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​Maxwell Leadership Podcast: Communication that Inspires (Part 1)

January 20, 2021
​Maxwell Leadership Podcast: Communication that Inspires (Part 1)

Many of you know John Maxwell as a great teacher, author, and leader. This week on the podcast John teaches us about another one of his gifts––communication. In this series John shares four questions he asks himself to help him inspire others through his communication.

In part one, John shares questions one and two. During the application portion, Mark Cole and Chris Goede discuss how they apply John’s questions to their own communication and inspire others when they’re teaching John’s principles.

Our BONUS resource for this series is the Communication that Inspires 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:       Welcome to the John Maxwell leadership podcast. Mark Cole here, we are excited that you are tuning in again today. Many people know John Maxwell as the leader, the speaker. Many people know him as the author but today we're going to let John talk to us about another strength of his, his communication. In today's lesson, John will begin a two-part series on communication that inspires. Over the next two weeks, John will share with you four questions he asks himself to make sure that he and his communication is inspirational. I'm convinced that this lesson will help you. In fact, when John is done teaching today, Chris Goede, my partner, my friend, my co-leader here in the John Maxwell Enterprise, he and I will be sharing with you some application from John and from our leadership team that we hope inspires you. If you would like to get the lesson, get the notes, get all the resources available to you, go to and you'll be able to download the bonus resource which is the worksheet of today's lesson. Now, here is John C. Maxwell.

John Maxwell:  We all want to be around somebody who says something to encourage us, to lift us. When I talk about communication that inspires, I'm not really talking about a speech that inspires, I'm talking about communicating with your actions, with your life, who are you until you would be called what I would say is an inspirational person. When people see you, I've often said this. That everyone of us are either a plus or a minus in people's life. That when they see us, they look at us and say, "Oh my goodness, they add value to me." Or they see us and say, "Oh my goodness, they subtract value from me." Are you with me? We know some of those people, don't we, that are minuses. They just suck life right out of our body, do you know what I mean? I don't think they're intentional but they're minuses. This is all about living a life and communicating in a way that you become a plus to people. When people see you or when people hear you, they're really excited about it because they know you're going to say something, you're going to do something that really adds value to your life.

I think the ultimate, this is in your notes, the ultimate communication skill is to inspire others. Because I'm known for communication skills, people ask me all the time, they'll say, "John, how do you do this? How do you communicate to inspire others?" I have for you four questions that I ask myself that help me to inspire others. I think these questions are going to help you become a better inspiration to other people also. Let's go. Question number one, what do I want them to see? Beside that question write the words I want them to see an example. I want to visualize for them inspiration before they ever hear it from me. I want to visualize, I want to flesh out inspiration by my life. We're going to talk here about communicators that inspire, they inspire before they say anything. It's what they do. It's their example. The greatest motivational principle in the world is the principle I teach on often and that is people do what people see. 89% of what we know, we know visually. Stanford research says that. 89%, I saw it with my eyes before I heard it with my ears.

When I look at myself and I want them to see this example of inspiration, here's what I say. I put it in the notes. I want people to see me as a competent leader that cares for them. I love them together. I love putting competence and care together. I don't want them to just see me as a person that cares for them that's not competent. I want to be a leader that's competent but I also want to be a leader that cares. I think that's the kind of leader you want to be. One that's competent and one that cares. If I'm going to have surgery, I want to have a caring surgeon but competence would really help. You know what I'm saying? You follow me? It's not either or. Let's go on, let me read. Leading my example is how leaders make visions and values tangible. Okay, when we think of our vision statement, when we think of our purpose statement, when we think of the values that we have as a company, how do you flesh those out? All by being the example. Now, these are words of Kouzes and Posner who wrote The Leadership Challenge, the best leadership book ever written.

Here's what they said. It's how they provide evidence that they are personally committed. That evidence is what people look for and admire in leaders, people whose direction they will willingly follow. Once they can see it in you, once you can flesh out and visualize the fact that you care for them and you want to connect with them. I've recently begun talking about what I call the success gap. The success gap is the gap that happens when a person is highly successful that separates them from people that are not quite as successful. It's a natural gap, it happens to every person that's successful but once you start to succeed and do better and make a little bit more money or whatever it is, it creates a gap from other people. What I say is it's a responsibility of you and I as leaders to not keep that gap but to close that gap. That comes from what I'm talking about right now. We close that gap by not what we say, we close that gap by how we treat people.

I hope that makes sense to you because you see, what I have noticed is when people become successful, they have to make a decision. The decision is very simple. Do I want to have fans or do I want to have friends. Fans aren't friends and friends aren't fans. If I want to have fans, I keep the gap. Are you with me? I want you to think I'm amazing, I want you to applaud and standing ovation, oh my God the guy is off the chart. I could never be like him. Wow, wow, wow. If I want to have fans, I want to keep the gap. If I want you to be friends, I close that gap. When I travel internationally I have to fight this all the time because internationally I'm a rock star. When I go to countries they're always wanting to set me up and they're wanting to have a lot of bodyguards and they're wanting to keep me away from, "the people." I frustrate them because when I walk in to a room, I don't want to walk in before I'm ready to speak with all that fanfare. I want to walk in before, go around, say hi to people, shake their hand. "My name is John, how are you doing?"

It just drives them crazy. I have to sit them all down, almost every time I travel internationally I have to take the "entourage" that they provide for me and sit down and say, "Excuse me. I don't create gaps with people. Here's my goal. To walk slowly through the crowd, say hi to everyone, look them in the eye, appreciate them and value them to the time when I get up to speak, I already want them to like me before I say anything." Does that make sense to you? That is all inspiring by example. That's all fleshing out by example. This has nothing to do with a good talk, this has nothing to do with a great speech. This has everything to do with an attitude. The attitude is very simple. Do I want to have friends or do I want to have fans. If I want to have fans I'll keep that gap, if I want to have friends I'll close that gap.

Here's the statement in your notes. In communication, the speech is overrated. The touch is underrated. People know, I love this phrase, they know when you want to connect with them. They can tell. They can tell if you really want to connect with them or not. When Neville Isdell who, in 2004 became the CEO of Coca Cola, he did something very interesting. New CEO, this giant, major company. He can go into his offices in Atlanta and basically never come out and run the company with all the people he's got. He said, "No." He said, "The first 100 days I'm just going to travel." For the first 100 days he traveled around the world and he saw everybody that was vitally connected in some way with Coca Cola. He shook their hands, he asked questions, he had dinners with them. Basically they asked him why he was doing that. He said, "Because I don't want to have bureaucracy between me and the people. I want them to know me but I want to know them." He said, "I want to walk slowly through the crowd, I want to connect with them." He said, "I can't lead them until I know them. I can't know them if I stay away from them."

I thought, "Man this is my kind of leader." You know what he knew? He knew if I could spend 100 days talking to people, asking questions, having dinner with them, then I could go to those offices where the CEO of Coca Cola goes and I can lead them well because I know them well. All this communication [inaudible 00:09:28] that I'm talking about right now is by example. You understand, you've got to flesh it out and connect with them before you ever say a word. Leadership is lost not in speeches, it's lost in the unwillingness to connect with people. That's where it's lost. The first question I ask in connecting to inspire and communicating to inspire is, am I being an example of a person that really wants to connect with the people that I lead? I love this one little quote I put in your notes. Our interest in others is irresistible. I love that. When a person knows you're really interested in them, there is, I started to say a word I'm not even sure it's a word, irresistibility. That's a great word, isn't it? I'm not even sure it's a word. I wonder if irresistibility is a word. It sounds good, doesn't it?

But there is an irresistibility about you because they know that you want to connect. This is from my friend Patrick [inaudible 00:10:32]. He addresses this paradox of leadership and management. Here's what he said. "I have defined humility as the realization that a leader is inherently no better that the people he or she leads." I love that. Charisma, as the realization that the leader's actions are more important than those of the people that he or she leads. As leaders we must strive to embrace humility and charisma. Powerful statement gang. Now, let me just say one more thing about this whole visualization of communicating to inspire people. It's a fill in the blank in your notes and I don't want you to miss it. When you are incompetent, you are a distraction. When you're incompetent, you're a total distraction. The main thing is no longer the main thing because of your incompetence. Please understand, I said I want people to see me as a competent leader that cares. I talked a lot about caring here but I don't want us to miss the fact that you also had to be competent. It's not either or. I'm going to talk about competence a little more later. But just trust me, it's not either or.

Three questions followers ask leaders. The three questions are, do you care for me? Can you help me? Can I trust you? All three of those questions, do you care for me? Can you help me? Can I trust you? Deal with care and competence. Can you help me? Is competence. Can you care for me? Can I trust you? That's care. One last thought before I go to question number two, I made a very important decision when I was 24. Didn't realize it was important at that time like most decisions you make when you're young, you have no clue. You just hope. You know what mean? Later on you look and say, "That was good" or "That wasn't very good." But I made a decision as a communicator that really helped me. At age 24 I decided that I would only teach what I truly believed and what I lived. If I didn't live it and I didn't believe it, I wouldn't teach it. That meant as a young leader, because I didn't have a lot of experience, there are a lot of things I didn't teach. Are you with me? It's like the guy who says, "My speeches and messages on parenting were just awesome before I had kids."

Here come kids and you go, "Oh crap, what happened?" You know what I'm saying? All that good stuff that I had, whoa. Wow. Where did that theory go? It doesn't quite fit that way, it doesn't come out like that. Okay. The first question is a great question. It's all about visualization. Basically what I'm saying is, before you talk, you either win the day or lose the day, before you talk. It's by your fleshing out and your actions and visually what you represent to people before you ever say anything. Okay. Now question number two. Question number two is what do I want them to know? As a communicator that inspires, I have an audience. I've got an audience here today. What do I want you to know as I teach you? I've got thousands of people that are listening to this, what do I want you to know? What I want you to know, the word I want you to put in there is significance. Because what I'm going to do now is I'm going to up the ante as far as communication that inspires. If you want to inspire people, you want to think of the highest word that would lift them to the highest level and always see them on that level.

I don't see you in basically what you do, I see you as a person that has potential for significance. Here's what I learned a long time ago. The number we put upon a person's head is how they respond to what we say to them. If I look at you to today and from a 1 to a 10 I put a 10 on your head, I'll talk to you like you're a 10. I'll teach you like you're a 10. You'll feel that 10 from me. Guess what? You'll respond like you're a 10. If I look at you and say you're a 2, I'll talk to you like a 2. The number that we put on a person's head determines how we lead them, how we communicate with them. What do I want people to know when they hear me teach? What do I want them to know when they interact with me? I want them to know that I believe they have potential for significance. I put that bar so high in their life that they feel that. They feel it. You can tell, can you not? You can tell when a person talks to you whether they value you or whether they devalue you. You can tell.

You can tell when a person is talking down to you. You can tell when a person is dismissive when they talk to you. You can tell them all the time. In fact, when I go into businesses there are a lot of times I want to call a time out and say, "I know what business you're in. Could I just freeze frame you for a moment? I just want you to know that you're talking down to the customers. I just want you to know, I know you've got probably a real good product over there but I don't want the product because of you. You really are in the way of your product, you know what I mean? In fact, if you really want to help your business, go home. Have a self serve here. Let me go pick it out. You following me? Let me find it on my own. You know what I'm saying? Because you're not helping the situation." When I communicate to people, I want them to see that I believe they have a sense of significance because if they see that, that allows them to emotionally rise, mentally rise with me to the level they need to. The question is not do I make a difference? The question is what kind of a difference do I make?

I want them to see, now that significance is in your mind, I want them to see several things that will help them be significant. First of all, I want them to know abundance. I want them to know abundance. I'm going back to Kouzes and Posner again. Here's what they said. They say, "True leaders are about something bigger than themselves and much bigger than all of us. Leaders care about making a difference in their world." When I talk to people I want them to see abundance because significance is all about others. You can never focus on others if you think there's just enough for you. You've got to get beyond it. I'd better make sure I get what I need because it may run out. Understand that you want to give it your best shot. Have an abundance mindset because that always will include others. Scarcity only includes you.

Okay. In your notes, you and I live in an age when only a rare minority of individuals desires to spend their lives in pursuit of objectives which are bigger than they are. In our age, for most people, when they die it will be as though they never lived. How are we going to change that? How are we going to help people? I try to help people lose themselves, find themselves, and then lose themselves again. If you want to have an abundance mindset the first thing you have to do is you have to lose yourself. You've got to lose yourself. Put over there on that little blank the word pettiness. You've got to lose yourself to the pettiness of life. The small things that bug you. The stuff that grinds, you've got to get bigger than all the stuff in your life. You've got to lose yourself to find yourself. When we find ourselves, we begin to find purpose. Now, let me tell you something. You can't be a person of purpose if your life is filled with pettiness. You just can't. I've never known a person that let everything bug them and every person bug them and all of life bug them that ever surrendered their life to a greater purpose.

You know why? Because every day you're going to try to get over the pettiness of people and the pettiness of life and the pettiness of all the small stuff. Your life is going to be so consumed with pettiness that you can't hold onto pettiness and grab hold of purpose. You've got to lose yourself, you've got to lose the pettiness to find yourself, which is your purpose. The moment that you find your purpose guess what? You lose yourself again. But now you lose yourself in purpose and you lose yourself to reach your potential. It's kind of like I lose my pettiness, I find my purpose and then I lose myself completely from my potential. Now I'm able to be what I could be, do what God created me to be and do. If they're going to understand significance, I want them to understand abundance.

The second thing I want them to understand is community. I want them to know community. In the book Coming Home To Your True Self, Albert Haase writes that one of the key characteristics of the true self is when we live with a conscious and joyful awareness that we are not the center of creation. Such an awareness allows us to be compassionate, to live with wonder and awe, to be able to focus on the present and have passion for peace and justice and love for others. Here we go. Here's the statement I love. The true self is a self giving self that freely believes and demonstrates that life is not all about me. It's not all about me. It's not all about you. Get over yourself. What I tell people is, "Get over yourself because everyone else has. Laugh at yourself because everyone else is." Okay?

Whenever I see a person, one of the sure signs a person has never understood what this principle is about community and abundance is when a person takes themselves serious, to me it's a comedy. I think it's hysterical because you shouldn't take yourself serious. You say, "But what I'm doing is important." What you're doing is important but you're not important. Understand the difference. The difference between success and significance, I want them to know significance is that success is about what I've done, what I've achieved. Significance is what I've done for others. One other thing I want them to notice in this whole area of significance is I want them, I don't even know if this is a word but I like it so I'm going to use it. I want them to know they're chosen-ness. I want them to know they're not an accident. There is a specialness, a chosen-ness. Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you're not an accident but a divine choice. When you're grateful, you lose fear and you think abundance.

When I look at a person to see how expanding their soul is, I look and see how grateful they are. I have never known an ungrateful person that had potential of expanding their soul. Lack of gratitude shrivels a person up, makes them small in their thinking, makes them small in their actions. Do you, every day, express gratitude to people? I know people say, "I don't express it but I feel it." It's worthless. Totally worthless if you feel it without expressing it. Joe, over across the room, can't feel your gratitude. They need to see it expressed. It's a great way because what happens is when I express gratitude to people in tangible ways, by action and by words, you know what I'm really saying to them? You are really important in my life and my life wouldn't be what it is if it weren't for you. I want them to have this huge significance which comes with chosen-ness and it comes with abundance. That's all part of significance. When I communicate to people I want them to feel that. That's why I raise that bar real high as far as significance, okay?

Mark Cole:       Hey, welcome back podcast listeners. Chris Goede, glad you're in the studio with me today. We've heard John Maxwell inspire with his communication, haven't we?

Chris Goede:     We have. I am glad to be back, thanks for the invitation. It's always good to get on here and talk a little bit about leadership principles. If I think about John communicating from stage or even communicating in meetings or watching him do it one on one, he inspires every time. I absolutely love these first two questions that we're going to talk about today. I love the fact that you're going to get to speak to it from your lens as well and the things that you learned from him around this.

Mark Cole:       Yeah, we'll go several places on this podcast. One of the things that John has been helping me with the last two years has been my communication ability. My life mission, my purpose, is to motivate and inspire, there's the key word, #inspire, inspire people to reach their full potential. But my communication at least on John's stage, was less than par. He's been working with me on that and to see that change with mentorship gives me great hope, Chris, not only for our communication, our application today but for everybody listening to this today, I promise you, you can improve. I promise you, you need to be able to communicate in such a way that it inspires other people.

Chris Goede:     Kudos to you because the last two years I know you've learned some hard lessons, right?

Mark Cole:       Yeah.

Chris Goede:     As you've often said, how hard do you think it is for me to get up and try to communicate, connect and inspire people? John is sitting there in the front, on the front row with his notepad. You see him taking notes and you're like, "Oh boy, he's going to give that to me." Kudos to you in taking that on.

Mark Cole:       Thank you.

Chris Goede:     Let's talk about this for just a minute. Especially I want you to talk about it from the lens of inspiring and communicating from stage but also those that are listening that are communicating to people every single day in their life. They're adding value. Before you even communicate, you are inspiring them before the words come out of your mouth. I think John does this so well, I think you sitting under his leadership for so long have learned some things around that. What are some of the biggest takeaways that you have? You're going into a meeting or you're going on the stage or maybe even a one on one. What are some of the things that you do, personally to where before you even say anything you're inspiring those you're going to communicate with.

Mark Cole:       It's this first question that he asks, what do I want them to see? This was the easiest one for me. For 20 years I've been working alongside John, I've been working alongside people like you, Chris. We're an inspirational bubble.

Chris Goede:     We are. That's right.

Mark Cole:       We talk about being in the bubble. We're an inspirational bubble around the John Maxwell Enterprise. This part that, what do you want them to see, was really easy for me. I want to live it. I want to be the product of the product. You've heard me talk about that on this podcast. What do I want them to see, which is the example, was much easier than communicating my words to match my example. As we sit here now, today, with two and a half years of John really working hard with me on my communication, verbal communication, he spent very little time saying, "Mark, if you'll just act like what you're saying." He spent a lot of time on saying what I was acting.

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       That's not everybody. You've seen them too, I've seen a lot of communicators that speak a lot better than they live.

Chris Goede:     That's right.

Mark Cole:       That's not what John's helping us here on this one. The example does come first. The good news is, this is John's words, forgive me if it sounds like I'm tooting my horn, I'm not. John said, "The good news is, is I don't have to teach you how to act right. I just need to teach you how to communicate it in a way that's inspirational." Recently you were with me, we haven't even debriefed it, we're debriefing it in the studio today.

Chris Goede:     On the podcast.

Mark Cole:       Here we go. Recently I spoke at our exchange event, this was last November. We had an event, we cut it back a little bit, we social distanced but we had this incredible experience called Exchange. I had to communicate on stage, you were there and John was there sitting on the front row. I got done and it was talking about how John and I were running together in this phase of succession and all of that. Got great compliments, great feedback from people that was there but I didn't hit the ball. I didn't hit it like I wanted to hit it. John and I debriefed afterwards and he said, "Man that was a great job, it really was." I said, "John, thank you. But if that's true I was faking it until I make it. I wasn't there." He said, "I know that. Let's talk about why." I said, "Because I was trying to tell people my plan rather than trying to help them understand how my plan could inspire them."

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       John, in three sentences Chris, I hope this makes sense to those of you that are listening to the podcast, Chris you were there.

Chris Goede:     No it's good.

Mark Cole:       But in three sentences, John taught me how to have the same talk. He said, "The talk was good. The content was incredible. But you didn't make a connection to the crowd that let them see their picture in the message." In three sentences he gave me how I could have set it up that would have made me completely comfortable. But I knew in my communication that I was communicating good content. I was very confident on stage. But I had not made the connection and therefore it's not as inspirational as it could have been.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. It goes back to something John said in the podcast, which was leadership is lost in the not connecting. In this particular case, John's mentioning to you that it's almost like the message wasn't necessarily connecting with you and how you were living it out. Then as a byproduct of that, it wasn't necessarily connecting with those that were sitting in the audience when you were speaking. Yet another valuable lesson for you, by John as you're being mentored as far as communicating with people.

Mark Cole:       We're privileged on this podcast. There are people listening to us that communicate weekly to tens of thousands of people. Here is the recommendation from John to synthesize this right here. You've got to be an example but your attempt is not to just be an example or to communicate great. Don't forget, your goal every time you communicate is to inspire others. Don't get caught up in well, what I am wanting them to see is my example because if your example doesn't what? Inspire them, then you're just up telling your story and everybody says, "Well, that was a good story. That was a good story." No, we're trying to inspire them to be the best version of themselves.

Chris Goede:     Reminds me, John talks about this, about when he was at a speaking engagement one time and a young communicator, young speaker came up to John and said, "What is it that you're thinking about right before you go on stage?" You know this story better than I do. This young communicator's anxiety and stressed out, "What am I going to tell them? What am I going to tell them?" John's like, "That's where you're missing it. What do they need to hear?"

Mark Cole:       That's right.

Chris Goede:     He begins to think through that process. When you think that way with everybody that you communicate with, with authenticity by the way, what is it they need to hear, the inspiration will come from that as long as the audio lines up the with the video-

Mark Cole:       That's right.

Chris Goede:     ... as John was saying in regards to that.

Mark Cole:       That's exactly right. That's a good add. When we get on stage, if we're still trying to figure out what we're going to say rather than how they're going to hear it, you've waited too late to prepare.

Chris Goede:     That's good yeah. [crosstalk 00:31:11]

Mark Cole:       You waiting too late to prepare. You should be prepared way before you take stage. When you take the stage, you should say, "How is this particular audience going to receive and apply what I have to say?"

Chris Goede:     That's good. Before we move onto question number two that John gives us here, let me ask you this question. John says in there, I think this is brilliant. "Only teach or communicate what you truly believe in and are passionate about. The inspiration will come from that. Have you ever had to do that, where you didn't truly believe in or are passionate about something and you weren't able to inspire or connect? What did that feel like? What was the miss there? What is something we can give our listeners today that they can check themselves in regard to this point right here that John brings up?

Mark Cole:       For years Chris, I won't bore everyone with this portion with my story. I've talked into this in previous podcasts but for a long time, the first several years of my professional career, my career of adding value to people, my message and my life didn't match up. I called it being smaller on the inside than on the outside.

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       I've talked a lot about that. I can't tell you the disoriented feeling that I had, countless times, to stand in front of people and tell them something to do that I was not doing myself. I'm just going to challenge every leader here, I'm not going to morbid and slow and challenge and bring us down, Chris. But I'm going to challenge some of you listening to this today, you're going, "How can I inspire someone when I'm not inspired?" Stop communicating. Go figure out what's going on and get inspiration because if you learn to inspire someone about something you're not living as John talks about. Teach only what you believe and live. If you're inspiring people on something you don't believe in and something that you're living in, you are dying a slow death and you will wake up miserable if you're not already doing it. If there's a disconnect, if you're not inspired about your message, go recalibrate before you keep trying to cram a message down someone else's throat that is not even close to how you live your life.

Chris Goede:     As he says, before you even talk or communicate, you win or lose the day. Not only is it going to be painful for you, because I have been in that same situation, it's painful for everybody else on the other side of what you're communicating. It's not only not inspiring, it's pretty painful in regards to that. That's good. Question number two he talks about here is what do I want them to know? Now, there's a lot of great content in regards to what John talks about right here. I want to spend a little bit of time with you talking about this. I think John does this better than any communicator that I've ever seen or worked with where he doesn't get caught up with the pettiness of things. So many people get caught up in the pettiness of life. As a matter of fact, he says, "If we don't know how to lose the pettiness, we'll never understand the purpose of our life." He is literally the guy that always talks about the pettiness of his life. Talk to me a little bit about how you've worked some of that into your communication inspiring other people by allowing that to be part of your communication style?

Mark Cole:       For years, because John was mentoring me and critiquing me and improving me and sharing with me how I can be better, I started living out the temptation of trying to become like John. My communication to be like John. For me to communicate like somebody else thinks that I should. I, too, like I challenged everyone earlier, I had to recalibrate because I was losing inspiration. While my content was good, John's affirmation was great, my believability was terrible.

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       It's kind of like, "Help him, help him, he needs help. Help him, help him." Then I began to realize that my role and my responsibility was not to replicate John, it was to demonstrate John's message. It was to show the application of John's message. Chris, I can't tell you, that was liberating to me. Not only because for 20 years I have been in proximity to John and leading on behalf of John for half of that time. 10 years I've been leading on behalf of John. Not only did I have confidence there but I could do that. I became believable in showing application of living it out. My challenge and application to the podcast listeners is this. Are you believable to yourself? If you're not first believable, you won't be inspirational.

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       Don't do it. If you're not believable to yourself, you won't be believable to someone else. If you're not believable to someone else, you will not be inspirational.

Chris Goede:     That's good.

Mark Cole:       Authenticity has no competition. Being the best version of yourself will bring about a believability and that believability will shrink that gap that John was talking about.

Chris Goede:     Authenticity is a trust accelerator, to your point. Be authentic with them and be bigger than all the stuff that's going on in and around you that may be petty and truly believe in yourself. I think that's a powerful word. Let me ask you this. Let's talk a little bit about, he talks about the gratitude side. Both you and I, we were listening to it and we're like, "What's the biggest takeaway?" Both of us have the similar mindset about that where we want to make sure that we have gratitude. That when you're grateful, you'll lose the fear of not being able to inspire or communicate to people. I think one of the biggest things for me with John in my lessons is this abundance mindset that he has in all things. He's grateful for all kinds of opportunities. Talk to us a little bit about that in regards to inspiring how you communicate with a sense of gratitude.

Mark Cole:       I heard a quote and I'm going to butcher it and I don't know who to attribute it to. If you're listening to the podcast, send us a comment that it's yours and next week in the show notes I'll give you credit. But the quote was something like this, you cannot be critical when you have a spirit of gratitude. In other words, many times when we're critiquing this leader or critiquing this problem with our food at McDonald's, all of you that are splurging and going to McDonald's today, when you are critical, you are losing perspective that you're just grateful to have something in front of you. Not the fact that it's got mayonnaise on it and you don't like mayonnaise. It's when we lose gratitude when we accelerate the ability to be critical of something or someone. Now, take that back to this concept. When I realized or when you realized, Chris, that when we stand on a stage that people care what we believe and what we think, there is this feeling of gratitude that will overcome us. In that gratitude becomes authenticity and in that authenticity, again, becomes believability.

It goes back to the privilege here today with you, Chris. Can you believe that you and I, after John Maxwell teaches on this incredible subject of communication that inspires, that you and I have a chance to tens of thousands of people to share how that message of inspiration has helped us. Now, when I get that grateful of the opportunity, I may not get any better podcast listeners, sorry about that. But I'll tell you what I do get. I get a lot more believable. I get a lot more inspirational because people love when someone is the best version of themselves. They don't love it when you're trying to imitate something that is authentic.

What I love about John, to your point, John never loses sight of the gratitude of being able to write words that help people, speak words that inspire people and live a life that causes others to want to achieve greatness in themselves. Never. I've been with him 20 years, he's 73 and I have never seen him lose that gratefulness that people actually show up to buy a book or show up to hear a word or an inspiration. That's something that should inspire all of us leaders is to say, "If we have a platform, even if the platform is our significant other tonight when we cut off the podcast, be thankful for your platform." Because if you're thankful for it, you're going to be believable. If you're believable, you will be inspirational.

Chris Goede:     That's so good. I can feel it right now. Just even the way we're communicating with each other as you become vulnerable to your point, you communicate, it's interesting how our conversation has been a circle now back to even the first question which is how you want them to feel and even what they see. When they see that, there's automatically this connection with people. You've created the connection before you've really communicated any of the substance or content. Anyways, any last minute thoughts and wrapping up these two questions John gave to us?

Mark Cole:       One is just gratefulness to you. Again, I've watched your communication grow. I've watched you travel the country now and speak to some of the biggest and best and most influential companies in America and inspire them to take our material and help their people. There's a believability to that. You're doing webinars, you're doing podcasts now that is inspiring people. Chris it's because we've been given a platform to communicate-

Chris Goede:     That's right.

Mark Cole:       ... to inspire. You on the podcast, listening now, you're hearing a couple of guys that's been understudies of John for years and years that are doing our best to inspire you, to take John's content and make it believable and applicable to you. Gang, I hope you've enjoyed today, I hope you've been inspired. Here's the great news. There's two more questions that we're going to dig into for next week. I want you to be a part of that. Again, thanks for being a part of the Maxwell leadership podcast. In fact, if you have not shared with someone lately that they can be a part of the podcast too, help us out. Go share the link. Go forward this particular session to someone else. By the way, make sure you subscribe to Again, if you want to get the notes for today's lesson, go to It will help you, it will inspire you, until next week, let's lead.

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