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                                    Finding a Mentor in John Maxwell

It was a last-minute speaking engagement that drove me to use the book my dad had given me. I had been reading it casually for about a week. I thought it was good, but didnt give it a lot of deep thought. Then came the invitation to speak to the youth in Tacloban. That put me on the hunt for some quick, quality material that even someone like me could teach. I spent a lot of time looking for such a lessonso much time that I was two days away from speaking and didnt know what I was going to speak about.

I finally toyed with the idea of using that book I had been reading. Dad encouraged me to try it, so I sat down with the book and a pen and started outlining a short lesson. As I did so I began to realize just how the principles in the writing could apply to daily life. I eventually came up with a lesson that anybody of any age from any background can use: That failures, instead of stumbling blocks, can become stepping stones to success. The name of the book was Failing Forward, and it was my introduction to the teachings of Dr. John C. Maxwell.

Since that talk I have read a number of books by Dr. Maxwell, including The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, The 17 Essential Laws of Teamwork, Thinking for A Change and Today Matters. I have always enjoyed reading, but for the first time I was doing it with the intent of getting personal application out of it. What I learned in the first few books only whetted my appetite for more. It started me on what I now realize is a bona fide personal growth program that has impacted virtually every area of my life. I am taking on more leadership and making more friends now because of what Ive learned. I now see more value in each day I live and the thoughts that I cultivate. By Gods grace Ive been rewarded with opportunities to teach and speak, as well as partner with leaders of great influence.

I had learned a lot through reading, but there was still one thing I wanted to do. I had listened to tapes of John Maxwell speak and was intrigued (his down-to-earth Georgian accent was pleasantly familiar). My dad told me that seeing him in person is even better. I decided I was going to attend one of this mans conventions and see for myself.

I got my chance in August of 2004. I had attended a leadership summit for Student Council members and managed to get a free ticket to a conference Dr. Maxwell was speaking at. The next month I got to sit down and listen in person to the man who had taught me so much through books and tapes. For two days I was able to take notes and glean lessons from a leader who has walked the road and is now empowering others to take the journey as well. At one point I even had the privilege of shaking his hand and getting my copy of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership signed. Meeting someone you have a high regard for can really bring home everything hes said.

Meeting John Maxwell in person has been a highlight for me this year, and not just in the fan boy mentality that I am admittedly prone to. What made it special was that I got to meet the man who first challenged me to get up and strive for more than what I had become. Try picking up a Maxwell book sometime. It just might take you to a whole new level.

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