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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Craig Groeschel » Craig Groeschel - Earning Respect as a Leader

Craig Groeschel - Earning Respect as a Leader

Craig Groeschel - Earning Respect as a Leader
Craig Groeschel - Earning Respect as a Leader
TOPICS: Leadership Podcast, Respect, Leadership

And I was so driven and so competitive and I wanted to be good and I wanted to win, but what I realized is in the process, I was a terrible teammate.

Well, Tim, welcome aboard, man.

Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. This is my first time here. And first time really getting to sit down and hang. We've crossed paths a lot of different times and just have so much respect for you and everything you stand for.

Well, same. I've looked up to you for years and years and your leadership. And so, to have you share your leadership wisdom with our community means the world.

Oh, thank you. It's an honor to be here.

I wanna dive in and ask you some questions. Maybe some you haven't been asked before.

I love it, come on.

But I wanna start with you've got tremendous influence and you're a world class leader. Was there a time when you were growing up and maybe the first time you recognized that you could actually influence people in a direction? When's the first time that you recognized maybe, or maybe even in hindsight, that you had the ability to lead?

Yeah, I would actually say it's gonna sound kind of silly. I think it was my first ever T-ball game.

There you go.

And we had just moved back from the Philippines and I didn't get to go to any of the practices. But I show up for the first game and I have number 35, just like my favorite player Frank Thomas. And I show up to this game and I think this thing's the freaking World Series. You know, we're so competitive. My whole family's so competitive. So I show up to this first game. Before we take the field our coach, Coach Langley, he comes up to all of the team and he huddles us together and he says, "Okay guys, now it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. It's only about having fun". And this is literally my first few days in America. And I was like, "Is this what America's about? 'Cause this sucks". This is awful. And I yank on his shirt, I say, "No, Coach, you're wrong. It's only about winning, that's when you have fun". And so he tells all the rest of the kids to go to their position. And he says, "You wait right here". And I'm like, "Oh no, I'm in trouble in my first game". And he walks over to the fans in the stands, the fans, there's seven parents. And he says, "Mr Tebow, will you come down here"? And I'm like trying to listen, what is he saying? And he's like, "Mr Tebow, I think we have a problem with your son". And my dad's like, "Coach, what's the problem"? And he says, "He's overly competitive". So my dad's like, "Okay, let me go talk to him". So my dad comes walking around the first space dugout and I'm thinking, "Oh no, I'm literally about to get a spanking". My dad's that dad that I would get a spanking in front of my entire team, maybe mortified for life. And my dad comes walking around, and my dad's a pretty big intimidating looking guy, with a stern look on his face. And he walks over to me. He leans over and he looks me in the eye. He says, "Timmy it's okay, he just doesn't understand".


And it was so encouraging to me. And that, first of all, I wasn't gonna get a spanking. And that first inning I played first base. And I remember the other team, they're hitting the ball all over the park. And I looked to the outfield and all three of our outfielders are huddled together, looking for four leaf clovers. And I'm mortified. And the second baseman's like, "What color snow cone do you want"? I'm like, "What's wrong with you, pay attention". And so then the next inning they found out I was kind of athletic. So the next inning they move me to pitcher. You're just in a little circle thing. And wherever the ball was hit, I'll just be like, "Okay, gotta do whatever you gotta do to win. I'll run and go get it and tag the guy before he got to first". And so we run over the sidelines and I'm all pumped and ready to go. And Coach Langley's like, "Timmy, good job. But you have to throw the ball to first". I said, "Why the kid can't catch". And I was so driven and so competitive and I wanted to be good and I wanted to win. But what I realized is in the process, I was a terrible teammate.

Craig Groeschel: Hm.

And that was the last thing we did on that Saturday afternoon. And the first thing we did the next day, on Sunday, was go to church. And I wanted to tell, for some reason, how I did in the game. I had this many hits, this many home runs. And my parents instilled a rule for me and all my siblings, but really for me, that before we were allowed to play in any games, we'd have to memorize a scripture verse on humility.


Because they were so mortified with how I acted the first game. And I realized that game, not necessarily through my actions, but also my parents pointing it out to me. "Is you have the chance to influence your teammates".

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

"And you did".

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

"It just wasn't for the better".

Craig Groeschel: Interesting.

"And instead of building them up, instead of lifting them up, you put pressure on them in not a good way. Because they're not as naturally gifted as you, Timmy. You have four older siblings and you compete every day. This is the first time they've ever played". And it was so eyeopening to me. And my dad would sit me down over and over and over again when I was young, 4, 5, 6 years of age. And he would tell me my birth story, how I was a miracle baby in the womb. That God spared me when they didn't think I would survive. And the placenta wasn't attached. And he would say, "God spared you for a reason. And he's given you gifts. And you know what, Brett Farve could go and share in any high school that he wanted to".

Craig Groeschel: Right.

"One day, I think you'll have that same chance, but will you? Will you use that opportunity and that platform for good or for yourself"?

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

And he would literally tell me that when I was four, about to turn five, that summer. And he would tell me that over and over again. And it really did have an impact in my life because I realized that influence isn't just for the positive. And leadership isn't just positive.

Craig Groeschel: Right.

And it is just as easy, if not easier, to lead in a negative way. To be a gossiper, to be a tattle tale, to be a ego maniac, to be arrogant, to be all those things, before it is to lead in a humble manner. Before it is to lead in an upright way. Before it is to lead guys to actually rally them together. And so I'd actually say that I learned early on from doing it wrong before I ever came close to possibly doing it right.

So there's three things I love about that. The first thing is number one, you're recognizing at the age of four that you could make a difference, maybe five.

I think, I don't know if I would recognize it if my parents didn't point it out so clearly.

Yeah okay, but you look back now and recognize-


You had influence before you're in first grade.

Yes, yes.

And I try to tell people a lot of times, sometimes people say, well, I don't listen to your "Leadership Podcast" 'cause I'm not a leader. And I wanna say no, remember what is leadership? Leadership is influence.

That's exactly right.

And everyone has influence.

That's right.

So you should see yourself as that. The first thing I love. Second thing is, this is kind of embarrassing, but I think this is the first time on our podcast that we have talked that directly about not only, I always assume we lead toward the positive, but there are probably more leaders that lead toward a toxic culture or tear people down. We know that, but you recognize early on in your first leadership lesson was, secondly, that you can use it for good or not good.

Tim Tebow: That's right.

And the third thing I loved is that there was a seed planted in you from a very early age, recognizing that that could grow into a massive influence. I think that's one of the greatest gifts that we can give our children is to recognize that no matter what age that that seed of leadership can become, I mean, you were thinking about influencing people like Brett Farve before you realized you could hit the ball passed the shortstop.

That's right.

And I love that. As we're sitting here, you're also the most in shape person we've ever had. We have a trophy in the background.

I think I pale in comparison to you, so let's be honest.

Hey, hey, get the trophy ready for the best shape of the solution.

The bucket's out back.

You're an incredibly disciplined person. People sometimes will tell me, they say, "Hey, you're disciplined". I'm like this, "Actually, I'm not. I have to choose discipline". What's your theory? Are you more naturally disciplined or is it something you have to work out?

I think I'm naturally driven. I had to learn to be more disciplined. And I actually would say I'm not necessarily a huge believer in being disciplined for the sake of being disciplined.

Craig Groeschel: Yes.

Or being a hard worker for the sake of hard work. And I think we make such a mistake in coaching our kids. Hey, be a hard worker. Hey, be disciplined. I think we miss the mark. No one gets inspired when you say, be disciplined. When you say, be a hard worker. They get inspired when you paint a picture of what it looks like if you do this, right? I paint a picture, it would be having a running back that I would play with and say, "Hey, I believe that you have a chance to be one of the best running backs in the country. I believe there's a chance. You carry the rock in the game winning play in the national championship and the confetti comes down on you, if you go to work. If you dedicate yourself, if you pursue this". And so you paint a vision and then you say with hard work, with discipline, with determination, all of these things, now you get there. The end goal is not to be disciplined.

Craig Groeschel: Right.

The end goal is not to be a hard worker.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

The end goal is whatever that vision, that dream, that picture, that you're trying to paint, whatever it is, as a football player, basketball player, your occupation, in school, whatever it is, whatever that end goal, that vision, that dream that you have, now we're gonna learn to be disciplined, and be a hard worker, and be determined, and set the mindset. Because the end means so much that yeah, I care so much for that end goal, I'll be disciplined.

Craig Groeschel: Yeah.

I'll be a hard worker.

So coach me through, let's say that I have an end goal that I want to accomplish. How do I determine the discipline that brings about that goal? What does the process look like?

First of all, I think it's so important that you pick one that is worthy. You pick one that is worthy of working hard. If you have a small goal, if you have a small dream, and if you don't really think you can accomplish it, then dang, when I'm sore it is really hard to wake up at five. Why would I do it?

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

Even if I get there, it's not really worth it.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

Even if I get there, it's not that great. But if the end goal means so much to you-

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

If you really believe you can achieve it, if you really believe that this is something that is worth blood, sweat, and tears, and we throw those three together all the time. I put in the blood, blood, sweat and tears. Did you really?

Craig Groeschel: Yeah.

Is the end goal really worth it, right? And I think one of the things about building a team is when the team, all the team believes in that end goal. And this isn't just on a football team, on a baseball team, basketball team, this could be any form of a job. This could be in a university. When everybody believes the end goal's worth it, and you all say we're all willing because we believe that it's worthy of all of us to go after. To give up sometimes even individual goals. Sometimes individual wants. Sometimes even individual hangouts. Well, I could go hang out by myself, but it's worth it to build the comradery of the team. Because you know what, I know the end goal.

So for those of you that are listening right now, you're missing the body language, the emotion, what I'm seeing. When I look into this guy's eyes like, dang, I want the end goal. I wish you could see, I wish you could see. I would love to hear kind of your holistic approach to what's the win for you. So for example, you have a good marriage and you have good influence. You have integrity. You're building a great team. You've got, you're a light. You're a witness. You're a physical specimen of what I would call a good stewardship of the temple, the Holy Spirit. There's gotta be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 wins in your mind that you're shooting for. Help me understand what are a few of the wins and what's the pathway to the wins? And what I'm trying to do is I want someone else out there to hear one, interpret it into their own win, and find a path to it. Because there's a lot of people that aren't where they wanna be, help us get there. What do you think about?

The number one win or maybe what I encourage people to think about is not every one of us has the chance to be the best. It's just the truth. When I hear people say it all the time, if you believe you can be the best, you can go do it. No, it's not true. Listen, I know a lot of people that could never beat LeBron James one on one in basketball. But every single one of us has a chance to be our best. And I think that's a worthy end goal. With my life, with my opportunities, with what God has given me, I only have one chance. I only have one life. I only have one body. I only have one opportunity. And so I wanna make the most of that. And I also believe that's part of stewardship, is taking every single one of those and trying to maximize it. Maximize it for His glory and maximize it to be able to make a difference in other people's lives. And in every area, it shouldn't just be in one area. It should be in every area of our lives that we're choosing to say, okay, there's good, better, and there's best. And as a foundation team, we make decisions like that every day. We'll say, hey, this is good, but is anything better?

Craig Groeschel: Yeah.

And this is better, but is there anything else that's best, right? And I don't wanna be someone that just looks at, oh, that's good. Because that's easy. There are a lot of things that are good.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

But then I would challenge you if you're thinking or you're watching this right now, you're thinking about that thing right now in their head. Is there anything else you could say that's better for me to do? And then maybe you'll have the realization of one day, hey, that is best for your life. And that's hard to get to that place. But in decision making, that's how I try to make the decisions of the choices I wanna to go after, the worthy end game. And then trying to maximize that in every area of our life. Because ultimately I think when we just live in a state of comparison with other people, oh, he's so much better than I am, right? Well, we get so discouraged from that. But when we live in the mindset of, with what I have been given, with what I have, I have a chance every day to wake up and be my best. I don't have to necessarily compare myself to everybody else and say, but they have this. They have that, they, yes, what did God give you?

Craig Groeschel: Right.

How has he equipped you? Why has he put you here? And when you understand that I don't have to live in a form of comparison. But we do unfortunately, 12% of our daily thoughts are spent in some form of comparison. That's crazy.

That's crazy.

That's staggering. And it is also stifling to our pursuit in trying to be our best. I can't be my best when I'm worried about, well, I don't have what he has. I don't look like she does. Well, I wish I had this figure. I wish I had this. What did God give you? Make the most of it.


Take every single one of those areas and let's maximize it. That doesn't mean we're gonna be perfect. We're gonna fail, we're gonna fall short in every one of those areas. But when that's our mindset and our heart posture, I think that we have so much more of a chance to be successful.

I'm gonna give you a long lead in question. I'm going somewhere. Physically, what you've accomplished in sports and then just taking care of yourself is hats off impressive. I'm gonna guess what goes into that. And it's gonna be a long list and I may guess close, and you can tell me close or not. And then what I wanna do is I wanna talk about developing your leadership gifts.

Tim Tebow: Okay.

And then I want you to tell me what are some of the disciplines that go into it. For your body I'm gonna guess that it's, most people think work out. That's lower on the list.


It's gonna be, there's gonna be sleep matters a lot.


I'm gonna guess water intake-


Probably matters a lot. I'm gonna guess your diet is freaky strict.


People would not understand.


I'm gonna guess that there's, I'm gonna guess, there's probably some supplements that you would take.


Some nutrients that you're gonna add. I'm gonna guess that you probably would do something like I would do, like a sauna's a regular part.

All the time.

I would guess with you me might be into cold-

Cold plunges, yeah.

Cold plunges.

Yeah, love them.

I'm gonna guess that there might be seasons when you work out in one way, and seasons when you change up your workout.


I'm gonna guess that you have some rest days. I'm gonna guess that you have some days where you're sloppy in the gym and other days when you're ridiculously strategic-

No doubt.

And it would freak people out. I'm gonna guess that you probably track things. I'm gonna guess you probably go to the doctor regularly, get your blood checked, get-

All of the above.

Hormones checked. And there's probably seven or eight things I haven't thought of.



Yeah. But you're absolutely accurate on every single one of those.

Yes. Because I have studied and I know a little bit what goes into it. Let's take that same amount of detail and transfer it into disciplines that lead toward leadership.

Tim Tebow: Mm-hm.

What are some of those things that like most people would say, "Tim, show me your workout". And you're going, that's one of 19 things that I do to accomplish this.

Tim Tebow: That's right.

How can I lead like you, Tim? Do I need to go to public speaking class? That's one of 19 things that you need to do. Can you talk about some of the disciplines that help you grow your influence that people would not necessarily think about?

Yeah, I've thought about this a lot in my life. 'Cause leadership is a fascinating topic and it's a fascinating subject. And thinking through it and I'm trying to practice it and trying to get better, the number one thing that I believe about leadership is it comes in all shapes and sizes. It comes in all backgrounds, it comes in all cultures. There is not one form of leadership, not one body type, not one speech pattern, not one. We look at history and there's leaders that have been big and small. Leaders that have had stuttering problems. Leaders that have been able to give fantastic speeches, all forms of it. But one of the common themes that I see in so many of these great leaders is they have found a way to earn people's respect. And I think it's something that too many times we miss now. We think it's better to be liked.


We think, oh, if I'm a leader, I need everyone to like me. And I would say, I've been there many times. Because the way I'm wired is that I'm a people pleaser.


And I want people to like me. But I had to learn, especially early on in college, that I can't live a life of longing for people to like me. And so I made a mindset switch and a heart posture switch to say, I'm gonna choose to try to earn people's respect. And I was getting criticized more on a national stage. I remember going to my dad and I said, "Dad, if they just got to know me, if they'd talk to me, they would like me". My dad said, "You're right, Timmy, they would 'cause you're likable".


"But unfortunately, a lot of people don't wanna like you".


"They won't even want to get to know you to like you".

Craig Groeschel: Right.

And that was really eye opening to me. And then I was reading a book by Winston Churchill at a time in his life when the majority of the world disliked him. The allies thought he was losing the war for the allies, and everyone on the opposite side, he was their enemy. So they hated him too. And Winston Churchill writes, "If you have enemies, good, it means you stood for something at least once in your life". And I remember thinking, how the heck is it good to have enemies? That was such a foreign concept?

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

How could it be good to have enemies? But what I realized is because of his principles, and because what he believed and what he wanted to stand for, it was worth it to stand for those things even if he had enemies. Not that you wanted enemies, but if you never stood for something-


You're probably not gonna have enemies.


But when you stand for something, especially when it matters, you're gonna have enemies. But it's still worth it to stand for it.


And that was a decision I had to try to, and it's not a natural one, but it was a choice I would have to make over and over again. And I would choose to start by saying, okay, I wanna make the decision to try to earn my teammate's respect.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

And because I naturally want them to like me-

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

But that comes and goes-

Craig Groeschel: Right.

With a social media post that someone doesn't like. That comes and goes with saying one thing that someone disagrees with. But when you earn respect, which is a lot harder to earn, it's also gonna last a lot longer than a like is. And I remember even to the point when I first got to Florida, my first week, trying to be so aware of it to even do silly, sometimes stupid things. I remember our first Friday, we have a super hard leg workout and guys are laying on the ground, throwing up. It has a name for it, but I can't repeat that. And terrible leg workout. And we finish and all the coaches are like, "All right, into the cold tub. Everybody gotta get in, seven minutes up to your hips, no negotiating". And everybody's negotiating and whining-

Seven minutes.

And saying, no, no, no, we're not doing blah, blah, blah. There's no negotiating. Everyone's gonna do it. It's just bottom line. And so while everybody's arguing, I was like, "Man, silly, but this is an opportunity to show that you're just a little bit different". And I remember sliding right into the cold tub and you only have to get in up to your hips. But I got in up to my neck and I'm sitting there in the cold tub with, I mean it's awful, but with no look on my face. And everybody turns and looks at me and they're like, you could hear kind of a pin drop. And they're like, dang, that's one crazy white boy. And they're kinda like, they're laughing. They were like, dang, he's kinda crazy. And that was okay.


Right? Because although it sounds silly, it was a way of earning their respect of like, dang, if he's willing to get in here when he only has to get into his hips, but he gets into his neck. When we have to run stadiums and he does a couple extra. When we're running sprints and he's there early. When all these other things they add up to then in the clutch moments, they know, hey, this dude's willing to do whatever it takes. We can count on him.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

And I would say that type of respect, of earning, of being able to go into the hard moments, the hard times, I would say embrace the grind, embrace the suck. And when they see that in you, that oh, you're not a leader because you're a quarterback. You're not a leader 'cause you're a five star.

Craig Groeschel: Right.

But when we do tug of war and as a freshman, when the offense picked the defense. The offense picked me to go against a defensive lineman and it was going until you can't. And it was such an honor for them to pick me to be in this, but they did that 'cause they believed that I wouldn't quit.

Craig Groeschel: Yeah.

And so it goes back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And I start pulling him and I go against the wall. And they say, keep going. And the only place to go was a bathroom. And so I literally am pulling this guy into a bathroom. And it sounds silly, but that was one of those moments though, where I honestly think that the respect for some of the guys, especially the older guys, was like, this isn't just a quarterback.

Right. This is a competitor.

This is a competitor.


This is our teammate.

This is the guy we want and yeah.

This guy, he's gonna go to battle with us.

I want you on my side.



And I would say that for me is a start of long-term leadership that lasts.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

Because I think there's a lot of forms of leadership, but I would rather talk about leadership that lasts rather than- 'Cause honestly, you want a good short term leadership, some form of trick or manipulation.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

Which we see all the time.

But leadership that lasts, there has to be some sort of respect that is earned. That is chipped away in other people, especially when there's cynics or like, hey, I don't really know about this. Well, you know what? You can chip away every day of earning that respect. I think it starts with that.

So imagine, let's say we're out to lunch and we've got a young high school principal who wants the teachers to like her and the students to like her. And let's say we've got a new person on the sales team and wants to be liked. And then let's say we've got a pastor that's dealing with a difficult employee right now and needs to have a hard conversation and wants to be liked.


What advice would you give to those people to help them get over their need to be liked? What is something they could do, besides sit in a neck deep in a bucket of ice, that would build respect in a leadership environment?

I think one of the first things is go out of your way to serve them in a way that they don't think you would ever possibly do.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

And it looks different in every situation. But if it's that teacher, then you go and you say, hey, what do you need? How can I help you? Do you have any students I can help with? Is there a difficult situation? For me on teams, it could be like we have an off weekend and there's someone that they don't have a chance to see their family. You wanna come home with us?

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

Hey, can I pick you up? Can I drive you? Can I take you here? And the little situations like that. It would even be situations where maybe someone who would get in trouble for something and you wouldn't be the first one to go say something. You'd be the last one. It would never leave your lips. 'Cause the goal is not to earn the favor of a coach, it's to earn the respect of a teammate. And there's a big difference. And that's what would make me one of the last people to ever say something.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

You know what? You come talk to me, it's over. It's done.

Craig Groeschel: Yeah.

You can trust me.

So in-

It's never going anywhere.

Summary, your leadership's not about the focus being toward you, you're genuinely caring about your teammates.

That's right. Finding a way to make their life better. To add value to their life, whatever that is. And I think it's different in every situation, every circumstance, but how can you add value? Because when someone feels, sees and knows, that you're adding value and then you're also not wanting anything, you're gonna chip away at earning that respect from them.

Right. My guess is that some of your favorite coaches, you didn't always like, but you always respected.

That's exactly right.

And you want a leader like that that you may, that if they're bringing the best out of you, sometimes they're hard on you.


And sometimes they're gonna tell you the truth you don't wanna hear.

That's exactly right. And that may mean like I don't really like you this moment, but I do respect you and I can receive from you. And if the goal is always to be liked, then it's hard to follow someone you don't necessarily respect.

And it's very, very hard, I think, to ever truly be your best-

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

When you're always searching for that, I'll tell you one of the best offensive coordinators I ever had was someone that when we would have a game and it would be great, we'd kill a team. And you would go 16 for 21, 300 yards, and a bunch of touchdowns. And then you'd hop in the film room. Almost never, would it be good job.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

It would be, so out of those five incompletions...

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

Three of them were your fault.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

And if we're playing Alabama, we're playing Oklahoma, we're playing Texas, that one might be a pick.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

And those two, we probably don't win the National Championship. And sometimes that's hard to take. And you're like, man, I just wish we could celebrate this one. But at the same time, I loved it 'cause it was like, okay, he's still painting the vision-

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

Of what the goal is. The goal's not to just beat that team we just beat.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

That's part of the goal. But the goal is at the end of the year to have confetti falling all over our team.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

And to do that, I have to work in the moment. But I still have to remember the end picture and that has to inspire me, right? Okay, it was a good day, but it wouldn't be good enough when this adversity's gonna hit in the future. And that is also something that I think, especially today, it's hard. Not everybody wants that feedback. And I do think we can do it in a positive way.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

And it needs to be done in a positive way. But at the same time, if we really wanna be our best, then we're gonna say, okay, I know I see that. And that's not just in sports. That's not just as a quarterback. That's in every of our life. We're continuing to be driven to get better. It's one of my favorite words in Hebrew is musar, to be musar driven. And Solomon uses it 30 times in Proverbs. And it's to instruction, correction, discipline or teaching. And so many times we think that's a bad thing. It's a great thing. Especially as a leader, we need to crave that from other leaders, from wise counsel. He who walks with wise and will be wise, but the companion fools will suffer harm. In a multitude of counselors there is wisdom. We need to have that wise counsel that are pouring into us that we're always looking saying, what did I miss? What did I do wrong? How can I get better? How can I prove? We need to long after instruction, discipline, and correction, We never need to feel like, I've got it, I've arrived. In martial arts, which you do, the white belt is a beginner belt. We always need to have the white belt mentality in the start. And I think so many times it's easy to say, oh no, I've arrived.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

But then we're still missing the part, and we're missing the example for so many other people. No, I need to be musar driven. I need to seek construction and I need to always have that white belt mentality.

I wanna talk to you about, I'm assuming that you played on teams where some people may not like your beliefs, but they still respected you. You earned their respect. And I think one of the reasons is because you're just a person of conviction. Meaning if you stand for it, you're gonna stand for it. You're not gonna back down. I think we we're living in a world right now where sometimes leaders aren't always standing by their convictions. Does it start with clarity of conviction? Does it start with an unshakeable will? What is it that helps someone be stand by consistent values when it's really easy to cave into pressure?

Well, I think one thing that makes it hard is that every single one of us has fallen and we make mistakes. And so when you feel like I've made mistakes, then it's really hard to stand up when you know that you've made those mistakes. And so how can you show conviction, when in the past, I've made those mistakes.

Yep, right.

And that really-

Which we all do.

'Cause we all do.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

And that's where I really tried to not stand in a way of saying, hey, I'm on a platform. It would stand in a way of saying, this is what I'm striving for. And there's a difference, right? Is to your teammates is, and I'm so far from perfect. I mess up, but this is what I'm striving for. I'm striving to try to live a life of character.

And that shows grace, if someone else isn't there

I think so.

It's personal direction without judgment of someone else.

That's right. It's personal direction of a place that I haven't gotten to yet, but I'm striving for it. And I'd love to have you on the journey where we can inspire each other and push each other on this journey.

So brilliant. For leaders, that's so important, is that we are on this journey.

That's right. And anytime that we, as a leader, we act like we have it all together. We actually lose respect to people.

Tim Tebow: We always don't, absolutely.

And we don't. And we're all incredibly insecure. We always know that we don't know enough.

Tim Tebow: Yes.

And so I think that's a great transferable principle in leadership is that this is the type of leader that we want to aspire to be.


And that way we're not saying, if we set ourselves up to have already been it-


At some point, we're gonna let someone down.


I wanna hear just a little bit about, from your perspective too, because you have, you're unapologetically bold about your faith. And one thing I love about this podcast community is we've got people from all different backgrounds and all different variety of spiritual beliefs and some with none. But you in a very, in my opinion, very both simultaneously bold and yet kind of compassionate, unapologetic, and yet not weird, not offensive, have been a strong witness for your faith. What advice would you have for a business leader? Someone who's an athlete, someone who is on television that has strong spiritual convictions to be a witness without being an offensive jerk?

Yeah. Well, thank you for that. I appreciate it. It means a lot. I think as a follower of Jesus, he is our example. He is the example. And when you look at the life of Jesus, you see someone that never looked past people, but he saw everyone.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

And he was never better. He never just saw the rich people or the famous people. He saw the beaten, and the hurting, and those that needed help. And I think when we live a life that we see those people-

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

And we have real compassion, not pity. There's a difference.


We see a lot of pity. Pity says, oh, I hope you feel better. Compassion says I'm gonna get down in the suck with you. Compassion is what Jesus had to the leper. When he, no one else would touch the leper, no one would get close to the leper, and he reaches out and touches him and then says, "Be cleansed". And then the leprosy left him. As he would go touch the people that others were unwilling to touch. Is when we live a life where we choose people's best interests, and we act on their behalf, and we love them, first and foremost. And we're there for people. That we realize that every single person was created in love, by love, and for love. And that every single one of us is worthy of what Jesus did on the cross. And that every single person is made in the image of God. They're fearfully and wonderfully made. Fearfully just meaning awesome and wonderfully means unique and set apart. That every single person is awesome, unique, and set apart. Every single person is so freaking special in the way God made them. Then when we see them that way, we treat them that way.

Craig Groeschel: Yeah.

And then after all that, when we treat them that way, then when we get the chance to talk, if then I get to share my faith. And I love the quote, "Every day we share the Gospel, but every now and then we use words". When it starts by the grace and the love and the value that we have for humanity, all of humanity, whether we like them or not, whether we have things in common or not, they don't have to be the same. You don't have to love people just that you like, right? Like comes from things in common in things. Love is a choice. The greatest form is love is a choice. And every single day, we get to make that choice for humanity, for people that we come in contact with. Every single one of us get to make that choice for the people that we work with, for the people that we're trying to influence or lead, we get to choose their best interests and we get to act on their behalf. And I believe when people genuinely see that you chose their best interests, that you love them, that you care for them, that yes, you believe something, but, first and foremost, you love them. And if you really believe what the Gospel has to say, that you will be willing to also at the right time share it. Because if not, it's the most selfish thing you could do. And so that's something that I've done, I think honestly, very poor at times. And maybe a few times I've done right. But is when you really get to talk saying, and what I believe the most loving thing I can do is tell you about a savior that loves me and that loves you and went on a rescue mission for us. And honestly it would be selfish of me to never tell you. So I just want you to know about what I think is the greatest gift in humanity is a savior that loves us. And I just want you to know that I love you, and more importantly, God loves you. I don't think that's a message that is offensive. That is a message that is inclusive to everyone.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

Because it's what the angel said, "It's the good news of great joy that should be for all the people".

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

And I think it's also our responsibility to love them and tell them.

Yeah, done well, the Gospel message is very inclusive.

Craig Groeschel: Yes.

And sometimes people say Christianity's exclusive.

It's not.

And it's not. I wanna talk about your book and then I just wanna compliment your leadership. Your book "Mission Possible, Go Create a Life that Counts," in it, you talk about failures, you talk about purpose. You're helping bring the best out of people. And you told a story about your dad and about seeing him rescuing somebody out of a horrible situation. Can you tell us that story?

Yeah, it's why my dad's my biggest hero and role model. Probably, I guess a little bit around a decade ago, I got a call from my dad who was preaching an underground pastor's conference in a country where faith isn't allowed. And so he's teaching these pastors underground. And because they're underground, some people came in with some young girls and they started to auction them off. They were for sale. And he sees this and he's so startled, troubled, and hurt, seeing these girls. Seeing also, knowing what if other people get ahold of them, what they're gonna do to these young girls. And my dad just, he's not someone that can just stand by and do nothing. And so he takes out all the money in his wallet, which was $1,250. And he purchases all four of these girls to help set them free. And he calls me and he said, "Hey Tim". "Hey dad, how's the trip going"? He's like, "It's pretty good". I was like, "What's going on"? He said, "I just bought four girls". I'm like, "What are you talking about, you just bought four girls"?

That's not legal is it, are you going, yeah?

And he tells me the story. And I knew that day, I knew that God had called me to a new thing as well.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

And to a new fight. And to what honestly, I believe is one of the greatest evils in the world today.

Is that what led to the Tim Tebow Foundation?

It didn't, we were already up and running.

Craig Groeschel: Okay.

And that was something that happened when I was 15, but that really opened our eyes to adding on and jumping into this fight against human trafficking, and online sexual exploitation of children. And we really do think it's one of the greatest evils in the world. I mean over 40.3 million people that are trapped in this horrible evil. And I'm just so grateful of my dad and his willingness. That's not why he was there, but when God opened his eyes, he couldn't say no. He said yes. And you know what? So I knew I had to say yes. And so we fly there and they hid in a church for the first few nights and we built the fastest safe home maybe ever. So these girls would have a place to stay, but I knew. So I fly there and I think, you know what? This is like "Taken" with Liam Neeson or something. And you find out that the majority of these girls were sold by their family. And one of them didn't make enough money one day. When she comes home, her mom's in such a bad place and so upset that she just takes her and boils out her eye. And the stories in which they come from are so hard, hard to understand. And then you get to the place where you think, how do I tell this young girl what love is when the people that are supposed to love her were the first ones to rape her? How do you tell someone what a heavenly father's like when her dad did these things to her? And it really was hard for me to take me on a journey of trying to grow in that. But I knew that God opened my eyes to a new calling and I had to step in to this terrible evil and step up and stand up for these boys and girls that are being abused all over the world. And it started because my dad said yes that day. And he helped open my eyes. But you know what was disheartening about that story? Is that that table my dad was at, it was a room full of pastors that were sitting there. And every one of them had their reasons why they wouldn't be a part. I don't wanna put money into this trade, blah, blah, blah. They're reasons.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

But say that to those four girls.

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

And I just don't wanna be one of those other people at the table. Is when God opens my eyes and he pricks my heart, and I know that I'm supposed to go, there's a place I can make a difference. I wanna step up, and I wanna stand up, and I wanna be counted, and I wanna make a difference.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

'Cause I also believe every single one of us has a chance. And that's what this book "Mission Possible" is all about. Is every single one of us has a mission, it is possible to live it out.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

And mission just means a job or a task that you have been given to do. 16th century Latin word that actually means to sin. And I believe every single one of us has been sent here for a reason.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

Not just by happenstance, not by accident, but on a mission.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

There is something that every single one of us can do. We can all make our lives count. Maybe that means you can impact 10 or 10 million, but your mission is valuable. Your mission is important. Your mission has worth. Your mission is a great mission assigned by the king of the universe. Let's say yes to that mission.

Yeah. I don't promote books that I don't like. And I wanna promote this book because you really it's like your heart bleeds out to help people find that reason. And what's interesting is, and it's great. People don't wanna just have a job nowadays. They really wanna make a difference.

They do.

And what's interesting is like you weren't out looking for a mission. There was an opportunity you saw and you seized it. And there's a lot of times people will, something's gonna break their heart, or gonna disturb them. And it's easy to brush it off and keep going.

Tim Tebow: Yes.

But you didn't do that.

Tim Tebow: Yeah.

And I can only imagine one day coming back and hearing people that heard your story saying, it got to me and someone's gotta do something about this. Might as well be me.

Tim Tebow: That right.

So for those of you at our community looking for a resource, "Mission Possible," I want you to get this. I wanna just assess your leadership just as a student of leadership. And then I wanna ask you some questions for fun. You lead a team to two National Championships. I'm gonna, okay, this guy, he's got something. Not just skills, there's a lot of good athletes, but there's something extra. You were homeschooled. We have six kids that were homeschooled. And so that was always really intrigued. I wanna try to assess you and I hope it doesn't-

Please, I love it. I'm like, let's go. I love the assessment.

Here's what I think sets you apart. I think community matters a lot. Good family, not everybody has a good family, but you can find a good family. And we find good people around you. So yeah, you've been around good people. You learned early on self denial toward an end goal, small disciplines compounding over time, lead to a great life. You were willing to be extreme, weird, different, odd, unusual, standout. But when you did, it wasn't to draw your attention to yourself, there was always a higher purpose. You always talk team. You know how to submit to authority. You've been under great coaching. And you know how to surround people around you. You're not trying to win the approval of the coach, you're often trying to rally a team. A great leader knows how to create team. When you talk, and I love it, if people are listening. If they're watching, it's a different experience because you're like a full on experience. There's a time where you're scaring me because you're nine feet tall and 265 pounds of pure muscle leaning across, ready to help me run through a wall, being so motivated. And there's other times you're fighting back the tears that are very genuine. You are passionate about what you do. You're driven by conviction, but you care about people. And everything you do has a higher purpose. And I'm sure I'm missing some, and there's some nuances. There's more to it than that. But you take all those things together and you come up with Tim Tebow. And not everybody has those things, but everybody might have one or two of those things. And what I like for people to do is look for their unique leadership DNA.

Tim Tebow: Mm.

What do you have? Some people are smarter.

Tim Tebow: Yeah.

Some people are more expressive. Some people are more charismatic. Some people are stronger. Some people are more dependable. Some people are more creative. Some people are more fun to be around.

Tim Tebow: Mm-hm.

Some people are more motivating. Some people are just great at writing thank you notes.

Tim Tebow: Yeah. And what you try to do is you try to find your unique combination.

Tim Tebow: I love that, that's so good.

You do a lot of that in this book. You find your unique combination.

Tim Tebow: That is really good.

And then you own it.

Tim Tebow: Yeah.

You say, here's what it is. And I like to try to put words around it. And so I just wanted to try to put words around what I see in you. And that makes you have what I call a broad range of respectability. Even people who'd say, I'm not really into the Jesus thing, but dang, Tebow seemed like a good guy. What they're saying is, there's consistent convictions and there's a likability and there's a love for people. And so for our leaders out there, find your zone, find your combination, and find those things that God uniquely put into you. And when you put them together and you embrace them, you can do special things. So for fun, lightning round, just for fun.

I love it.

Let's fire off quickly.

First of all, thank you so much for those kind words. I really appreciate.

Well, tons of respect.

Thank you.

Favorite leadership quote, do you have one?

It would be what I said about Winston Churchill. "If you have enemies, good, it means that you stood for something at least once in your life. That would be one that rocked my world.

That's a great quote world, yep. Best leadership book or any book you've read recently?

I would say "The Edge".

Craig Groeschel: Mm-hm.

"The Edge is, it's written by, I can't remember his name. It's written by a high school wrestling coach who won about 12 state championships-

Craig Groeschel: Interesting, okay.

In a row. And he takes all of the top quotes, in his opinion, in history, and puts him together and shares his story. And they're woven throughout it. It's a good one.

Craig Groeschel: Thank you.

It's called "The Edge".

I have not read it. That's the next in line. Favorite kind of music to work out to? The most important question.

It doesn't matter, but it would be, most of the time, country, Christian. I'm so weird. I don't need the hype. I don't need the loud music. I can have Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, or whatever.

Is there such thing is theological, is there such thing as Christian country?


Okay, I just wondering, I was just wondering.


Okay, okay. Proudest moment in your life that we may not expect?

A couple weeks ago, my wife was in a remote country. And she was at one of our safe homes. And there's a photo taken by one of our team members walking with her and another girl who had been raped from the time she was nine 'til she was 15. And my wife has her arm around this young girl who now knows the Lord, loves the Lord, and is doing so good. And I just thought, man, that's a pretty cool picture.

I had some more fun and funny ones. But after that one I think I'll-

No, let's go. Let's get the funny ones, come on.

I'll kind of let a land near that. That's pretty special. You've been married for how long?

Just over two years.

Favorite thing about your wife.

Her heart, her passion, her drive to pursue her purpose. That's just so great. And I would say, more than anything, is that she's not someone that I can live with. I think she's someone that I can't live without.

Aw man, and all the women out there going aw Timmy. Give me a man like him, Jesus.

That's honestly probably one of the best pieces of advice my dad told us. He was like, "Listen, don't find someone that you can live with. Make sure she's someone you can't live without".

There you go.

And I said that.

And then in the same line of being serious, the thing that you do that drives her, that makes her miserable.

Leave cans.

Leave cans.

Zevia, La Croix. I'm watching the games and I'll have 15 La Croixs on the couch and she'll wanna come pick him up. And I'll be like, "Can we just wait till the end of the game, and I'll pick up all the cans". And she's like, "Well, it's a commercial". "I know, but it's gonna be back".

That's not horrible. We should probably-

It's not horrible. She also hates it that I bite my nails too.

Yeah, that would kind of gross. Especially if it's your toenails.

No. Yeah, I'm not that flexible.

Okay. And the biggest thing, when it's all said and done, how do you want people to remember Tim Tebow?

I think it's that I cared. I cared about Jesus, that I cared about them.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

And I cared about the opportunities and the chances that I was someone that was so fallen and messed up, but just wanted to get up and help as many people as possible.

Craig Groeschel: Yep.

And I think there's a big difference between inheritance and legacy. I think inheritance is what we leave. I think legacy is who we leave it in. And I would much rather leave a legacy and a lot of people that I had the chance to love, and help, and serve along the way, and not just stuff.

Mm-hm. Well, I think you're succeeding in that. It's obvious that you do care. And I just compliment who you are and what you stand for. And you're a great leader and a leader that is fun to look up to. So-

Tim Tebow: Thanks.

Thanks for your example.

Tim Tebow: Thank you.

And next time you're in town, what are we gonna do together?

We're working out at your gym.

Craig Groeschel: We're throwing down.

At your new gym.

To Christian country. That's what we're doing. Tim, thanks for everything.

I love it. Thank you, brother, appreciate it. Y'all see those triceps.
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