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Have you ever really thought about the way a magnet works? To someone who doesn’t understand the science, a magnet’s power to attract things to it appears almost magical. Likewise, have you ever met a person who seems to attract people the way a magnet attracts metal? They believe in others, and they attract people who just magically begin to believe in themselves. But I’m here today to tell you that there’s no magic – just a desire to help others and a method of transferring belief.

When I speak to people, whether in a crowd or one-on-one, I make it my goal to increase their belief in themselves. I want to share my belief and do things with them until one day it's not my belief in them, but it's their belief in themselves. That's what I call the ultimate transfer of a leader. It’s when leaders take the belief that they have for their people and pass it on until the people own it. It's not borrowed. That's always my goal, to help people to get to that belief level.

How to Be a Belief Magnet

Here’s how I share my belief in people and help them find that belief in themselves.

1. Affirmation
I was on a phone call recently with a woman who shared about how she’d heard me speak a few years ago. She told me that as I spoke at the conference, she said to herself, "Here's a man who really believes in me." She continued on the phone, "It just drew me to you. It just drew me to read your books and go to the conferences where you're speaking."

The first way to help other people believe in themselves is to actually believe in them. When people sense that we believe in their potential and desire to be successful, it literally draws them in. Then we can share that belief with them. One way I do that is to “put a 10 on their heads.” What I mean by that is, I give each person a score of 10 (on a scale of 1 to 10) when I meet them. From the very beginning, I assume the best about them and choose to believe that about them. I communicate what I believe and why. This sets them up to find that belief themselves.

2. Mentoring
With mentoring, I invite the person into my life, to walk alongside me. As we spend time together, they experience what I experience. I especially want them to enjoy the excitement of little victories. I want them to experience successes. This helps them enjoy the feeling of a victory even before having one on their own. Then they have a better idea of what they are aiming for.

3. Equipping

Equipping takes the next step beyond just exposing people to my experiences and victories. Now I’m focused on giving them the specific tools and skills that they need to be successful. This is when I break it down for them. I suggest areas where they can grow, books they can read, and other resources that will help them. I also empower them by stepping back and letting them do the task themselves.

4. Practice

After I've equipped someone with the tools and resources necessary to achieve a goal, I have to give them time to practice. I have a friend who’s a teaching pro in golf who recently gave me a two-hour lesson to help with my swing. He was a good teacher and helped me tremendously. But when we were done, he said, "Now, you do understand that for those two hours that I taught you, you need to put in twenty hours of practice before you’ll have it down." He was communicating that I needed to put in the work and do the tasks before I could get to the final stage.

5. Victory

Nothing, nothing, nothing helps a person's belief in self like success. I could give you good how-to advice and affirmation all day long, and it wouldn’t have nearly the impact that a single victory would have on your self-belief. I believe that having a win under your belt is one hundred times more important than affirmation. Remember, when I give you affirmation, it is still something I’m doing. When you achieve a victory, you’re the one who made that happen. Once someone has practiced, make sure you stand back and allow them to win the victory. That just takes self-belief to an entirely new level.

As a leader, I encourage you to set people up for success. When you believe in them to start with, and communicate that belief, you become a magnet, drawing them to you. Then when you mentor and equip them, you’re giving them the tools and experiences that keep them on the path with you. Finally, when you allow them to own the victory, you help them make your belief their own.

I hope you’ll be a belief magnet to the people you lead. It not only increases their good feelings and morale because they want to be close to you; it also shows them what they’re capable of on their own, increasing their self-belief. This is the ultimate transfer of leadership.

This article is used by permission from Leadership Wired
Dr. John C. Maxwell's premiere leadership newsletter,
available for free subscriptin at

Author Biography

John C. Maxwell
Web site: Injoy Group
John Maxwell grew up in the 1950s in the small Midwestern city of Circleville, Ohio. John's earliest childhood memory is of knowing that he would someday be a pastor. He professed faith in Christ at the age of three, and reaffirmed that commitment when he was 13. At age 17, John began preparing for the ministry. He attended Circleville Bible College, earning his bachelor's degree in 1969. In June of that same year, he married his sweetheart, Margaret, and moved to tiny Hillham, Indiana, where he began his first pastorate.

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