Encouragement Changes Everything (Part 1)

Get ready to be encouraged! In this two-part series, John Maxwell shares 5 points on just how potent and impactful the gift of encouragement can be. It has the power to motivate, inspire, and empower others to change their world! And, when we encourage others, it has the power to change our world as well.

During the application portion of this episode, Mark Cole and Jason Brooks discuss encouragement and the huge role it continues to play in Jason’s life after receiving his cancer diagnosis in the spring of 2020. This is an incredibly inspiring and touching episode that you certainly do not want to miss.

Our BONUS resource for this series is the Encouragement Change Everything 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'm in studio, and I have a surprise for you today. But I'm going to do something John Maxwell can't do. I'm going to wait to tell you your surprise. I've been mentored by John, as most you know, for 21 years and when he knows something, he wants everybody to know as soon as he knows. But I'm going to share the surprise after John is done teaching today.

We often think how and when can we encourage others? Encouragement changes lives, but encouraging others also has the potential to change our own lives. In this two part series John Maxwell will share five points on just how important and powerful the gift of encouragement can be.

It has the power to motivate, inspire, and empower others to change their world. We're going to hear from John, I will come back with my surprise, you are going to love the application that we do today. Come back right after John Maxwell teaches. By the way, if you would like to download today's show notes go to maxwellpodcast.com/encourage and you will be able to download the fill in the blank worksheet. Now, here is John Maxwell.

John Maxwell:  Well, let's talk about encouragement. Let me just talk about it. These are simple thoughts about encouragement. Thoughts that you already know, but are going to be layered in reinforcement with you now, I think. And the first thing I want to say about encouragement is, that encouragement keeps us going. Many times I've wanted to stop, but words of encouragement or deeds of encouragement have kept me going.

George Adams said, "There are high spots in all our lives, and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else." This is not in your notes, but let me just quickly just read the paragraph of the story. It's about Walt Whitman, who is a ninth century writer. As you know. And Walk Whitman struggled for years to get anyone interested in his poetry. And in the midst of discouragement Whitman received a life changing letter from an admirer of his work

The note read, "Dear sir, I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful gift of leaves of grass. I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that an American has yet contributed. I greet you at the beginning of a great career." It was signed, "Ralph Waldo Emerson." Wow. I'll bet he kept that note.

But can you imagine what that did to Walt Whitman the day that he got a note from Emerson, saying, "I think you're pretty good?" Go to your notes. Walt Disney said, "There are three kinds of people in the world today. Number one is well poisoners. Well poisoners discourage you, stomp on your creativity and tell you what you can't do." He called them well poisoners. Then Walt Disney said, "The second kind of person is lawnmowers." They're lawnmowers, "They are well intentioned, but self-absorbed. They tend to their own needs. Mow their own lawns and never leave their yard to help anyone else." Okay.

And then thirdly, "Life enhancers. They reach out to enrich the lives of others, to lift them up and inspire them." The question we all have to ask ourselves is, which one of these three am I? And let me ask you this. The other thing is, am I different things, to different people? One of the saddest things I know, is I know people who encourage their co-workers tremendously, and aren't very encouraging to their family.

And you say, "Well, that's not a good thing. You ought to be encouraging to the people that are closest to you." Okay. Back in your notes. Couple quotes and an application, and then we'll go to the second one. People will go far, this is one that I, several years ago I began to say. People will go farther than they think they could when someone else thinks they can't.

And then this next one. Years ago an experiment was conducted to measure people's capacity to endure pain. How long could a barefooted person stand in a bucket of ice water? It was discovered that when there was someone else present offering encouragement and support the person standing in the ice water could tolerate pain twice as long, as when no one was present.

Again, encouragement keeps us going. It keeps us going through adversity. Etc. okay. Here's the application for each one of you, not only here in this room today, but also to all of our Maximum Impact Club Subscribers. Write the name of a person that's a little down, and they need a boost. I mean, this is just for you. Be a life enhancer to them within the next three days. In other words, do something, maybe it's a note, maybe it's a phone call. I don't know what it is, to encourage that person.

In other words, take a little bit of this lesson and put it into action. Okay. Encouragement keeps us going. Second thing encouragement does, is encouragement makes people better. Charles Schwab, he was employee of Andrew Carnegie, the great steel magnet. In fact, he was the first employee in America to make a million dollars a year. His salary was a million dollars a year.

Now, and what's amazing is that was early 1900s when a million dollars was a million dollars. I mean, whoa. And he was the first person that literally was paid a million dollar salary in America by Andrew Carnegie. And here's what Charles Schwab, who was that person said. He said, "I've yet to find the man, however exalted his situation, who did not do better work and put forth a greater effort under a spirit of approval, than under a spirit of criticism."

And Schwab was so good with relationships and motivating people. In fact, that's how he made his money. He understood this encouragement makes people better. Okay. People get better when the following things happen. People get better when we, number one, value them. And you value people by investing time, energy into them by believing in them, and by taking the time to look for the best of them. Okay. When we value people.

Secondly, people get better when we praise effort. Praise them when you see them make efforts to better themselves and those around them. And people get better when we reward performance. Reward them when their performance climbs. This kind of encouragement will help people achieve things beyond their day to day comforts and competencies.

I can give you a wonderful, personal example of encouragement making a person better. In 1977, my good night. In 1977, I purposely said I'm going to write books. And I did so, because I wanted to influence people beyond my physical presence and touch. I began writing in 1977, and my first book came out in 1979. Book called Think On These Things.

When I decided to write, it was naturally an oral communicator, but when it came to writing, it was a whole different ball of wax. And I was very frustrated because I knew I wasn't any good, and it's just not fun to do something you know you're not any good at. And I wasn't any good at it. And I knew I wasn't any good, and I'd read it and I'd say, "This is lousy. My mother wouldn't read this. You know what I mean? It's just not any good."

And Les Stobbe came alongside of me. I went to a writer's convention, "Okay, well I'll see what I can do." And hung around a bunch of writers, and didn't connect with any of them, hardly. But Les Stobbe found me, and Les, I told him, I said, "Well, I'm not very good." And he said, "I'll coach you." And I can still remember to this day being in Houston Texas and I was writing a book on attitude. And it's the book that talks about the fact that your attitude is the profit of your future. And it's about 12 lines in there, and I can remember reading that on the phone to Les Stobbe, and him saying, "John, you understand now how to engage a mind. That's good stuff."

And I remember hanging up on the phone at the hotel in Houston and calling [inaudible 00:08:09] and said, "Les Stobbe said this was good." I can still remember his coaching and how it literally took me and helped to continue on in something that I knew that I wasn't any good at. But he gave great, pointed encouragement. He told me what I did wrong, but he gave me good, specific [inaudible 00:08:25] help for me.

Benjamin Disraeli, I think sums up what Les Stobbe did for me. He said, "The greatest good you can do for another, is not share your riches, but reveal to him his own." And that's what Les did for me. He would take what I was doing and he'd pull out of it. He'd mine it until he found something good and say, "John, that works. Right there. And let me tell you why that works, and if you'll do that some more it'll even work better for you."

Goethe said, "Treat a man as he appears to be, and you make him worse, but treat a man as he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be." For years, I have used this illustration. It's not in your notes. But I think it's a classic example of how encouragement makes people better, so just give me a moment. It was an experiment that was performed in the school's system in San Francisco area.

A principal called in three teachers and said, "Because you three teachers are the finest in the system and you have the greatest expertise, we're going to give you 90 selected high IQ students. We're going to let you move these students through the next year at their pace, and see how much that they can learn." The three faculty members, the students, the student's parents, thought this was a great idea. They especially enjoyed that school year, and by the time the school was through the students had achieved from 20% to 30% more than the other students in the entire San Francisco Bay area.

At the end of the year the principal called the three teachers in and told them, "I have a confession to make. You did not have 90 of the most intellectually prominent students. They were run of the mill students. We took 90 students at random from a system and just gave them to you." The teachers naturally concluded that their exceptional teaching skills must have been responsible for the student's great progress.

He said, "I have another confession to make to you. You're not the brightest of the teachers. Your names were the first three names that we drew out of a hat." Why then did these students and teachers perform at such an exceptional level for their entire year? They were encouraged to believe that they could.

In your notes psychologists say that deep down all people have certain desires in common, and if you want to encourage people, help them fulfill those most basic, heartfelt desires. Here they are. People want to do the right thing, stand with them. People want to find better ways of doing things, empower them. People want to achieve things of which they can be proud, motivate them. People want to belong to a group that achieves the extraordinary, invite them. People want to earn recognition for who they are and what they achieve, honor them. And I'm going to stop. We're not doing applications on all these quotes or thoughts on encouragement, but here's another application.

Write the name of a person who could do better, if they were encouraged. Okay, who would that be? Put a 10 on their head and call them in the next three days. In other words, try to apply this wonderful principle that encouragement makes people better, to somebody that you know. Okay?

Mark Cole:       Hey, welcome back. Wasn't that an incredible, first part of John teaching on the power of encouragement? In fact, encouragement does change everything. Now, I promised you that I had a surprise and it's a surprise to me. In fact, let me tell you about my philosophy of surprises. Jake, our producer of the podcast, he text me this morning, I was in my office and he said, "Hey Mark, when you're ready I'm down in the studio. Come on down. And by the way, I have a surprise for you."

And I came walking down the stairs, and if you know me, my executive partner Kimberly, I don't like surprises. I tell her that all the time. I don't like to be surprised. And so, the whole way down, walking down a couple of flights of stairs I was like, "Man Jake, I don't like surprises." And I walked into the studio and I had a true surprise, because a leader, a co-leader of mine, a man that many of you will know, Jason Brooks was in the studio waiting on me.

Now Jason, I'm looking across at you right now, and it has been one year and four ... No. One year and five months since I have seen you. I have not seen you in one year and five months. For those of you quick with math that's 17 months that I've not seen this incredibly good looking man that's sitting across from me.

Now, you've heard from him. We've done podcasts together, but because of COVID many of us have experienced new things and yet, many of you in the podcast have stayed encouraged despite COVID. But if COVID was not enough, literally three weeks before COVID became known In the United States Jason called me with one of the most difficult conversations we have ever had. He said, "Mark, I'm getting ready to have the fight of my life, because I have stage four cancer in several parts of my body."

And so, you take that beginning of that fight, Jason, and you take all the chemo and all the treatments you've been in, in the last 15 months, you take how COVID made us all change our life, and you add the fight of your life with cancer. Stage four cancer. You take COVID, and you take the reality of how significant this fight has been for you. And it's been 17 months since we've seen each other.

And so, when I walked into the studio, no one told me, Kim didn't know. That was a smart move, Jake, not telling Kim, because I pay her not to let me get surprised. And I walked in the studio and Jason here you were. And I got to tell you, the first 15 minutes of our reunion I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

And the next five minutes of our reunion I couldn't wipe the tears out of my eyes, because it is so good, so good to see you sitting across from me in the studio today. Jason, welcome in person to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast.

Jason Brooks:   Well, man, I am so happy to be back in the studio and across the mic from you. And I love that this is the topic that we get to talk about.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

Jason Brooks:   Because the last 17 months, the encouragement, hope, has been a huge fuel, so I'm excited to be here. I'm going to do my best not to cry. Man, I'm just tickled to death that I have the strength. Yesterday was a bad day. My wife was looking at me last night and asking if I was really going to be able to make it, and I rolled out of bed this morning and just between the grace of God and raw determination I'm here, and I am tickled to death, and will give you the best I've got until I don't have anything left. And then Jake's going to haul me home, but man I'm just thrilled to be out and to be with the people that I love. People who have literally helped keep me alive over the last 17 months.

Mark Cole:       Well, those of you that listen to a lot of podcasts, you know the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast is really raw, it's really authentic. We're very vulnerable. John is when he comes in live to the studio or whether we're on the road together. I try to be very vulnerable and raw in application and Jason, you've hosted, oh man, 40, 50 podcasts with me by now.

And I don't anticipate this one being any different. We don't highly produce, as in edit our podcast. We just have chosen to just let leadership be real and assessable. There's not a lot of post editing that we do. Sometimes I'll say exchange rather than empower or encouragement, and we have to go back and do a couple of things, but for the most part man, we just let it roll.

And so, today we'll let it roll. But man, it is good to see you. It's good to see a tear or two falling down your cheek and I've seen that on Zoom, but it looks so much better in person, bud. It really does. But. Now let's take this though, because there have been so few times in the, I was going to say hundreds of times. I bet you we've talked, I know we've talked six, seven dozen times in the last 15 or 17 months.

Very few times do I hear a message of discouragement. You got to help me, and you got to help our podcast listeners know what is it that encourages Jason Brooks? Now, most of the time you're asking me questions. Guess what? I'm going to flip the script today, and I've not seen you. There's been a couple of days, as imaginable, that it was a tough day and I felt the challenges of bad news, negative thinking. But man, for the most part you have truly encouraged yourself and been an expression of encouragement despite this fight that you're still in.

I mean, you're fighting chemo just this week. How are you staying encouraged?

Jason Brooks:   John and his principles have helped me learn how to do this. It started back in 2004 before I ever even knew that the company existed. I was, I think I've told this story before, but I had five bucks in my pocket. I was in a bad place at my place of work, and I walked into a bookstore and between my pastoral discount and the five dollars in my pocket I could afford to buy Leadership 101 by John.

And I started reading it, and as John was talking about attitude and having a positive outlook on life it really began to settle in me that I didn't live that way. And starting in 2004 I was challenged to be less of a cynic, to be less of a skeptic. And then truthfully, when I came to work here in 2015, being surrounded by people who were people of hope, who were people of encouragement, who didn't have to be prompted to say something kind to you. It just became a cultural piece that really reinforced that, that was the way that I wanted to live. I wanted to be like you, I wanted to be like John, I wanted to be like this Laurie, or Rob Sindon, or some of the other co-workers who just, I mean, you see them and they just light you up, they lift you up.

And when we got the diagnosis it was my daughter's 14th birthday. It was the morning of her birthday. And the doctor called and just said, "It's cancer. We don't know what type. We think it's sarcoma." Which is actually a very aggressive spinal cancer. Fortunately it turned out to be adenocarcinoma, so they had much more treatment in that regard.

But Rachel and I just made a decision that we're not going to weep through this. We're going to laugh our way through it. We're going to live with joy, we're going to look beyond the diagnosis and see possibilities, see opportunities, see the good things that are still in life. And the fact that the company was so willing to let me pivot and start working from home, so that I could keep a job that I love, that actively encourages me.

I mean, the stuff that I get to write, the people that I get to write to, the people I get to talk to, they just, I can't tell you how much encouragement that fuels into me and allows me to hold onto hope. Every day I wake up, I can think of, maybe three days, but most every day that I wake up I get an email, a text, a Facebook message, a Tweet or an Instagram, something, from somebody at work or someone that's connected to work through 12 Stone or something. But I get a message, "Love you. Thinking about you. Praying for you. Stay strong."

Mark Cole:       Beautiful.

Jason Brooks:   And when you can wake up every day to co-workers who want to invest in you, man, it just, it makes it a lot easier to be encouraged when you're surrounded by encouraging people. But we can find encouragement simply by choosing hope. We've listened to thousands and thousands of cancer stories, and the common denominator in all of them is the people who survived the longest and had the best life were the people that held on to hope and stayed encouraged. And didn't let the disease define them.

Mark Cole:       Wow.

Jason Brooks:   And that's been something that we, we don't really say it in that way, but we are not letting cancer define us. We are defining what cancer can be. And how we're choosing to live it out. And even my docs, my doctors are like, "We can't believe you're still, you get up, you go to work, you write. This hasn't messed up your brain."

There are some days where chemo brain is a real thing. But most days I'm free and clear to be able to concentrate and do what I love, and that keeps me encouraged.

Mark Cole:       Yeah. Chemo brain for you keeps you humble, because your chemo brain is 50 times better than my active, ready to go, fully healthy brain.

Jason Brooks:   I'm not.

Mark Cole:       Fully healthy, that's not a good depiction of my brain. But yeah. You know John talks about, in this lesson he talks about well poisoners. People that just poison the water. He talks about lawnmowers. People that just set out to cut your grass of encouragement every single day, mow it down. And then the life enhancers. And I watch you, I mean today, you got on The Masters shirt.

Jason Brooks:   I did. I love that.

Mark Cole:       I saw it. I saw it. I noticed it. A few weeks ago John Maxwell and I got to go to The Masters golf tournament, and I found a shirt that I wanted Jason to have, because I've played golf with Jason. Jason's a good golfer. And I wanted Jason to have a Masters shirt, just to keep his head in the game, that I want another round of golf for a chance to beat him.

I mean, I'm looking for my chance to beat you, Jason. And you wore that today, and I got to tell you. I noticed that. This is the first time I told you that I noticed it, but I waited til the mic was live to tell you. You have no idea what that does to me. I haven't seen you in so long I was like, "Am I ever going to get to see Jason again?"

And you walk in today, and you're wearing something that I attempted to give you to enhance your life. But you know what you did? You enhanced my life by wearing it today. How have you, in a state of sickness, in a state of fighting for your health, how have you continued to discipline yourself to enhance the life of others?

Jason Brooks:   Jake, when we were sitting down to do a little pre pro before we started recording, Jake said one of the things that stood out to him about this lesson, was that John emphasizes the point that it's nice to be encouraged, but we really can change our lives when we start encouraging others.

And I have found that to be really true in this journey. If I am encouraging two other people, if I reach out and let people know how much they mean to me or I reach out and say, "Thank you for doing this." Or if I put on a shirt that you bought me, because of the thoughtfulness of the gift. I was on your mind, and you bought something for me.

And so, to just even show you appreciation by wearing it for the first time. I hadn't worn it before, but it was like, "That's the shirt that I'm wearing today when I see him." I discipline myself to be encouraging, because I want to be encouraged back. And that sounds selfish, but I think often of the Zig statement that John loves to quote, "If you will help other people get what they want, then they'll help you get what you want."

Mark Cole:       But Jason, let me ask you this. And I'm interrupting you, but I got to ask you, because you articulate a Jason I never knew. You said that, you've told me about this Jason, a long time, and you've even given me examples. And I've seen the guy through your articulation, of a guy that did not think positive. We're going pre cancer, pre COVID.

Jason Brooks:   Oh yeah.

Mark Cole:       A guy that really saw the glass half empty all the time, even when it was full. I mean, you were scared the glass had a hole in the bottom.

Jason Brooks:   I knew somebody was going to spill it.

Mark Cole:       Yes. Exactly. And you describe that Jason, that again, I honestly don't know. You've had to discipline yourself pre cancer, you've had to discipline yourself pre COVID, so that when COVID and cancer shows up that's what comes out of you naturally. Is it like a muscle? I mean that's a very important thing to me, to see you wearing that shirt today. That's important to me, man. I didn't know it was going to be, but it is.

You could have worn a muscle shirt today, and it would have been fine. But is that natural for you now, to think of enhancing or encouraging the lives of others?

Jason Brooks:   It is now. I mean, especially once my kids came along it became very important for me to become that person, because I did not want to hand my kids a legacy of skepticism and cynicism. And really, the way I had disciplined myself was, and John talks about, you have to catch your self-talk, and you have to talk back to yourself.

And psychologists talk about that, but the first person I heard say it was John, and It really stuck with me. And so, there were a number of years where when a negative thought would enter my mind, I would have to just chase it down. And really ask myself, "Does this thought really help me be a good person? Does this thought really help me achieve whatever I need to achieve today? Is this thought really going to help me be the best that I can be?"

And I learned to just track those thoughts down, and flip them. And so, if the negative thought was, "You don't have it in you, or you're not a good writer." Or whatever the negative thought was. It was like somewhere in that lie there's a truth, because that's just the way negative self-talk works. It takes something that's true and it flips it, and presents it as a lie.

And so, you've got to go looking for what's really true. And the truth is, is I am a really good writer. The truth is, I am a good person. The truth is, I do want to encourage and help people. I'm not the kind of guy that wants to be selfish and cynical. I've learned that, that may be cool when you're younger, but when you get older nobody wants to be around somebody that just perpetually sees the world through a negative lens.

And so, I've really learned to discipline my thinking first, and then action flows out of thinking. Last night I knew I was going to wear The Masters shirt. I could have worn a Change Your World shirt. I've had people very generously send me beanies, send me shirts. Stephanie Holcomb apparently drove through the middle of a downpour to drop a Doris Kearns Goodwin book in my mailbox the other day. That had been signed to me by Doris.

And just being around people that do that sort of stuff, it's easy for me to wake up and go, "Okay, now how can I help them? They've blessed me, how can I bless them?" You have blessed me more than any leader I've ever worked for. And I don't want to be a kiss up or a brown noser, but by the same token your generosity, your kindness, your understanding, it draws out a loyalty and a desire to not just be part of your world, but to make sure that I'm a part of your world that makes your burden a little bit easier, a little bit better.

And even if by wearing just a Masters shirt can lift you up, then I'm grateful for the opportunity to even do something like that.

Mark Cole:       Makes all the difference, buddy.

Jason Brooks:   Because I just, there's so much power in the love of people who love you.

Mark Cole:       Jason, we got a world, the pandemic continues in our emotions, in our psychology. Thankfully, just recently the CDC said, "If you're vaccinated." And by the way, you are, and I'm so glad you are.

Jason Brooks:   Yes.

Mark Cole:       And that you're in studio with me today. I'm blown away with it. But the pandemic of the mind, the pandemic of the emotions, even with some of these most recent restrictions being lifted, if you're fully vaccinated go engage with no social distancing and no mask, and all that fun stuff. But the pandemic of the mind and the emotions continues. Not only that, we as leaders, we deal with uncontrollable situations all the time.

I'm going to take just a minute and I want to talk to leaders that want to love on people that's going through a pandemic in their mind. A personal, social health pandemic. Something going on. How has leaders, myself and others in your life been most effective in encouraging you as you have been in the fight of your life? Help leaders listening to the podcast today that want to make a difference for people that are in some type of a pandemic. Health, emotions. How do we help people best when they're going through a personal pandemic?

Jason Brooks:   Well, I mean everything for me started with the company living out its number one value, which is to value people. If you didn't value me as a person, I don't know that some of the accommodations and some of the encouragements would have worked quite as well. It would have been nice window dressing, but as a leader what I have really appreciated about you, is first and foremost when I was diagnosed I knew I needed to call and tell you.

And when I called and told you, it emotionally impacted you.

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

Jason Brooks:   And I won't speak for your emotions, but I'll tell you, for me on the other end to hear my leader, to hear his heart break as mine was breaking, that's powerful. Not just because, "Oh, sad news." But because I knew you were genuinely thinking about me, thinking about my wife, thinking about my kids, thinking about not just what you might be losing at work, but you were literally thinking about my life and how it was going to be impacted.

And then the second thing you said was, "Through all of this your health comes first. You do what you need to do to take care of your health, and we will make the rest of it work. You let us know when you're not feeling well, you let us know if you just need three or four days." You valued me, you gave me permission to fight my battle.

And then you've come alongside me in the battle, and perpetually asked, "What do you need? How can we help? What's something that we can do for you? Oh, you need to work from home? Awesome. You can work from home. Oh, you are a moron and don't have a work from home setup. Come to the office, steal a desk, get your computers, whatever you need to set up your office at home."

And so, I've been able to do that. If I needed equipment you were, "Hey, go get the microphone or whatever you need to be able to do podcasts. Whatnot." Valued me. You gave me permission, and then you gave me support. And all of that is encouraging, but leaders, it begins with, you have to value your people. You have to see them, you have to know them.

If Mark only knew me as a guy that just wrote blogs or articles, or whatever, and that was the only way he saw me, then this would have been a radically different conversation. But you saw me as a person of value, as a person of worth. You've lived out our literal values through this process. And leaders, if your values aren't genuine, if they're up on the wall, but you're not living them, this is not going to work for you. Because this has to come from a place of authenticity.

You can say you value people, but if you expect them to get over something in a day and a half, that some people battle with a lifetime, then you're missing, I don't want to be judgmental, but you're missing out on an opportunity to really connect and grow with your people, and help them become better for you.

And then the other thing, truthfully is, just the culture so permeates all of the people here in the office, that it's not like I just get encouragement from you. I get encouragement from everybody, and that, just knowing that you're not alone. We had a co-worker the other day on Facebook, she just posted she was going to go make a big decision, if anybody had time to pray for her, pray that she would have wisdom.

And all the sudden, you just see all sorts of people from the office that are like, "Praying for you. Praying for you. Praying for you." And then she came back a little while later and she's like, "All right, well the answer was no. But thank you for the support. Thank you for the encouragement. It made it a lot easier."

To be surrounded by a leadership and a leadership culture that genuinely values, and loves, and inspires, and equips people, I've told you this and I will tell you this until I can't. I would not have made it this far in any other work environment that I've ever worked in. The cultures were too toxic and too selfish. And the culture here is generous and thoughtful, and when you can wake up every day knowing that you have that kind of support, man. That's just like breathing encouragement, as much as I'm breathing air.

Mark Cole:       Yeah. Thank you, Jason, and thanks for the kind words to me, the kind words to the team that I represent. The culture that you and I fight for. Thank you for highlighting that. And leaders, again, to really make application, whether you're going through something as big of a struggle as what Jason and his family have and are still going through, or whether you're trying to lead somebody that's going through that. Going back to this concept of valuing people. Jason, we're going to come back next week and I'm so glad you're going to be with me, and we'll do part two of John's lesson on encouragement changes everything.

But Jason, let me say something, because I think it's really important in this session to capture this. And we may or may not build on it next week in part two, but let me say this. There's three things, that as we were just listening to John's lesson, that I noted about you. Again, everybody remember, go back to the beginning of the podcast. I'm super surprised to be in the studio with Jason today.

But I made three notes that have encouraged me. Very specific. I love to tell people how awesome they are, how great they are. I'm a words of affirmation guy, and so they just flow freely from me. But I love even more being able to give specifics on encouragement. I'm going to give you three things. Three ways that you have encouraged me over the last 17 months.

One. Your content is better. Oh, you're a brilliant writer. A brilliant writer. Written your own books, written some John Maxwell books, contributed to a lot of John's stuff, been John's pen in a lot of settings over the last 17 months. You're good, but let me tell you something. You're better. And the reason is, because you're writing from a place of authenticity, a pace of vulnerability, and a place of extraordinary discipline and determination. And that makes your content better.

The second thing is, your availability is more meaningful. I can think of no time I've handed you a project in the last 17 months that you have not still, as you did pre cancer, pre COVID, still delivered before deadlines. But when you do it now, I know the battle you're going through, I know the weakness in your voice sometime, the weakness in your health many times, so your availability is more meaningful.

The third thing that I would tell you, is your production is more significant. You know, because of the type of cancer you have, that one day we're believing many, many decades from now, one day there is a high chance that cancer will be the cause that you pass onto your eternal reward. We know that. And what that's done, Jason, is its made your production today, and every day more significant because you are intentionally writing and communication legacy. And I see it. I experience it. And I got to tell you, it encourages me and it has changed everything about me and my leadership with you.

I can't wait til next week, can't wait to talk more about encouragement, but I'm really proud of you and really proud to share with you on this podcast today, Jason.

Jason Brooks:   I'm tickled to death to be here.

Mark Cole:       Yeah. We'll see all of you next week. Thanks for joining us on the Maxwell Podcast. This has been an incredible, living example of how encouragement changes everything. We'll see you next week, part two. Until then, let's listen, let's learn, let's lead to change our world.

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