University of Mobile Scholarship Speaker John Maxwell Urges a “Life of Significance”

The difference between living a life of “success” or one of “significance” depends upon where you choose to add value, New York Times best-selling author and international leadership expert John Maxwell told University of Mobile students and supporters at the 12th annual University of Mobile Scholarship Banquet April 27.

“Success is when I add value to myself. Significance is when I add value to others,” explained Maxwell during an evening at the Mobile Convention Center that shared the vision of the Christian university while raising funds for scholarships.

University President Timothy L. Smith thanked supporters for providing scholarships for students, including many in the 650-member audience who established endowed scholarships.

“At the end of the day, it’s about the students and how we can partner together to strengthen the opportunity for students to engage in a university such as University of Mobile, where they are in a Christ-centered academic community,” Smith said.

Maxwell is among many speakers of national prominence that UM has featured while raising funds for student scholarships. He speaks each year to Fortune 500 companies, presidents of nations, and many of the world’s top business leaders. He has sold more than 26 million books in 50 languages and, in 2014, was identified as the No. 1 leader in business by the American Management Association and the most influential leadership expert in the world by Business Insider and Inc. magazine.

His message focused on intentional living and the importance of living a life of significance by adding value to the lives of others.

“Good intentions will never take you anywhere you want to go. Only intentional living will get you the things you want in life,” Maxwell said. “When you’re intentional, you can add value to everything you do and to every person you meet.”

Deciding how best to add value to others involves making decisions that include where to invest your time as well as your financial resources, according to Maxwell.

He said two qualities he looks for first in an organization he supports financially are “competence” and “good character.” Maxwell noted the university’s purpose of higher education that transforms hearts, President Smith’s vision for the future, and his own experience earlier that day on campus with university leadership and students.

“This is an organization that has both character and competence,” Maxwell said.

He emphasized the lasting impact of transformational change, explaining that when you train, you educate people; but when you transform, you change people.

On campus prior to the banquet, Maxwell met several UM Ambassadors and spoke to students at Ram Hall. He advised them to develop a plan for growth and learning that continues throughout their lifetime.

He related how he determined to become a leadership expert, and to accomplish that goal in five years through consistent daily learning. But something unexpected happened when he realized he had fallen in love with the learning process, according to Maxwell.

“I quit asking the question ‘how long it would take’ and started asking the question ‘how far can I go,’” Maxwell said. “Be growth-oriented, not goal-oriented.”

Previous UM Scholarship Banquet speakers were Fox News Channel’s chief political anchor Bret Baier, neurosurgeon and presidential candidate Ben Carson, President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, Col. Oliver North, presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, Georgia Gov. and U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, and New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews. T

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean uses her passion for storytelling and "playing with words" to share the stories of people, place and purpose that make the University of Mobile unique. As associate vice president for university communications, she manages media relations, edits the TorchLight alumni magazine, and oversees university communications. A former award-winning journalist, she is a two-time recipient of the Baptist Communicators Association grand prize for feature writing. Kathy and her husband, Chuck, live with three extremely loud miniature schnauzers.