How to Write Your Story

John Maxwell

Each day is a blank page with space for a story, and what you commit your time to will fill those pages and eventually shape the legacy you leave behind as a leader. The problem is many of us can find ourselves accepting our story instead of writing it. 

We have dreams, community, and a drive for excellence, yet we find ourselves so distant from the vision of what could be. What creates that gap we can experience as leaders?

In this video, John Maxwell explains how good intentions could be the very thing separating us from the story we’re telling and the one we desire to live. Watch the clip now to see the three things he says leaders must have in alignment in order to achieve their God-given dreams.

Prefer to read rather than watch? Here’s the transcript to John’s talk: 

For the first time I realized that every one of us have a story, but most of us don't write our story. Most of the people, they don't lead their life, they accept their life, and because we accept our life, we don't fill the pages with the things that we need to fill the pages with, acts and deeds of significance. I began, at that moment, to say, "Okay, I got it. I know what I want to do. I really want to make a difference." I even took that little book that she gave me with the pages that were blank, and I started writing in that. That was two years before I wrote my first book, which was in 1979 called, Think On These Things. I share that with you, because every one of you have a story.
When they asked me if I could come over and talk for a few minutes, I said, "I know what I want to talk about." I wanted to talk about your story, not my story. I want to share with you that the pages are blank and either you're going take up the pen and you're going to write the story, or somebody's going to write it for you. You're going to either read your story or you're going to write it. What happens is, most people, they don't write their story, they read their story, because they've never understood intentional living. They've never understood that good intentions is not enough, because everybody's got good intentions. I mean, almost everybody wants to do well and they've got good thoughts. They've got good intentions, but they've never taken the bridge of intentional living and gone from good intentions to good actions.
When I'm in the business community, a lot of times I teach a principle called the Rule of Five. In fact, to be honest with you, I just came back. I was in the largest leadership conference in Europe. It was in Helsinki, Finland, over 10,000 people, major, major companies from all over the world. The one request they wanted is they wanted me to teach the Rule of Five. It's become something very popular. In fact, I'm right now forming a book on it, because it just works in the business community. But it'll work in your life too.
Let me illustrate the Rule of Five. The Rule of Five says that if I have a tree in my backyard, and I want to cut it down, and I have an ax, if I take the ax and I go to the tree and I swing the ax five times, hitting the tree, I put the ax down. The next day, go out. Pick up the same ax. Go to the same tree and five times I swing the ax. I hit the tree, put the ax down. Next day, pick up the same ax. Go to the same tree, five swings. Every day, five swings. I take the ax, go to the same tree, five times I swing. I do it every day, never miss. If I do that consistently every day, eventually, let me ask you a question, what's going to happen to the tree? Eventually the tree is going to what? It's going to fall, absolutely. I mean, there's no question about it. The tree will fall.
Now, if it's a big tree it may take a couple of years. If it's a smaller tree, I don't know, maybe a couple of months, but the tree will fall. The reason the tree falls is because I go to the same tree. I focus. I take an ax, which is a tool that works, and five times I consistently swing at that tree. The Rule of Five says to you and me, that if you have a dream, if you have a goal, if you want something to accomplish, if you designate and really focus in on that goal, that dream, and if you have the right tool, in this case an ax ... I mean, let's put it this way. I could go to that same tree every day, and I could pick up a baseball bat, and I could swing five times with that baseball bat, but can I tell you something? I'm going to work hard and I'm going to be consistent, but the tree's never going to fall. I've got the right dream, but I don't have the right resource. I don't have the right tool.
See, the Rule of Five says, you've got to focus on the tree. Now, I know some people, what they do is they go in the backyard, and they pick up the ax, and they, five times one tree. Then they go to another tree, five times the next day, and another tree, you know five, and just every day it's a different tree and they're doing five times. You never knock down the tree. You just have a bunch of scarred trees. Did you have to focus? Did you really have to know where you were going? You have to have a dream. You've got to say, "This is what I want to accomplish." You've got to have the right goal. You've got to stay focused. But you also have to have the right tool and you have to be consistent. If you can do those three things, have the same dream, the right dream, the right tool, and be consistent, things become absolutely beautiful.

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