Why My Life is Compounding

Last weekend we celebrated John Maxwell’s 75th birthday! As you can imagine, there was a lot to celebrate! So, we thought this week we would share a lesson with you from John about why his life has compounded (and continues to compound) into a story of great impact. 

After John’s lesson, Mark Cole and Traci Morrow join to discuss John’s lesson and offer some ways to apply these principles to your own life and leadership. 

Our BONUS resource for this episode is the “Why My Life if Compounding Worksheet,” which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below. 

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Mark Cole:       Hey podcast family. Welcome back to the John Maxwell Leadership podcast. This is the podcast that adds value to leaders who multiply value to others. My name is Mark Cole and wow. This has been a week. Last weekend. We celebrated John Maxwell's 75th birthday. There was so much to celebrate. Much of that is because of the impact John has made because of the way his life has compounded. So we thought this week we would share a lesson with you from John about why his life has compounded and why it continues to compound. See, this lesson is a lesson that John gave to his organization some time ago. It's a lesson to where John is looking at the team that has been on the journey with him and recognizes that yes, his life and his influence is compounding, but it's compounding because of the people around him.

I know this lesson will impact you and challenge you to compound in your influence as well. Now, after John's lesson, my co-host Traci Morrow and I will be back and we'll discuss John's lesson and we'll offer some ways to apply these principles to your own life and your leadership. Now, as always, we have a free fill in the blank worksheet that we call our bonus resource. If you would like to fill this out as you listen to John, please go to Maxwellpodcast.com/compound. Click on the bonus resource button, and you will be able to follow along. Now, here is the birthday boy himself, John Maxwell.

John Maxwell:  Quincy Jones said, "When you're over the hill, that's when you pick up speed." I don't think I'm picking up speed, but the reason I want to do this lesson today is because I'm in a wonderful time in my life. I'm in a compounding time of my life. So why is my life compounding? Number one, attitude. The secret of positive compounding is contributing more than consuming. And the statement, the success of my day is determined by the seeds I sow not the harvest I reap. That's the attitude I'm talking about. The three Ls of attitude as I've looked at my own, number one, leave the stuff behind. I wish I had a half an hour to talk about that. Just leave stuff behind. Hey, if somebody criticizes you, leave it behind. Take high road. Don't carry weight. Too many people carry stuff today that they should have let go of yesterday.

Just leave the stuff behind. Two, love people and the moment you have. Embrace the moment, embrace the person, embrace the experience. And number three, learn from your experience of life. I think those three Ls help with the attitude. The second thing that's compounded in my life is personal growth. As you have heard me say many times the secret of your success, my success is determined by your daily agenda. The personal growth in my life is continue to compound. I'm amazed today of my appetite to keep learning. Thirdly, the strength zone, the only way to rise above average is to do what you do well. There's a major amount of compounding there. In 1974, I was totally set free when I realized that my giftedness was equipping people, not counseling people. That one breakthrough for me changed my life. It totally turned me around about how I would work with others and how I'd build and develop other people's lives.

Four is teamwork. Teamwork is compounding amazingly. Teamwork makes the dream work. I want to stop here just for a moment, because again, I'm speaking to my two organizations and I want to say to you, all of you in this room, thank you. Thank you very much. At 40 when I realized that the law of the inner circle, those closest to me would determine the level of my success, at 40 I made a commitment that I would train people, develop people. And because of the people in this room, I cannot just begin to call out names, but I'm looking at you right now and listen to me very carefully.

All the compounding in my life now is because of you. I have less energy today than I had five years ago. I have less desire to do as much work today as I had five years ago. There's no way that I'm going to be able to keep the pace up that I kept at a man of 40 and 45. Have no desire to run that race, have no desire to get back in there and just kind of, well, one more time, run a good run. I've done those things. Want to keep doing my part. But there's only one reason why my ministry's compounding. There's only one reason why all of a sudden I'm on this huge multiplication into my life. And that's the reason I have you in this room today. You're the reason. You're the reason. And I brought you to gather today because I want to thank you personally.

I wanted to say that you've made me better. You've expanded my influence. You've given me a bigger platform. You've allowed me to accomplish more than I could have ever accomplished by myself.

The fifth thing that is compounding in my life is partnerships. Mother Teresa was right when she said, "I could do what you cannot do and you can do what I cannot do and together we can do great things." The partnership principle that I teach about in Winning With People says, "Working together increases the odds of winning together." Most of you in this room have heard me say, "I want to make a difference with people who want to make a difference doing something that makes a difference." The first part of that phrase, "I want to make a difference," that's the self stage. That's where I started. That's where every young person starts, dreaming big, wanting to make a difference, wanting to make your life count. Then with people who want to make a difference, that's the sharing stage. That's where one day we realized that we're much better off to do it together than to do it by ourselves. And it's one day that we begin to realize that partnerships is what it's all about, but then doing something that makes a difference. That's a significant stage.

And I've been privileged to see all three of those stages in my life. The last thing that's compounding in my life is credibility. I'm amazed at how all of a sudden this has just sprung up before me. Let me give you an equation that I think probably relates to and equals credibility. Character plus confidence plus consistency equal credibility. And as I look at those three ingredients that make up credibility, character competence, consistency, can I tell you, I don't think any one of them can be eliminated. There has to be consistency, both of character and competence, but who wants a person who has great character who lacked competence or who wants to be around a person who is highly competent, but you couldn't trust them? And I see that compounding and I'm very grateful. So let me give you a couple of closing thoughts and then we're done for the day.

Number one, life compounds positively or negatively. It's your choice. Number two, your choice plus your age will determine the size of the compounding. Let me stop and explain this now, because I think this is the most important part of the lesson. The most important part of the lesson is right where we are here. Let's go back to the thoughts one more time. Life for you and me can compound either positively or negatively and our choices will determine which that is. If you're very young and you're listening to this today, let's say you're in your twenties, here's what I want you to understand.

If you make the right choices at that age, the compounding effect of success in your life will blow your mind. It's just like investing money at an early age versus investing money at a late age. Time is your best friend. If you're in the middle, let me say this. If you're a youth and you begin to make those right choices, you can have amazing compounding into your life. If you're in kind of middle age and you say, "Well, I'm going to make those choices." Now, maybe you're already 40 and say, "All of a sudden, I'm going to go back and I'm going to work on some of these areas that are in the lesson that John taught me." The good news is you can still have compounding your life.

Now, not to be negative, but if you're my age and you haven't worked on these things, compounding's over. Compounding isn't a result of what I do today. Compounding is a result of what I did 40 years ago, but let me give you the good news. Although you can't compound at my age, if you just pick up these principles today, you can start adding and adding is of great value. Goes back to the wonderful poem that I've quoted hundreds of times. Though you cannot go back and make a brand new start, my friend, anybody can start from now and make a brand new end.

This lesson is to just give you a little picture of my journey that'll allow you, hopefully, to make the most of your journey. Here's what I wished when I was 25 years old. I wish I'd heard this lesson. I wish I had heard somebody that was 60 that had run a decent race. Say, let me tell you the principles you want to put under your belt now that will allow you to compound. Kenny Rogers said, I wrap it up with these words, "You need three things in life to be happy," by the way, I'm very happy, "Someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to."

Mark Cole:       Hey, welcome back podcast listeners. I really am overwhelmed with hearing John give this lesson after we've just celebrated 75 years with him. And I really do believe, especially those of you that are watching on YouTube right now that the secret is in this book I'm holding. I really do. And for those of you that are not watching, I challenge you to come watch sometime, but I'm holding up the book Today Matters and I believe that it is John's daily disciplines, things that he has done over and over again that truly gave us 75 years worth remembering, but 75 years worth building on for an even better 75 years ahead of us. And I do believe, I believe the secret to John Maxwell's success is in what he did before he wrote the book, what he has done since he wrote the book and that is, make every day count.

So we're going to give you a special today. If you'll head over to the show notes, you'll be able to click on a [inaudible 00:13:14]. You'll be able to order the book Today Matter's. We'll give you a 15% discount if you put the keyword "Podcast" in the order form. Hey Traci, I'm glad to be doing this lesson with you too, because it's been many, many years ago since John first impacted you. Look at what you've been able to grow as a business woman, as you've been able to build a family off of John's principles. It really is true. Life begins to compound, doesn't it?

Traci Morrow:  It sure does. And it's crazy to me that this lesson we're doing this after celebrating his 75th birthday and he did this lesson just after he was turning 60 and how the lessons still holds true today. And so before we dive into it, I would just love to hear from you, Mark, both you and I are in our early fifties, early, early [crosstalk 00:14:08] early, early fifties.

Mark Cole:       Hey, so early that I don't even know we needed to mention that, it's so early.

Traci Morrow:  Maybe we should have that part cut out. I don't know that's right, but at this stage, what would you say because you and I have both been following John for decades actually. And what would you say personally? What do you feel is compounding for you right now?

Mark Cole:       It's the people and I'm going to be very vulnerable with you and very specific about you. It's when people like you, Tracy, very, very successful business person, very successful family woman, building an incredible business, literally impact thousands of people every week with your leadership and your influence. When you look at me and say, "Mark, you're a leader worth following." Now I know me. And number one, I know that's a statement of faith, not a statement of reality and I'm just kind of kidding, but I really do want to live up to that expectation. But here's what I've realized. The people that are surrounding me to walk with me really run with me in the next season, the quality, the effectiveness, the experience has magnified by tenfold, a hundredfold. In other words, it goes back to John's quote. One is too small a number to achieve greatness and the greater you want to be, the greater you want people around you to be.

And for me, the longer I have stayed with John and learned from John and practiced John's leadership principles in the context of business, the most humbling, the most gratifying and the most awe-inspiring thing that I can tell you in the law of compounding return is the level of influence the people around me have. And Tracy, that applies to you, that applies to others that was at the birthday party. That applies to so many people that have come along because if you will stay the course, if you'll continue challenging yourself to go to the next level, you will attract next level people.

Traci Morrow:  So partnerships, I mean, that his part five, number five on this list, friends, I feel the same way. It's kinds of words that you say to me, but really, I mean, following your lead, following your example and into this next season is a partnership that really, it feels like John has been preparing all of us to come together. And that includes all of you listening on this podcast. Please don't ever for a minute think because you are listening to us that you are not a part of stepping into this next season with us. We are all a part of John's legacy. John will, you know he has such a great way of saying things. He always says, "The legs to his legacy," and we are all the legs to his legacy. And we are all going into this next territory, this next season, where he has really, whether you are in your twenties, whether you're in your teens, because I know we have teenagers listening.

I know my teenagers listen, I know my nephews listen, they're teenagers, whether you're in your teens, your twenties, your thirties, forties, fifties, and beyond and you are listening to this podcast, you listen and join us in all of the things that John has set up and that Mark is now leading into this next season. We're all a part of that leg to that legacy. And we're all a partnership. And so as you hear this lesson, no matter what stage or age you are in life, include yourself in this. We are a part of what's compounding for John and Mark into this next part and so as you're listening to this, you might be holding this up to your life and checking the boxes and seeing where you might want to improve.

This almost stands as a list for how you might want to grow and how you would hold yourself up to say, "Where can I grow in this area? How do I stand in this area?" When he hit on number two, which was the personal growth and he talked about the secret of your success, isn't actually a secret at all, it's all about your daily agenda. And so Mark, we've talked about it before, John talks about it, but we get new podcast listeners all the time and layered learning, John talks about how good it is to just keep beating the drum. Talk a little bit about a daily agenda for someone's like, okay, it's a new year, with second month in, what again should I be doing daily? What are some things that somebody who really wants to start compounding and investing into their future leadership, what can they start doing? What is a good daily agenda? Maybe your daily agenda?Something that they might want to start implementing today?

Mark Cole:       Well, and thanks for asking that. One of my favorite teachings that John has given is what he calls his rule of five. And I won't take time to teach the significance of having something specific you do day in and day out every single day of your life, including your wedding, including your anniversary, including Christmas, including every day when you're sick, when you're not. But John really does a great teaching on that to really illustrate the point that he didn't show up at 75 and just, boom, have written 86 books, had 36 million pair of hands on his book, spoken over 12,000 times, speaks to over 2 million people live a year. He didn't just show up to that. It is a process. So what happens? The first thing I'll do is tell you, get started. So Traci, to your question, get started with what?

The first thing to get started with is determine where you want to go. What is your life all about? When you determine where you want to go, then determine the key things that is required for you to do day in and day out to get there. John talks about his rule of five kept changing for a couple of years before it flows so smoothly as what I'm getting ready to tell you. But don't check out because your rule of five doesn't come like that and don't check out because it changed after the first year. Stay with it until you get something that is a discipline to do day in and day out to accomplish what only you can accomplish with your life.

So we've determined what our life is supposed to be about. We've determined what are the things that we need to do? And then the third one is a really difficult one. Grab your note pen, grab your phone, getting ready to type it in. Nike's already said it. Do it, every day, every day, right? Do it. So John, how do you write that many books? How has he become the most proficient, sought after leadership expert in the world? Because he's done five simple things every single day.

Every day he reads, every day he writes, every day he thinks, every day he files, every day he asks questions. Say it again, every day he thinks, every day he writes, every day he reads, every day he files, every day he asks questions, every single day. And so he's built this repository, a filing system to where if he is considering speaking or writing on something, he has this incredible reservoir of material that he can go to, that he taps in and begins to demonstrate what he's been doing every single day. So many people think that the writing of a book or the giving of a speech or the acceptance of a leadership position is the day you show up.

And I will tell you, it's the day you are shown up. It's the day that you show whether you have something or not. It's not the day you start. It's the day you reveal why you have the invitation or the opportunity in the first place. So what do I do? Find out what your life is supposed to be about. Take all the time you need, but don't let up until you can say it, until you can declare it. Then find out the things that needs to be done to live a life fully alive because what the world needs is you, my friend fully alive. Then finally do it. Find if you got a rule of three, I don't care rule of 10. That's a lot, but okay. Just get a rule and do it every day because today matters. I'm holding up the book again, for those of you that's not visual, Today Matters.

Traci Morrow: That's right. Okay. So friends, I'm excited about this because this is like a how to... John sharing from 60 years old. Now he's 75 and Mark and I who will remain, we already said our age once. We aren't going to say it again. Okay. So we're laying out a map for you to decide at this stage today, we're deciding if we haven't already, we want to compound, we want to live a life of compounding on these things. So then the next step was about strength zone. We've talked about Marcus Buckingham. You can find that in a previous. You can find your strengths and find out what they are. And like Mark said, do it. Dive into that. Start practicing them. That's something that you can compound over time as you learn your strengths and practice them.

And then the next thing is teamwork makes the dream work. I love that. And many of you might feel like, "Well, I'm an adult now." I played on a team when I was younger or maybe in college or maybe in an adult league or two, but how do I find a team? And does the team have to be the team that is my team at work? So I would like to. I think this is a great way to invite people to join our team, like John's team. Join what Mark is leading in the team of becoming a coach and to learn John's content so that you can join our team and join with us. If you're looking for people out in the world, it doesn't have to be in your town. It doesn't have to be in your city. Join with us, right, Mark. I mean let that be a little plug of maybe that you could jump in and just have them partner with us and join in our team and find your people.

Mark Cole:       Yeah. So you said two... Well, you said a lot of brilliant things there. You said two brilliant things that I want to extrapolate out because it's going to be in the show notes. Number one, the podcast that we did with Marcus Buckingham, we're going to click that in right there and you're going to get to go listen to what I still retain as one of my favorite podcast episodes we ever did.

Traci Morrow:  Me too.

Mark Cole:       The second thing that I would tell you, Traci, that you pulled out right there is joining the team. Get in an environment. So, we'll offer you a link to JohnMaxwellteam.com. You'll find out more information to become a certified coach speaker or trainer. Join our team. We want you on the team. Here's the point. So both of those are in the show notes, but here's the point. When John says, "Teamwork makes the dream work," I'm reminded of the quote of Phil Jackson and Jake, thanks for providing this. Phil Jackson said, "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." Here's my question, gang. You want to be powerful and you believe the answer to you being powerful rest all within what you can do. And if you being powerful and effective rest in your power alone, you don't have a whole lot of greatness ahead of you. And we have great people listen to our podcast. I'm talking about the best of the best.

You made a good choice. Your team, your family. You're incredible. However, as great as you are for your choice of joining in the podcast community with us, you're not that great by yourself. Let that sink in and we think the path to greatness is the power within us. And I would tell you the path to greatness is the power around you. And so I just want to challenge you. Get on a team. You're in the team, you're in the family, you're in the podcast family. Continue to up level those around you. It goes back to the very first question, Traci that you asked me, "Mark, what are you seeing compounding around you?" And I remind you, 15 minutes ago, this is what I said, "It's the people around me that is coming alongside and saying, 'Mark, we can help you.'"

Now, part of me wants to go, "Yeah, better people are having to come around me because I need a lot of help." And that's true. But a lot of people are coming around me because of the compounding effect of being around great people like John Maxwell and they too want to be around great people like you and me, podcast listener.

So we close this link down, Traci, way before I want to close it down-

Traci Morrow:  I know.

Mark Cole:       ... because compounding is truly all about your ability to realize greatness is within you and part of that greatness within you is syncing up, linking up with those around you. I really want you to get our standout statement this week. We try every week to have a standout statement. Our standout statement this week is life compounds positively or negatively. It's your choice. You're compounding. You may not realize it. You may feel the same in 2022, as you felt in 2021. You may feel like, "Man, I'm in a perpetual revolving door." I get it. Life feels like that when it's looked at microscopically, but lift out just a minute.

You're compounding. The question is, are you compounding positively or negatively? Are you making choices that will better you? Are you making choices that will shrink you and put a lid on you? The great news is, is it's your choice. The responsible news is you've got to do something good with that choice you have. That's the point of this podcast. That's what it's all about. In fact, it reminds me. I like to highlight one of our listeners with a comment or question. Today it comes from [Alucci 00:29:07]. I love the name Alucci. I mean, it's like, I want your name, so let's trade. But Alucci said, "This is so good. I just came across the podcast today and it inspired me to stop winging it in certain areas of my life. Thank you."

Here's the fun stuff, Alucci, you knew to stop winging it before we ever had a lesson on why my life is compounding. It compounds because of intentionality and, Alucci, you and thousands of other podcast listeners get it, that it is week in, week out tuning into things like this podcast that will make you what you want to be and compound what you're doing.

Thanks for joining us today. Traci, as always thank you, John Maxwell, young 75 year young John Maxwell.

Traci Morrow:  Woo-hoo.

Mark Cole:       Thank you for your lesson today. We'll see you until week and until then, listen, learn, love someone this week and then let's lead together.

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