Power of Potential

John C. Maxwell has written several successful books and The Power of Your Potential is no exception. Read on for a summary and key points in my own words.


“As long as you’re breathing, you have places to go and ways to grow.” In this book, John Maxwell describes how to develop the potential that is already within us and inspires us to make the choices necessary for growth. I am a firm believer in the potential within us and John has a great way of challenging the reader at the end of each chapter to self-reflect and to take action. It is truly a breakthrough book!

Key Takeaways

“Successful people desire excellence. Excellence comes from focusing on your strengths. Whatever you do well, try to do it better. That’s your greatest pathway forward to increase potential.” Excellence is a core value of mine, so this spoke directly to my heart. There have been times in my past that I was told my standards are too high, my expectations are out of reach, that I needed to lower the bar. These are things told by people who feared change, lacked awareness, and tried to pull others down. I can also have a tendency to want to be in control. I’m human – who doesn’t? I have learned to focus on the things I can control and let go of what I can’t.

In this book, John Maxwell discusses five areas you have control: 1) Attitude (you determine how you think and feel), 2) Time (you determine how you spend it and who you spend it with), 3) Priorities (you determine what is important and how much time you give these things), 4) Passion (you determine what you love and what you were created to do), and 5) Potential (you determine where you commit yourself to grow). I am especially passionate about passion, time, and priorities because I believe they are all interconnected. Our life is full of choices, but when we bring passion and priorities in focus, and spend our time on those, the choices become more obvious. We are responsible for the choices we make – the habits we create. At the end of each section of this book, Maxwell challenges the reader with questions to ponder. One of my favorites was this: “What positive habits would you like to cultivate that could be facilitated by taking greater responsibility?” followed by “What decision must you make to start the habit, and what actions must you take daily to manage that decision?”

Digging Deeper

John Maxwell starts out the book giving the reader two things to think about: 1)“Change doesn’t have to be drastic to be effective” and 2) “Change is necessary for you to reach your potential.” These are truly the foundation from which we build our potential and leadership capacity. The first one reminds me of a quote I love from Jordan Peterson: “Incremental improvement is unstoppable.” We can develop any habit, change any behavior, and create the life we desire simply by owning the choices we make every day. Small incremental changes have significant impact. One small step forward is still a step forward. The second reminds me of Einstein’s definition of insanity. How could we possibly expect a different result if we keep doing the same things? Change is inevitable. If we can embrace a mindset that chooses change instead of fearing it, all things are possible.