Connecting Is All About Others
By John C. Maxwell www.johnmaxwell.com
When I began my career as a minister, I was not about others. When I counseled people who were experiencing difficulties, my attitude was, “Hurry up and finish telling me your problem so I can give you my solution.” When I was leading any kind of initiative, I constantly asked myself, “How can I get people to buy into my vision so that they’ll help me with my dreams?” When I spoke to an audience, I was focused on myself and not them. I lived for positive feedback. And my goal was always to be impressive. Much of what I did was all about me, yet I still wasn’t succeeding.
When I was twenty-nine years old, my dad invited me and my brother-in-law, Steve Throckmorton, to attend a Success Seminar in Dayton, Ohio, where I heard a speaker who understood how to connect with people. I sat there mesmerized.
I remember thinking, This is someone who understands success. I like him. But there’s more to it than that—he really understands me. He knows what I believe. He understands what I’m thinking. He knows what I feel. He can help me. I would love to be his friend. I already feel like he’s my friend.
That speaker was Zig Ziglar. And that day he said something that changed my life: “If you will first help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want.” Finally, I understood what had been missing from my own communication—and from my interaction with other people. I saw how selfish and self-centered I’d been. I realized that I was trying to get ahead by correcting others when I should have been trying to connect with others.
What I learned was that connecting is never about me. It’s about the person with whom I’m communicating. Similarly, when you are trying to connect with people, it’s not about you—it’s about them. If you want to connect with others, you have to get over yourself. You have to change the focus from inward to outward, off of yourself and onto others.
And I know you can do this, because I did! You can connect with others if you’re willing to get off your own agenda, think about others, and try to understand who they are and what they want. If you’re willing to learn how to connect, you will be amazed at the doors that will open to you and the people you will be able to work with. All you have to do is keep reminding yourself that connecting is all about others.