John Maxwell on Leadership

Going Beyond Talent: How Practice Sharpens Your Talent


Few people make a decision to be committed to personal growth throughout their careers. Looking critically at yourself and improving is not easy. However, taking steps toward growth is one of the most important paths you can follow. According to John Maxwell in his book, Beyond Talent, “If you want to sum up what lifts most successful individuals above the crowd, you could do it with four little words: a little bit more.” 1

In order to achieve growth and sharpen talent, leaders must take action to do what is expected of them-and then some. One way leaders are focusing on personal growth this year is through The Maxwell Plan and practicing daily development. Something The Maxwell Plan teaches us is:

There is no time like right now to get started. Recognize the important role that personal growth plays in success and commit yourself to developing your potential today.” 2

As you commit to practicing and sharpening your talent, remember these things:

1. Practice Enables Development

If you desire to improve and develop, then you must practice. It allows you to break your own records and outstrip what you did yesterday.” 3

When you think of yesterday, what do you see? When you think of your goals for tomorrow, how does it change from where you are today? One way to achieve those goals and move beyond talent is through practice. Practice enables us to be better than yesterday and better than we expect. Through practice, we’ll develop our potential to be outstanding leaders. Reflecting on the past and analyzing where you are as a leader will help you gain an accurate assessment of yourself.

2. Practice Leads to Discovery

As you first start to practice, the gains you make may be small. But they will grow. They compound like interest.” 4

With practice, all leaders learn more about their field and themselves. During times of slow growth, we can consider our growth as a “warm-up.” However, as the gains compound, we’re bound to discover ways we can improve, innovate and implement. By building upon the knowledge from yesterday, our results snowball.

3. Practice Demands Discipline

There is no easy way to become a disciplined person. It has nothing to do with talent or ability. It is a matter not of conditions, but of choice.” 5

In order to achieve personal development, you must dedicate the time, energy and effort to practice. You must make practice a priority. It is a daily choice – something that should be scheduled in, rather than easily omitted from your day. While practicing can be difficult, talent can be multiplied ten-fold when you’re disciplined. Through discipline, we have opportunities to show the importance of dedication to our task, goals and future.

Overall, talent is only as good as the willingness we have to sharpen it. When we choose to practice and pursue personal development, achievement and success grows.

As a leader, what do you need to practice? How are you pursuing personal development right now? Share with us below or on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #BeyondTalent.

To practice personal growth, take part in The Maxwell Plan here or read about how practice sharpens your talent in Beyond Talent.

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1 Beyond Talent, pg. 103
2 Day 1, Week 1 of Maxwell Plan
3 Beyond Talent, pg. 109
4 Beyond Talent, pg. 110
5 Beyond Talent, pg. 112


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