?" And I tell you, Mark, when he said that to me, I couldn't believe it. First of all, I thought he got set up.

Mark Cole:        Well, the rest of us were wiping our eyes.

John Maxwell:   Yeah. I'm looking around, saying, okay, who set this third grader up with this question? And I can look at everybody. Yeah. And everybody has tears in their eyes. I got tears in my eyes and I'm looking at him. And all of a sudden I realize this kid in a third grade already feels that he wants to make a difference. And I looked at him and I said, "Ethan, I know exactly how you feel." I said, "Every day, deep down in my heart, I want to make a difference." And then I brought Ethan up and I gave a big hug. And I looked at him and I said, "You know what? You're going to go change your world." And everybody, kids clapped. And it was one of the most warm moments I've ever experienced in my entire life. This little cute third grade kid in his heart says, "I want to make a difference." And I just say that, because let me say to you, many of you listening to this podcast, that's exactly how you feel. You say, "I can connect with Ethan."

John Maxwell:   And here's the good news. If you feel that you would like to make a difference and if you feel like we do, that hope is greater than optimism, but hope is an active value and virtue, if this all resonates with you, then I just close with my little talk, Mark, by saying, then you want to immediately become a part of L2L and stay with me. Because when I do the real Change Your World talk, Mark, it's going to be a couple of hours. It's going to be loaded, but it is going to be filled with possibilities of how you and I can really make a difference. So I'm very excited about it and can hardly wait to L2L. And I hope every one of you listening, I hope you're saying, "Okay. I'm not going to miss October 9. I'm not going to miss it because this is going to be something that's going to be very catalytic in my making a difference in my community with the people that I love."

Mark Cole:        John, I want to say something to you, and then I'm going to close this out tonight. Your life's work has come to such a time as this. Your values-based, people-centric, value others, add value to others message is poised at this point to make a bigger difference than ever before. And my commitment to you, not only for today's podcast, but to 8 million people that have downloaded your podcast to this point, just in 18 months.

John Maxwell:   Wow.

Mark Cole:        To the people that on October the 9th are going to be a part of Live2Lead, we're going to step up to the challenge, because this is not just a book. This is a manifesto. This is a statement for us that want to start a movement of bringing leadership that is more about their agenda their politics or their personal gai, and it's about the betterment of ourselves and betterment of our community. And on behalf of this podcast, listeners, we're with them every week, John, we're going to step up to this challenge. We're going to grab this book. We're going to go make a difference in the world. We're going to do more than read it. We're going to make a difference.

John Maxwell:   I love this. I'm giving you a standing ovation right now. I really am.

Mark Cole:        And for those of you on the podcast, I'm going to put it out there, for those of you that want to take this next step and do more than just talk about what the world needs, but wants to be a part of the solution, October the 9th is your time. It is the time that we come together and not only hear some great content from some great leaders, but it's a time to where we mobilize and begin this movement to change our world, to be better for the people around us. So October the 9th, I know you're going to join us. Go to to secure your virtual Live2Lead ticket today. Thanks for joining us on the podcast today. We look forward to being with you next week.

John Maxwell:   Absolutely.

2 thoughts on “Change Your World – Together We Are the Answer”

  1. Listened to this one this morning and it was SO GREAT! WOW — Ethan will change the world — so insightful! I am really looking forward to the L2L ! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

  2. I just listened to this on the change your world website. So excited to get to read this new book that I now have in my hands. I have no doubt that my world is going to change! Thank you John & Rob.

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