I've been listening a lot to the EntreLeadership Podcast, based on Dave Ramsey's best-selling book EntreLeadership. At the core, the podcast (and the book) is all about leadership and growth - personal, business, and spiritual. They're all connected. If one suffers, they all end up suffering.
In a recent episode, the featured guest was renowned author, pastor, speaker, and leadership expert John Maxwell. The conversation was really insightful, but one idea stuck in my head and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
"If you're at the head of the class, you're in the wrong class."
Wow. Read that again. "If you're at the head of the class, you're in the wrong class." I immediately started questioning my entire concept of life. Dramatic, I know. For my whole life, my goal has been to be the best, the smartest, the funniest, the fastest, the insert-adjective-here-est among my peers.
Growing up, I was constantly bored in school because I decided to take the "easy" classes and not push myself in the tougher AP courses with the really smart kids, and I got exactly what I wanted. I was the smartest kid in the class (or one of them), had the best grades, finished tests the fastest, graduated 17th in my class, and even got 106% A+ in high school geometry class. Aren't you proud of me?
But now looking back, what did I really learn? Or more importantly, what DIDN'T I learn? I'm a self-admitted perfectionist and I couldn't imagine people being better or smarter than me. So I decided to coast through the easier schedule at the top of the class instead of living up to my real potential by surrounding myself with other students who could have been *gasp* better, smarter, funnier, faster, insert-adjective-here-ier than me. It's not that I didn't try in school. I did. But I didn't push myself to be even better, to grow.
Now applying that to my adult life, I am consciously surrounding myself with great people - people that are smarter than me, people that are more successful than me, people that are better than me in certain areas, people I want to be like - both in business and in their personal lives. Why? To learn from them and to grow as a person, husband, friend, and businessman.
"If you're at the head of the class, you're in the wrong class." Do you know the follow up to that statement?
Find a new class.