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Personal Growth Preparation: What’s In Your Toolbox?

By John C. Maxwell | September 21, 2023
Personal Growth Preparation: What’s In Your Toolbox?

Do you know what 70% of Americans opted to do during the COVID quarantine?

Home improvement projects.

That’s right—after allowing honey-do lists to sit unfinished for years, many Americans decided to spend their time at home making home a better place to be. And it makes sense; after all, if you’re going to be stuck inside staring at an annoying but fixable problem all day, you might as well do something about it.

It’s not just indoor projects that people tackled—there was an uptick in outdoor projects, such as landscaping or raised bed farming. With more time on their hands and more time at home, more people chose to invest in making their everyday life better.

As a leader and a student of personal growth, I love the idea. I thought it was a good example of how people took the lemon of COVID and made lemonade.

But now, it has me wondering:

How many of these home improvement warriors have the right tools in their toolbox?

It’s one thing to say you’re going to re-tile your bathroom; it’s something else entirely to actually have the right equipment to make that dream possible. Without the right tools, even simple jobs become extremely difficult.

And what’s true for home improvement is true for self-improvement.

To grow effectively, you need to have the right tools in your toolbox. Otherwise, growth will become a challenge.

If you’re not sure what kind of tools you need, I’m here to help. I’ve spent my life pursuing personal growth, and I’ve found there are a few must-have tools that not only make growth easier, they actually accelerate the process:


My first mentors were the authors of the books I read as a young man, and that’s still true for me today. I read several books a month, often twice, because the first time through a book, I mark it up to highlight the key points I need to remember. The second time through a book, I focus only on the highlights and that allows the book to mark me.


Once upon a time, I had to actually go places to hear other leaders speak, and I always made it a priority to do so. Being exposed to the ideas of others and listening to them share their passion in real time is an extremely helpful tool for growth. Fortunately, with the rise of podcasting and digital video streaming, you don’t have to leave your home to hear some of the best and brightest leaders today. Their teaching is just a click away.


I make it a point to intentionally spend time each day thinking. First thing in the morning, I think about my priorities for the day. During the day I set aside time to think about the book I’m writing or a teaching I’m developing, not to mention transformation opportunities that I’m working on. Then, at the end of each day, I think about how I spent my time, what I learned, and what I want to accomplish tomorrow. Time for thinking is not just a tool for personal growth, it’s a power tool—it allows you to do more than sheer effort alone.


Nothing improves a person’s thinking or perspective like good conversations with other people. As I’ve often said, all of us is smarter than one of us, and I truly appreciate how much a smart conversation with someone else helps clarify and sometimes change my thinking and understanding for the better.


The final tool I want to talk about is the simplest one in the box. It’s the willingness to ask questions. A leader who is willing to ask good questions is a leader who can unlock many a mystery, elevate many an idea, and innovate on many a project. One of the most powerful questions a leader can ask is, “Why?” And yet many leaders leave this tool untouched. Good questions make great leaders, so this tool is a must-have.

For decades now, I have committed to not only having these tools in my personal toolbox, but to making sure that my team and I provide these tools for your toolbox.

That’s why Maxwell Leadership exists—to add value to you so you can multiply value to others. Whether that’s through our blog, our books, or any of the other options available on our websites, we want to ensure that you as a leader have the tools you need for success.

You can’t improve your home without the right tools in your toolbox, and you can’t improve your life without the right tools for personal growth.

I am happy to provide those tools to help you live your purpose and fulfill your potential—and I hope you’ll turn around and do the same for the people in your life.

Your friend,


If you’re looking for another tool for your box, Live2Lead is the perfect opportunity for you.

Live in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 6th, some of the world’s foremost leadership experts are coming together to provide you with good listens, foster your good thinking, connect you with good conversations, and inspire good questions. Come join thought leaders like John Maxwell, Marcus Buckingham, Kendra Scott, and Ryan Leak for an unforgettable day of leadership development. Tickets are available here.

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