7 Benefits of Leveraging Change in the Workplace

Note from Mack: The following is an excerpt (my perspective on Chapter 10: Leveraging Change) from our just released book, Change Happens: Leading Yourself and Other Through Change, which I co-authored with my wife Ria Story. It’s now available on our Amazon and our website TopStoryLeadership.com. I’ve had the privilege of leading leaders and their teams through over 11,000+ hours of change and transformation. I love change and leading others through change! Ria and I speak at conferences and offer corporate training on change.

The book has 15 chapters. Ria and I both offer our own separate perspective on change in each chapter. Ria focuses primarily on leading yourself through change, and I focus primarily on leading yourself and others through change.

Chapter 10

Leveraging Change



  “A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” ~ Denis Waitley

Once you’ve made the choice to embrace change, don’t stop there. Leverage the change for maximum benefit. Leveraging change means doing more than simply making the change. Leveraging change means you will seek ways to intentionally grow your influence during the change.

You will benefit greatly by simply embracing change and choosing not to resist. When you move from resisting change to embracing change, you move from being viewed as reactive to being viewed as neutral. But, if you choose to leverage the change, you will move from being viewed as neutral to being viewed as proactive.

When it comes to change, who will have the most influence with their leader? Someone who is reactive, neutral, or proactive? No doubt, the proactive person will have the most influence. As you begin leveraging change, there will be many benefits that will help you grow and advance your career professionally.

7 Benefits of Leveraging Change in the Workplace


  1. You will be noticed for taking initiative. The first to help always gets the most recognition. Quickly implement change and be sure to suggest change that will benefit the process, team, or business in some way.
  2. You will build strong relationships with the game changers. When you embrace change, you are attracting others who embrace and initiate change. The best advertisement is word of mouth What are your co-workers and leaders saying about your business (YOU)?
  3. You will get to learn more about how the business operates. As you interact with more game changers, you will build trust. Be sure to ask questions to learn the thought process behind the change. This will most likely increase your influence in the future.
  4. You will have more input in implementing the change. When you get involved with making the change happen, you will be given a voice. You will be asked your opinion, and others will learn how you think.
  5. You will have more input in future changes. As you build relationships and interact with leaders during change, they will begin asking your opinion about future changes. At this point, you’re gaining valuable influence.
  6. You will become more valuable. When leaders start to benefit from your support and your ideas for improving the processes and moving the organization forward, you become more valuable to them and the organization.
  7. You will be considered for promotions. Those who make an impact helping the leaders implement change will be more quickly considered for pay increases and promotions because of the strong supportive relationship they have built with the decision makers.

As you begin to realize these and other benefits, you will have leveraged change. Those who are neutral or resistant will never receive these benefits. As you already know, most people don’t like change and put their energy into resisting and complaining. When others are moaning, groaning, and whining, it’s easy for you to start shining.

When you choose to be proactive when everyone else is being reactive, that mindset is already allowing you to leverage change to your benefit. Look for those opportunities when there is a change. Be the first to support the leader not only privately, but also publicly.

Loyalty publicly leads to leverage privately. This is another way to intentionally leverage change for your benefit. When you support those responsible for change openly, in a way they know you are behind them, you will increase your influence with them when you meet with them privately, perhaps to recommend a change of your own.

When you leverage change, you’re essentially building trust. The more trust you have with the leaders, the more influence you’ll have with them. As Amy Cuddy says, “If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative.”

When you’re leading (influencing) others, your goal should be to motivate, not manipulate. When you are motivating, all parties benefit. When you are manipulating, only you benefit. Therefore, as you begin to leverage change for your benefit, you must do it in a way that allows the leaders to benefit. And, if possible, those on your team. When more people benefit from your actions, you will gain more influence.

The ultimate test of a leader is to produce positive change. Leading change leverages change. Are you ready?

There is an “I” in Team

I wish someone would have given me this book nearly 30 years ago when I started my career on the front lines. It would have changed my life then. It can change your life now.

Separate yourself from the crowd quickly by learning how to master the traits High Impact leaders value most. You will learn how to get noticed for the right reasons and how to get promoted for the right reasons. You will learn how to become recognized as a front line leader worth following, and you don’t need formal authority (position) because you will develop something better: moral authority (influence).

Note: The following is an excerpt (Chapter 5) from my newest book, Blue-Collar-Leadership: Leading from the Front Lines. Order now by clicking here. I’ll be posting the first 5 of 30 chapters as a short series.

Click here to start with Chapter 1




“I’m just a plowhand from Arkansas, but I have learned how to hold a team together – how to lift some men up, how to calm others down, until finally they’ve got one heartbeat together as a team. There’s always just three things I say: ‘If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, then we did it. If anything goes real good, they did it.’ That’s all it takes to get people to win.” ~ Paul “Bear” Bryant

Paul “Bear” Bryant was one of the greatest college football coaches to ever lead a team of young men down the field. He was also a “plowhand” from Arkansas. A blue-collar worker. The blue-collar world has produced some of the greatest leaders of all time, so you should be proud and hold your head high. Without them, the world as we know it would not exist.

There’s nothing holding you back but you. As my blue-collar friend, Donovan Weldon, stated so well, “The only person between you and success is you. MOVE! The only person between you and failure is you. STAND FIRM!” Those are strong words of wisdom. Donovan started on the bottom just like you and me. But today, he’s the CEO of Donovan Industrial Service in Orange, TX near Beaumont.

Donovan’s success didn’t happen by accident. He made it happen. You can make things happen too! He’s a blue-collar leader that believes in and develops his team on a regular basis. I know because my wife, Ria, and I had the privilege of being brought in to speak to his team about leadership in 2014. They are making it happen on purpose for a purpose!

It’s time for you to stop playing small and start playing tall. A college degree is not required for you to play at a higher level. Not having one is simply an excuse some people use to continue playing small. If you want a college degree, use what you will learn on these pages to find a way to get one. If you don’t want a college degree, use what you learn on these pages to make it happen without one.

You are the key to your success. You must believe in yourself. You must grow and develop yourself, which is what you’re doing as you read this book. Do not stop growing! And when the time is right, you must bet on yourself.

Understanding your role as a team member is another must. Those on the front lines often underestimate themselves because they can’t see the big picture. They can’t see the value they have to offer. Far too often, their boss isn’t a high impact leader and needs a lot of growth and development too. Bosses are often given the title without any formal development.

When I write about the front lines on these pages, I’m not only talking about the people in entry level positions. Sure they are obviously on the front lines, but they also have leaders that are on the front lines with them and various team members supporting them too. They can all learn from these pages.

This book was written specifically for anyone at any level that visits, interacts with, or works on the front lines.

The principles I share with you must be applied if you want to make a high impact and be recognized for leading from the front lines. Regardless of your position, the more you apply these principles, the more options you will have, and the more positions you will be offered as you climb even higher.

Teams are made up of “I”ndividuals, so there are many I’s on every team, regardless of how many times you hear, “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM.” As a matter of fact, you are one of them. Every person on a team is an “I” and has the potential to lead (influence) the team, positively or negatively.

“Leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.” ~ John C. Maxwell

You must understand there are many official and unofficial teams in the organization where you work. They are very dynamic and constantly changing.
When most of us think of which team we are on, we immediately think of our peers, the ones on the same crew, in the same department, or working on the same job. This is our core team, but it only represents the smallest team we’re on. We also support other teams too, as others support our team.

When we choose to contribute beyond our immediate team, we are choosing to be part of a bigger team. Often, this only requires a choice to do so. Your choice to get involved in other areas sends a clear message to the high impact leaders.

When you play tall, you choose to contribute because you know it will increase your influence and your impact on the front lines. If you want to play tall, you should want to be noticed, to be selected, to volunteer, to share information, to accept more responsibility, and ultimately, to make a contribution at a higher level.

As a direct result of your choice to step up, your influence increases. You’re demonstrating you can lead from the front lines and will be seen and respected by all high impact leaders as a high impact leader. Your actions will not go unnoticed.

When you play small, you choose not to contribute because you don’t want to do more. If your goal is to coast until pay day, it won’t be a secret you can keep. When you make every effort not to be noticed, not to be selected, not to volunteer, not to share information, not to accept responsibility, and ultimately to not contribute, you will absolutely be noticed.

As a direct result of your choice not to step up, your influence decreases. Your influence on the front lines and with your leaders will be diminished. You are more likely to become reactive and frustrated blaming others for what you have chosen. Blaming others will further reduce your influence.

You first make your choices, then your choices make you.

“The most valuable player is the one that makes the most players valuable.” ~ Peyton Manning

I hope you’ve enjoyed the sneak peek into first 5 chapters. There are 25 additional chapters  packed full of great leadership principles and lessons. This book is a great new way to invest in those on the front lines and create trust with them by showing them they matter.

Common Sense is Never Enough

I wish someone would have given me this book nearly 30 years ago when I started my career on the front lines. It would have changed my life then. It can change your life now.Blue Collar Leadership Cover picture

Separate yourself from the crowd quickly by learning how to master the traits High Impact leaders value most. You will learn how to get noticed for the right reasons and how to get promoted for the right reasons. You will learn how to become recognized as a front line leader worth following, and you don’t need formal authority (position) because you will develop something better: moral authority (influence).

Note: The following is an excerpt (Chapter 4) from my newest book, Blue-Collar-Leadership: Leading from the Front Lines. Order now by clicking here. I’ll be posting the first 5 of 30 chapters as a short series.

Click here to start with Chapter 1




“We only truly know something—that is, have personal knowledge of it—when we can apply it to get results.” ~ Polanyi

As you continue reading, I’m sure you will often find yourself thinking, “This is all just common sense.” It is commonly understood. However, when it comes to human behavior, what’s commonly understood, often referred to as common sense, is most often not commonly practiced. If it was, there would be no market for leadership and people development, and everyone would be amazingly happy and tremendously successful.

But, leadership is a HUGE industry! Many people are unhappy at work and at home while struggling to make ends meet. Nearly all of them know something they should stop doing to improve their lives and know something they should start doing to improve their lives. But, they don’t do it! Why?

Common sense alone will not lead you to success. It will help, but it’s not enough. Knowing and doing are two very different things that will lead you to very different results. Knowing how to lose weight doesn’t mean someone who wants to lose weight will lose weight. We all know how to lose weight. We watch our calories in (what we eat) and exercise (calories out). It’s common sense. Everyone knows that!

To know something and not do it is not truly knowing it.
To understand something and not apply it is not truly understanding it.

Everyone seems to know common sense is not common practice. However, most people don’t seem to know why.

Knowing why common sense is not common practice requires an intellectual level of understanding far beyond common sense. In other words, you need to be an above average thinker.

When I speak on the subject of common sense in my leadership development seminars, everyone in the room always realizes the leadership principles I speak about are common sense. They also know they are not commonly practiced by most people.

Why isn’t common sense always common practice?

I’ve come to understand the problem is found in the definition of common sense which leads to our expectations sometimes not being met. When someone says something is common sense, they mean it is commonly understood.

What most people are missing is this: There’s a huge difference between understanding what should be done and doing what is understood. And, it often takes more smarts to do something than it does to understand something.

Doing what is commonly understood often requires uncommon sense.

Here’s a simple example to prove my point:

It’s common sense to understand you should invest your time and money into your own personal growth and development if you want to become more effective and successful at work which will also improve your life when you’re at home. Do you agree? If you want to be better, you need to get better. Common sense right? Of course, it is.

But, are you doing it frequently and regularly? You’re doing it now as you read this book. Is this your first personal development (leadership) book or one of hundreds? Do you think the person reading a leadership book for the first time is getting the same results as someone that has read hundreds of leadership books? It’s highly unlikely.

Leadership is influence. The more influence you have the more options you will have at work and at home. Who will get the promotion, the person with the most influence or someone else? Who will have a more enjoyable day at work or at home, a person with more influence or less?

“The top 5 percent of achievers invest an average of $3,000 per year on personal growth while the other 95% average only $7 per year.” ~ Les Brown

If we invest in ourselves and become intentional about moving ourselves forward, we will move forward. Our personal and professional lives will get better. Most people will instantly agree. But, most people don’t do it. Most people won’t do it.

Instead, most people will choose to waste more money on a weekend hanging out having a good time than they will invest in their own personal growth and development in a whole year.

Why is this the case? Because common sense means we understand what we should do. However, doing it requires uncommon sense. I’m sure by now you get the point. After all, it’s common sense.

I added this chapter because I want to be sure you realize up front it will take much more than common sense to apply what you will learn in this book. You will have to develop and use uncommon sense to get the results you deserve and are capable of achieving. Don’t just zip through the pages. Think deeply about what you’re learning and the impact applying it will have on your life.

You can apply it. But, will you apply it? I hope you do!

“The critical skill of this century is not what you hold in your head, but your ability to tap into and access what other people know. The best leaders and the fastest learners know how to harness collective intelligence.” ~ Liz Wiseman

You’re perfectly positioned to get to the next level

I wish someone would have given me this book nearly 30 years ago when I started my career on the front lines. It would have changed my life then. It can change your life now.Blue Collar Leadership Cover picture

Separate yourself from the crowd quickly by learning how to master the traits High Impact leaders value most. You will learn how to get noticed for the right reasons and how to get promoted for the right reasons. You will learn how to become recognized as a front line leader worth following, and you don’t need formal authority (position) because you will develop something better: moral authority (influence).

Note: The following is an excerpt (Chapter 3) from my newest book, Blue-Collar-Leadership: Leading from the Front Lines. Order now by clicking here. I’ll be posting the first 5 of 30 chapters as a short series.

Click here to start with Chapter 1

Chapter: 3



“An educated person is not the one with the most knowledge, an educated person is the one who is willing to reflect, evaluate, and modify his most cherished beliefs when a new idea comes along.” ~ Christian Simpson

There’s a story about a tourist who paused for a rest in a small town in the mountains. He went over to an old man sitting on a bench in front of the only store in town and inquired, “Friend, can you tell me something this town is noted for?”

“Well,” replied the old man, “I don’t rightly know except it’s the starting point to the world. You can start here and go anywhere you want.”

The same is true for you and me. No matter where we are, we can start and go anywhere we want. Will it always be easy? No. Will it always be possible? Absolutely, if we’re willing to pay the price.

Obviously, very few people start at the top. But, we don’t all have that in common with those lucky few. However, what we do have in common is this: If we want to move forward from wherever we are, we all must start.

“Most people fail in the getting started.” ~ Maureen Falcone

I agree, some do “fail in the getting started,” but I think the bigger issue is failing to keep going once you have started.

If you’re on the front lines like I was when the engineer believed in me and inspired me to get started again, that’s where you start if you want to get to the next level and beyond. You’re in the exact place you need to be. You’re at the starting line. Getting to the starting line in life is easy. All you must do is step up. Then, you must choose to run.

It’s much easier to go from failure to success than it is to go from excuses to success.

This book is going to help you think in a way that will allow you to get started or, if you’re already started, keep going. It will also accelerate your thinking.

You had to get started at some point to be where you are. It didn’t just happen. You didn’t end up there by accident. Like it or not, you ended up there by choice.

If you want to move up in the company or move forward with your life in general but feel stuck wherever you are, I’ve got good news. You haven’t run out of choices. You’re simply not making the right choices.

Why? I have no idea. Only you can answer that question.

When you think of why you’re stuck, don’t make excuses. Excuses are like exits when you’re traveling along the highway to success. Excuses don’t take you where you want to go, they take you someplace you don’t want to go.

An excuse is simply a choice not to do what you know you should do.

I want to give you something to think about whether you’re stuck or not. If you’re not stuck, use it to help someone that is.

Most of the time people quit growing and going when the price gets too high. Many people are not willing to part ways with the toxic people in their lives or sacrifice their time and/or their money to continue moving forward to the next level. Growth usually requires a lot more time than money, so not having the money is just another excuse. And most often, it’s not even about our time. It’s about our choices.

Before you get too deep into this book, I want to help point out a few key choices I hope you will make as you’re reading and thinking your way through it.

I encourage you to look at this book as a tool, not a book. A tool you can you use immediately to identify areas in your life you may need to change. A tool you can use in the future when reflecting on changes you have already made or changes you weren’t ready to make initially but will be ready to make eventually.

Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE IT AWAY! I made that mistake when I first started reading leadership books. I didn’t realize the value of keeping them and revisiting them, especially my highlighted key points. Today, no one gets any of the hundreds of leadership books I’ve read. I may give away new ones, but not the ones I’ve read and marked up.

You should personalize this copy by marking it up in a meaningful way, underline key points, fold the pages when something on a page really has something meaningful you want to revisit and reflect on. And most importantly, write down some of your own thoughts about what you are reading and what you may need to do differently.

Once you’ve finished it, if you know someone else will benefit from reading it, and you believe in them, show them by buying them a copy as a gift, but don’t give them your copy. Sure, they could read it and give it back. But, to get the most out of it, they will need to personalize their copy, make it their own just like you, and be able to reflect on it later.

Have you ever wondered why people don’t do the things that seem to be common sense? Things like we’ve just covered like get started or keep going. It seems like common sense to me.

“If we refuse to become a leader because we don’t believe we can get to the top, we are limiting ourselves from reaching our potential; and we are limiting the impact we can have on others.” ~ Ria Story

Thank you to the Blue-Collar workforce!

I wish someone would have given me this book nearly 30 years ago when I started my career on the front lines. It would have changed my life then. It can change your life now.Blue Collar Leadership Cover picture

Separate yourself from the crowd quickly by learning how to master the traits High Impact leaders value most. You will learn how to get noticed for the right reasons and how to get promoted for the right reasons. You will learn how to become recognized as a front line leader worth following, and you don’t need formal authority (position) because you will develop something better: moral authority (influence).

Note: The following is an excerpt (Chapter 2) from my newest book, Blue-Collar-Leadership: Leading from the Front Lines. Order now by clicking here. I’ll be posting the first 5 of 30 chapters as a short series.

Click here to start with Chapter 1

 Chapter: 2




“The dictionary defines belief as trust, faith, and confidence. However, that definition is selfish and requires judgement. I think we need to change the we way we believe in people. We need to redefine the way we believe in people. We should redefine belief as encouragement, empowerment, and engagement. This definition is selfless and doesn’t require judgement.” ~ Joshua Encarnacion

You may be wondering, “How can Mack believe in me? He doesn’t even know me.” Well, my intent on these pages is to express my belief in you in the way Joshua defined belief in the quote above, as selfless and without judgment. I like to refer to this type of belief as “unconditional” belief which is similar to unconditional love.

When we believe in someone or love someone unconditionally, it simply means we believe in them or love them because they are people, not because they behave or act in a certain way. I do believe you can make your life better. Believing in someone unconditionally is a choice. It’s a choice that builds trust and strengthens relationships.

Since I don’t know you, I can’t trust you, have faith in you, or have confidence in you based on what I know about you. That would be based on conditions or “conditional” belief. However, I can easily have unconditional belief in you. But, when we work with others and depend on others to get the job done, it’s too easy to become selfish, judgmental, and base our belief in them on specific conditions being met first.

I want to share a real example from my life where a stranger unconditionally believed in me. It not only changed my direction, but it also changed my life. I share this story in more detail in my first book, Defining Influence.

It was 1995. I was 25 years old. It was around 2am. I was wearing old, dirty jeans, an old t-shirt, greasy steel-toed boots, safety glasses, earplugs, and an old, dirty blue jean apron hung around my neck. As usual, I was at work in the middle of the night when most people were home sleeping soundly with their families.

I operated a large drill press and a CNC lathe machining holes in steel parts. It was a dirty, boring job, but it paid the bills. I was in the middle of what would become a three month streak of working 12 plus hours a day for seven days a week without a day off. Long hours and weekend work were a normal part of my life on the front lines.

On that particular night, there was a corporate industrial engineer from our headquarters observing me. He was there to do a time observation study. I was surprised because he could have done what he had to do on the day shift.

He informed me the Plant Manager (PM) had asked him to work with me because I consistently recorded high production. As I worked, the engineer observed me. After we got to know each other a little, he told me the PM believed I had the potential to be more than “just a machine operator” if I would apply myself and get some additional education.

The stranger had no idea I barely graduated high school.

Throughout the night, he expressed his belief in me and continued to do his best to get me to see my potential. He had no idea. I wasn’t interested in going to college. Not me!

I didn’t plan to ever go. I knew who I was and what I wanted. I didn’t need anyone, especially a stranger, telling me what I needed to do to advance in the company. What did he know about me? He knew I had potential. He knew it. I didn’t.

I had never seen him before and never saw him again. He has no idea how his words impacted me. He inspired me to become intentional about changing my life.

I thought it was just another night in the grind on the front lines. But, something happened. I started thinking differently. He had planted a seed of possibility inside of me. I hope I can plant that seed in you.

I began to ask myself many questions:

  • What if I went to college?
  • What would change?
  • Should I do it?
  • Could I do it?
  • How could I do it?
  • When could I do it?

I took action and enrolled in the local community college the very next semester. I decided to officially rescript my life simply because a stranger had believed in me unconditionally.

“We already live with many scripts that have been handed to us, the process of writing our own script is actually more a process of ‘rescripting,’ … As we recognize the ineffective scripts within us, we can proactively begin to rescript ourselves.” ~ Dr. Stephen R. Covey

I started college, as a single parent, while working long hours and weekends to make ends meet. I didn’t enjoy high school, so volunteering for more schooling was a big sacrifice.

It took me nearly five years to get my first two year degree, but I did it. I was paying the price to change my circumstances. I did have potential. I did not have to keep doing the same thing for my entire career. When I began to change my thoughts, my life began to change. I was slowly moving away from being a reactive person and was becoming a more responsible person.

If you want things to change, you must change the way you think. And no, you don’t have to go to college to live better.

“The reason so many people never get anywhere in life is because when opportunity knocks, they are out in the backyard looking for four-leaf clovers.”
~ Walter P. Chrysler

Be a Game Changer – The World Has Enough Followers.

In a recent blog post, I wrote about living with abundance, achieving success, choosing significance, and leaving a legacy. However, I want to revisit this in a different but similar context and also add the foundational element that was understood, but not discussed, listed here as Decision #1.

Note: What I’m discussing here has nothing to do with having a position. However, it has everything to do with having a purpose.

5 Decisions that will Change Your Game

Decision #1: Accept Responsibility

If you truly want to be a Game Changer, there’s something you must accept from the start: accept responsibility.

If you don’t make this choice, you will never be a Game Changer. You will simply dream about changing the game while standing on the sidelines watching, helping, and supporting others that are actually changing the game. Don’t get me wrong. If you can’t change the game yourself, to continue to be relevant and effective, you must support and follow those that are changing the game. Game Changers depend on and value an army of trusted and creative followers. They know they can’t do it alone. And, they know they can’t do it without accepting responsibility for doing it with and through others.

Game Changers don’t dream about changing the game. They change the game!

Decision #2: Live with Abundance

When Game Changers accept responsibility, they will quickly discover the need to live with abundance.

Game Changers know that an abundance mindset is not about them having an abundance of everything. They are not selfish because they are not competitively seeking it all.  They understand there is plenty of everything to go around and want to work with and through others that believe the same thing. The Law of Magnetism states that who we are is who we attractGame Changers realize early on, that in order to attract unselfish people to their cause, they must also be unselfish. Game Changers also know this truth: an abundance mindset is the key to building strong, sustainable, and mutually beneficial relationships.

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into. ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

Decision #3: Achieve Success

The key strategy of a Game Changer is to live with an abundance mindset. Living with abundance will not only allow them to achieve success, but it will allow them to do so in a positive value-driven way.

Game Changers are focused. They are not wandering aimlessly and endlessly. They know where they are going and when they are going. To achieve success, they must follow their passion until they discover their purpose. As they move closer to discovering their purpose, they will simultaneously be developing their competency in their area of passion. Game Changers realize it takes a high degree of character to live with abundance, but it also takes a high degree of competency to achieve success. They are intentional about their own personal growth and development.

Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself. ~ Viktor Frankl

Decision #4: Choose Significance

Only the most highly successful Game Changers move beyond success and choose significance. For these select few, reaching the summit of the mountain isn’t enough. They want to go back down and help others climb their way to the top.

Not only do these Game Changers want to change the game. They have developed a passion to help others become Game Changers. Most people that achieve success will not choose significance. Why? Because it’s much easier to pay the price for your own success. Choosing significance requires us to first pay a high price for our own success. Then, we must pay an even higher price to help others achieve success. Only when we are willing to sacrifice our own time and resources to help and benefit others have we chosen significance. When we value other’s success more than we value our own, we are in a position to become significant.

 John C. Maxwell’s “Rule of 5” for creating a life of significance:

1. Everyday I value people. Manipulating devalues. Motivating values.

2. Everyday I think of ways to add value to people.

3. Everyday I Look for ways to add value unexpectedly.

4. Everyday I do things that add value to you.

5. Everyday I encourage others to add value to people.

Decision #5: Leave a Legacy

Dr. Stephen R. Covey is a great example of a Game Changer. The ultimate Game Changer will make a lifetime of choices that results in them leaving behind a legacy.

Leaving behind a legacy requires a Game Changer to not only repeatedly make a significant difference in the lives of others, but also to do it consistently over a long period of time. Leaving a legacy is not about what we do. It’s about what others do after we’re gone because of who we were while we were here. I’ve been hearing consistently over the last few years of many school systems that have recently embraced teaching the principles that Dr. Covey wrote and taught about in his amazing book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Part of his legacy lives in me. Had he not chosen significance, I would not have had the opportunity to read his book. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he changed my life, and through me, Dr. Covey will change many lives because I too have experienced a transformation in my life and chosen significance.

Everyone chooses one of two roads in life- the old and the young, the rich and the poor, men and women alike. One is the broad, well-traveled road to mediocrity, the other the road to greatness and meaning. ~ Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Note: I encourage you to share my blog posts with others if you find value in them. I believe in abundance and write my blogs to help others become more effective and successful. Click here to receive a free download of “Get Out of the Way and Lead” and to subscribe to my email list to receive periodic leadership lessons.

Make an impact!

Mack Story

My passion is helping people understand what’s common sense isn’t always common practice. I help leaders at all levels develop 360° of influence. The result: they take more responsibility and lead with speed.

Live with Abundance. Achieve Success. Choose Significance. Leave a Legacy.


As you may know, I write a lot of blogs and post a lot of quotes to help motivate and inspire others to be more, do more, and have more with the hope, that in time, they will serve more by first becoming a more effective leader of themselves with the intention of becoming a more effective leader of others.

I recently shared these thoughts:

“Live with abundance. Achieve success. Choose significance. Leave a legacy.”

Shortly after I had made the post, I received this comment:

“This is a great mindset, but I would appreciate it if you could develop this further for us. We all want abundance, success, significance and to leave a legacy. What we often lack is the road map. We have the ‘what’ and not the ‘how.'”

I could easily write a complete book, a road map, to answer this question. However, I will attempt to keep it relatively short while adding links to support this lesson. I’m going to share more information about the “how” relative to each aspect of my original quote.

Live with Abundance

Abundance is about understanding the big picture and knowing there is plenty of everything for everyone. We must understand resources and recognition are truly abundant and unlimited. In order to understand abundance, it may help to first understand the opposite: scarcity.

When I have a scarcity mindset, I believe what I want and what I desire is limited.

In other words, there is only so much of what I want such as love, money, recognition, praise, credit, etc. to go around. When I live out of scarcity, I think that if someone else gets what I want, there isn’t any left for me.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. However, if you believe this, you will, in fact, have less. Not because there is less, but because your selfish character will attract less. As a result, you are providing the evidence to support your belief.

When I live with abundance, I believe there is enough of everything for everybody. As a result, my character reveals my beliefs in a way that can be validated by others through my actions. I am not selfish. I am selfless. That is not something I say; that is something I am.

When I live with abundance, I don’t go through life seeking only to win. I actually grow through life seeking to win while also helping others win. Not only do I know I can win, but I also know you and everyone else can win. We can all win. Therefore, my challenge is not with you. My challenge is within.

No one can stop me from winning, but me. No one can stop you from winning, but you. Anything else is simply an excuse.

Here’s a simple example of abundance to help you understand. I write a lot of blogs with win-win in mind. Sure, I win by expanding my network, demonstrating my competency relative to my expertise, and occasionally receive the opportunity to serve others professionally. The reader also wins by receiving value through free content, by being valued as a person with greater potential, and by being helped and developed by a stranger that believes in them with no expectations or strings attached.

At the end of each blog post, I add this note, “I believe in abundance and write my blogs to help others become more effective and successful.”

This demonstrates an abundant mindset. A scarcity mindset wouldn’t put out free content much less give you permission to share it with the world. This is not all the content I have. I read and grow daily. I will always have more content.

My content is not limited unless I limit it. My knowledge is not limited because I am not limited. However, if I was resting on what I have done in the past with no desire to grow and become more on a daily basis, I would be hoarding my knowledge because that is all I would ever have.

That wouldn’t be your fault. That would be my fault.

Achieve Success

An abundance mindset will allow you to achieve success. Actually, living with abundance provides the foundation for success. People with an abundance mindset attract and are attracted to others with an abundance mindset. Together, they can achieve great success.

There are two keys that will allow you to achieve success.

The first key to achieving success is to work on your own personal character development. Who you are will determine who you will attract. Who you attract will determine your level of success.

If you want to achieve a higher level of success, you must develop a higher level of character. It’s that simple! Your character development will allow you to move beyond manipulating others to achieve success. High levels of success only come when we begin to motivate others in a way that inspires them to choose to help us achieve success.

The second key to achieving success is developing our competency relative to our passion and our purpose. We must follow our passion to find our purpose.

Whether we choose to continuously develop our competency or rest on what we have accomplished in the past is also based on our character.

It takes a higher level of character to continuously invest in developing ourselves.

It’s a lot easier to settle than it is to continuously stretch. As we continue to develop in our areas of passion, we will become more energized, motivated, and inspired. As a result, we will become contagious to those that believe what we believe and want to achieve what we want to achieve. Our influence with others will increase significantly.

I’ve written an entire book, Defining Influence, to help those that want to achieve success understand many of the foundational elements of character development.

High Level Character + High Level Competency = High Level Success


Choose Significance

Significance is a choice that only successful people can make. Why? Because significance is about helping others achieve success. It’s not about me. It’s about we. However, it does begin with me.

If you haven’t achieved success yourself in a specific area, others are not likely to seek you out to help them in that area. Even if they do, the odds you can actually help them achieve success in an area where you haven’t had success yourself is very small, if at all.

You may have achieved success in some areas while struggling in other areas. Success is very dynamic. For instance, someone may have achieved tremendous success in their personal life as a parent. Yet, that same person may have struggled tremendously in their professional life at work.

In this case, the person would be very well positioned to help others achieve success as a parent. However, relative to their area of expertise professionally, they wouldn’t be of much help to anyone because they haven’t achieved success in that area themselves.

Choosing significance also requires a much higher level of character development than achieving success.

Why? Because it’s no longer about your success. It’s about helping others become more successful. Success comes with a high price. However, significance comes with an even higher price. It’s easy to pay the price to achieve success because you win. But, paying the higher price for significance, which means you are paying more to help others win, is not something that most successful people are willing to do.

This blog post is a simple example of success versus significance. Many very successful people have the ability to write blog posts, books, etc. relative to their area of expertise but choose not to do so.

I had to pay the price to achieve success relative to the leadership content I write about by reading, learning, and applying what I’m sharing with you here in my own life. But, by choosing to invest nearly four hours of my time today thinking and writing this blog post to help you, I’m required to pay an even higher price to help you.

I’m giving you and others four hours of my most valuable resource: my time.

By choosing to invest time helping you, I’m sacrificing the time I could be investing to help myself. Additional reading for myself during these four hours would be about achieving additional success. However, writing this blog post for you is about helping you achieve additional success. By making this choice, I’m choosing to be significant instead of successful.

Leave a Legacy

Significant people are the only ones that will leave a legacy. We can only leave a legacy through others.

By choosing significance, my intent is to leave a legacy through others. If I would have continued to only worry about what I had and what I wanted when I was focused on success, I would have never been in a position to choose a life of significance. I would not have the opportunity to leave a legacy.

Leaving a legacy is not about leaving something for others. Leaving a legacy is about leaving something within others. When we repeatedly choose significance, we are making our best attempt to leave a legacy within others.

Leaving a legacy is not truly determined by us.

We have only left a legacy when those we have influenced along the way choose a life of significance and continue the cycle.

Leaving a legacy is about inspiring others to choose significance. Motivation comes from the outside which means we or others must be present to stimulate action. But, inspiration comes from the inside which means others will take action based on what’s already inside of them, not because of who is standing beside them.

When others are acting because we influenced and inspired them, we are leaving a legacy.

We don’t really ever work on leaving a legacy. We first must work on living with abundance. Then, we must work on learning to achieve success. Next, we must work on making intentional choices to become significant. And finally, if we do it well enough and we do it long enough, we will be in a position to leave a legacy.

“Humility means knowing and using your strength for the benefit of others, on behalf of a higher purpose. The humble leader is not weak, but strong…is not pre-occupied with self, but with how best to use his or her strengths for the good of others. A humble leader does not think less of himself, but chooses to consider the needs of others in fulfilling a worthy cause. We love to be in the presence of a humble leader because they bring out the very best in us. Their focus is on our purpose, our contribution, and our ability to accomplish all we set out to accomplish.” ~ Alan Ross

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy Be a Game Changer: the world has enough followers.

Note: I encourage you to share my blog posts with others if you find value in them. I believe in abundance and write my blogs to help others become more effective and successful. Click here to receive a free download of “Get Out of the Way and Lead” and to subscribe to my email list to receive periodic leadership lessons.

Make an impact!

Mack Story

My passion is helping people understand what’s common sense isn’t always common practice. I help leaders at all levels develop 360° of influence. The result: they take more responsibility and lead with speed.

The Key to Leading in a Negative Environment


Would you mind writing an article about how to thrive as a leader amidst tides of negativity?” This is a question I received a few weeks ago in my LinkedIn inbox. I hope this post adds value to the person that asked me to share my thoughts on this issue and others that may be in the same situation. I get some form of this question almost weekly from someone.

My reply may not be what you expect. Most often, people that ask this question are searching for practices, but they should be searching for principles.

Practices apply in certain situations. Principles apply in all situation.

For more than 10 years, I have thrived as a leader among a sea of negativity. I’m often sought after for cultural transformation and to professionally lead teams through challenging processes. I usually know nothing or very little about what the teams are actually doing or planning to do. What I do know is how to motivate and inspire people to achieve great results. I recently calculated that I have spent over 11,000 hours leading cross-functional teams through change. Change that most didn’t ask for and most didn’t want. Teams that often didn’t know each other or me. Teams that were often made up of some very negative people.

When a leader is challenged to lead (influence) in a negative environment, they have three options:

  1. Step up. To do so, you must have already made a large investment in personal character development. You must also be the top leader or have leaders above you with the ability to lead at or above your level. If you and your leaders, if applicable, have paid the price, you will be able to effectively deal with any negativity you encounter. Either by changing the people through growth and development or by changing the people through removal and replacement. The leaders that are able to step up never ask me the question that started off this lesson. Why? They already know the answer. If you can’t improve the team and/or your environment, you’re not leading. You’re being led.
  2. Step aside. This is typically what happens when a leader hasn’t done the character work that will allow him/her to lead among a sea of negativity but wants to remain with the team because they don’t have other options. The leader simply steps aside willingly or is pushed aside unwillingly when the real leader, the person with the most influence regardless of rank or title, begins to lead the team. Understand, this influence can be positive or negative. Often, the person with the most influence is negative which influences those around them to also choose to be negative.
  3. Step out. This is typically what happens when a leader has done the character work to lead in a negative environment but has a leader above them that has not. When this happens, the leadership above is undermining the leadership below. High level character development means you have the courage to do whatever it takes to make any situation better. In this case, you can’t make the current environment better because of poor leadership above. However, because of your personal growth and development you have created options and have the courage to act on those options. The result: you change your environment by changing your environment. In other words, you join a new team that doesn’t attract or allow negative team members to contaminate the team.

Strong leaders step up. They are ready. They are positive. They have strong character. They are in a position to make it happen and do make it happen.

Weak leaders step aside. They are not ready. They are negative. They have weak character and blame others for their inability to cope with reality. They are in a position to make it happen but cannot.

Trapped leaders step out. They are ready. They are positive. They have strong character. They are not in a position to make it happen, but they want to make it happen. So, they find a place where they can.

The answer to the question: “How do I thrive as a leader amidst tides of negativity?”

The key to dealing with negativity at any level is character development at your level.

To thrive as a leader in a sea of negativity, you must either step up or step out. The answer to how you thrive in a sea of negativity is found within, not without.

Character is developed daily, not in a day. Everything we cannot effectively deal with can be traced back to a lack of character on our part. That’s not someone else’s fault. That’s our fault. Dr. Henry Cloud, author of Integrity, put it this way, “Character is the ability to meet the demands of reality.” He also added, “Integrity is the courage to meet the demands of reality.”

Note: I’ve written two books and over 100 blog posts that will help you develop your character and your ability to lead.

When you are surrounded by a sea of negativity, it’s always rooted in a lack of leadership. Where leadership thrives, negativity cannot survive. Negativity cannot thrive in an organization that is being led well. Likewise, negativity cannot thrive in an individual that is leading themselves well. Everything rises and falls on leadership. This includes negativity.

Here’s an important question. Which leader causes the negativity in an organization? Sometimes, it’s a leader above us. But, most often, it’s the leader within us. Here’s the most important question. Which leader can we directly influence to address the negativity? It’s always the one within us.

When we think our problem lies outside of ourselves, that very thought is the problem.

Why? Because if nothing “out there” ever changes, we will always have a problem. But, if we think the problem lies within, we have total control and can find a solution to our problem. Now, we simply must do what it takes in order to work and live in the environment we prefer to be in.

Relative to this lesson, if everyone “out there” remains negative, and all we do is blame them and try to fix them, we are in for a miserable life and/or a frustrating career. But, if everyone “out there” remains negative, and we take responsibility for developing ourselves and focusing on our mission, we will create new and better options for ourselves. We may, in fact, influence them to change as a result, or we will develop ourselves to a level where positive people and teams want us to join them.

When dealing with negative people, it’s always nice to have options. When dealing with positive people, it’s still nice to have options.

Be intentional. Develop yourself by developing your character.

Note: I encourage you to share my blog posts with others if you find value in them. I believe in abundance and write my blogs to help others become more effective and successful. Click here to receive a free download of “Get Out of the Way and Lead” and to subscribe to my email list to receive periodic leadership lessons.

Make an impact!

Mack Story

My passion is helping people understand what’s common sense isn’t always common practice. I help leaders at all levels develop 360° of influence. The result: they take more responsibility and lead with speed.

2016 is coming! It’s time to get off the fence and prepare to make it happen!


Pause and Think:

What would change if you had more influence? At work? At home?

“There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead us inspire us.” ~ Simon Sinek

Leadership is Influence

Do you believe the person with the most influence, in any given situation, at any given time is the leader of the group? Notice, I didn’t ask if the person with the most power, the highest rank, or the biggest title is the leader of the group. Think about the question deeply for a moment.

Forget all the questions that may be popping into your mind as you consider your answer. Keep your thoughts simple. If you have the most influence among a group of people, are you the leader of the group? Yes or no? Without a doubt, the person with the most influence is always the leader.

Do you believe you will be better off with more or less influence? Personally? Professionally? What would change in both areas if your influence increased?

My mentor, John C. Maxwell said it best, “Leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.” The person with the most influence is the leader of the pack. The word influence can be used in place of the word leadership at any time. They are synonyms. Train yourself to use them interchangeably. But most importantly, when you speak with others, be sure to define leadership as influence to help them better understand they too are leaders, regardless of whether or not they have a formal position.

My belief that everything rises and falls on influence led me to write an entire book on influence, Demystifying Leadership Series: Defining Influence. In Defining Influence, I help the reader discover many principles of influence and fully understand that everyone has influence. Therefore, based on my belief in John C. Maxwell’s definition of influence, everyone is a leader.

The question is not, “Are you a leader?” But rather, “What kind of leader are you?” And most importantly, “What type of leader do you want to become?” How far do you want to grow?

Are you intentionally working to increase your influence? Should you be?

What would happen if your influence increased in every situation? Would your life be better? Would the life of those around you be better? Would you achieve better results? Would your income be more likely to increase? Would you have more options?

Increasing your influence always increases your options.

Consider the last time you were mad, sad, upset, or frustrated at home or at work. Was it because you had too much influence or not enough?

Consider a time when you needed help with a project and couldn’t get it. Was it because you had too much influence or not enough?

I believe everything we ever achieve will be based on the amount of influence we have with others. However, I also believe in order to develop our influence with others, we first must influence ourselves. We must lead ourselves well before we can lead others well. If we want to lead better, we must be better. We must become higher level leaders than we are today.

Note: I encourage you to share my blog posts with others if you find value in them. I believe in abundance and write my blogs to help others become more effective and successful. Click here to receive a free download of “Get Out of the Way and Lead” and to subscribe to my email list to receive periodic leadership lessons.

Make an impact!

Mack Story