The journey to personal growth is paved with different laws as John C. Maxwell illustrated in his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. Previously, I summarized how Maxwell discussed the importance of adding more skills and capabilities to our life, putting a conscious effort to do that, on a consistent basis and in a systematic way. Moreover, I outlined how he explained the need for a positive surrounding environment while surfing our personal growth journey. Yet, he still believes that this is not enough! In order to reach our full potentials, he explained the importance of “increasing our capacity as human beings..maintaining core integrity, even when it hurts… being who we should be, not just being where we want to be.. means maturing our souls”. This discussion falls under the law number 9 in his book which is the Law of Ladder.
The previous laws in the book were:
- The Law of Intentionality;
- The Law of Awareness;
- The Law of Mirror;
- The Law of Reflection;
- The Law of Consistency;
- The Law of Environment;
- The law of Design; and
- The law of Pain.
This post will summarize the Law of Ladder.
Rungs on Maxwell’s Character Ladder
Maxwell shared some of the key rules that he personally adapted in order to develop the right leader mindset; the character Ladder. These rules are:
- “I will focus on being better on the inside than on the outside: character matters”
Maxwell encouraged us to focus on building our characters, not on building material things. What does the term character include? Jim Rohn, the author and motivational speaker, explained this as “character is a quality that embodies many important traits such as integrity, courage, perseverance, confidence, and wisdom. Unlike your fingerprints that you were born with and can’t change, character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing”.
- “I will follow the golden rule: people matter“
Be empathetic! “Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them”.
- “I will teach only what I believe: passion matters”
Have integrity! “Borrowed beliefs have no passion, therefore no power”.
- “I will value humility above all virtues: perspective matters”
Be Modest! “Those who drink the water must remember those who dug the well”.
- “I will strive to finish well: faithfulness matters”
Work hard to improve your character and live your highest standards every day and until you die.
Applying the Law of Ladder in our Lives
Maxwell suggested three actions to build our characters which are:
- Assess where you have put most of your focus up until this point in your life. Ask yourself: has my focus been on improving on the inside or on the outside? Compare how much you spent and how much time you committed to books, personal development, spiritual growth and learning versus how much you spent on your appearance. Once you do the comparison, shift your focus to being better on your inside character more than your outside appearance.
- Plan to spend time in the coming months to regularly serve others: this will help you to cultivate humility and gratitude.
- Develop the habit of character growth: practice, consistently, the habit of giving attention to your soul, character, serve others…etc.
Building our characters is not only important for our personal growth. It is also a critical aspect of the success of any business.
“Ninety-nine percent of leadership failures are failures of character”. Retired US Army general Norman Schwarzkopf.