25 ways to win with people by John Maxwell

I recently finished reading John Maxwell’s “25 Ways to Win with People”, which I found to be very helpful in my quest to improve my relationships.

There are 25 points in the book but I wanted to share two insights that made the most impact on me:

1)      Make the person feel like a million bucks

We naturally tend to want to make ourselves feel good, but if we want to attract other people, we should shift our focus from making ourselves feel good to making others feel good about themselves.

Maxwell’s advice got me brainstorming about the ways I could make the person I’m talking to feel like a million bucks. Some ideas I had:

a)      Listen with full attention. Be genuinely interested, utterly fascinated by what your friend is saying. Ask questions, nod your head, listen with rapt focus, be enthralled by what the person you are talking to has to say.

b)      Listen to understand, not to respond. I’m usually afraid of silence in conversation, so my natural reaction is to think of what I can say when my friend finishes talking. The problem with this is since I am thinking of what to say instead of fully turning all my attention to listening to what my friend is saying, I’m not giving my friend my full focus. I’ve resolved to let go of my fear of silence and give my full attention to listening to what my friend has to say, putting my focus on understanding instead of responding.

c)       Compliment others. During conversations, I now try to actively, aggressively seek for any opportunity to praise the person I am talking with. I especially try to compliment my friends in front of others, as the feel-good factor of a compliment increases exponentially when you praise the person in public.

2)      Let people know that you need them

Before I read Maxwell’s advice to let people know that I need them, I always felt bad about needing people. As a single, I have a fear of being lonely. I actively seek out friendships because of my fear of loneliness, yet often I feel guilty about making friends to relieve my loneliness because I feel that my loneliness is a weakness that I have to overcome, that I shouldn’t depend on people to help prevent the pain of being alone. It was a relief to read Maxwell’s advice, he tells us that people like to feel that they are needed, they like leaders to tell them – “I can’t do it without you”. Maxwell writes – “Leaders can become great, only when they realize that they are the ones who need people…let them know you helped…It’s not a sign of weakness to let others know you value them. It’s a sign of security and strength. When you’re honest about your need for help, specific with others about the value they add, and inclusive of others as you build a team to do something bigger than you are, everybody wins.” Maxwell’s advice has inspired me to tell my friends that I need them to help me overcome my loneliness and made me feel comfortable about reaching out to others for help when I’m feeling lonely.

What to do when you don’t know how to achieve your dreams?

We all have dreams in our hearts, desires that burn deeply in our soul.

Maybe you’re dreaming of a job which you enjoy, that pays you well too. Or maybe you have a sickness that you’ve been praying a long time for healing. Perhaps you’re lonely but you can’t seem to find that soul-mate you’ve been longing for.

We all have dreams and too many of us give up on them because the dreams seem too difficult to attain. Maybe you’ve tried to pursue that dream and failed, or you’ve waited for a long time and don’t seem to have made any progress. You’re stuck in a mediocre life – you’ve settled for just surviving instead of thriving.

One of the main reasons why we don’t pursue our dreams is because we don’t know what to do. We look at our circumstances and it looks so bleak we don’t know how things are ever going to change for the better. We feel stuck and trapped. All the doors seem to be closed and there seems to be no way out. Maybe the doctor tells you you’ll never be cured and you just have to endure your sickness. Or you just got laid off and are worried you won’t be able to get a good job because of the bad economy. Perhaps you find it hard to make new friends and so feel you’ll never meet the person of your dreams.

I’ve got an encouraging word for you today. Don’t give up. Even if you don’t know how to attain your dreams, God will create a path for you to reach your dreams. God specializes in doing the impossible. You might not know, but God knows. Trust in God’s guidance, a guidance that often leads us through surprising and unexpected paths. You may be at the foot of the mountain, but God will guide you up the difficult slopes to reach the glorious peak.

A good example of how God can help you attain your dreams even if you don’t know what to do can be seen in the story of Joseph. When Joseph was a teenager, he had a dream that he was going to be a great man, so great that his father and brothers would bow down to him. When Joseph told his brothers his dream, they were filled with envy and anger and hated Joseph. His brothers hated Joseph so much that they beat him up and sold him to a band of traders heading to Egypt. Joseph became a slave in the house of the Egyptian captain of the guard, Potiphar. I imagine when Joseph was sold into slavery, he must have thought that his dream was dead. How could he ever become a great man when he was a slave, all alone in a foreign land? Joseph had no idea how his dream would ever come to pass. But God was with Joseph. He prospered Joseph so much that his master, Potiphar, put him in charge of his entire household. Things seemed to be going well, and Joseph began to have hope that God somehow miraculously would help him reach his dreams of greatness. But then disaster struck. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph and when Joseph refused her advances, she told her husband that Joseph tried to rape her. Potiphar was furious and threw Joseph into prison. Joseph faced yet another great challenge to his dream. Stuck in a dark and depressing dungeon, I’m sure Joseph couldn’t see a way in which he could be a great man when he was now a suffering prisoner. But Joseph kept his faith in God. He knew that God could make a way even when there seems to be no way. Joseph believed that even though he didn’t know how he could attain His dream, God knew the perfect way and would guide him to his divine destiny. One day, one of Joseph’s fellow prisoners, Pharaoh’s cupbearer, asked Joseph to help him interpret his dream. Joseph correctly interpreted the cupbearer’s dream and the cupbearer was restored to Pharaoh’s court. Some time later, Pharaoh had a disturbing dream but none of his wise men could interpret the dream for him. The chief cupbearer then remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about Joseph, so Pharaoh summoned Joseph into his presence. Joseph correctly interpreted the dream for Pharaoh, and the ruler was so impressed that he made Joseph the Prime Minister of Egypt.

I’m sure even in his wildest dreams, Joseph didn’t expect the way God promoted him. But just like Joseph, God can lead you along a path to your dreams that you couldn’t even imagine. So don’t worry if you don’t know how you’ll even achieve your dreams. God knows how and that’s enough.

The important thing when you’re in a place where your dreams seem impossible is to stay in faith, keep trusting in God to bring your dreams to past. Keep obeying God’s commands and be faithful in the work He’s entrusted you to do. Keep giving your best, living a life of excellence. You’ll find that when you do what you can, God will do what you can’t. Keep believing, keep pursuing your dreams, and like He did for Joseph, God will guide you from the pit to the palace.