Persuasive vs. Compelling

I have a book about leadership that has been in my library since 1994. It is one of those books that is profoundly helpful and worth reading again. And again.

I was looking for a different resource this last week, and that old familiar leadership book ended up in my hands.  I thumbed through the pages and noticed where I had underlined essential ideas and written notes in the margins.  I stopped on page 182.  A sentence caught my attention —

“There are two ways you can get others to do what you want: You can compel them to do it, or you can persuade them.”  – John Maxwell

Now, remember it is a book about leadership and the author went on to explain the value of persuasion in the dynamics of a team.  BUT, two words in that sentence seemed to leap off the page as relevant to the subject of our mindset: compel and persuade.

I’m convinced that a healthy mindset — the kind that helps us rise to the challenge of being positive in a cynical world, service-oriented in a selfish society, ready to persevere when others are giving up — is persuaded, not compelled. The people who have the most positive influence in the world do so because they are persuaded that their lives matter. Those that feel compelled are more likely to grumble or drag their feet.

Let us make the most of today and live persuaded so that we can, in turn, be persuasive.

~ Steven Iwersen