“Hi, my name is John, and I’m your friend.”
Every now and then I encounter an author that I have an immediate connection with – someone whose writing style and content meshes with my perspective and personality. When this happens, it really is like making a new friend, someone to introduce you to new ideas and experiences, to make you laugh, cry and think about things in a new light. While this immediate connection doesn’t happen with every new author I read, or with every new person I meet, for that matter, when it does it’s an experience to be treasured.
I found this kind of instant kinship with the author and public speaker John C. Maxwell. We were first introduced by a mutual acquaintance, a friend of mine who had attended John’s seminars and read a number of his books. I wasn’t familiar with his work, other than it involved something about personal growth and leadership development. After that first encounter with John, I knew I wanted to spend a lot more time getting to know him, and in the process, learn more about myself.
John has written over 70 books, all of which deal with leadership and personal development in some way. His writing appeals to me for several reasons – there are no false promises of fast and easy results or unrealistic timelines, there are a lot of examples and quotations, humorous elements, and, best of all, lots and lots of lists. He includes lists of ideas, questions and goals that work for him, and encourages the reader to draw up personal lists, to aid in the growth process. As a longtime lover of lists, this advice cemented our friendship, at least in my mind.
I haven’t read all of his books (yet) but the one that has had the biggest impact on me to date is The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. It contains, you guessed it, 15 laws that cover deepening and expanding your potential as a person, as well as physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development. It’s a lot of ground to cover, but the book breaks things down into manageable chapters, each one dealing with a law of growth.
I found myself returning to some chapters more than others – the Law of Consistency for example, which deals with self discipline, achieving small goals, and not giving up, and the Law of the Ladder, which talks about the value of character over competence, and the power of my personal belief system. Not all of John’s advice applies to me specifically. I don’t have a personal assistant or the ambition to become the CEO of a major corporation, nor am I a parent. But that’s what keeps this relationship interesting, and makes John such a true friend – his ability to bring together people from all walks of life, and give us something in common.
Today Matters: 12 daily practices to guarantee tomorrow’s success is my current favorite for audio books. The chapters are a good length to listen to while I start my day, and since John does his own readings hearing his voice personalizes the experience. Some chapters are more relevant to me than others, but I have found a valuable insight or thought to ponder every time I listen to the book.
John Maxwell has joined Stephen R. Covey (author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) and Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project ) on the list of Friends I’ll Never Meet. Regardless of the fact we’ll never see each other or exchange words, he’s a friend. Thanks, John, for being a friend.