The difference between living a life of “success” or one of “significance” depends upon where you choose to add value, New York Times best-selling author and international leadership expert John Maxwell told University of Mobile (UM) students and supporters at the 12th annual UM Scholarship Banquet on April 27.
“Success is when I add value to myself. Significance is when I add value to others,” explained Maxwell during an evening at the Mobile Convention Center. He is among many speakers of national prominence UM has featured while raising funds for student scholarships.
UM President Dr. Timothy L. Smith thanked supporters for providing scholarships for students, including many in the 650-member audience who established endowed scholarships.
“At the end of the day it’s about the students and how we can partner together to strengthen the opportunity for students to engage in a university such as University of Mobile, where they are in a Christ-centered academic community,” Smith said.
Maxwell has sold more than 26 million books in 50 languages and in 2014 was identified as the No. 1 leader in business by the American Management Association and the most influential leadership expert in the world by Business Insider and Inc. magazine.
“Good intentions will never take you anywhere you want to go,” Maxwell told those in attendance. “Only intentional living will get you the things you want in life. When you’re intentional you can add value to everything you do and to every person you meet.”
Deciding how best to add value to others involves making decisions that include where to invest your time as well as your financial resources, according to Maxwell.
He said two qualities he looks for first in an organization he supports financially are “competence” and “good character.” Maxwell noted the university’s purpose of higher education that transforms hearts, Smith’s vision for the future and his own experience earlier that day on campus with university leadership and students. “This is an organization that has both character and competence,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell emphasized the lasting impact of transformational change, explaining that when you train, you educate people; but when you transform, you change people.
On campus prior to the banquet Maxwell met several UM Ambassadors and spoke to students at Ram Hall. He advised them to develop a plan for growth and learning that continues throughout their lifetime.
He related how he determined to become a leadership expert and to accomplish that goal in five years through consistent daily learning. But something unexpected happened when he realized he had fallen in love with the learning process, according to Maxwell.
“I quit asking the question ‘how long it would take’ and started asking the question ‘how far can I go,’” Maxwell said. “Be growth-oriented, not goal-oriented.” (UM)