Focused Thinking: John Maxwell Leadership Podcast

I have a few podcasts I subscribe to which you can read about here. The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast is one of them. A few months ago John did a series on focused thinking and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a two part series, so I’m going to break it down per episode and give you my thoughts and take aways from what he shared.

P A R T 1

  1. As I Am: Someone had asked John where he got where he was because the person asking wanted to improve. And John said, “Have hope.You see me as I am. Not as I was.” That’s a great lesson for all of us. Rather than comparing ourselves to others, we should compare ourselves to the version of us we were a day ago, a month ago, or a year ago. I think of myself as Steph version 5.0. I’ve mentally sectioned my personal growth into 4 segments and now I”m in segment 5. That may be nerdy to you, but that’s how I think y’all. As long as you’re literally becoming a better version of you, it doesn’t matter what others are doing. You are the only person worth comparing yourself to.
  2. Word of Year: John also discusses his focus on a word for the year. It’s a way he brings to the forefront of his mind the concept or idea or practice he’d like to work on throughout the year and people on his team do this as well. He shared that this is the first time he’s picked the same word two years in a row. His word this year is “Father” since he wants to continue to lead others with a real connection and father them into their greatest areas of impact.
  3. Unfocused Thinking: In 2005, there was research done that summarized that each person spends about 2.1 hours per day being disrupted and distracted. I’m an efficiency maniac soooo knowing how inefficient things like that are is bonkers to me. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely good distractions and interruptions, but most often the distractions and interruptions that happen aren’t those that fall in the category of helpful and positive. John spends a day doing an offsite to just think and creates this space in his schedule. He is intentional about focused thinking.

P A R T 2

  1. 100% – John talks about where he needs to give 100% of his energy and how to navigate his schedule and be intentional about his time to make sure he can give 100% when he needs to and to rest when he doesn’t. A good way to think about this is when do you need to be “on”. That’s when you have to give 100%.
  2. Gifts, Strengths, Abilities, and Talents – He shares that focusing on your strengths is most helpful because you likely aren’t going to develop a weakness into a strength. But what you can do is improve everything a little. So if you improve the areas where you’re already great even further, you will be at a high caliber for that area and that’s going to be a sweet spot for you.
  3. Keys to Success – John shared this quote and specifically focused on the first line but I thinkt the entire thing is worth sharing.

    Believe while others are doubting
    Plan while others are playing
    Study while others are sleeping
    Decide while others are delaying
    Prepare while others are daydreaming
    Begin while others are procrastinating
    Work while others are wishing
    Save while others are wasting
    Listen while others are talking
    Smile while others are frowning
    Commend while others are criticizing
    Persist while others are quitting
  4. Focus Where You’re Good, Forget the Rest – John shares that he focuses on 4 areas where he’s really good. Those are leadership, writing, speaking, and creating. If there are responsibilities that aren’t within those, that someone else can take on, he gets them off his plate and onto theirs.
  5. Better – He also shares that his company and the people he spends time with have an expectation of better. He and his teams set the expectation that everyone is always getting better. Thinking back to the first point from part 1, if you focus on getting better, your development, and versions of yourself will continue to get better. I think that’s an investment worth making.