A Person of Influence...Enlarges (Mentors) People

It’s one thing to build a product; it’s another thing to build a company, because companies are nothing but men/women, and the things that come out of them are no better than the people themselves. We do not build automobiles, airplanes, [poultry, pet food], refrigerators, radios, or shoestrings. We build men/women. They build the product.
— Robert Gross, former president of Lockheed Aircraft Corporation

If you have enjoyed these blogs and would like to purchase the book to have it in your personal library, I would encourage you to do so. Here is a great link to find both new and used copies of Becoming a Person of Influence for under $5.

I was curious to know where this chapter was going to go because “enlarging people” isn’t a phrase that we often (or ever) use in our language. I think what John Maxwell really needed was an “M” in the word, “Influence” and there wasn’t one, so he had to get clever! This chapter should really be called, “A Person of Influence…Mentors People.”

It’s interesting how these chapters have fallen for me personally. Today, October 7th, is Chaplain Wil Gardner’s 75th birthday. Wil has been an incredible mentor to me. Since I joined his chaplain team at Simmons back in 2010, he has invested in, believed in, and encouraged me so much these last three years. I am so blessed to have someone like him in my life who has been able to see beyond who I am now - to who I could potentially become. Wil’s relationship and friendship have been invaluable to me and I am so thankful for him.

Definition of Mentoring

Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximize their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.

Scripture on Mentoring

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” ~ Philippians 4:9

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” ~ Proverbs 27:17

Mentors impact eternity because there is no telling where their influence will stop.

— John Maxwell

Enlarging (Mentoring) Others Is an Investment

“There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being – to help someone succeed” ~ Alan Loy McGinnis

1. Raise Their Level of Living

“The greatest achievements are those that benefit others” ~ Denis Waitley

2. Increase Their Potential For Success

“When you enlarge other people, you brighten their future. When they expand their horizons, improve their attitudes, increase their skills, or learn new ways to think, they perform and live better. And that increases their potential.”

3. Increase Their Capacity For Growth

“Enlarging has long-term benefits. It helps them become better equipped, and it increases their capacity to learn and grow.”

4. Increase the Potential of Your Organization

“If many people in your organization improve themselves even slightly, the quality of your whole organization increases. If a few people improve themselves a lot, the potential for growth and success increases due to the increased leadership of these people. And if both kinds of growth occur as the result of your enlarging, hang on because your organization is about to take off!”

The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them; a man may live long yet live very little.
— Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Make Yourself an Enlarger (Mentor)

“You can teach what you know, but you can reproduce only what you are.”

“Just as people will not follow a person whose leadership skills are weaker than their own, they will not learn to grow from someone who isn’t growing.”

Carefully Choose Persons to Mentor

  • Select people whose philosophy of life is similar to yours
  • Choose people with potential you genuinely believe in
  • Select people whose lives you can positively impact
  • Start when the time is right


“Hell begins when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts we wasted, and of all that we might have done that we did not do.”


Make It a Priority to Take Them Through the Mentoring Process

1. See Their Potential

“Whenever you look at people you desire to [mentor], try to discern what they are capable of doing. Look for the spark of greatness. Watch and listen with your heart as well as your eyes. Find their enthusiasm. Try to visualize what they would be doing if they overcame personal obstacles, gained confidence, grew in areas of promise, and gave everything they had. That will help you see their potential”

2. Cast a Vision for Their Future

“When you cast a vision for others, you help them see their potential and their possibilities. And when you add to that vision your faith in them, you spark them to action.”

3. Tap into Their Passion

“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that they world will at least be a little bit different for our having passed through it.” ~ Harold Kushner

4. Address Character Flaws

“Help others learn to conduct themselves with integrity in every situation, and they will be ready to grow and reach their potential.”

5. Focus on Their Strengths

“Instead of focusing on weaknesses, pay attention to people’s strengths. Sharpen skills that already exist. Compliment positive qualities. Bring out the gifts inherent in them. Weaknesses can wait – unless they are character flaws. Only after you have developed a strong rapport with them and they have begun to grow and gain confidence should you address areas of weakness. And then handle them gently one at a time.”

6. Enlarge(Mentor) Them One Step at a Time

7. Put Resources in Their Hands

“To help people grow, no matter what area you’re addressing, put resources in their hands.”

8. Expose Them to Enlarging Experiences

“Remember that events and meetings don’t make people grow. They inspire people to make important decisions that can change the direction of their lives. The growth itself comes from what people do daily after they have made a decision.”

9. Teach Them to Be Self-Enlargers

“If you can help them to become lifelong learners, you will have given them an incredible gift”

Maxwell suggests including these four areas in the development process:

1. Attitude

“More than anything else, attitude determines whether people are successful and able to enjoy life.”

2. Relationships

“The ability to relate to others and communicate with them can affect marriage, parenting, occupation, friendships, and more.”

3. Leadership

“Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

4. Personal and Professional Skills

“It’s not what happens to people that makes a difference, it’s what happens in them.”


My 3 Takeaways from the chapter on Mentoring:

1. Some of you reading this may have never had someone who took the time to mentor you. I would challenge you, if this is true for you, to find someone who you respect and who is willing to take the time to invest in you and pursue that mentoring relationship.

2. The potential to positively and richly impact another person’s life through mentoring requires both intentionality and energy, but the return on the investment in someone’s life through this mentoring process has eternal potential.

3. While reading this chapter this week, I had a few of our team members ask if I would pray for their children who are working and living out-of-state. I was reminded that there are probably mothers and fathers, families and loved-ones who are praying every night for someone to mentor and believe in the very people that you and I work with every day. You have the opportunity to be an answer to someone’s prayer by investing in and mentoring those that you may feel called to do so. I thought it was a pretty powerful thought and wanted to close on that.

As you nurture people, show your faith in them, listen to their hopes and fears, and demonstrate your understanding of them, you build a strong relational connection and give them incentive to succeed – and to be influenced by you. But if you want people to be able to really grow, improve, and succeed, you have to take the next step with them. You have to become a mentor to them.
— John Maxwell, Becoming a Person of Influence