Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: Connecting Principles (2)

I joined a Mastermind group which is taking the book by the leadership guru John C. Maxwell called “Everyone Communicates Few Connect” and going through the book one chapter a week.    The first part of the book consists of 5 chapters on Connecting Principles, and the second part of the book consists of 5 chapters on Connecting Practices.

I am going to cover each chapter with one blog post, taking notes based on my reading of the chapter.    Rather than simply a summary of each chapter, I hope these notes will provide my own interpretation of the material, especially regarding the ways it applies to the various facets of my life where I am applying leadership (in church, in Toastmasters, as a project manager).    I hope to relate my experiences learning foreign languages and working in foreign countries to the subject of communication.


Chapter 1–Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation

The last post covered the importance of connecting with others, because it will increase your influence with the person who are connecting with.

This post covers John Maxwell’s admitting that he was not always the communicator he is today.   He talks about what it took for him to recognize his own deficits at communicating, and what it took for him to correct them.

As a framework for the discussion, he used the Serenity Prayer made famous by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr:

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change

the courage to change the things we can; and

the wisdom to know the difference. 

1.   The courage to change the things we can

John Maxwell knew that he was not connecting with others, but it’s not that he didn’t have the courage to change into someone who couldn’t connect; he didn’t possess the knowledge of how to do it, and nobody in his immediate circles seemed to know either.    Even if he didn’t know how to get there, he at least had the impatience to want to be somewhere else than he was at that time in his life.

2.  God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change

The ability to cope with the situation you have is a passive, reactive attitude.    The ability to accept the reality of a situation is different; it is a clear-eyed ability to see what actually exists right now, and what needs to be done to correct it.   However, to correct it you cannot merely cope, you need to take the initiative, which is an active, proactive attitude.    Rather than serenity, he had the restlessness he needed to change in order to be able to connect with others.

3.   The wisdom to know the difference

The serenity in the Serenity Prayer is for accepting things that are beyond your power to change, such as the weather or global events.    However, the restlessness that I mentioned John Maxwell had was the recognition that he was NOT going to accept that there was nothing he could do to learn more about connecting.   He was going to find a way–somehow.

It’s not just the courage to try to change something, but the knowledge and skills you need to actually do it that are important elements in creating that change.    John Maxwell developed that knowledge and those skills, and his mission now is to impart that same skill-building knowledge to his readership.    The only element that his readers must supply, besides the time and attention it takes to learn those connecting techniques, is the element of courage–you have to want to do what it takes to learn it.

In the next post, I will discuss more about the attitude it takes to want to connect with others, and how those skills of connecting will affect your ability to be a leader–of any organization.



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