John Maxwell shares five key lessons learned from his earliest experiences that are helpful for all leaders.

There are many leaders who face similar circumstances to the ones I faced with a small organization and few resources, but big dreams and goals. Being a one-man show isn’t ideal, but it can teach you a lot of great leadership lessons. Here are five lessons I learned:

1. Harness the energy of potential — Every day presented a first for me and my career. Because of this, I was able to wake up each day excited for what lay ahead of me. The key is disciplining yourself to look for it in every situation.

2. Tap into your imagination — It’s often easy to say, “Well, no one has ever done that before” and give up. But when you tap into your imagination, you can find your way around any problem—and possibly help other people find their way around it too!

3. Discover your strengths and focus on them — I soon discovered that there were areas where I seemed to be growing quickly, like communication, and others where I grew much more slowly, such as administration. I worked at both, but I never became a great administrator. Over time, however, my communication got better and better.

4. Learn to build momentum — It’s tempting to believe success comes in the form of a “home run”. You can become convinced that you are one big this, or one lucky that, away from really breaking out. The truth is your breakout will come from the small changes you make day after day.  Consistent work to improve your routine, your disciplines, and your knowledge accumulates over time, and produces the big this or the “luck” that you need.

5. Appreciate those who help — Everyone has people who support and help them on their way, and I was no different.