Craig Groeschel - Your Most Focused Year Yet
Well, happy new year to you. It's great to have 2020 behind us. Not that that makes a whole lot of difference, but we're gonna do the best we can with what we have. If you're new with us, we're crazy passionate about building leaders, and we have a very packed year plan with a lot of important content that I believe will be very helpful to you. We've got some amazing interviews coming as well as new content. And so I wanna encourage you, wherever you consume this content, hit subscribe right now so the content will come to you. I'd also encourage you to rate or write a review, if you haven't, that would mean the world to me. If the content is helpful to you, would you mind sharing on social media, invite others to be a part of our community? If you tag me, and I see it or someone from our social media team sees it, we might repost it. I'm so grateful when this makes a difference in your life and even more grateful when you bring others into our community.
I'll share with you some news that I'm really excited about. I've got a brand new book, it's releasing on February the 16th. It's called "Winning the War in Your Mind". Do you ever have battles in your mind? I know I do. The subtitle is "Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life". Along with this book for our leadership community, I've created a five-session Leadership Master Class. The Master Class is called "How the Best Leaders Think". What do we know? We know that your life is always moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts, what you think determines who you become. The same is true in our leadership. Our leadership is always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts. How you think will determine how you lead. What I've done is I've written brand new content really to help shape your thinking. The best leaders think in a different way from other leaders.
If you'd like free early access to this Master Class, all you need to do is pre-order the book wherever books are sold, and then you'll have free access immediately to the Master Class. You can go to Craiggroeschel.com for more information. And I'm hopeful that not only the book, but the free content in the leadership arena will be really helpful to you. Let's dive into some new thoughts for today with a question. What is, as a leader, what is one of your most important responsibilities as a leader? The answer is one of your primary roles is to focus and direct attention. That's what you wanna do. You wanna focus and direct the attention of your team. That's how you get results. You focus energy and attention toward the desired results. Now, if you're like most leaders I know, you may find the most difficult attention to focus is your own, right? Because we get so easily distracted.
Let's talk about distractions for just a moment. The word distraction originates from a Latin word that means a pulling apart, it means a separating, it means a drawing of the mind in different directions. It means mental confusion or bewilderment is defined as a mental disturbance. I want you to let that sink in for a moment. A distraction is a pulling apart. It's drawing the mind in different directions. It's mental confusion. It's mental disturbance. What do distractions do? Well, distractions divide your heart. They disengage your mind. They distort your perspective. They discourage your soul. They disrupt your priorities. And eventually, distractions will destroy your leadership. And that's why in the first episode of this year, we're gonna talk about your most focused year yet, how to overcome the destructive force of distractions. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna give you three big thoughts and then we're gonna unpack these thoughts. We're gonna cover a lot of content today. I'm not gonna review at the end of the session.
So you may wanna go back to review this content or you can go to craiggroeschel.com/leadership podcast. Click on the link to get the free leader guide and it'll have a detailed notes for you each time we release a new podcast. So what are we gonna do? Three big thoughts for your most focused year yet. The first thing you wanna do is you wanna clearly define your wins. What is a win for you? Number two is you want to distance the distractions. And number three, you wanna obsess about the process, not the results. We're gonna clearly define our wins, we're gonna distance the distractions, and we're gonna obsess about the process, not the results. Let's unpack these big three ideas that can dramatically change your leadership in the upcoming year. Number one, we're gonna clearly define our wins.
Now, what do we know? At the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of this month, at the end of this year, you'll wanna define what a win will look like for you. What's your win? You might say, I wanna increase profit or have a better marriage. You might say, I wanna have less stress or I wanna have more time off. You might want your influence to grow or to have a larger ministry or to have a healthier culture in your company. The bottom line is this. You cannot do what you don't define. What do you wanna do? Now, if I ask you, what's your win in the upcoming year? Someone might say, well, I wanna get in better shape, or I wanna be more organized, or I wanna get better with my finances, or you might say, I wanna grow in my leadership. What I wanna do is be very clear and tell you, these are not clearly defined wins. What those are is those are just wishes because there's no way to measure your results. What we wanna do as leaders is we wanna be crystal clear on specifically what you wanna do and by when. It's been said, if you have a goal, write it down. If you don't write it down, you have a wish, you don't have a goal.
In fact, Dr. Gail Matthews, who's a psychology professor at Dominican University, found this out in some research, that people who write down goals are 42% more likely to do them. That's massive. The research says, if you write down the goal and you tell a friend, the likelihood increases to 78%. So that's what you're gonna do. You're gonna write down a very specific goal. Hopefully, you'll tell someone. And the odds of you accomplishing that goal go way, way, way up. So what are you gonna do? You're gonna be very clear what you wanna accomplish and by when. You might say, well, I wanna get in better shape. That's not clear. So you're gonna be really, really clear. You might say, I wanna lose eight pounds by March the 1st. That's clear. Or you might say, I wanna walk three miles every single week. That's a clear and specific goal. You might wanna be more organized. And so instead, what you're gonna do, is you're gonna get specific and say, I'm gonna prioritize my three top daily tasks.
So the first thing you do is you write down, I'll accomplish these three things. You might look at the categories. What am I gonna do? What am I going to decide? What am I going to delegate? And then you're gonna define your top three tasks. You might wanna get better at your finances. So to get really specific, you're gonna create a budget by the end of the month, that'll make a difference. Or you might say, we're gonna have a goal to pay off our credit card by June. That's specific on the what and the when. You might say, I wanna grow in my leadership. And so for you, it might mean I'm gonna listen to one podcast a week, or I'm going to pre-order the book and I'm gonna listen to the free Master Class by the end of this week, or you might meet weekly with a mentor. Whatever it is, you're gonna be very, very specific.
Let's look back over last year. 2020 is over, thank God. I'm gonna ask you this, and I want you to be honest. Did you accomplish what you wanted to accomplish? Did you achieve what you wanted to achieve? Did you become who you wanted to become as a leader, as a person, as a friend, as a spouse, whatever? If you weren't clear with your wins, you don't know if you achieved what you wanted to achieve. You likely, like so many people, may have drifted, floated, existed, or maybe just survived another year of your life. If you don't clearly define your wins for this year, you can't measure success. You will never do what you don't define. And that's why, number one, we're going to clearly define our wins. At the end of the week, the month, the year, what is a very specific win for you? We're gonna clearly define our wins.
The second thing we're gonna do, this is so important, is we're gonna distance the distractions. We're gonna distance the distractions. The best way to increase your focus is to decrease your distractions. Let's talk in detail and in depth about distractions. There's two types of distractions. There's cognitive distractions and there's what I call opportunity distractions. Let's talk about cognitive distractions. These are the distractions that disrupt and distract your mind. The opportunity distractions would be the distractions that disrupt your mission. Let's talk about cognitive for a moment. These are the distractions that cripple our concentration and production. And perhaps the distractions that most leaders battle, what do you think it is? It's your mobile device. It's your cell phone. For many leaders, something as small as your cell phone is your biggest distraction.
And let me unpack it for you in a moment. According to Business Insider, the typical person touches his or her phone 2,617 times a day. Let that sink in. Those of you who are in the top 10%, the extreme cell phone users, you would touch your phone more than 5,400 times a day. May I just get in your business for a moment and say that's gross, that's obsessive, that's crazy. Then when you look at social media, you're on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever. The average person, according to studies today, scrolls through social media for 144 minutes. Think about that. Over two hours of your time a day on social media. This isn't counting news and emails and texts and games and whatever your Netflix binge is. Some estimates show that people will spend about seven years of their waking hours on social media. And some are estimating the younger generation will spend above 10 years of their waking hours on social media. Is that pathetic or stupid or what? Okay. As a leader, we have to remember, you will never make a big difference if you're constantly distracted by small things.
Let me say it again. As a leader, you'll never make a difference, a big difference, if you're constantly distracted by small things. What you wanna do in your leadership is stop getting distracted by the things that have nothing to do with your goals, with your wins. What are we gonna do? We're gonna work to eliminate or minimize cognitive disruptions. What I try to do, for example, if I'm gonna write the content for a leadership podcast, which takes me a lot of time, very intentional about it, I'm gonna create a distraction-free work zone. My preparation for the study time starts the night before I'm gonna write a podcast. What I'm gonna do? Honestly, I set out my clothes for the next morning. I have my breakfast already just to warm up. I've got my snacks, my drinks. I have a 4:00 am start time because I'm really fresh in the morning. During my study time, I've got no phone, no email, no notifications, no one's in my office. I've got ambient work music going on, and what happens is I get in the zone.
And I can in about a four or five hour period produce what takes many people much, much longer because I've intentionally created an environment that helps me be productive. It's not accidental. If you wanna be really productive in your leadership, be intentional about it. You might say like from nine to 11:00 am, I'm not available because I'm preparing or producing or whatever. Or you might go and work in a coffee shop, if you can do that safely, wherever you live. Or you might have brainstorming meetings off-site just to eliminate distractions. Whatever you're gonna do is you're gonna eliminate distractions. Because as a leader, you will never do big and significant things if you're constantly distracted by the small and meaningless. We've talked about cognitive distractions. If you've gotta put your phone away, if you've gotta leave it behind for four hours, leave it behind. Don't let small things disrupt you from your important calling.
Now, let's talk about opportunity distractions because this is where many leaders get tripped up. I say opportunity distractions are the apparently good opportunities that often rob leaders have the best and greatest impact. Let me say it again. These are the apparently good opportunities. They like, they look pretty good, they look appealing. But these good opportunities often rob us of our best and greatest impact. What do we know? The more successful you become in leadership, the more opportunities are gonna come your way, every single time. And one day you're gonna wake up and you're more successful than you were two years ago, and you're gonna think, well, we couldn't do that back then and now we can. And so you start to go through all the possibilities. We could release a new product line and we could add a new location and we could create a training video and we could start a podcast and we could expand to a new market. And these all might be good ideas. But as a leader, I beg you refuse to be seduced by the good.
Just because you could do something, doesn't mean you should do something. With all your heart, fight the temptation to succeed at something that shouldn't be done at all. What do we know? Leaders, come on. True success isn't about doing more. True success is about doing more of what matters most. Here's the bottom line. When you say yes to an average use of your time, you're saying no to a greater use of your time. As Tim Ferris says, I love his quote, he says, "What you don't do determines what you can do". So powerful. Don't just plan this year what you will do, but ahead of time, decide what you won't do. For me, I often add not to my to-do list, I add to my to-don't list. What am I doing? I'm gonna clearly define my wins. Then with everything in me, I'm gonna distance the distractions, whatever takes me off mission, off task, off focus, I'm gonna distract that as far away from me as I can so I can stay focused on what matters most.
Number one, clearly define your wins. Number two, for your most focused year yet, you're gonna distance the distractions. And number three, so important, you're gonna obsess about the process, not the end result. You're gonna obsess about the process, not the end result. Why? Because you don't get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that get the desired results. Here's what we know, that this idea can change the trajectory of your leadership this year. The problem is most leaders obsess about outcomes and undervalue processes. This is such a big mistake. I'm wanna try to unpack it for you. What do we know? We know that good outcomes follow good processes. And here's what's so freeing, is the bottom line is, you can't control every outcome, right? For example, no one saw a global pandemic coming, which thrusts some businesses into overdrive and others into bankruptcy. You can't control your competition. You can't control the economy. You can't control what's happening outside of your organization. But you can control your attitude, you can control your focus, you can control your effort, you can control your actions.
Let's get really practical about this. Let's say you've got a project, you've got a goal, you got a vision. Maybe you wanna write a book. And what you're probably gonna do, like most people, is you're gonna be gung ho, I got a title, I'm gonna write this amazing book. And you write for four hours and you get exhausted. It doesn't go well. And you got no end in sight so you're discouraged, and then you quit, and you feel completely stupid. What I wanna encourage you to do is fall in love with the process of writing. Just be disciplined. Maybe your goal is really simply, I'm gonna write one page a day. Doesn't matter if it's great, doesn't matter if it's not great, I'm gonna write one page a day. And then when you fall in love with the process, the process will eventually lead to the desired outcome. Maybe you wanna become better as a speaker. And you try and you're not very good, and you're embarrassed, so you give up.
I read about a guy, I love what this guy did. He committed to a weekly process that would lead to his result. He just said, I'm gonna watch one TED talk. And then he took notes on what he liked, what he didn't like, what he was learning. Then he said, I'm gonna write one 10-minute talk every week, just a 10-minute talk. Then he videoed himself giving a talk to an empty room. And over time, this guy, this student recognized what made some of the speakers more effective. And he got better at preparing and more comfortable presenting, and he discovered what worked and what didn't work. What do we see? The right process eventually leads to the desired outcome. Focus on the process, focus on the process, focused on the process. What are we gonna do? We're gonna clearly define our wins. We're going to eliminate any kind of distractions.
Now I want you to answer this question and here's our one big thought, but we're gonna do this. What is the process that will lead to that win? You're gonna define your win and then ask yourself, what is the process that will lead to that win? And what I'm gonna encourage you to do as a leader is commit to a process that over time increases the likelihood of the desired outcome. Let me repeat it. Let's drive it in. What's your win? Clearly define the win. Distance the distractions. And then answer the question, what is the process that will lead to that win? When you can answer it, sell out to it, obsess over it, fall in love with it, and attack it. And then realize along the journey that success isn't achieving the goal somewhere out there in the future, but success is pursuing the process today. You're successful when you do the right things today that lead to the right outcomes tomorrow. What do we have? We have a new year, which for many people creates a new mindset. And suddenly, you can see, we have new opportunities to make a real difference.
Who are you? You're a leader. You have the potential to influence so many people for good. You can add value. You can create meaningful content. You can offer hope. You have the ability to change lives by creating jobs. You can help people discover their gifts and live their dreams. You can inspire people to right wrongs. You can help them to discover spiritual truth. You don't just impact this life, but some of you, you can impact eternity. So what are we gonna do? We're gonna have our most focused year yet. We're gonna get focused. We're gonna clearly define the wins. This is what a win is for me. This is what I wanna do at the end of the day, end the week, end of the month, end of the year. Here's what I want to accomplish. Here's who I want to become. Here's the difference I wanna make. This is my win. Then we're gonna distance the distractions. And finally, we're gonna obsess over the process that brings about the right results. What do you know? Is that your life is too valuable and your calling too great to waste your life on things that don't last. What are you? You're a leader. And everyone wins when the leader gets better.
Remember, if you want early access to the five-session Master Class, "How the Best Leaders Think," just pre-order a copy of the new book, "Winning the War in Your Mind". You can get all the information at craiggroeschel.com. There was a lot information in this episode, we have more to come. I would encourage you to get the Leader Guide. Go to craiggroeschel.com/leadershippodcast and you can click on the link to get the free Leader Guide. Also, I just wanna tell you again, thank you so much for inviting others to be a part of our community. I wanna work hard to bring content that will add value to your life, because I know that when you get better, you can make a difference in so many people's lives. Thanks for going on this leadership journey with us. There's a lot of pressure. It's a new year, we all feel it. But remember, be yourself. We say it all the time. Just bring the real you, because people would rather follow a leader who's always real than one who's always right.