Margaret & John C. Maxwell

Robert has spent the last few days in a leadership conference with John Maxwell.  When we talked after each day of learning, all he could say was – his heart and head were full.

In addition to the conference learning, Robert joined a group of people at John’s home for a couple of hours.  He enjoyed chatting with John – John’s children – and Margaret Maxwell.

Robert and I have been reading John Maxwell’s books for almost 10 years and have attended a couple of his conferences. We find his leadership books, both secular and faith-based, valuable.

John often refers to his wife, Margaret and her role in his life.  Margaret & John Maxwell have been married more than 4o years.

In one of his latest books, Put Your Dream to the Test, he both dedicates his book to Margaret but also tells a very moving story of how she made him feel empowered in his dream to be a great leader.

On page 115-116 he tells how, shortly after finishing college and getting married, his first church in rural Indiana could only offer him a small $80 a week salary. And even though it was a part-time salary, Margaret supported him in giving all his energy to the church.

She declared his dream verbally to the church leaders and followed through with her encouragement by working three jobs so he could feel empowered to pursue his dream to be a great leader.

John Maxwell concludes his story by saying,

None of my dreams would have come true without her.

Margaret Maxwell’s encouragement and support of her spouse has definitely made a difference in the world! She is a great example.
(John Maxwell tells the story much better than I can – I encourage you to read it for yourself!  You can buy it here.)

So, while chatting with Margaret, Robert asked her the question we’re asking every leadership couple we meet:  How would you define a meaningful life?

Margaret Maxwell answered, “Having a meaningful life means you’ve obtained respect from those nearest to you – your family and friends.”

During the next day’s teaching, John shared his view of a “successful life” as:  ”Having love and respect from those closest to you…  because they know you.”

It’s a  lovely parallel from a connected leadership couple!

How would you define a “meaningful life”?