Craig Groeschel - Think Possibilities Not Problems
Hey, welcome to another episode of "Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast". Guess what day today is, today is bonus episode day and we're releasing part four of the master class called "How the Best Leaders Think" which complements the teaching from my newest book, "Winning The War In Your Mind" change your thinking, change your life. I'm so thankful to hear all the great reviews of how the content in this book is impacting people both professionally in the way you think as a leader and then personally, how you live and lead every single day. In fact, there were thousands of you that pre-ordered a copy of the book. And for those of you that did, you got free early access to the content in this masterclass "How the Best Leaders Think".
Now, we're excited to release the content to leaders around the world. And before we dive into new content today, I'm going to tell you my book, "Winning The War In Your Mind" is available in all formats, of course, physically, digitally, and as well as audio. And just to get your mind ready for new content, today we're talking about something different. Many people see problems, but as leaders we're gonna see opportunities. So here's a short audio excerpt to get your mind ready, and then today we'll move into new content. Control freak. Hi, my name is Craig Groeschel, and I am a control freak. That's not a cognitive bias, that's just a fact. When I say I'm controlling, I mean, I am controlling. Come to my house and check out who's holding the remote control, I am.
If our TV is on, I have the remote. Why? Because God ordained me to have this special spiritual calling. My family wants to watch what's on, but only I have the God given gift of caring about what else might be on. Because God's favor is upon me, we're going to watch 12 to 14 shows at one time. Why? Because I am in control of the remote control. Get in the car with me and see who's driving. I am. Doesn't matter who else is in the car or whose car it is, I'm driving. Yes. I will drive you in your car. And for some end of times sign of the apocalypse reason someone else is driving the car, there's a good chance I'll grab the steering wheel from my seat and take over. You think I'm kidding? I'm not kidding because I'm controlling. Are there some ways in which you're controlling? How would your family or friends answer that for you? Perhaps you use reverse psychology on your kids. Drop not so subtle hints to your spouse about your expectations for your anniversary, or humble brag to your boss to make sure you get credit for work he didn't know about. Those are all control issues.
Here's the problem. Being in control is an illusion. I don't like to admit this. But I can not control what has happened to me and I cannot control what will happen to me. Neither can you. No matter how hard you try, you cannot control what's happened in the past or what will happen in the future. That's the bad news, but there is good news. You cannot control what's happened or what will happen but you can control how you perceive it. Social psychologists have a name for taking control of how we perceive things. They call it cognitive reframing. It's when we learn to correctly identify and correct irrational thinking. We could say this happens when we unbias our bias. Our frame is how we view things. It's the cognitive bias through which we look at and interpret what's happening. Reframing is when we decide we're not going to hang on to old perceptions that have worked against us. We're going to choose a different, more Godly, more productive way of thinking.
Experts in the psychotherapeutic world, share steps that help us to reframe, to take control of our thoughts and overcome our cognitive bias. Such as, stay calm. If you react you'll probably react in the way you've always reacted. Identify the situation. What exactly and truly is happening? Identify your automatic thoughts. If something at my house breaks, and I know it will be an expensive repair, my automatic response is to panic just a little bit. But while I cannot control what breaks, I can control how I perceive it. So, instead of just thinking my automatic thought, I identify that thought, I can take it captive, and make it obedient to Christ. Then I take an additional step. Find objective supportive evidence. I want to deal in reality. And so I searched for objective data on which to base my thinking. Such as, things are going to break, they always do eventually. That's why you have an emergency fund. Just call someone to get it fixed. There's no reason to freak out. You can take the same steps. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you frame it.
Okay, so before we look at new content, I just want to remind you, hit subscribe, wherever you consume the content. Also go to life.church/leadershippodcast and you want to make sure to get a copy of the leader guide. With every episode that we release we also give you a leader guide, so you can cover this content with very helpful questions and exercises for your team. Also, I want to say thank you to those of you who are inviting others to be a part of our community online, it means so much. I'm gonna work really hard, to try to bring content that's valuable to you. If it is please invite others to be a part of our community.
All right, let's dive in. Here's new content. Let's go to part four of "How The Best Leaders Think." what I know about you for sure, unfortunately, is you've got challenges. You've got problems. As leaders, we all do. For many of us in the complications of our current climate, we got more challenges now than we ever had before. You might have customer relation challenges or public perception problems. You could have cashflow issues or revenue is down, or expenses is up. You might've lost a key team member or you might need to remove a weaker one. You could have a toxic culture, a troubled employee, or like deathly boring Zoom meetings. It might not just be bad and difficult problems for you, you might have growth problems. You're out of space, or you can't hire fast enough, or you've outgrown your systems.
Well, even though they're growth problems, problems are still problems. And I never want to downplay the serious implications of any problem that you may face as a leader. The weight that you feel as a leader, it's very, very real, it's always significant. But we want to remember that there are many things we can't control, but there is one thing that we can control, and is how we think. And I want to encourage you as a leader to think differently about the problems that you might face. In fact, I like what Colin Powell said. He said, "Leadership is solving problems". He said, "The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They've either lost confidence that you can help, or have concluded that you don't care. Either is a failure of leadership". Now, let's just acknowledge this. This is a very different mindset than so many people have. What is leadership? Well, one definition is leadership is solving problems.
Now, before you go and try to fix your problems, you might be wise to start with fixing your thinking. Why? Because the life we have is a reflection of the thoughts that we think. And the same is true with your leadership. If you want to change the way you lead, you have to change the way you think. Now, honestly, I don't know many leaders who get excited about problems. If you're sitting in a meeting and someone says, "Hey, we have a problem". What happens? Your blood pressure rises. Your heart rate increases. You kind of brace yourself. What I want to try to do is encourage you to adjust your mindset. Because when most people obsess about their problems, what are they doing? They're training their mind to see even more problems. But what you can do is change your thinking and recognize that what are problems? Problems are actually opportunities in disguise. They really are. In fact, it was Zig Ziglar who said this. He said, "When you focus on problems you will see more problems. But when you focus on possibilities, you'll see more opportunities".
Let's take a step back and ask ourselves, what are businesses? Well, businesses are really just solutions to problems. What are ministries or nonprofits? The same thing. They're solutions to problems. We're providing people with support, we're giving them answers. We're meeting their needs. Essentially, we're solving problems. Now you might be thinking because you've got a really big problem, "This positive thinking garbage, I don't need this in my leadership. My problems are problems. They're not opportunities". I understand that. Now, you might be facing some real insignificant problems. As we covered in my book, "Winning The War In Your Mind", remember, you cannot control what happens to you but you can control how you frame it. What I want to encourage you to do as best as you can is, reframe your problems as potential opportunities.
I explained this in more detail in episodes 66 and 68 of "The Leadership Podcast". But I told you that you are the CPS. You're not just a CFO or a CEO. You're a CPS. You are the Chief Problem Solver. As a leader, you recognize solving problems isn't something that you dread. It's actually something you do. You're a leader because anyone can point out a problem but a leader does something about it. What do we know? We know this. That the value you bring is a reflection of the problems you solve. So, if you want to make a bigger difference, solve bigger problems. As leaders we're going to change our mindset. Instead of running from problems, dreading problems, ignoring problems, we're going to attack them because problems are opportunities in disguise. I'll give you some organizational examples from my own leadership, here are three.
Years and years ago my wife gave birth to our fourth child. We have six kids. People say, "Why do you have six kids"? Our early years of marriage were before we had Netflix, we had nothing else to do. And she gave birth between Saturday night church and Sunday morning church. And so I couldn't go back to preach and somebody said, "Oh my gosh, this is a problem. What should we do"? Instead of seeing it as a problem we couldn't solve, we saw it as an opportunity to embrace. And we decided to run the video teaching from the night before on Sunday morning, and lo and behold, not only did it work, but in many ways, it actually worked better. The problem led to an opportunity. Another problem we had is after we built our first church building, we were full in six or seven services and we were out of room. We didn't have enough money to build a bigger building, so we had a problem, which instead we saw as an opportunity. And someone said, "What if we met in a different location"? To our knowledge, hadn't known anybody who had done that before and suddenly we were one church in two locations.
If you fast forward to today because of video teaching and multiple locations, we're currently in 36 different locations in 11 States, these opportunities were born out of problems. Another big problem we had is we put a ton of money into this website to try to help people engage in the Bible and it failed. People weren't using it. We were about to cancel and close the website, when suddenly we realized that Apple was coming out with apps and we took the problem, turned it into an opportunity and said, "What if we took the content and moved it to an app"? And we created the YouVersion Bible app which will be on in the near future over half of a billion devices given away free from a church. What happened? We converted a problem into an opportunity.
I'll give you another example from a friend of mine, was talking to this very successful investment advisor. And he told me about 2008, 2009 when the stock market dropped and he lost the biggest percentage of his clients. He was so discouraged. He was so depressed, massive problem. And then it dawned on him, "Wait a minute. How many of my friends who are also investment advisors, lost the majority of their clients"? Suddenly he realized this problem is actually an opportunity. He realized there were more dissatisfied investors looking for a new advisor, and he had the most booming time of growth in a season many solves a problem, he saw as an opportunity.
Now, in your leadership, your situation may not be as dramatic, I hope it's not. You may have a problem, you lost a valuable team member. If you change this from the lens of a problem and see it as an opportunity, you might come up with some new suggestions. You might say, "Well, what if we replaced this staff member with several volunteers"? Or another option might be, "We might restructure our team and absorb that position and lower head count". Or you might say, "Perhaps we can search and find someone who's different and may end up being better". What is a problem could become an opportunity if you'll change the way you think. So, whenever I face a problem, and I only see two options that I don't really like, what I like to do, is I like to pretend that I can't do either one of those. And whenever I pretend like I can't do either one, this often reveals a third and a better option.
I'll give you another example. Whenever we were trying to do video teaching, we couldn't afford a camera with a lens that was good enough to capture video from across the auditorium. So we had two options. One was not do video teaching or go into debt, which I didn't want to do. So I pretended, "Let's say we can't do either". And a third option emerged, "What if we move the cameras really, really close"? Well, everybody said that would be a problem because it would block the view of the people in the crowd. But what it did was, is it gave me permission to speak directly to the camera. And there were some people who say, this is a strength. That when I preach now I'm going straight to camera and the vast majority of people who are watching, would say I'm communicating eye to eye. This problem created an opportunity and we did something different with the cameras that had ever been done before to the best of my knowledge, you can have the same result if you eliminate the options, a third and better option might emerge. What do we know? Every crisis creates unexpected problems.
We have to remember, every crisis also creates unprecedented opportunities. Most people just see the problems. But the best leaders address the problems and seize the opportunities. What I promise you is this. You're going to have reasons and excuses as to why your problems have you forced into a corner. I hope you'll remember this. Apathy finds an excuse, but passion finds a way. As leaders, you will lead with passion and you will think differently. While many see problems, the best leaders find opportunities.
Okay leaders let's do it. We all have problems. You have problems. I have problems. We all have problems. But we're not just going to see the problems. What are we going to do? We're going to look for the opportunities and do what leaders do. I want to remind you that my book is available everywhere books are sold. "Winning The War In Your Mind", change your thinking, change your life. And a big thank you to those of you who are inviting others to be a part of our podcast. On next week, it is the final part of "How The Best Leaders Think". And I want to encourage you, you have everything you need to do everything you're supposed to do. Show up with confidence and be yourself, because people would rather follow a leader who is always real, than one who's always right.