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In the last edition of "Leadership Wired," I said that if we are going to change an organization, we must begin by changing ourselves. Change is not a once and for all kind of thing—if only it were that easy. No, changing ourselves is a lifelong process. Not only that, but we must be intentional about how we want to change. I have found that:

(Remember what we learned last time)

1) When you change your thinking, you change your beliefs.

2) When you change your beliefs, you change your expectations.

We pick up this week by understanding that:

3) When you change your expectations, you change your attitude.

Positive expectations produce feelings of excitement, desire, conviction, confidence and enthusiasm. Here is where a natural-born pessimist can re-program his or her basic outlook on life. What a difference it makes when you expect the best, not the worst - the possible, not the impossible!

4) When you change your attitude, you change your behavior.

Once we begin to see change as being the key to a better future, it's easy to modify our behavior accordingly. Going the extra mile no longer seems out of the question; in fact, we do so willingly, knowing it is taking us closer to where we want to go.

5) When you change your behavior, you change your performance.

I find that we often make two mistakes in this area. First, we often sit around and wait for God to change our circumstances. Second, we wait for circumstances to change our behavior. Is it any wonder that some people change so little?

I've seen the following changes in my own life as I've applied these principles. When I began to change my normally playful behavior and became more disciplined, it opened up a myriad of opportunities for me. When I changed my bent toward people-pleasing to become a God-pleaser, I began to make tremendous strides as a leader. When I broadened my focus from the local church to a national focus, it resulted in a burdened heart for leaders, especially pastors. When I shifted my behavior from being a leader of people to a leader of leaders, I began to see exponential growth around me. This is all to say:

6) When you change your performance, you change your life.

Most people fail to see that life is moving on at a rapid speed. None of us have all the time we'd like. If you see an area you need to change, CHANGE NOW. I'm not talking about cosmetic changes. That's where we change our talking but not our thinking, our environment instead of our expectations, our appearance instead of our attitudes, our business instead of our behavior, and our biases instead of our beliefs. Rather than focus on changing ourselves, too many of us content ourselves with dreaming about the results we desire from life and wonder why they remain just that—dreams.

Making Changes That Count
Consider the following six questions carefully. Each addresses a critical area of life that may need improvement.
  • What areas of my thinking do I need to change?
  • What beliefs do I hold that hold me back?
  • What expectations hinder my personal growth?
  • What attitudes hurt my success?
  • What behavioral areas must I change to give me a boost?
  • What things are keeping me from a peak performance?
Making changes in yourself is a prerequisite to leading any organization through change. Once people around you begin to see the results of personal growth, you gain both credibility and respect. With those two things, change in your organization moves from possible to probable.

This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free
monthly e-newsletter: Leadership Wired available 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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