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Book:  The Power of Your Potential

Author:  John Maxwell

Purchase:  Print | eBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Maxwell, J. (2018). The power of your potential : how to break through your limits. New York: Center Street.

Key Ideas and Big Takeaways:​

There are many capacities that we can increase, but there's nothing we can do to expand time. The number of minutes in a day, days in a week, and weeks in a year are set. Even our time here on earth is fixed. Our days are numbered. That's why we need to focus on our energy. That's something we can influence. If we want to get more done and make a greater impact on the world, we need to increase our energy potential. Over the years I've noticed that people who reach their potential do not sit back and wait for things to happen to them. They go out and make things happen. (pg. 19)

It's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. When we think about it logically, we should expect the same results from the same actions, yet many people find themselves in ruts, doing what they've always done but wishing for something different. Why does it happen? Because they never take the time to stop, figure out why their efforts aren't getting positive results, and change course. One of the ways successful people keep their emotional potential high is by avoiding falling into this trap. Sure, they make mistakes. But they take the time to learn from them. (pg. 32)

Becoming a better thinker means having the right mindset. Two people can see the same things, go through the same experiences, have the same conversations, yet one walks away with the flurry of great thoughts and the other without a single new idea. To increase your thinking capacity, you need to become an idea digger. Always look for ideas and try to mine them. A lot of people come across my idea and recognize that it's a good idea, yet they don't do anything with it. They don't follow through. When you get a good idea, you need to think to yourself, how can I use it? (pg. 38)

You need a good system for capturing your ideas, when I have a good idea my goal is not to lose it. Whether you use your computer,  a notebook, or your phone, caps are your thoughts - so you can find them again. Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night with an idea? It happens to me all the time. In the light of day, most of my midnight ideas are not worth pursuing. But that's okay. The only thing worse than not having a way to capture great ideas, and thus missing them, is capturing a bad idea and trying to make it work. If it's not good, Let It Go. Most of the time, I have pretty good instincts about whether an idea is any good. The good ones still speak to me after 24 hours. The bad ones don't. (pg. 40)

You will drastically increase your production capacity if you stop doing what you're not great at and instead focus on what you do best. Find ways to focus your time and attention and work toward eliminating from your schedule anything that doesn't have a high return. (pg. 76)

One of the most valuable things you can do to increase your leadership capacity is to be authentic and transparent with people and to share your story, especially before you challenge them to accept something difficult. Too many leaders think they have to project a perfect image to have leadership credibility. They think they always have to put their best foot forward. What they don't understand is that their best foot is a flood foot. They miss the power of their own stories of imperfection. A leader's story of struggle, growth, and improvement can inspire people and change lives. People respect leaders who tell the truth but who still hold fast to the vision and keep leading the team forward. (pg. 85)

Successful people are highly disciplined in doing their most important work. They are self-disciplined. They guide and encourage themselves to do the work they ought to do, not just the things they want to do. That’s what takes them from average to good, and from good to great. And that's why the rewards in this world are usually reserved for those who are willing to do what the majority of people are unwilling to do. (pg. 115)

Brian Tracy observed, “Successful men and women are those who work almost all the time on high-value tasks. Unsuccessful men and women are those who waste their time by wasting the minutes and hours of each day on low value activities.” He calls this the Crowding-Out Principle. It goes like this: “If you spend all of your time on highly productive tasks, by the end of the day, you will have crowded out all the unproductive activities that might have distracted you from your real work. On the other hand, if you spend your time on low value activities, those low-value activities will crowd out the time that you need to complete the task that can make all the difference in your life. And the key to this attitude toward time and personal management is always self-discipline.” (pg. 118)

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