L3 Leadership Transcriptions: Mark Cole, CEO Of John Maxwell’s Companies, On Transformational Leadership

Please enjoy this transcript of this episode with Mark Cole.  It was transcribed and therefore might contain a few typos. For ways to connect with Mark, the notes, and for links to everything discussed, check out our show notes.

Mark Cole: 00:00 Do you have a big enough vision that to accomplish it, when you are successful, you will be able to look around and know it wasn’t just you. If you’re dreaming something that you can achieve on your own, you’re not thinking transformational because we believe transformation is about significance. Now, let me explain. Success is what you can do on your own, significance is what you do for others.

Doug Smith: 00:31 This is the L3 Leadership podcast, episode number 192.

00:36 This is the L3 Leadership podcast. Now here’s your host, Doug Smith.

Doug Smith: What’s up everyone

Doug Smith: 00:48 and welcome to another episode of the L3 Leadership podcast. My name is Doug Smith and I am your host. In this episode, you’re in for a real treat. We had the honor and privilege of having Mark Cole the CEO of all of John Maxwell’s companies in last week to do an event for us and he spoke on transformational leadership and so we recorded the talk as well as some q and a that we did afterward and we are making that available to you today on the podcast. And so, it’s just, it’s amazing. I can’t wait for you to listen to it if you’re unfamiliar with Mark, a few things about him. As I mentioned, he’s the CEO of all of John Maxwell’s companies. He’s John’s right-hand man and travels with him everywhere that he goes as well as runs his companies. And what I love about Mark is I actually had the honor of interviewing him in episode number 147 of the L3 Leadership podcast, which I would encourage you to go back and listen to after this.

Doug Smith: 01:36 I went back and listened after I listened to Mark’s talk last weekend, I was just blown away by some of the things that he said in it, but what I discovered it and while I was interviewing mark was we were both impacted by John Maxwell’s resources when we were 17 years old. For me, my mentor Larry Betancourt handed me a John Maxwell cd and it changed my life and mark and Mark’s life, someone handed him a copy of developing the leader within you. And that changed his life. And so I just love that we have that in common and what I really love about Mark is, he just didn’t start out as John Maxwell CEO. He actually started working for John and John’s inventory warehouse and he was faithful in the warehouse and then he ended up having multiple positions and he talks about this in his talk and he kept getting promoted and getting promoted and eventually became the CEO of all of John’s companies.

Doug Smith: 02:21 And he recently wrote this on facebook and I love this. He said, what got you here won’t keep you here. I agree with that. Most of the time, however, serving others got me to become CEO of John Maxwell’s companies and serving others is keeping me here. And I just love Mark, it was great to get to know him and he is a servant leader and I just love that he served his way to the top and now he’s being used to transform leaders literally on a global level. And you’ll get to hear about that in his talk. And so again, in the talk, you’ll hear him talk about how to become a transformational leader. So get ready for that, but before the talk I just want to thank our sponsors, Babb, Inc. They’re an insurance broker based of, led by my friend Russell Livingston and Russell has a huge passion for developing leaders, which is why they host our leadership events. And so I just want to encourage you, if your organization has any insurance needs, be sure to check them out at Babbins.com That’s Babbins.com. With that being said, let’s dive right into Mark’s talk and I’ll be back at the end with a few announcements.

Mark Cole: 03:22 Hey, good evening. Good evening.

Mark Cole: 03:25 I’m not from here. Can you tell from a little forest, a little small town south of here called Atlanta, Georgia. They talk like me down there and I’m glad to, men. This is a cool venue, isn’t it? I, I have not. I can’t remember a time of being in a venue this cool to do a leadership event. So you guys are cool. Russell, thank you so much for are you guys are blessed. I don’t know if you’re cool or not. Will determine that in 40 minutes. Okay, everybody, jury’s still out on whether you are cool or not, but Russell great, great building. Thanks for hosting us and letting us be here tonight. I do enjoy these type of environments and I enjoy it because we exist, John’s world, we exist to add value to leaders who multiply value to others and so John and I am working through right now and if you don’t know how many don’t know, John, let me just. You’ve never heard of a guy named John Maxwell. Okay? A couple of us. How many of you have never heard of Mark Cole? I’ll come home. It’s good to have all our family here tonight and this picture. I wish I could fit. There we go. Well, I want to get ahead of myself, but I’ve got to remove that ugly picture as soon as possible.

Mark Cole: 04:48 I love being in environments like this because we exist. Our purpose is to add value to leaders who multiply value to others and so I’m in a room right now, I’ve been talking with Doug. I’m in a room with women and men that know how to add value to other people and because that’s so important to me. That’s so important to us. When Doug gave me the invitation, well, he gave it to Kimberley, my assistant. This is Kim. This is the lady that runs my

Mark Cole: 05:15 entire life, right there. I guarantee ya.

Mark Cole: 05:20 Well Doug got smart, and he said, if I want to get Mark Cole away from John Maxwell, let me talk to the real boss and he talked to Kim and here I am and I’m glad to be here, but when Doug started telling me some of the things that he’s exposed to you in this room to through his podcast, through meetings like this, I knew I wanted to be here and I knew I wanted to be here again because I tonight want to challenge this group of people to be transformational leaders. In fact, I want you to write that down, so if you already got pens, you got paper. I’m not here to entertain you. I’m here to challenge you tonight. Okay? So we’ve got to get right to it because he gave this slow talking Georgia boy 40 minutes, which means I got to talk fast and so tonight I’m going to talk about transforming your leadership and three areas we’re going to talk about this.

Mark Cole: 06:12 Okay? Get this down because this is going to be the crux of what we want to transfer tonight to each other. We want to talk about leading yourself differently, leading yourself differently in just a few moments, I’m going to talk about lead differently. Then we’re going to talk about impacting others significantly. Impacting others significantly. Impact today now has to be significant. The impact can’t be one and done. It can’t be just a little bit. It can’t be just your little family. We’re living in a time with information flowing So quickly, so fast. That impact has got to be significant to make a difference. In fact, if you’re a YouTuber and you don’t have a million people that look has looked at your last view, the last video, you’re nothing. You gotta have a lot of eyeballs anymore. And then finally, number three is transforming communities collectively transforming communities collectively.

Mark Cole: 07:18 So if tonight, if I can help you with those three areas and we as a group of women and men, many of you are not from Pittsburgh, but, if we can together agree as a community that we want to do something significant and that we realize the personal responsibility of that, then we will have had a great night. Okay? So I want you to look at those three areas, leading yourself differently. I want you to look at impacting other significantly and finally, transforming communities collectively. And I want you to look at your neighbor and tell them the one you’re most passionate about. And the one, the only one you’re going to listen to you. Okay? So just kind of look at them and just kind of tell them the one that you feel like you need to know the most. Let me ask you a question. What did you do on Easter Sunday morning? What did you do? Easter Sunday? Just think for a minute. What were you doing? Good Friday and Easter?

Mark Cole: 08:16 Anything. Let me show you what John Maxwell and I were doing on Good Friday. If you don’t know, we’re the ones over here without the white on. I didn’t know if I needed to tell you guys that this was Good Friday. This was a good Friday dinner. Look at   Maxwell’s hand. He’s eating with hands rice. This was good Friday dinner. This is what we were doing right here on Sunday morning. talking to 150 of the chair. Vice-chair and chair ministers of the crown. Prince’s administration and Saudi Arabia. Now I’m giving you that context and I’m gonna show you another picture. And again, there’s just a couple of people without the white on because I’ve never done this before on Easter. That was kinda my first time. And it was kind of a cool time. And again, go back. That was right here.

Mark Cole: 09:13 Was not quite as cool that just, that, that wasn’t quite. Some people have wondered what that is in the middle of the rice there. We’ll save that for later. I did ask before I ate any of it in case any of you are worried about that, but I want to share this with you because I’m going to ask you something that I want you to think about. When is the last time you’ve done something for the first time? When’s the last time you have done something for the first time? For John and I, we are, and again, just real quick for John’s written, he’s written 107 books. He sold 29 million copies of those books and you just say who’s counting? He’s counting. And so we, have been given quite the influence but just in the last five years, we have been challenged with opportunity and things that we would not have ever envisioned.

Mark Cole: 10:08 And what I have found in that time is for me, the guy that gets the privilege of leading his six companies is I am having to lead differently today than I’ve ever led before. And that’s not just because the world around me has changed, but the opportunity coming to us has changed the pace. This morning as a followup, I was on the phone with the crown prince’s people. It went so well. They’re inviting me and one of my guys back in three weeks to go and spend some time with the crown prince about how we can train leaders for transformation 2030. It’s the crown prince’s passion to change the middle east. Now I’m not going to tell you all of his agenda. Some of them are not public yet, but let me give you a couple. One is for the first time in Saudi Arabia, history, women will be driving in August of this year. Right on. It’s about time. It was funny there. It’s a great culture. In fact, I was talking with our, our, our hosts and I said, hey, let me ask you a question. Are you excited about your wife driving in August?

Mark Cole: 11:20 He kinda did exactly that and he said, are you excited about your wife driving? And then we laughed a little bit and then he said, do you realize that half of our population for the first time we’ll be driving on August the first we don’t know what we’re going to do. Had nothing to do with gender. It had everything to do with imagine where they are. Cars I want to be in the car dealership business. Anybody. But you understand that to do something different than you’ve ever done before, to absolutely change the way you lead, you’re going to have to think differently. So I want to give you four things that I believe that you need to do to lead differently if you’re going to do something significant. The first thing that I believe a transformational leader has to do is they have to see things other people don’t see. They have to see things that other people don’t see.

Mark Cole: 12:19 Now I’m going to challenge you tonight and I’m going to ask you, is your vision about your impact? Is it big enough? Do you have a big enough vision that to accomplish it, when you are successful, you will be able to look around and know it wasn’t just you. If you’re dreaming something that you can achieve on your own, you’re not thinking transformational because we believe transformation is about significance. Now, let me explain. Success is what you can do on your own, significance is what you do for others, and so we’re on a journey in John Maxwell’s world. I want to take you on a journey with me with l three leadership. What I want to do with Doug, what I want to happen in launch tonight in this room, I want to see some transformational leaders, but to do that game, you’re going to have to think differently.

Mark Cole: 13:18 You’re going to have to see things other people won’t see. I believe to do that, you’ve got to look inside what’s inside you? What are you seeing on the inside? You’ve got to look around. What do you have around you as you see things that others don’t see? The second thing that transformational leaders do that others don’t, is they say things most people won’t say. They say things that most people will not say. I love, we just in the south, we just celebrated Martin Luther King. I have a dream. He said something at that time. Nobody else would say, I want to challenge you. Are you saying stuff that other people are finding hard to believe? We were in a fun little a session just before this and somebody asks. One of Doug’s friends asked, said, hey, let me ask you a question. How can we get John Maxwell here next time?

Mark Cole: 14:17 I thought that was a great question. Now Doug was ready to shut the guy up, defriend him and tell them never to talk to him again. I was jasmine. I was like, that is a great question. Nobody else asked that in the room. I want you to challenge yourself to say something other people will not say. The third thing that we find that leaders do, transformational leaders do they believe things most people won’t believe. I’m going to show you a picture right here. This is a picture of about 400, the rest of them are in are in a session. This is about 400 kids in Paraguay. Let me tell you where these people are. John has been believing for transformation of a country for a very long time. In fact, some people in this room, the John Maxwell team members that are in this room, some of us went down to Guatemala and Paraguay at the invitation of the president and the president said, we want you to come down here.

Mark Cole: 15:16 We want you to transform our country. Here’s the challenge with their country. The average age of Paraguay is 19 years old. That’s the average age and we’re doing all this work. We have 175,000 adults in roundtables right now. Learning values. Two point three percent of the population is in roundtables, but we were not impacting the next generation. So we created this youth curriculum, this curriculum that we could take into the school system at the invitation of the minister of education, and we began teaching this year in Guatemala. 40,000 young people in a test pilot. Now next in Guatemala, we’re teaching 48,000 young people in the same thing. Next year in our roundtables, we will have 750,000 highschoolers learning values as a part of transformation. Now that all started with a guy like John Maxwell who may be bigger than life saying, I want to do something.

Mark Cole: 16:22 I want to say something, and in this case, I want to believe something that other people won’t believe, but the real story is not John Maxwell. The real story is not 250 coaches that went to Guatemala, Paraguay. The real story is Gabby. Gabby is a gal in our John Maxwell team that heard what we’re doing in Guatemala and she said, I’ll tell you what, if you can do it in Guatemala, you can do it in Paraguay, and she came up to John and she said, John, I need you to do me a favor. She pulled out her password and she said passport, and she said, I want you to sign my passport, John signed the passport and say, what am I signing for? She said, because I’m going back to the president and I will take your book to see if he’ll let us transform Paraguay. He said, really? How long have you known the president? She said, I don’t know him.

Mark Cole: 17:09 He said, well, how are you planning to do it? She said, I don’t know, but in two weeks I’m going to find a way to meet the president. She did. We went down with again, 250 of our coaches and we launched transformation and now because Gabby caught a vision of her country, now we will be teaching 750,000 of their kids on values. Here’s my question. Is there a Gabby in this room? Because what you’re going to have to do to transform as you’re going to have to believe things that other people won’t believe. I love the story of Bill Britton. He’s William Britain. Some of you may know he was the, he was the commissioner of police in New York city when Rudy Giuliani joined in the eighties and he pulled all of his people together and he said, we’re going to eradicate crime and we’re going to eradicate murder in this city. Do you believe it?

Mark Cole: 18:07 Out of 12 people, seven of them said, I don’t believe we can do it. We’ve been trying for years. He said, that’s okay. I’m going to fire you right now. Fired them. Let them go, immediately. Had to pull seven new people in to come in with a five that believed it, but in 27 months he had eliminated, he had dropped crime by 33 percent and had dropped murder rate by 50 percent. Why? Because he put around him. People that would believe, here’s what you’ve gotta do. If you’re going to believe things that you’ve never believed for, you’re going to have to eliminate beliefs that are holding you back.

Mark Cole: 18:46 What is this self-talk that we’re doing that we can’t accomplish anything? I know you might not be John Maxwell, you might not even be able to associate with Doug over here and what he’s put together, but you have the ability to do something significant if you’ll believe it, but you’re gonna have to eliminate the beliefs that are holding you back. The second thing you’re going to have to do is you’re going to have to build belief through your strengths. When’s the last time you’ve done a strength inventory? Yesterday? May? The other day? Today? Any day? Anybody there. When is the last time you’ve looked at yourself as a man? You’re pretty good at that.

Mark Cole: 19:31 Yeah, last week because it’s hard, isn’t it? Isn’t it really hard? I mean, just look at your neighbor and tell them how good you are for a moment. Just take five seconds and tell them how good you are and we laugh. We laugh, but I’m going to tell you, do you believe that you have the ability to do something transformational and then finally, the fourth thing that transformational leaders do is they do things that most people won’t do. They do things that most people won’t do. I remind you of our slide at the very beginning of John and I. Now guys, you got to understand, I don’t only talk like this, I am this. This is me. I mean what you see is what you get. Thanks for what you said. Thanks for what John wrote in his book, but what you see is what you get.

Mark Cole: 20:25 And I say that because I want you to understand. I can give you a long list of the leaders that I have been in connection with just the last 10 days and it would blow you way because you’ve now heard me for 18 minutes and you’re going, you’ve got to be kidding, but I’m going to tell you, there is a confidence that I feel I know that I know what’s happening in Saudi Arabia, in Guatemala and Paraguay in Pittsburgh is going to change this world as we know it. Now, I’ve got a few, I’m a person of faith. I got a few baptist nods on that one, but I’m going to tell you, it’s going to start with belief when we’ll do things that other people won’t do. You know what I love again about Doug is not only that he got you in this room tonight, not only did is got friends like Russell and others that are in this room. I’ve got a guy here that is saying, I’m going to make a difference and I’m going to bet everything I’ve got that we can do it. That’s what some of you pastors, I met some of your pastors. That’s what you bet on when you came in here. Some of you business leaders, you bet on the fact that you could do it when nobody else would bet on you.

Mark Cole: 21:31 And can I tell you something if you won’t bet on yourself, don’t plan or expect anyone else to bet on you as is as you gain impact and as you believe in yourself as you began to believe things that others won’t, our confidence begins to build. Our ability to believe things and accomplish things that we never thought was possible will began to make a difference. Now I’m going to. I’m going to come to that story in just a minute, but let me tell you this. Here’s what I want you to do on. I want you to just take one second and I want you to write down and I’m not going to give you long. Maybe you just write the sentence, what do I believe about myself that no one else believes? What do I believe about my ability, my calling, my vision that no one else believes in?

Mark Cole: 22:31 I really came to Pittsburgh today to challenge you to lead differently. Now we define leadership as influence, nothing more, nothing less. Some of you are leading some big organizations. Some of you are leading some pretty cool things. Some of you are just entry level like I was on the dock, on the phone selling events, but if you can believe and you can see and sense that you can do something incredible and you began to put your mind to that and began to transform your thinking, it will make a difference. I want you to lead differently. The second thing I want to talk to you about quickly is impact significantly impacts significantly impacting others in a significant way. Now, I’m not going to spend much time here tonight because my real challenge for you at the end of impacting significantly is to get a part of a community, which is the last thing we’re going to talk about that will help you make a difference. Significance is doing things that are significant requires more than one. You’re not going to be able to do it outside of community, but you’re also not going to be able to do it without finding out three things from people to help them feel significant, and I’m going to give you those real quick and I want to, I want to wrap before we get to eight or 7:40 rather, where I can answer some questions, but let me tell you this right here.

Mark Cole: 24:08 One is too small a number to achieve greatness. You can’t do it. You cannot do it. In fact, again, I’m going to challenge you to look at your neighbor. Say, I need you. I’m really look back at them and to act like you really mean it. This time.

Mark Cole: 24:27 There are three areas that we need to help. One another, achieve or understand so that we can impact significantly. Number one is purpose. When you know your why, your what has much more impact. If you know your why and you’re doing your what, but you can’t link that to your why, it’s not going to make the difference for you. For me, it was 33 years of age. Thirty-three. I was fresh out of the mail room. I was on the phone. I was calling people. I was smiling and dialing. Anybody ever had a smile and dialing job, you feel me right here, don’t you? You feel anybody is still in a smiling and dialing job. You feel me right here, right? You got me. I mean you got smiling and dialing and cussing and fussing. All deep, deep, deep within. It all goes together and it was 33 when I said I’m going to do something significant and one day and in fact, I said in 12 years I gave myself a 12-year plan.

Mark Cole: 25:32 I am going to be the leader of an organization just like this. Now again, remember where I was because I don’t want there to be too much of a success gap. The guy from Atlanta up here speaking about running around the world with John. Now he can say all these wonderful things of meeting all these crazy, incredibly successful leaders. At 33, I did not have anything but a new start. That’s all. I had a new start and in that moment I had 12, I said about 45 by the time I’m 45, I want to be the CEO of a company like this. I was too. I was too timid to say if this company that was a little too far-reaching, I was thinking maybe one and two member company that I might be the leader of me and my wife. You get what I’m saying, but I had big aspirations. I was ready. I’m going to be a leader of a company like this and at 41 when John Maxwell looked at me and said, hey, I think I want you to be the leader of my company. I didn’t act surprised. I was glad he finally figured it out.

Mark Cole: 26:34 I already knew this was what I was driving in prepping myself, I’d been prepared because I knew my purpose and my purpose at 33 was this right here. I exist. Mark cole exists. If I have been successful tonight, it will be because I did this right here. You’re ready. You’re not ready. If I’m successful tonight if I’m really good. I mean if I. Are you ready? I can keep doing it if it. Okay, good. We’re all it is to motivate and inspire people to reach their full potential. Now, if you’ve already reached your full potential, I got the wrong audience. We’re missing it. But if you’re still aspiring to something greater than what you have been ever before than I am your man because that’s my purpose. That’s my sweet spot. And when John said, Mark, will you be my CEO at holy toledo? I hit the jackpot.

Mark Cole: 27:25 I’m going to make that guy reach his full potential. And so for seven years and it’ll be 18 years working with John next week, happy anniversary to me. In the last seven years, I have had one purpose to motivate and inspire John Maxwell to reach his full potential. Hadn’t been that hard. Keeping up with him and finding new horizons has been pretty hard. He’s 71 and the acts 21, but it’s been really clear and that’s because at 33, I found my purpose and if I could tell you to do anything tonight, it is to solidify your purpose and to solidify the purpose and understand the purpose of the people in your inner circle. If you take one thing away because chances are you like me or wasting your time with people that are on the wrong trajectory than you. Now, that sounds harsh. I’m in a people development company, but that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Mark Cole: 28:24 I’ve seen too many people waste their time and give up their life hoping to change the person they’ve partnered with, it’s not possible. The second thing that you’ve got to know to help people significantly is the pursuit. What are they pursuing? And help them get there. You’ve got to become contagious. We need some people in this room rubbing off on some other people in this community. Again, I can’t overstate L3, get into a community like that because you need to be around people that will inspire you to be better and it doesn’t need to be somebody that is up here all the time. I have people that are nowhere near at the same level of responsibility that I am that inspires me every time I’m around them because it’s not about achievement. It’s about hunger. It’s about humility and it’s about an aspiration to make a difference.

Mark Cole: 29:23 The third thing that you need to know to help people impact significantly is progress. Bring a leadership lift to the people you’re around. The one thing I love about John, he’s one of the most relational people I know, one of the most humble people, one of the most giving people, one of the most serving people that I’ve ever met. He truly is. You know, they say, the closer you get to people, the more you really know them. It’s true, and John Maxwell is as legit as they come. Truly he is. People ask me all the time, so you really like what you see again is what you get is very authentic, but the word I didn’t say just now that he is as much as any of them is, he is the most intentional person, that I know he’s the most intentional in his relationships. He’s the most intentional and the people

Mark Cole: 30:16 he’ll spend time with loving giving all day long, but he’ll say, you’ve got to earn my time, I’ll give you my love. You get my love unconditional, but you earned my time because there has got to be progress to make a difference. John started a nonprofit many years ago, about two and a half decades that Kim and I met working at Equip John’s nonprofit. Equip has gone on over two decades and now has trained leaders, and let me explain. Trained leaders for Equip means sending people over to train every six months for three years. So it’s through a process. We’ve now trained over 6 million liters in all 196 nations recognized by the united nation. It started with a dream, but I was in Costa Rica meeting with several of the heads of states and the supreme court and I was in the meeting with the Congress, the president of Congress, and we had a little lunch that we went.

Mark Cole: 31:16 They wanted me to go meet a couple of people and it happened to be a group of 10 pastors and so I went ahead and I met and I met Pastor Pako was from way in the southern part of Costa Rica and he wanted to come in because he just wanted to meet somebody that was close to John Maxwell. Love to meet John Maxwell a little bit, Doug like you, but he wanted to meet that’s a joke. For those of you. They saw that earlier. Sorry for the rest of you that like you to be there. I’m wanting to meet John Maxwell, but since that’s not the case, he drove all the way up because Pastor Pako needed to tell somebody what had happened to him. See, Pastor Pako was the most sought after killer and Costa Rica in the nineties and a contract killer. People would get him and you wanted to kill some high-end drug lords.

Mark Cole: 32:07 Are you wanting to kill some people in the government pocket? Was your man our Pastor Pako was your man. He was your man and he said, I went to prison. I went to prison for 17, that they could nail only, but there was another 73 that they couldn’t and he said I was in prison. Death row life was over for me and somebody gave me an Equip notebook and said, you need to read this. He said I started reading. I went, this stuff makes sense. I see what happened. If I started to influence good people rather than influencing bad people. He started a church in his prison. That’s how he became Pastor Pako and by the way, people went because they were scared not because they wanted salvation. You understand Pastor Pako changed that complete prison around and finally because on good release, because he so implicit influence the warden, he was released by reasons an indescribable and went and started a church and now has a series of about 17 churches in the south part of Costa Rica and he came and he said, I just got to tell you something. John Maxwell helped me believe when nobody else would.

Mark Cole: 33:14 It really leads me to the last point that I want to share with you in my final three minutes and it’s transform collectively, transform collectively. Now, the reason I can do this in three minutes is because truly we’ve already talked about if we’re going to do something great in Pittsburgh, if you’re going to do something great in your community, it’s going to have to be with a group of women and men who will challenge you.

Mark Cole: 33:39 I think the best way to transform collectively is to answer that purpose question we talked about. Why are you here? Does anybody wrestle with that like I do? I mean, I constantly, I asked myself today, okay, wait just a minute. there a bunch of Mark Batterson. I mean he’s had Clay Scroggins. He’s. He said, who are you having about three weeks up here, one of the bishops from Pittsburgh, and then he’s got Mark Cole come from Georgia, and I went, why are you here? Mark Cole? You asked yourself that tonight. Why? Why am I here? You’re after 40 minutes ago going, yes, I am asking why I’m here. Why am I here? There’s a question that needs to be answered in every one of us anytime that we participate in something and that is the why question, why are you part of that group? What is the purpose of it? The second question we need to always ask is, what do you have? What do you have? What are the resources at your hand? And finally, who do you know?

Mark Cole: 34:45 I hope you have networked with somebody here tonight. I hope you know somebody new because why you are here, what you have, and who do you know will fit into your significant journey. Let me illustrate. This is one of our John Maxwell team coaches. She’s her name is Dr. Saroja. Now Dr. Saroja, the one standing by me and I’m the one on that side. This one’s John over here in case y’all didn’t. I’ve never met John. This is John. That’s smart. Okay. Dr. Seroja. This is funny. Her and her husband are from India. They’re in Saudi Arabia. We’re Americans and we’re eating at a   restaurant. We had no clue what was going on that night. It was just all over the map, but we had a global footprint that night. I can assure you. This was in John’s words, my best night I’ve ever had.

Mark Cole: 35:39 Now you got a guy that has some pretty nice things. He’s done some pretty cool. It has some pretty cool experiences, has a lot of invitations. And we finished this dinner right here and John says this is the best night of my life. Now, let me explain and we will be done with some questions to kinda explain kind of how they live life. We sit down at dinner and I knew Seroja from a JMT event. Maybe some of you were there when we first met serosa, but um, I knew Seroja, John had not met her yet, but I’d never met her husband. So my first question is the question you’re supposed to ask every couple when you sit down. Right? What does that question? How’d you meet? Somebody said how’d you meet? And they were, and I think I said, how did you meet and when did you meet? And they said, oh, we met on our wedding night.

Mark Cole: 36:26 Whoa,

Mark Cole: 36:27 okay. You got my attention. You had me at wedding night meeting. Okay. And, so they began to tell the story. He is in Saudi Arabia, a well sought after professor for big data. He does big data teaching and application learning for the largest Muslim, a university in the world, the largest and the oldest. And that’s his job. And her job is to, she was a Ph.D., a medical doctor with a couple of other PhDs from India. And somebody introduced him and he called and he says, man, I’m telling you I’ve never done this before. Which, that was a good line. I’ve never done this before, but I think you’re supposed to be my wife. She what will, man, I don’t know anything about that. So nice to meet you, but no thanks. The next morning she said she woke up and she knew without a doubt that this was supposed to be your husband, so they decided to get married four months later, so we finished up the semester.

Mark Cole: 37:24 He went to India to marry her. They got married and he said, well, okay. Are you ready to go back? I got to be back at school in three weeks. You said, we’re not going back. I’ve got my own practice here. We’re staying here. And he went, wow, I guess I should have checked that one off before I sit. I’m supposed to marry, but he gave up his job. He said, okay. I gave up this incredible prestigious role in the Muslim university and stayed in India with her for four for four years. Four years later, she woke up one morning. I’m telling you, if I were them, I’d quit going to sleep because it’s going to sleep as dangerous at this time. Okay. She wakes up and she says, hey, we’re supposed to go back to Saudi Arabia and where we are, and she went, yes, we’re supposed to go back. You need to call the dean, who’s a very good friend to see if he’ll bring you back at the same role and we’ll go back and he says, you do know you can’t drive when you go back there. You do know you can’t work you. You do understand what you’re saying. She says, yeah, I know, but I know I’m supposed to be there with you.

Mark Cole: 38:17 So she goes back. They have two children and I could make this very incredible story much longer, but they have two children that are obviously brilliant. They’re in a school of 2000 people and their students, their two children are just incredibly, accomplishing things academically and with the arts. They were great musicians and so the teachers came to Seroja and said Seroja, she sitting at home for two years not figuring out what she’s supposed to do. Talk with some of you guys here, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. And so the teachers come to serosa and say, Saroja, we need you to teach our other 2000 kids what you’re teaching your kids, man, I’m a doctor. I don’t know how to do that. So she gets online and she starts googling, how do I teach kids in big classroom settings? And she comes across this guy named Nick Vichich.

Mark Cole: 39:10 If you’ve ever heard of Nick Vichich, no arms, no legs from Australia. He’s a very, very good friend of ours. He’s an ambassador of a global youth initiative that we have. In fact this month, many of them, many of the John Maxwell team members in this room, we together have been training around the world. One hundred and 50,000 kids in general sessions around the world is just something we do well. So Seroja got on there, heard about that. She’d never heard of this guy named John Maxwell. She was a pastor’s kid from India, but she’d never heard this guy, John Maxwell. She googles Nick Vichich. So she joins our team so she could get the material to teach these 2000 people. She did so well that Seroja was invited to teach three other schools and by the time she was done before she had ever come and got certified, qualified to teach, she had already taught 10,000 kids in Saudi Arabia.

Mark Cole: 40:01 So she comes to Orlando, we meet. There’s an incredible story behind all that we made. I mean, I’m arbitrarily saying, hey, if you did that the first time, why don’t you to double it next time? She said, okay, well okay. So in November she went back and got in demand by the schools that had heard what she was doing and she was invited to teach 30,000 kids in a, in November of last year. So now she’s teaching 40,000 kids. Her husband is having to take off of work teaching at the college to drive her around to all of these schools because she can’t get around and so he’s taken off to drive her. And then I’ll give you a couple of pictures here. This is one of the rooms right here. Now, this is kids. This was part of the 30,000. You can see three different, but she just did it again and we’re talking about a Saudi Arabia that is changing.

Mark Cole: 40:57 Okay. She just did it again. This picture was posted this week and this picture right here is incredibly important because these are high school boys and never before in high school has a woman been able to teach young men about values, never be able to teach them at all and so Seroja is standing just in the last couple of weeks. She’s standing in front of over 600 high school boys for the first time teaching about values, teaching about the global youth initiative. Here is the point to wrap it in so that we can go on and we can do some things. I in three weeks, I’ll be going, I think this is recording, so I’ll tell you the part I can tell on a recording and three weeks we’d go in and meeting with the crown prince who has heard about what we’re doing with global youth initiative, has heard what John Maxwell is doing and he says, I’ve got to change this entire region and there’s no better leadership expert in the world than John Maxwell and I’ve seen it work in the school system.

Mark Cole: 42:06 I’ve seen it work in a couple of the businesses that I’m working with and I’d like to know if you guys would come help us do that. Now, is that intentional? Yes. Is that big? Yes. Is that significant? Yes, but is it taking one woman, Seroja. Who was that against all odds, able to be successful so that there could be a transformation in a region that we all are interested to have a transformation. Now what I get asked all the time when I talk about these kinds of stories is what are you doing here in the states? Anybody already wondering that and it’s a good question and we are meeting with Betsy Devoss, the head of our education system about some of our youth programs, but here’s my real challenge to you and then I’m done with a few questions here. Here’s my real challenge to you tonight.

Mark Cole: 43:00 As you look at your responsibility, as you look at what you said you believed about yourself at the beginning of this lesson, as you look at what needs to happen in Pittsburgh, in your life, in your world, in your community, in your churches, in your business, what role are you going to play? Are you going to step up or you’re going to be that transformational leader that we’re talking about? Are you ready to lead differently than what your lead before you came in here tonight? That’s my real challenge. Whether you picked up something or not, my real challenge to you is are you able to see something different than you can do when you walk out of here tonight? Have you met somebody that you can impact? Have you thought of someone that you can impact with significance? It doesn’t have to be 10,000 kids in Saudi Arabia.

Mark Cole: 43:49 It can be your significant other when you walk out of here tonight, but are you going to do something significant as a result of this challenge? And then finally, are you going to be a part of the transformation community? I believe with all my heart, with all my heart. I wouldn’t be here tonight if it wasn’t. I’ve got six companies to run. I’m not a professional speaker. I am a passionate, inspire, motivator, but I came tonight because I believe in L3, I really do. And I. If you don’t do anything else tonight, can you ride on this card and tell these guys, can you tell Doug and Laura? Laura, sorry. Laura. Lori, all you guys are the same to me. You all look the same to me. Laura and Doug. We want to be a part of what’s happening in Pittsburgh. We want to be a part of what’s in this community and if I serve Doug, and if I challenge you to be a part of this community tonight, I believe Pittsburgh will never be the same. Anybody else believed that? Let’s give Doug a hand for what he’s done tonight.

Attendee: 44:57 So Mark, you’ve traveled the world seeing humanity all over. What is the greatest partners and what are you concerned about if we don’t take care of?

Mark Cole: So, boy, I love that question. So the greatest part that I have seen recently is this transfer from pursuing success to significance. It really is. I think the world is poisoned. I think it’s because of that bad word. The Millennials. I think they’ve changed all of our thinking to where success is overrated and significance is underrated. And when I go, I was on the phone. Again, this is not to name drop this, just to tell you the level of people that are thinking differently. I was on the phone last week with Ed Bastian because he was recognized by Fortune magazine. You probably saw this. Ed was recognized before to magazine as one of the 50th all time influential leaders in the world.

Mark Cole: 45:52 He’s on our board and mentors me two times a year and he said, Mark, he said, the greatest thing about this is he had a response that was one of his most difficult responses as the CEO of Delta Airlines in response to the kids that were shot up in a part of Florida, Parkland. Thank you. And he said, I stood up and I made a decision to disassociate from something that was excruciatingly hard, especially in the south. And he said, I did it. I was ridiculed for it. He said, but that’s what woke up this Fortune recognition. And it wasn’t a political statement. I found out his daughter had lost two friends in that and it was somebody. It was a dad to see you, a $50,000,000,000 company and it was a dad. At the end of the day they said, I’ve got to do something significant.

Mark Cole: 46:46 So to answer your question, what I’m seeing in incredible, incredible, I cannot believe how quickly some of these hyper-successful people are shifting and say, what can we do for significance? What can we do for others? So that’s what I see that I’m very encouraged about what I, what I’m probably the most concerned about is the level of division that still among us. I mean I can’t get my mind around some. I mean Saudi Arabia is, is letting a woman speak to their people, they’re going to let the women drive and then we, we still can’t get some of these issues right here in our way of thinking and the racial divisions that we still have the seeing people in equal that, that is probably the thing that concerns me the most because I believe in the value of the person.

Mark Cole: 47:37 And I think all around the world we’re still trying to wrestle with some things. And here’s what I think we’re doing. I think we’re all trying to be right rather than get it right. And I don’t think we can get it right until we get both sides of thinking at a table and have a discussion, otherwise it’s going to be polarizing and we’re just, we’re in a polarizing time, aren’t we? Is that just in Georgia? I mean, this is a polarizing time and I can’t understand as far as we’ve progressed on that still some of the things that we’re struggling with. Sorry, I hope I didn’t offend you.

Attendee: 48:20 Sorry I can’t do this with one hand. So you talked about the divisions I was reading, Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness and she was talking about those divisions as well. And I haven’t gotten to the point where she says what her thoughts are on it, but I’m curious. I’m in this environment where we are so polarized. What do you think are some of the key things that are bridging that polarization and creating connection that conversations are taking place that maybe really need to be taken or did he have? And what do you see as stopping those conversations from happening? What can we do to overcome that?

Mark Cole: 48:50 So how many. The question, if you have a great question, how many of you have friends that are radically different than you? Not radically. Like they don’t they liked night there a night person. You’re a day person, we’re radically different. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about people that absolutely see an issue different than you. Let me use you an example. How many of you that are people of strong faith hang out with people that have no faith? In fact, they think faith is a joke. Okay, and, you’re playing really along. I’m taking names right here. I’m just get. It’s a rhetorical question of some sort. How many of you that are, are Democrats, big friends with Republicans? It again, I didn’t pay for you. Raise your hand. Give it political, I liked this audience. You guys are wonderful.

Mark Cole: 49:39 How many of you want to give me $100 right now? This is a very good audience. The point that I’m making is the only way you can. The only way you can understand someone is to walk a mile in their shoes. Period. End of story, you cannot do it by talking to, overtalking it. You’ve got to go in and understand where they’re coming from. The only way you’re going to understand them as if you hang out with them. The only way you’re going to understand is if you watch their world through their perspective. So that’s the first thing. I think the second thing that I wish that we would do is quit trying to. We’re in the middle of Kim. Kim will appreciate this. We’re in the middle of assessments at our company. Everybody. Anybody like 360-degree assessments and seeing what other people think about them.

Mark Cole: 50:26 Seriously. Anybody a sucker for punishment in here. I mean, I’m serious. No, we don’t like to see that, but you know why? Because we take their assessment as gospel rather than input. We take another person’s perspective as if it’s going to defy every fiber of our being and that’s not true. We should have enough internal resolve and understanding that when someone gives us critique, it makes us better, not tears down our confidence and so I think for us, for me, what I find is what I taught when I’m sitting at a table talking about some of these things that we’re really wrestling with in Atlanta with some leadership environments, forums that I’m in. One of my greatest temptations is to listen and I listen and I sit in a tent and I go, oh, that’s got to feel bad. To be like, oh, I can’t imagine growing up like that and I listened long, but I cannot wait until they shut up so I can tell them what it’s really like.

Mark Cole: 51:20 What my hardest thing is is when I’ve heard somebody else out is to not give an alternative point of view. Try that. When was the last time you’ve been in an issue that you really care about and when the other person was done talking, you could not wait to give them something they probably had not thought about before? There’s four of us that laughed on that and it was nervous laughter at that and it’s because we are so committed to we’re doing better at listening. We really are. I think society is doing better, but we’re not doing better at not talking and I think for a while on some of these deep-rooted issues in our country and across the world. By the way, it’s not just us American around the world. I think if we’d do a whole lot more listening and then stop talking a little bit and try to fill it, that would help us. Good question. One more. One more. Okay. Okay.

Attendee: 52:23 OKay, so when you were in the smile and dial, yes. You knew what you were doing was still had purpose, but you knew it wasn’t your ultimate purpose. So what daily habits or belief, belief, rituals did you use to go, “I know that this is just where I’m at right now. It’s still a good thing, but it’s not my ultimate best” and keeping that vision of the best, but being happy and okay in the moment when you’re not where you want to be yet?

Mark Cole: 52:49 Yeah. Could we have stopped one question to go question to me, that is an excellent question. I struggle with it today. I’m a type a driven leader. If you hadn’t been able to tell that I got a little bit of angst in me and I’m a second man. I’m a second man. Have a big first chair, but there are some days that even today. What was your name? Ashley. There are some things. There are some days even today in this current insane role. I’ve described to you a little bit tonight that I still feel this. Oh, I could it if it is that whole sit back. I will tell you that there’s two fold that I’ve had to do all of my life. First is you do have to understand the bigger picture and you make decisions today that keep you on point toward the big picture. So when I was smiling and dialing and yet knowing I wanted to run the company, I learned more of what not to do as a leader during that time by watching horrible leaders above me.

Mark Cole: 53:55 Don’t tell John I said that, but they were horrible. I watched more what not to do because I knew I was going to happen and what I’ve found a lot of people, they so accelerate to the destination in their mind that they miss the lessons along the way. So my biggest challenge to myself still today is when I feel a little down, a filler discouraged. I feel just a little much like a lid is on me and my aspirations. I ask myself, okay, what is it I’m supposed to pick up today? That’ll help me when I get there. And I asked that everyday, everyday. The second thing that I do is I look for the people in the role that I want to be in and I figure out how to make them their best and it was kind of a little game with me.

Mark Cole: 54:39 So I would find the top leader at that point and I would look for things that John would want from them and I would set them up with that information. Here’s the best example I have is flying on a plane with John one time is like the first or second time I was on the plane with   was four years into his business and he started asking the then president a bunch of numbers and the guy didn’t know it and I watched John because I’m a student of people. I watched John kind of blow up a little bit. No, he don’t like people that don’t know their numbers, so there’s one. There’s one option to where, okay, John likes his numbers. Let me slip them over to him because three of them were my numbers. I could have given them right then but I didn’t, but the next time we were on that same plane, same was on a plane doing the same thing.

Mark Cole: 55:25 I gave the president at that point. I gave him all the numbers that John had asked for the last time and I said, hey, just in case John wants to know these, here’s your numbers. When Kevin answer john that day or when Kevin gave john those numbers that day, the excitement on John Maxwell was palatable. I mean, this guy was our ace. Kevin. That’s incredible, man. I’m so glad you got things done. Good job. Kevin said. Yeah, thanks. I thought you might want to know that in a way that was my chance to be put up in front of the boss, but then I went, nope. That wasn’t my goal. My goal was not to be put up in front of goal. My big goal was to let my boss look good in the role he was supposed to play in. So how do you keep the big picture of my and then how do you set up the people that are in the position you know you want for success so they can shine.

Doug Smith: 56:24 Thank you so much for listening to Mark’s talk. I hope that you enjoyed it. You can find ways to connect with Mark’s key takeaways and links to everything that we discussed in the show notes at L3leadership.org/episode192. And again, if you enjoy the talk, I would also encourage you to go back and listen to our interview with Mark. You can listen to that in episode number one, 47, and I can guarantee you that you’ll love it just as much as you loved his talk. As always, if you enjoy the podcast, it would mean the world to me if you would subscribe and leave a rating and review and share this on social media that helps us grow our audience, which we appreciate, so thank you in advance for that. And as Mark mentioned in his talk, I really want to encourage you to become a member of L3 Leadership.

Doug Smith: 57:04 When you become a member of L3 you’ll have the ability to join or launch one of our mastermind groups. You’ll have access to our community of over 100 leaders, access to the tools and resources you need to take your life and leadership to the next level and so much more. So if you want to learn more about taking your life and leadership to the next level got to L3leadership.org/membership. I want to thank our sponsor, Alex Tulandin Alex is a full-time realtor with Keller Williams Realty and if you’re looking to buy or sell a house in the Pittsburgh market, Alex is your guy. He’s a member and a supporter of l, three leadership and would love an opportunity to connect with you. You can learn more about alex@pittsburghpropertyshowcase.com. As always, I like to end with a quote and I will quote Coach David Cutcliffe, and he recently said this, I love it. He said, “Be where you’re supposed to be doing what you’re supposed to be doing as well as you can possibly do it.” I love that and that is great advice for all of us. Thank you so much for listening and being a part of L3 Leadership. Laura, and I appreciate you so much and we will talk to you next episode.