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Three Ways to Successfully Develop Yourself as a Leader


Over 3,300 Birmingham business leaders gathered to learn from a few of the nation’s top leadership experts at Impact Leadership Conference. One of the speakers, Dr. John C. Maxwell, requested all of his event proceeds from Impact Leadership Conference benefit Highlands College, a higher education institution where learning, mentoring, relationships, and spiritual growth are top priorities. “I support Highlands College in every way because I know this school is going to make a difference,” says Dr. Maxwell. In his session, Dr. Maxwell equipped guests with three effective leadership changes that will positively enhance organizational and personal growth. 

1. Continually learn, unlearn, and relearn.

The cycle of success contains 5 phases: testing, failing, learning, improving, and then re-entering the cycle. Success is a process. 

Dr. Maxwell clearly stated that if you test a lot, you fail a lot. Leaders should not fear failure but embrace it. If you want to be successful, you have to learn to be comfortable with failure. Dr. Maxwell challenged the way leaders view failure by saying that failure and success are not opposites. In fact, the two are compatible when you choose to learn from your failures. There is massive value found in failing: learning. The lessons learned in failure are often more impactful than the lessons learned in success. Once you learn how to improve after a failure, it’s time to re-enter the cycle of success. Leaders are the people who do not quit. Learn to acknowledge shortcomings, improve from them, and try again. 

2. Value yesterday, but live in today.

Leaders are constant learners. Every single day leaders aim to grow by learning something new. Dr. Maxwell shared an astonishing statistic that revealed it only takes five years to forget information acquired from a bachelor’s degree. When’s the last time you learned something for the first time? What are you learning right now? When we fail to grow in our leadership, it’s because we are going back to yesterday too much. If what you’re not living in the moment now, you’re not effective in the moment now. Don’t rely on past successes to get you where you want to be in the future. You have to be at your best right now. 

3. Live in today, but think about tomorrow.

Although leaders need to be present, they also need to be preparing for the future. The future has a way of arriving unannounced. Getting caught by surprise is the worst thing that can happen to a leader.  “What’s next” is one of the most helpful questions a leader can ask. Leaders always forecast both for their team and themselves personally. There’s massive value in always looking toward the person you want to become. Leaders avoid becoming stagnant by learning how to evolve. Today’s best will not overcome tomorrow’s challenges. 

We are thankful for Dr. John C. Maxwell for not only providing our Impact Conference guests with phenomenal wisdom but also supporting the mission of Highlands College through donating to the Eternal Impact Campaign. This comprehensive initiative will fund a tuition endowment, making it possible for 1,000 young leaders to be trained every year, as well as provide funding to renovate the Grandview Campus, the future home to the College. The Phase I goal is $100 million. 

The Eternal Impact Campaign is seeking to fulfill a vision that has never been accomplished. Highlands College is paving the way for a new outlook on higher education, thanks to the support of donors who attended the Impact Leadership Conference.

To learn more about the Eternal Impact campaign, visit highlandscollege.com/eternalimpact.