Photo courtesy of PullSpark .

Last Friday, our team hosted Live2Lead, our annual event that brings some of the best leaders, speakers, and thinkers together to discuss leadership in an ever-changing world. 2019 marked our sixth event, and with all respect to every person who helped us with the previous five, it was our best Live2Lead ever.

We had our most simulcast sites (326), our highest live-site attendance (over 1,700), and together we had over 40,000 total participants!

I love seeing numbers like that but they are just a fraction of the event’s impact. And I’m not just talking about the compounding effect of each person taking what they learned and applying it in their organization or team.

I’m talking about the way this year’s event cut to the heart of leadership in a way that was real and compelling.

I typically script out my closing session and prepare to teach on content that my team has requested. We often use those teaching times in some of our digital products, so each one is precious to what we do in our business.

This year, I did something my didn’t expect—I abandoned my planned teaching so I could share with the people what I learned from the day.

I want to share those thoughts with you today, straight from my iPhone’s notes, because what we experienced at Live2Lead was too good not to share.


Marcus Buckingham speaks on the Live2Lead stage. Photo courtesy of PullSpark.

What we saw on stage Friday wasn’t the polished, shiny picture of leadership many have come to expect. It was just real people who don’t have their act together. Real people who got disillusioned. 

What I hate about success is that it separates you from people. You see, we all walk between the lines of success and failure. I think of them as the white lines on a road—to the right is success, to the left is failure. If I go too far in either direction, I end up in a ditch—and I’ve done that more than I’d like.

But going into the ditch is what hurts. It’s staying in the ditch. If I stay in the failure ditch, I will get discouraged – I will become consumed with my mess ups.  If I stay in the success ditch, I get disillusioned as to who I really am. So I get out of the ditch and get into the middle; I intentionally walk the line between success and failure.

We need the balance of win and lose in our lives.  It keeps us real and gives us character. Someone once said, “I wouldn’t trade my character for making good decisions.  I wouldn’t have developed my character if it wasn’t for my failures.”

People don’t want a perfect leader, but they do want an authentic leader. Walking the line helps keep you authentic.


Rachel Hollis prepares to speak. Photo courtesy of PullSpark.

My father once told me the story of five frogs on a log, and how three decided to jump off. When he asked me, “How many frogs were left on the log?” I answered, “Two!”

“No, son,” he said, “there were five. Deciding to jump and jumping are two different things.”

There is a difference between deciding and doing. Rachel Hollis encouraged everyone to just take action on whatever was in front of them. Don’t wait to get perfect. Just get in the game. 

I’ve taught for years that leaders have a bias for action—which means you have to forget yourself so you can give yourself. Some of you are sitting on something and you need to quit waiting to hatch it. Just get in the arena of action.


What was beautiful about our speakers is that they live generous lifestyles. Each one came to the stage prepared to serve and give to the audience, and that is so different than the world’s way of thinking.

I couldn’t help but think of the advice Angela Ahrendts got from her father: “You will never be happy unless you give 60 and take 40.  In everything give 60 and take 40.”

The success of my day is not by the harvest I reap, but the seeds that I sow. When we live generously, there’s always a return.


Every year I focus on a word.  In 2018, I was given “Father” and I was given “Father” again this year.  Perhaps the rest of my years will be “Father”, and if that’s the case, then here’s what I know:

As a Father I am to…

  1. Bless and Empower people.  If you look at the roots of fatherhood the father provided the blessing upon the family.
  2. Provide Unconditional love.
  3. Revel/Rejoice in success of others. A good father always wants his children to do better than himself.  I determine to be happy for other people’s success. 
  4. Provide Fatherly advice.  Give people fatherly counsel.

It’s hard to put into words how special this year’s Live2Lead truly was—it’s something you need to experience for yourself. That’s why I’m grateful that many of our simulcast hosts, all of whom are certified John Maxwell Team coaches, will rebroadcast the event over the next few months.

I encourage you to visit the Live2Lead website to find a rebroadcast near you, and see for yourself why the 2019 Live2Lead was our best one yet.


  1. TAE-YEOL KIM on October 16, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    I highly appreciate for sharing the great thoughts. I could not agree more with Dr. Jone C. Maxwell on his comments, especially the importance of generosity. The recent research that I have done with my coauthors show that people who help others without expecting to get favor return are more likely to perform better in their job (or getting a more favor performance evaluation from their supervisor) than those who help others instrumentally. Anyway, thank you for your great thoughts.

  2. Naveed on October 18, 2019 at 12:15 am

    I have learn about leader people want athuntic leader that worndfu think go head take action

  3. Kim on October 28, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    I recently attended a re-broadcast of LIVE@LEAD. This was my first time attending. I can honestly say that it was one of the best days! Each speaker brought honesty, insight and humility. To be honest, I was not expecting that and was so very thankful for it!
    Each speaker gave me several things to think about and to put into action within my own life. As all people do, I have sat on my passion and goals for quite some time. I’ll get excited, get started and then let life derail or distract me.
    By attending the LIVE2LEAD re-broadcast, I was energized and given the reminder that I needed!
    Thank you!

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