200 John Maxwell Quotes

This collection of 200 John Maxwell quotes is your personal mini seminar towards being a successful leader and a successful man.

So if you’re on the hunt for some pieces of advice, then be sure to check this list out.

John Maxwell is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and speaker who sold more than 24 million books on success, leadership, and growth.

Some of his most well-known titles include The 5 Levels of Leadership, Success is a Choice, and The Power of Five.

Read the full collection below.

And don’t forget to check out these Brian Tracy quotes and Og Mandino quotes.

Best John Maxwell Quotes

1. “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”

2. “Talent is a gift, but character is a choice.”

3. “If you don’t have peace, it isn’t because someone took it from you; you gave it away. You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in you.”

4. “Do not take the agenda that someone else has mapped out for your life.”

5. “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.”

6. “Remember, man does not live on bread alone: sometimes he needs a little buttering up.”

7. “We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.”

8. “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

9. “The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it.”

10. “If you start today to do the right thing, you are already a success even if it doesn’t show yet.”

11. “The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.”

12. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

13. “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.”

14. “Life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% of how I react to it.”

15. “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good, so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.”

16. “If we are growing, we are always going to be outside our comfort zone.”

17. “Success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.”

18. “The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.”

19. “A leader who produces other leaders multiples their influences.”

20. “Stay focused instead of getting offended or off track by others.”

John Maxwell Quotes on Leadership and Teamwork

21. “Relational skills are the most important abilities in leadership.”

22. “Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow.”

23. “A successful person finds the right place for himself, but a successful leader finds the right place for others.”

24. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

25. “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”

26. “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”

27. “He who thinks he leads but has no followers, is only taking a walk.”

28. “When the leader lacks confidence, the followers lack commitment.”

29. “The leader’s attitude is like a thermostat for the place she works. If her attitude is good, the atmosphere is pleasant and the environment is easy to work in. But if her attitude is bad, the temperature is insufferable.”

30. “Many people view leadership the same way they view success—hoping to go as far as they can, to climb the ladder, to achieve the highest position possible for their talent.”

31. “Contrary to conventional thinking, I believe the bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves, but how far we advance others. That is achieved by serving others and adding value to their lives.”

32. “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”

33. “Leaders who attract followers, need to be needed. Leaders who develop leaders, want to be succeeded.”

34. “Everyone is a leader because everyone influences someone.”

35. “Leadership is more disposition than position—influence others from wherever you are.”

36. “A leader is great not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others.”

37. “Great leaders always seem to embody two seemingly disparate qualities. They are both highly visionary and highly practical.”

38. “To lead yourself, use your head; to lead others, use your heart.”

39. “Nothing will make a better impression on your leader than your ability to manage yourself.”

40. “When people respect you as a person, they admire you. When they respect you as a friend, they love you. When they respect you as a leader, they follow you.”

41. “Leadership is influence—nothing more, nothing less.”

42. “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. Leaders who are good navigators are capable of taking their people just about anywhere.”

43. “What’s true for a teammate is also true for the leader. If you don’t grow, you gotta go.”

44. “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

45. “To collaborative team members, completing one another is more important than competing with one another.”

46. “Nobody achieves anything great by giving the minimum. No teams win championships without making sacrifices and giving their best.”

47. “Over the years, I have learned that you can go much farther with a team than you can go alone.”

48. “A great dream with a bad team is nothing more than a nightmare.”

49. “Tend to the people, and they will tend to the business.”

50. “People tend to become what the most important people in their lives think they will become.”

51. “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn’t.”

52. “The goal of confrontation should be to help, not to humiliate.”

53. “As people gain more authority, they often develop a lack of patience in listening to those under them. A deaf ear is the first indication of a closed mind.”

54. “If you combine your thoughts with the thoughts of others, you will come up with thoughts you’ve never had!”

55. “A visionary company is like a great work of art.”

56. “We need to decide how we want to be treated. Then, we need to begin treating others in that manner.”

57. “Never let the situation mean more than the relationship.”

58. “You never really know something until you teach it to someone else.”

John Maxwell Quotes on Failure and Success

59. “Wake up and realize this—failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success.”

60. “The less you venture out, the greater your risk of failure. Ironically, the more you risk failure—and actually fail—the greater your chances of success.”

61. “If you are succeeding in everything you do, then you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough; and that means you’re not taking enough risks. You risk, because you have something of value you want to achieve.”

62. “Success is in the journey, the continual process.”

63. “Commitment makes you capable of failing forward until you reach your goals. Cutting corners is really a sign of impatience and poor self-discipline.”

64. “Nothing worth achieving comes easily. The only way to fail forward and achieve your dreams is to cultivate tenacity and persistence.”

65. “The next time you find yourself envying what successful people have achieved, recognize that they have probably gone through many negative experiences that you cannot see on the surface.”

66. “Successful people have learned to do what does not come naturally.”

67. “Your success stops where your character stops. You can never rise above the limitations of your character.”

68. “True success comes only when every generation continues to develop the next generation.”

69. “Happiness simply cannot be relied upon as a measure of success.”

70. “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”

71. “It’s said that a wise person learns from his mistakes. A wiser one learns from others’ mistakes. But the wisest person of all learns from others’s successes.”

72. “The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

73. “Attitude is the first quality that marks the successful man. If he has a positive attitude and is a positive thinker, who likes challenges and difficult situations, then he has half his success achieved.”

74. “One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantage.”

75. “It is easier to move from failure to success than from excuses to success.”

76. “Success comes in taking many small steps. If you stumble in a small step, it rarely matters.”

77. “Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.”

78. “Where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches, or pounds, or college degrees, or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking.”

79. “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

80. “Failure isn’t so bad if it doesn’t attack the heart. Success is alright if it doesn’t go to the head.”

81. “Risk must be evaluated not by the fear it generates in you or the probability of your success, but by the value of the goal.”

82. “Successful people do daily what unsuccessful people do occasionally. They practice daily disciplines. They implement systems for their personal growth. They make it a habit to maintain a positive attitude.”

83. “Sometimes, we are afraid because success puts pressure on us to continue to succeed.”

84. “Today matters. People create success in their lives by focusing on today.”

85. “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

86. “The company owner doesn’t need to win—the best idea does.”

87. “A winner knows how much he still has to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others.”

88. “Instead of trying to be great, be part of something greater than yourself.”

89. “A person who has a dream knows what he is willing to give up in order to go up.”

90. “Be more concerned with what you can give rather than what you can get, because giving truly is the highest level of living.”

John Maxwell Quotes on Change and Growth

91. “If you don’t change the direction you are going, then you’re likely to end up where you’re heading.”

92. “Reaching new goals and moving to a higher level of performance always requires change, and change feels awkward.”

93. “Take comfort in the knowledge that if change doesn’t feel uncomfortable, then it’s probably not really a change.”

94. “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.”

95. “Your thinking, more than anything else, shapes the way you live. It’s really true that if you change your thinking, you can change your life.”

96. “Positive thinking does not always change our circumstances, but it will always change us.”

97. “The challenge of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth.”

98. “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

99. “Growth inside fuels growth outside.”

100. “Most people who decide to grow personally find their first mentors in the pages of books.”

101. “You do that by focusing on what you can do today to improve and grow.”

102. “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.”

103. “It doesn’t matter how talented you are. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities you receive. If you want to grow, consistency is key.”

104. “In life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with your problems.”

105. “Most people have a desire to look for the exception instead of the desire to become exceptional.”

106. “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”

107. “Stay focused on what God has assigned me to do. Keep my mind on what I am doing.”

108. “Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about themselves, and small people talk about others.”

109. “Yesterday ended last night.”

110. “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

111. “Always turn to God in the midst of your struggle and view people who offended you as instruments of divine sovereignty.”

112. “A person who knows ‘how’ may always have a job, but the person who knows ‘why’ will always be his boss.”

113. “Comparing yourself to others is really just a needless distraction.”

114. “The only one you should compare yourself to is you.”

115. “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”

116. “Everyone enjoys being inspired.”

117. “There is no life as empty as the self-centered life. There is no life as centered as the self-empty life.”

118. “A dream requires a partner—commitment.”

119. “Dreams often come one size too big so that we can grow into them.”

120. “When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment, you create trust.”

121. “An unintentional life accepts everything and does nothing. An intentional life embraces only the things that will add to the mission of significance.”

122. “Until thought is linked with purpose, there is no intelligent accomplishment.”

John Maxwell Quotes on Perspective and Character

123. “You must do right before you feel good.”

124. “It’s good to be out of your comfort zone. Just don’t step out of your gift zone.”

125. “The greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness.”

126. “Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are in making them feel good about you.”

127. “You have to live with the people to know their needs, and you have to live with God to know how to solve them.”

128. “The essence of man is imperfection. Know that you’re going to make mistakes.”

129. “The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does.”

130. “Achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures, but in spite of that, they persevere.”

131. “Life is playing a poor hand well. The greatest battle you wage against failure occurs on the inside, not the outside.”

132. “When achievers fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a lifelong epidemic.”

133. “Embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you’re not failing, you’re probably not really moving forward.”

134. “Everything in life brings risk.”

135. “It’s true that you risk failure if you try something bold because you might miss it. But you also risk failure if you stand still and don’t try anything new.”

136. “The more you do, the more you fail. The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you get.”

137. “The last time you failed, did you stop trying because you failed, or did you fail because you stopped trying?”

138. “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.”

139. “Don’t gift wrap the garbage. Let little failures go.”

140. “Your mission is to become better today than you were yesterday.”

141. “Ninety percent of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit.”

142. “God uses people who fail, because there aren’t any other kinds around.”

143. “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.”

144. “Image is what people think we are; integrity is what we really are.”

145. “Manage your thought life daily and then you can manage your life.”

146. “Life doesn’t do anything to you. It only reveals your spirit.”

147. “Live to learn and you will really learn to live.”

148. “You cannot enjoy others until you enjoy yourself, because you cannot give to others what you do not have.”

149. “The sum of all your thoughts comprises your overall attitude.”

150. “The bottom line in managing your emotions is that you should put others—not yourself—first in how you handle and process them.”

151. “You see, when our attitudes outdistance our abilities, even the impossible becomes possible.”

152. “Your attitude is like the mind’s paintbrush. It can paint everything in bright, vibrant colors—creating a masterpiece.”

153. “Creativity requires a willingness to look stupid.”

154. “People with humility don’t think less of themselves; they just think of themselves less.”

154. “Position is a poor substitute for influence.”

156. “Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. Your life tomorrow will be determined by what you think today.”

157. “Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”

158. “When special people touch our lives, then suddenly we see how beautiful and wonderful our world can really be.”

159. “When special people touch our lives, they teach us how to live.”

160. “If you pair excellence with humility, people not only won’t run over you, they will respect you.”

161. “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

John Maxwell Quotes on Effort and Action

162. “To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway.”

163. “If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience.”

164. “You can’t move people to action unless you first move them with emotion.The heart comes before the head.”

165. “A dream becomes a reality as a result of your actions, and your actions are controlled, to a large extent, by your habits.”

166. “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a destiny.”

167. “You can act your way into feeling long before you can feel your way into action. If you wait until you feel like doing something, you will likely never accomplish it.”

168. “Ideas have a short shelf life. You must act on them before the expiration date.”

169. “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.”

170. “Action is what converts human dreams into significance.”

171. “We feel unhappy and confused with our life when we don’t do the focus or calling that God has on our life.”

172. “If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”

173. “Thinking is hard work; that’s why so few do it.”

174. “A problem is something you can do something about. If you can’t do something about it, then it’s not a problem. It’s a predicament. That means it’s something that must be coped with—endured.”

175. “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”

176. “Procrastination is too high a price to pay for fear of failure.”

177. “Great minds have purposes; others have wishes. Little minds are subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.”

178. “Getters generally don’t get happiness; givers get it.”

179. “Never say die. Never be satisfied. Be stubborn. Be persistent. Integrity is a must. Anything worth having is worth striving for with all your might.”

180. “Don’t ever be impressed with goal setting; be impressed with goal getting.”

181. “Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes.”

182. “Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?”

183. “People are never able to outperform their self-image.”

184. “Handicaps can only disable us if we let them. If you are continually experiencing trouble or facing obstacles, then you should check to make sure that you are not the problem.”

185. “Everything begins with a decision. Then, we have to manage that decision for the rest of your life.”

186. “Have to sow excellent seeds to have an excellent life. Must start with sowing excellent thoughts.”

187. “I want to make a difference with people who want to make a difference, doing something that makes a difference.”

188. “A dream worth pursuing is a picture and blueprint of a person’s purpose and potential.”

189. “When you realize that people treat you according to how they see themselves rather than how you really are, you are less likely to be affected by their behavior.”

190. “It’s better to prepare than to repair.”

191. “Goals may give focus, but dreams give power.”

192. “Dreams don’t work unless you do.”

193. “Little progress is better than no progress at all.”

194. “Nobody finishes well by accident.”

195. “The great men and women of history were not great because of what they earned and owned, but rather, for what they gave their lives to accomplish.”

196. “It is true—most people are more satisfied with old problems than committed to finding new solutions.”

197. “Life is now in session. Are you present?”

198. “If you wouldn’t follow yourself, why should anyone else?”

199. “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

200. “What you make of life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need—what you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours. Stay mindful of your choices!”

Did these John Maxwell Quotes Give You the Confidence to Call the Shots?

Do you think you have it in you to be a good leader? As John Maxwell said, good leaders can be influential, respected and successful. And because of his desire to make a difference in the lives of people, he dedicated years of his life to full-time speaking and writing about what a great leader is made out of. You can influence others either positively or negatively—and as a leader, it is your responsibility to guide others into achieving a common goal through good and positive decisions.

How much did you learn from John Maxwell’s quotes? Which ones have the most impact on you? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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