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115 John C. Maxwell Quotes on Success (LEADERSHIP)

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Born on 20 February 1947 in Garden City, Michigan, United States, John C. Maxwell is a prominent personal development speaker, coach, and bestselling author who has sold more than 24 million books in 50 languages.

Maxwell is best known for his knowledge in leadership and for writing books such as The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, and The 5 Levels of Leadership.

He is dubbed American’s No.1 leadership authority and was identified by Inc. as the best leadership expert in the world.

John C. Maxwell is also an evangelical Christian pastor who graduated from Ohio Christian University with a Bachelor’s degree. He is the founder of The John Maxwell Company, The John Maxwell Team, and EQUIP (a nonprofit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 180 countries).

Further reading:

Below are the best John C. Maxwell quotes so you can be an exceptional leader who has a clear sense of direction and one who leads from the front.

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16 of the Best John C. Maxwell Quotes on Leadership & Success

The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him but the number of people he serves.
The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him but the number of people he serves.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
A great leader's courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.
A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Growth inside fuels growth outside.
Growth inside fuels growth outside.
If you wouldn’t follow yourself, why should anyone else?
If you wouldn’t follow yourself, why should anyone else?
Leaders who are effective are leaders who are disciplined in their daily lives.
Leaders who are effective are leaders who are disciplined in their daily lives.
Leaders are meant to help others become the people God created them to be.
Leaders are meant to help others become the people God created them to be.
A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.
A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.
Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.
Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.
If you start today to do the right thing, you are already a success even if it doesn’t show yet.
If you start today to do the right thing, you are already a success even if it doesn’t show yet.
All of the people in my life whom I consider to be close friends or colleagues are good thinkers.
All of the people in my life whom I consider to be close friends or colleagues are good thinkers.
You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.
You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.
A successful person finds the right place for himself. But a successful leader finds the right place for others.
A successful person finds the right place for himself. But a successful leader finds the right place for others.
A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others.
A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others.
Everything rises and falls on leadership.
Everything rises and falls on leadership.
It’s not the position that makes the leader; it’s the leader that makes the position.
It’s not the position that makes the leader; it’s the leader that makes the position.

62 Motivational John C. Maxwell Quotes on Change, Growth, and Gratitude

Everyone has the potential to become an encourager. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be a genius. You don’t have to have it all together. All you have to do is care about people and initiate.” 

John C. Maxwell
Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.
Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.
The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.
The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.
Doing the right thing daily, compounds over time.
Doing the right thing daily, compounds over time.
The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.
The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.

Make a point to continually search for a better way of doing things, even when things are going well, to ensure that a better alternative has not been overlooked and to keep your creative talents in practice.”

John C. Maxwell
Life can be boring unless you put some effort into it.
Life can be boring unless you put some effort into it.
People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life.
People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life.
A minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk.
A minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk.
If we are growing we are always going to be outside our comfort zone.
If we are growing we are always going to be outside our comfort zone.
Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.
Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. It may mean giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, and relationships that have lost their meaning.”

John C. Maxwell
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.
We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.
The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.
The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.
The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.
The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.
'Failing forward' is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.
‘Failing forward’ is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.

Often people fail to start or complete a task because they don’t see any connection between what they’re doing and what they really want to accomplish in life.” 

John C. Maxwell
Most People have a desire to look for the exception instead of the desire to become exceptional.
Most People have a desire to look for the exception instead of the desire to become exceptional.
Success each day should be judged by the seeds sown, not the harvest reaped.
Success each day should be judged by the seeds sown, not the harvest reaped.
The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.
The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
Time is more valuable than money, because time is irreplaceable.
Time is more valuable than money, because time is irreplaceable.
Reaching the top is a monumental achievement, but remaining there may be the most spectacular feat of all.
Reaching the top is a monumental achievement, but remaining there may be the most spectacular feat of all.
Success is…knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.
Success is…knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.
The timing of your decision is just as important as the decision you make.
The timing of your decision is just as important as the decision you make.
Although it’s admirable to be ambitious and hard-working, it’s more desirable to be smart-working.
Although it’s admirable to be ambitious and hard-working, it’s more desirable to be smart-working.

Exceptionally hard decisions can deplete your energy to the point at which you finally cave in. If you mentally crumble and degenerate into negative thinking, you’ll magnify the problem to the point where it can haunt you.”

John C. Maxwell
Talent is a gift, but character is a choice.
Talent is a gift, but character is a choice.
Educators take something simple and make it complicated. Communicators take something complicated and make it simple.
Educators take something simple and make it complicated. Communicators take something complicated and make it simple.
People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.
People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.
Earn the right to be heard by listening to others. Seek to understand a situation before making judgments about it.
Earn the right to be heard by listening to others. Seek to understand a situation before making judgments about it.
The experience of pain or loss can be a formidably motivating force.
The experience of pain or loss can be a formidably motivating force.
Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.
Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.
One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantage.
One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantage.
Every person has a longing to be significant; to make a contribution; to be a part of something noble and purposeful.
Every person has a longing to be significant; to make a contribution; to be a part of something noble and purposeful.
Without failure there is no achievement.
Without failure there is no achievement.
Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is usually painful.
Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is usually painful.
Speak the truth. Transparency breeds legitimacy.
Speak the truth. Transparency breeds legitimacy.

There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.”

John C. Maxwell
You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in you.
You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in you.
Happiness simply cannot be relied upon as a measure of success.
Happiness simply cannot be relied upon as a measure of success.
Courage isn’t an absence of fear. It’s doing what you are afraid to do. It’s having the power to let go of the familiar and forge ahead into new territory.
Courage isn’t an absence of fear. It’s doing what you are afraid to do. It’s having the power to let go of the familiar and forge ahead into new territory.

Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth.”

John C. Maxwell
To add value to others, one must first value others.
To add value to others, one must first value others.
Plan and execute your first failure so that you no longer have to fear it.
Plan and execute your first failure so that you no longer have to fear it.
It’s true that charisma can make a person stand out for a moment, but character sets a person apart for a lifetime.
It’s true that charisma can make a person stand out for a moment, but character sets a person apart for a lifetime.
Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life. Failure comes when we shrink from them.
Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life. Failure comes when we shrink from them.
A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose – a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve.
A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose – a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve.
Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness.
Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness.
Stay focused instead of getting offended or off track by others.
Stay focused instead of getting offended or off track by others.
The dreams and passions stored within hearts are powerful keys which can unlock a wealth of potential.
The dreams and passions stored within hearts are powerful keys which can unlock a wealth of potential.
To change your life you need to change your priorities.
To change your life you need to change your priorities.

The unsuccessful person is burdened by learning, and prefers to walk down familiar paths. Their distaste for learning stunts their growth and limits their influence.”

John C. Maxwell
Everything begins with a decision. Then, we have to manage that decision for the rest of your life.
Everything begins with a decision. Then, we have to manage that decision for the rest of your life.
If you don’t change the direction you are going, then you’re likely to end up where you’re heading.
If you don’t change the direction you are going, then you’re likely to end up where you’re heading.
When you are full of pride on the inside, it makes you stiff, stubborn, and creates strife with others.
When you are full of pride on the inside, it makes you stiff, stubborn, and creates strife with others.
To lead yourself, use your head; to lead others, use your heart. Always touch a person’s heart before you ask him for a hand.
To lead yourself, use your head; to lead others, use your heart. Always touch a person’s heart before you ask him for a hand.
Pride deafens us to the advice or warnings of those around us.
Pride deafens us to the advice or warnings of those around us.
The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.
The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.
The way you live your life today is preparing you for tomorrow. The question is what are you preparing for?
The way you live your life today is preparing you for tomorrow. The question is what are you preparing for?

There are two paths people can take. They can either play now and pay later, or pay now and play later. Regardless of the choice, one thing is certain. Life will demand a payment.”

John C. Maxwell

37 John C. Maxwell Quotes on Leadership & Motivation

Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. Leaders who are good navigators are capable of taking their people just about anywhere.”

John C. Maxwell
Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.
Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.
When the leader lacks confidence, the followers lack commitment.
When the leader lacks confidence, the followers lack commitment.
A leader who produces other leaders multiplies their influences.
A leader who produces other leaders multiplies their influences.
Leaders don’t rise to the pinnacle of success without developing the right set of attitudes and habits; they make every day a masterpiece.
Leaders don’t rise to the pinnacle of success without developing the right set of attitudes and habits; they make every day a masterpiece.
Leaders never outgrow the need to change.
Leaders never outgrow the need to change.
If you want to be a leader, the good news is that you can do it. Everyone has the potential, but it isn’t accomplished overnight. It requires perseverance.
If you want to be a leader, the good news is that you can do it. Everyone has the potential, but it isn’t accomplished overnight. It requires perseverance.
Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow.
Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow.

The leader’s Attitude is like a thermostat for the place she works. If her attitude is good, the atmosphere is pleasant, and the environment is easy to work in. But if her attitude is bad, the temperature is insufferable.”

John C. Maxwell
Managers work with processes - leaders work with people.
Managers work with processes – leaders work with people.
If you really want to be an uncommon leader, you’re going to have to find a way to get much of your vision seen, implemented, and added to by others.
If you really want to be an uncommon leader, you’re going to have to find a way to get much of your vision seen, implemented, and added to by others.
The best leaders are humble enough to realize their victories depend upon their people.
The best leaders are humble enough to realize their victories depend upon their people.
Great leaders always seem to embody two seemingly disparate qualities. They are both highly visionary and highly practical.
Great leaders always seem to embody two seemingly disparate qualities. They are both highly visionary and highly practical.
The more seriously you take your growth, the more seriously your people will take you.
The more seriously you take your growth, the more seriously your people will take you.

If you are a leader, the true measure of your success is not getting people to work. It’s not getting people to work hard. It is getting people to work hard together. That takes commitment.”

John C. Maxwell
The challenge of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth.
The challenge of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth.
The higher you want to climb, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be.
The higher you want to climb, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be.
Good leaders must communicate vision clearly, creatively, and continually. However, the vision doesn’t come alive until the leader models it.
Good leaders must communicate vision clearly, creatively, and continually. However, the vision doesn’t come alive until the leader models it.
Good leaders know when to display emotions and when to delay them.
Good leaders know when to display emotions and when to delay them.
As a leader, the first person I need to lead is me. The first person that I should try to change is me.
As a leader, the first person I need to lead is me. The first person that I should try to change is me.

Do you know the difference between leaders, followers, and losers? Leaders stretch with challenges. Followers struggle with challenges. Losers shrink from challenges.”

John C. Maxwell
The best way a mentor can prepare another leader is to expose him or her to other great people.
The best way a mentor can prepare another leader is to expose him or her to other great people.
Most good leaders want the perspective of people they trust.
Most good leaders want the perspective of people they trust.
When leaders fail to empower others, it is usually due to three main reasons: 1. Desire for Job Security 2. Resistance to Change 3. Lack of Self-Worth.
When leaders fail to empower others, it is usually due to three main reasons: 1. Desire for Job Security 2. Resistance to Change 3. Lack of Self-Worth.
Creative leaders inherently know when rules need to be challenged, and they can see when a more flexible approach should be taken.
Creative leaders inherently know when rules need to be challenged, and they can see when a more flexible approach should be taken.

Leaders see everything with a leadership bias. Their focus is on mobilizing people and leveraging resources to achieve their goals rather than on using their own individual efforts. Leaders who want to succeed maximize every asset and resource they have for the benefit of their organization. For that reason, they are continually aware of what they have at their disposal.”

John C. Maxwell
When people respect you as a person, they admire you. When they respect you as a friend, they love you. When they respect you as a leader, they follow you.
When people respect you as a person, they admire you. When they respect you as a friend, they love you. When they respect you as a leader, they follow you.
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of a leader.
The growth and development of people is the highest calling of a leader.
Leadership has less to do with position than it does disposition.
Leadership has less to do with position than it does disposition.
The bottom line in leadership isn't how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others.
The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others.
People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.
People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.

If you are a leader, you should never forget that everyone needs encouragement. And everyone who receives it – young or old, successful or less-than-successful, unknown or famous – is changed by it.”

John C. Maxwell
As a leader, you will never get ahead until your people are behind you.
As a leader, you will never get ahead until your people are behind you.
You build trust with others each time you choose integrity over image, truth over convenience, or honor over personal gain.
You build trust with others each time you choose integrity over image, truth over convenience, or honor over personal gain.
All good leaders are connectors. They relate well and make people feel confident about themselves and their leader.
All good leaders are connectors. They relate well and make people feel confident about themselves and their leader.
People who add value to others do so intentionally. I say that because to add value, leaders must give of themselves, and that rarely occurs by accident.
People who add value to others do so intentionally. I say that because to add value, leaders must give of themselves, and that rarely occurs by accident.

There are five nonnegotiable characteristics that every effective leader must have: a sense of calling, an ability to communicate, creativity in problem solving, generosity, and consistency.”

John C. Maxwell

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