Ep. 33: Mark Batterson on How To Harness Daily Habits To Achieve Your Goals

In this episode, David sits down with Mark Batterson, New York Times Best-Selling Author and Lead Pastor, to discuss how to harness the power of daily habits to achieve your goals and dreams.

Buy David’s NEW Book: https://www.trustedleaderbook.com/

Sponsored by Sourcewell

Mark’s Bio:
Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. One church with multiple locations, NCC owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. NCC is currently developing a city block into The Capital Turnaround, the 100,000 sf space will include event venue, child development center, mixed-use marketplace and co-working space. Mark holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times best-selling author of twenty books including, The Circle Maker, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Wild Goose Chase, Play the Man, Whisper, and recently released Win the Day. Mark and his wife Lora have three children and live on Capitol Hill.

Mark’s Links:
Website: https://www.markbatterson.com/
Mark’s NEW Book “Win The Day”: https://amzn.to/3ilLTFb
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarkBatterson
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/markbatterson/?hl=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markbatterson

Key Quotes:
1. “Success is when those who know you best, respect you most.”
2. “You do little things like they’re big things.”
3. “We’re not just trying to build a church, we’re trying to bless a city.”
4. “We want to meet real needs in real time.”
5. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery.”
6. “Whatever goal you’re going after you have to reverse engineer it into daily habits.”
7. “Can you do it for a day?”
8. “Anybody can do anything for a day.”
9. “Its really about winning streaks and losing streaks.”
10. “Time is measured in minutes. Life is measured in moments.”
11. “You have to establish boundaries.”
12. “Change of pace plus change of place equals change of perspective.”
13. “My job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
14. “Harder is better.”
15. “Truth is found in the tension of opposites.”
16. “We’ve got to find ways personally to create our own grand gestures.”
17. “May you die young at a ripe old age.”
18. “Without a vision, the people perish.”
19. “You have to be unoffendable.”
20. “If we keep checking our ego at the door some really good things could happen.”

Links Mentioned In The Episode:
“Win The Day” by Mark Batterson: https://amzn.to/3ilLTFb
“Deep Work” by Cal Newport: https://amzn.to/3gguI5c
“Upstream” by Dan Heath: https://amzn.to/3z34hZc
Timehop: https://www.timehop.com/

Buy David’s NEW book Trusted Leader: https://www.trustedleaderbook.com/

David’s Links:
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Show Transcript

David Horsager: Welcome to the trusted leader show it’s David Horsager and i’m just thrilled about the guest, we have today, he is trusted by many and.

David Horsager: he’s a new friend of ours, but you’ve heard of him he’s a New York 20 time New York Times bestselling author.

David Horsager: He is the lead pastor of national community church in Washington DC.

David Horsager: You got to hear about he how he did things differently there, whether you’re a corporate leader, a government leader or a faith based leader we’re going to talk about some things they.

David Horsager: ncc owns and operates Ebenezer is copy house the miracle theater the DC dream Center, which is an amazing story.

David Horsager: of faith and leadership and CC is developing, right now, a city block into the capital turnaround the 100,000 square feet of space will include an event venue child development Center mixed use marketplace co working space.

David Horsager: Mark holds a doctorate from Regent universities like I said before, New York Times bestselling author of over 20 books or 20 books circle maker.

David Horsager: pitted along in a pit with a lion on a snowy day wild goose chase play the man whisper he just released a book we’re going to talk about a little bit, and that is when the day.

David Horsager: mark and his wife Laura, I have three children they live on Capitol Hill and he is the real deal thanks for coming on the show mark.

Mark Batterson: David Thank you and I am a native minnesotan born in minneapolis, and so we have a little bit of a connection there.

David Horsager: We do, and I got talked into going on 100 mile bike ride with you this summer I don’t know if you’ve got talked to it or not, but our friends that that awesome and father for the fatherless supporting their work, I think we’re going to be riding together this summer right or I might.

Mark Batterson: love it we sure are we’re going to bike 100 miles and I love having an annual challenge or an annual adventure.

Mark Batterson: That kind of pushes me outside of my comfort zone, it gives me something to train for and and so in this case it’s a bike in 100 miles and we’ll just we’ll pep talk each other.

Mark Batterson: We.

David Horsager: long ago, and you just reminded me that six months, two days out well I you know 10 years ago now, I lost 52 pounds in five months and I am basically I just now have this metric for every.

David Horsager: January it’s like get back into the right so i’ll go up now 10 pounds, you know back 10 but then I always come back down so it’s like every year, I need this rhythm checkpoints so that.

David Horsager: Instead of being 50 you know i’m 40 off for a little while around Christmas and then back to you know it’s like you got to have that check in.

David Horsager: And yeah come back to it.

Mark Batterson: You know I can’t believe you just drop that little fact, because now, I have 100 questions for you, I want to.

Mark Batterson: I want to hack your habits and I want to reverse engineer how that happened because I.

Mark Batterson: I lost 30 pounds in three months, which I thought was pretty impressive, but I think you just.

Mark Batterson: hit us.

Mark Batterson: You went up me or 22 pounds up me.

David Horsager: Well, that just means I went further astray right so.

David Horsager: um I felt like I need to be living this what i’m.

David Horsager: Speaking and preaching out both physically spiritually mentally and all that and I just kind of convicted on I know better, I gotta do this differently so.

David Horsager: we’re going to get into hacking the habits, but I have to say one other personal note here because i’m going to hold it up for everybody watching.

David Horsager: One of mark’s book, you can see, it had a big impact on our family we’re actually not quite done with it right now, but we started reading it on Christmas break, we often the one before that you would know Bob golf book.

David Horsager: But this book it’s called the circle maker, and we want to get into your new book and new work, maybe.

David Horsager: Do this and I want to talk about ncc and then we want to jump to the new book, so the circle maker, a couple things you said in this book.

David Horsager: And this gets to our pillar of character and the trust work my desire is that the people who know me the best.

David Horsager: would respect me.

David Horsager: The most tell me about that.

Mark Batterson: yeah I want to be famous in my own home David and it’s hard to be famous in your home if you aren’t home, and so I love, what I do i’m a entrepreneur by instinct that that includes starting a church, but, as well as that you know, a coffee house, a dream Center and we have.

Mark Batterson: $29 million building that dates to 1891 the navy yard car barn that we are currently developing as quite a project one mile from the capital, I love those things I love writing books but, at the end of the day.

Mark Batterson: i’m a husband to my wife i’m a father to my kids and that’s really how I try to judge myself because man, if you.

Mark Batterson: are going to get all five star reviews I don’t care, who you are, you can be the best author and you have to.

Mark Batterson: figure out who it is at the end of the day is really who’s going to come to your funeral you know those eulogy virtues that I think David brooks talks about so.

Mark Batterson: yeah success is when those who know you best respect you most is my wife it’s my kids and you know I think part of being you know, to borrow your phrase ology part of being a trusted LEADER I think is being better and private than you are in public.

David Horsager: Undeniably, I think we talked about all the time, you know.

David Horsager: In fact, when we did the research, the original research, one of the marks of leaders was you know doing what’s right even not just when no one’s looking, but when you don’t feel like it.

David Horsager: Yes, there’s a big push these days right do what you feel like like like.

David Horsager: Our our parents.

David Horsager: or parents today yo shout to their kids hey go have fun.

David Horsager: Well, I never showed that to my kids it’s a big joke in the family, we talked about go be good if you’ve read kelly’s work, maybe in the research there that shows the more you be good, the better fun, you have if you seek pleasure pleasure sake and in your life, you always get less right.

David Horsager: And you seek pleasure pleasures just for pleasure sake physically financially sexually you will always hurt someone and yourself do what’s right and you actually have a.

David Horsager: Satisfaction or fun that’s true or so interesting i’m going to come back to this week, we do need to get to know you a little bit at least our audience, perhaps, what about ncc in the start of that and just a bit about you.

Mark Batterson: yeah we we started a church with 19 people on Capitol Hill in 1996 and can I can I give the very short version.

David Horsager: Please.

Mark Batterson: I think, nine months in there were three keys a $50 check the 4.7 mile prayer walk which I detail in the circle maker, and a $400 drum set.

Mark Batterson: This is it’s going to leave a lot of blank space in between, but you know, we now have a DC dream Center that served 55,000 meals during the Kobe crisis in 2020.

Mark Batterson: we’ve done 273 mission trips given $25 million to missions, but it started with a $50 check i’m a big believer you do little things like they’re big things and, at least in my faith matrix gotta do big things like their little things.

Mark Batterson: And so, and then at 4.7 mile prayer walks somehow it is translated into six properties that we own on that prayer circle worth about $75 million and.

Mark Batterson: David, I want to, I want to be careful here because that’s kind of coming out of the gates and throwing out some numbers, but again it’s a 25 year.

Mark Batterson: trajectory and we’re not just trying to build a church we’re trying to bless a city and and.

Mark Batterson: You know, good example of that is we’re bringing a child development Center to our city here in about a month’s time and it’s one of our mayor’s top initiatives, and so we want to meet real needs in real.

Mark Batterson: Time and so we can come back to some of those things but.

Mark Batterson: yeah.

David Horsager: I want to say it’s a great journey and it’s a great story of faith and leadership, and I think for everybody, you know whether you’re running a business or a government or a ministry.

David Horsager: stewardship matters, and I think one thing about that i’ve talked to when I talked to you know.

David Horsager: pastoral leaders or ministry leaders is especially churches are it’s it’s almost it’s the stewardship thing it’s like it’s used one in many cases, one day a week or a few hours.

David Horsager: Basically, a week and we get these build big beautiful buildings that could actually be reaching people and touching people in so many other ways if we thought entrepreneurial Lee or at least differently.

Mark Batterson: yeah absolutely and you know, there are ways of doing church that no one’s thought of that’s kind of what gets me up in the morning keeps me up at night, and I would say the same thing in any industry, I mean come on netflix walk walk into blockbuster and and offer to.

Mark Batterson: To be sold and blockbuster turns down the $50 million offer of what is now 120 $5 billion company, they were stuck in the past, instead of thinking forward, and so, whatever it is, from business to.

Mark Batterson: To nonprofit I think what got us here the course isn’t necessarily going to get us where we need to go next, and if if the coven crisis has taught us anything, it might be that that the game is kind of changing right under our feet in 1000 different ways.

David Horsager: So how are you innovating these days, how are you.

David Horsager: You know what are you thinking now like what’s the even what’s the big dream now.

Mark Batterson: yeah well there’s been a shift in terms of philosophy and priority that we’ve realized that in the world that I live in it’s very easy to.

Mark Batterson: Go to church check a box and check out Monday to Friday, but but it’s got to be a daily thing you know whether you call it when the day or the daily edge David.

Mark Batterson: Either way, I yesterday’s history tomorrow’s mystery you really have to learn to win the day and so we’re kind of changing the way that we approach things and helping people perhaps the way I would say it is be less codependent on a pastor.

Mark Batterson: And a little bit more intrinsic motivation and the ability to practice certain daily habits that will help them grow spiritually and, of course, that has a huge emotional intellectual and relational payoff.

David Horsager: Well, we might come back to the circle maker, because I was so when we’ve been so impacted by it, but let’s let’s talk about when the day a little bit here.

David Horsager: what’s first of all, why did you write this one, I mean 20 books New York you’re hitting striking a chord it’s not like people that write a bunch of books and don’t I mean New York Times bestseller that is not easy so but tell us about this one, why this one, why now.

Mark Batterson: Well, whatever goal you’re going after yet you have to reverse engineer it into daily habits and so we’re gonna ride this bike ride August 28.

Mark Batterson: Well, we better be reverse engineering and have a have a training plan and we need to know how many miles we’re going to cover to kind of prepare ourselves for that moment, and so.

Mark Batterson: A few years ago and I don’t want to sound like a ultra marathon athlete because I am not, but I did run one marathon.

Mark Batterson: And the only way you do it is by doing 72 training runs that cover 475 miles, then, and only then, are you able to accomplish that goal, so what I wanted to do.

Mark Batterson: Was go ahead and identified the lag measures that you want, but you, you have to reverse engineer identified those lead measures.

Mark Batterson: And they’re really put them into practice and so came up with seven habits, to help you stress less and accomplish more and whatever it is, is going to happen one day at a time.

David Horsager: This is great, you know 75 75% of New York resolutions new New York also.

David Horsager: By the way, new year’s resolutions fail.

David Horsager: In the first month, what are we doing about that.

Mark Batterson: yeah we get overwhelmed when you think in those long timelines I love asking the question can you do it for a day.

Mark Batterson: David, no one has ever said no to that whether you’re trying to break a habit or make a habit anybody can do anything for a day.

Mark Batterson: And it’s really about winning streaks and losing streaks I mean very few people their lives it’s, not a single mistake it’s allowing that mistake to be repeated and become a bad habit and then you have to of course flip that coin and you’ve got to figure out how to.

Mark Batterson: get those small wins, and then you start getting a winning streak and guess what in fact I would even throw this out there anybody who’s ever been through a.

Mark Batterson: They can tell you how many days they’ve been sober yeah it’s this idea is, if you want every day to count, you have to count the days, in fact, do we have time for kind of a fun quick story.

David Horsager: let’s do it.

Mark Batterson: A couple of years ago I did a talk for buzz Williams Virginia tech at the time is now that Texas a&m basketball coach but.

Mark Batterson: They make it to the sweet 16 they’re playing Duke i’ve known buzz for a long time, he said, come and talk to the team, and so I gave a talk it didn’t help, they still lost to do my apologies, but.

Mark Batterson: i’ll never forget, something that buzz said he told the team that it was day 1811 as the coach of Virginia tech.

Mark Batterson: Okay, David everybody who’s listening to this podcast right now how many of you can name the the exact number of days that you have been in your current employment.

Mark Batterson: It was so impressive to me that here is someone who is so conscientious about making every day count.

Mark Batterson: That he counts the days, and so I think you know part of what I want to try to accomplish is you got to live in a tight compartments you got to live like it’s the first day and last day of your life and part of that.

Mark Batterson: A wise writer of wisdom literature, the Psalms just said number your days it’s this idea of counting the days, so that you make those days count.

David Horsager: I love it, you know you talk about in the book the breaking.

David Horsager: The best way to break a habit tell me about that.

Mark Batterson: yeah.

David Horsager: Is that’s the problem like yeah.

David Horsager: We we want to have i’ll just tell you one time, I said to an audience I said how many of you would like to have a new habit, how many I want to have and i’m saying you know.

David Horsager: You know all the audience went up all their hands went up right, and then I said Okay, how many of you have ever you all want to how many have you ever actually broken or started a new habit, like last year, you know 20 pounds or more.

David Horsager: quit smoking, whatever it is, some reasonable habit like 6% everybody wants to.

Mark Batterson: yeah but.

David Horsager: almost nobody does.

David Horsager: How, how do you do it.

Mark Batterson: Well, the idea of habit stalking is become really, really popular the idea of coupling.

Mark Batterson: A harder habit to cultivate with with one that comes more, naturally, but I would I like this idea of habit switching that you, you take something.

Mark Batterson: A bad habit let’s call it complaining i’m sure there isn’t anybody listening to this podcast who complains but I know some people.

Mark Batterson: Who, they can complain about just about anything they’re just it’s masterful their ability to find something and i’m having a little bit of fun.

Mark Batterson: You have to in this is habit number one in the book, you have to flip the script how well.

Mark Batterson: I can turn a complainer into someone who is a very different person someone who’s grateful for almost everything almost all the time how.

Mark Batterson: gratitude journal it’s not complicated, you have to train that ridiculous activating system at the base of the brainstem which determines what we notice and goes unnoticed.

Mark Batterson: To look for things that you’re grateful for, and you have to write it down it’s the generation effect in psychology that if you write it down, you have a better memory, for it, you do that.

Mark Batterson: 30 days 40 days hundred days I don’t care, who you are I don’t care how ingrained that complaining habit is, I think we can flip that script if we do it enough days in a row.

David Horsager: I love that idea for two reasons, but.

David Horsager: One of our studies, found the most repelling traits and people you could name them right arrogance, all these different things right, but the number one most magnetic trait in individuals, maybe a smile right now oh empathy right oh number one most magnetic trading individuals gratitude.

David Horsager: um people love to be around those that are grateful.

David Horsager: And by the way, as we know, grateful people don’t tend to like almost all the negative.

David Horsager: skyway grateful people don’t tend to be entitled, they don’t make complainer’s they don’t tend to be you know and they don’t even smell bad right so grateful people I mean they are, they are magnetic.

David Horsager: And then that’s genuinely.

Mark Batterson: Grateful yeah you know what David that that is fascinating and this may be a little bit of a rabbit trail, but I think it’s worth it, you know in Judaism an Orthodox Jew would pronounce 100 blessings a day.

Mark Batterson: hmm it in the tall mood, which is a commentary on the Old Testament it says that.

Mark Batterson: If you fail to give thanks to God for a blessing it’s as if you have stolen it from him.

Mark Batterson: And so, this idea that.

Mark Batterson: Some of us are guilty of grand larceny you know, or at least petty petty shoplifting.

Mark Batterson: it’s this idea of giving thanks for absolutely everything, so my wife and I live by a little moniker little mantra flip the blessing.

Mark Batterson: So Whenever someone does something for us that we consider a blessing, we always look for a way to flip that that similar blessing for someone else and sometimes it’s in very, very small ways.

David Horsager: what’s it look like.


Mark Batterson: i’m afraid to share this example, but it’s the one that.

Mark Batterson: Is the most pronounced in my life, our first years of church we moved into the movie theaters that Union station, but we didn’t have lights to illuminate that theater and i’ll never forget.

Mark Batterson: Someone gave us a $5,000 gift, it was a game changer at the time, our income was $2,000 a month as a church.

Mark Batterson: And that $5,000 gift I just it impacted us in a profound way I happen to sit on a charitable trust, where we do a lot of $5,000 gifts I happen to, we have to give a lot of $5,000 gifts as a church to clauses that we care about why, because every time we do it i’m flipping the blessing.

Mark Batterson: From what was given to us way back in 1996 and so but I.

Mark Batterson: i’m sorry, but if you give me a gift there’s also a good chance it’s going to get really gifted.

Mark Batterson: Because.

Mark Batterson: To me it’s more fun to get it, and then flip it and so most of my most of the gift cards that come my way end up in the hands of my children they love it.

Mark Batterson: that’s a good gift.

David Horsager: I love it so let’s uh let’s jump down here a little bit you, you did talk about the kindness distinction between minutes and moments.

Mark Batterson: yeah.

David Horsager: Tell me about it.

Mark Batterson: yeah time is measured in minutes life is measured in moments and it’s I love this, there are two words in the Greek language for time, one is kronos, which is where we get chronology.

Mark Batterson: it’s clock time and you and I both care about manage you know if you don’t manage your calendar your calendar will control you and so.

Mark Batterson: You know I believe in time management, no doubt, but the other word is kairos and it can be interpreted time or opportunity and David, this is kind of the the sixth sense it’s the the soft skills of leadership it’s recognizing.

Mark Batterson: Well, maybe the best way to say it is instead of just counting the actual cost it’s counting the opportunity costs, which is a.

Mark Batterson: Which is a much harder thing to do, but it’s the ability to read a situation or read another person and recognize.

Mark Batterson: Okay here’s a teachable moment if you’re a parent or here is an opportunity to take a risk if you’re in business and so that ability to identify those moments is huge and and.

Mark Batterson: What I want to do is help people not not just live a long life I would love to blow out 100 candles someday David I you know i’d love to live to 100 i’m calling me crazy.

Mark Batterson: But I really want to make sure that the moments add up to more than a few hours or a few days, because that that is where life becomes meaningful.

David Horsager: With that you do talk about time management, you have some tips on time management, or at least some thoughts on time management, you talk about even you don’t find time you make it but.

David Horsager: tell us how does that affect us we’re leaders around the world, we got, we have to deal in in this framework of time and people, and we want to.

David Horsager: mix it the right way and and do our call to leadership out facing, and we want to do our call the leadership in facing you know, to the family, what do you do.

Mark Batterson: yeah I would throw out just a couple of very practical tips and.

Mark Batterson: Some of these are hard lessons learned, I mean, for example, you have to establish boundaries why.

Mark Batterson: Because saying yes to one thing is saying no to something else, and so it goes back to this idea of I want to be famous in my home, I made a decision years ago that I would only do seven overnight speaking trips a year.

Mark Batterson: Why, because I was doing a lot more than that, and my family was getting not the best of me they were getting the leftovers, and so you have to make some of those hard decisions, but then, when it comes to kind of the the pragmatics.

Mark Batterson: let’s have a little bit of fun i’ll throw this out there because it’s one of my favorite studies, a NASA study found that a 26 minute nap increases productivity 34%.

Mark Batterson: wow.

David Horsager: And by the way, there’s a lot of people like to hear that.

Mark Batterson: yeah right.

David Horsager: You a napper do.

Mark Batterson: I am.

Mark Batterson: I am, and so, if I 90% of my creativity happens before noon not that’s my corona type i’m a morning person.

Mark Batterson: But if I take a nap I get to windows of creativity and so part of time management is kind of self knowledge of understanding the way that you’re wired and even when to do what tasks and so.

Mark Batterson: I will routine really quick like I mean, I want to come back to any tips, you have, but this is interesting for a lot of people, you know.

David Horsager: We talked about the importance of sleep and eating right exercising drinking water and source of strength if we’re gonna you know be great leaders it’s it starts a lot of times with self leadership.

David Horsager: yeah but tell us you’re just you know every routine is different, but what have you found for yourself.

David Horsager: Because you have a massive responsibility yeah.


Mark Batterson: You know I don’t have different seasons and so in a writing season my routines are going to look a little bit different i’m going to set my alarm clock earlier in the morning.

Mark Batterson: i’ll build in some nap time now i’m feeling like i’m feeling a little childish, but I make no apologies for it.

Mark Batterson: i’ll have our teaching team carry a little bit more of the load I don’t take outside appointments beyond kind of our immediate context of our staff and there’s just no other way for me to write a book and so.

Mark Batterson: yeah I mean that’s what a writing season, you know, I have a start date I have an end date because of parkinson’s law if you have two weeks it’ll take two weeks, if you have two months it’ll take two months.

Mark Batterson: And so I have just kind of Jerry rigged my world in a way that I basically start on my birthday November 5.

Mark Batterson: I finished a book on super bowl Sunday, which is the first Sunday in February, and that gives me three months and it, it is the winter months by intention, because i’m i’m less inclined to be outside.

Mark Batterson: And I actually don’t mind getting up when it’s dark I feel like i’m beating the sunrise and it kind of gives me a jump on today.

David Horsager: So what time is that what time the on the writing months what time is that.

Mark Batterson: Well, it has a five in front of it we just got a puppy dog that.

Mark Batterson: totally destroyed our routine and rhythm and so now i’m walking her dog in the morning, which doesn’t which has given me a little bit later start.

Mark Batterson: But boy she’s cute so it’s worth it yeah.

David Horsager: So you have the five in front of it for.

David Horsager: Writing time and you write tell when and then, when you do your regular these ship stuff let’s take.

David Horsager: let’s just take January 10 on January 10 you know or November 27th we’ll start there you know what what was the writing he got up at this time, you started writing you what did what’s it just a quick rhythm of life for you in those.

David Horsager: In that phase.

Mark Batterson: Absolutely, I should just add a usually do a two day or three day writing retreat at the beginning of that season.

Mark Batterson: To kind of frame out my thoughts and then a two or three day to kind of close it out, but a normal day I it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to write from six in the morning till six at night and I live four blocks, from where I work, so I save commute time i’m home and five minutes so.

Mark Batterson: I try to be pretty religious about getting home at six o’clock and and then a nap kind of built in there in between and and sometimes it’s a nap but I know myself well enough sometimes it’s a it’s a five K it’s a 3.1 mile run, which is about a half hour.

Mark Batterson: or sometimes if I need a quick Joel it’s 20 push ups, and so I find or let’s be honest, I work right above our coffee House so sometimes it’s a second latte with two shots.

David Horsager: So that now now how is that different right now so you’re back in your off the writing season you’re back into the full on leadership kind of role what what’s that look like.

Mark Batterson: Well then, I have meeting days, where I stack meetings wall to wall because I want to be in meeting mode and then I have studied days, where you know much of what I do is is communicate and.

Mark Batterson: And one little.

Mark Batterson: kind of tip or trick David that has helped me.

Mark Batterson: You and I both believe in the importance of one on one with other people and investing in other people.

Mark Batterson: But I think leaders, also have to do the math and so i’m cognizant of the fact that if I take the number of people who attend our church times a 30 minute message.

Mark Batterson: It now adds up to about eight months of time, and so I better put aside 2025 sometimes 30 hours to prepare.

Mark Batterson: That one message, because i’ve got thousands of people who are giving me 30 minutes of their time, and so I tried to do the math.

Mark Batterson: With the different things that I do and it kind of helps me keep on task and part because i’m a people pleaser so it’s hard for me to say no to anybody for anything.

Mark Batterson: And so that’s kind of part of my process of trying to figure out how to spend my time so meeting days study days days that.

Mark Batterson: Maybe are more visionary and on those days here’s a little formula employ a change of pace, plus change of place equals change of perspective, and so I might go over to the national gallery of art, which is a few blocks for me.

Mark Batterson: I may walk the national mall but I need a change of place, and then I also need a change of pace and that kind of helps me get fresh perspective on some of the problems we’re trying to solve, and some of the goals that we’re trying to accomplish.

David Horsager: So many leaders have said this, you know that the, the key to as far as keeping learning reading and.

David Horsager: Travel you get your travel you get perspective so that can be outside your door, obviously, but it’s also I mean there’s something happen if you if you’re.

David Horsager: You know from Minnesota and you go to Bangkok and Dubai and Norway right or are you gonna kill me it’s like there’s some learning that happens that can’t happen almost without the experience so.

David Horsager: Whether that’s.

David Horsager: To the smithsonian where you are across the street or whether that’s you know own in nature.

Mark Batterson: And and David, can I just add one thing, because it can be a staycation you know it, it I occasionally do a silent retreat.

Mark Batterson: Where I turn off my phone I get rid of the white noise and I tried to do some what audiologist would call ear cleansing right because we have we’re constantly bombarded by.

Mark Batterson: News and fake news news in algorithms that are designed to keep us in our ECHO chambers and and kind of 100 other things, so I think a silent retreat, you can stay right where you are just turn off your phone and it’s a change of pace.

David Horsager: So you don’t have kids and.

David Horsager: Yes, right.

David Horsager: yeah so I mean.

David Horsager: i’m just a firm that I think I said it somewhere, but I don’t think i’ve said on the podcast you know for me back in 1999 we started our first business I had been in a.

David Horsager: director of youth and family organization before that, but.

David Horsager: When I I had this time things were going well, I was speaking 100 times a year, or whatever, and for me I didn’t have the limit, like you, had I was felt like that’s what i’m supposed to be doing.

David Horsager: But I had this time early on and I went away to a hermitage actually not far less than an hour from our place.

David Horsager: And you know got away a couple days and I didn’t you know I had this quiet, time is a neat place you don’t see anybody, they give you this.

David Horsager: Fresh bread cheese and apple like this basket of delicious foods, you know you don’t see anybody go and you’re by yourself and.

David Horsager: And all this and you can go for walks beautiful nature out there and everything but I came back from that and I was just clear on one thing, and it was just getting rid of the noise.

David Horsager: i’m supposed to go toward my graduate work and it’s supposed to be on trust.

David Horsager: And so, unlike a lot of people that go through the Grad work and then by the end of their thesis at the thesis like what am I going to do a thesis on.

David Horsager: Every paper ever wrote up until even the end was all around you know trust the leadership of that but I don’t know what happened exactly can’t explain it, but I knew after that time away exactly what I was supposed to do.

Mark Batterson: isn’t that interesting I bet there are a lot of people who right now are googling hermitage.

David Horsager: There you go.


David Horsager: So this is this is fantastic tell us about this this equation in your in this most recent book when the day deliberate practice plus deliver desirable difficulty equals durable learning.

Mark Batterson: yeah you know i’m pulling those ideas from a few different sources and they’ll sound familiar to a lot of listeners deliberate practice, of course, is from Anders Ericsson who the brilliant.

Mark Batterson: psychologists who kind of coined the 10,000 hour rule, it was popularized by Malcolm gladwell but you know, he says there’s naive.

Mark Batterson: practice and deliberate practice and there’s a big difference if you if you play music or play sports, you know what i’m talking about there’s there’s a mindless way of doing things that actually will turn into bad habits.

Mark Batterson: And, and then desirable difficulty That to me is fascinating because David I define my job as a pastor or as a spiritual coach this way.

Mark Batterson: My job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and so I want to get people out of a comfort zone into a growth mindset.

Mark Batterson: And, and part of that is harder is better it just is look back at your life, what are the the moments that you cherish.

Mark Batterson: It well one of them is coming up for us it’s going to be that hundred mile bike ride our clods are going to be screaming at us and say what in the world were you thinking.

Mark Batterson: But it’s going to be an awesome moment because it’s going to be painful because it’s going to be hard because it’s going to push us, and so I think.

Mark Batterson: If it’s too easy we get bored if it’s too hard, we quit and so there’s this idea of J md just manageable difficulty which I love and it’s kind of that goldilocks zone of where we need to be and then that’s what results in that durable learning.

David Horsager: there’s so much more we could cover here you I can’t agree more that one thing i’m getting pushed on right now so i’ve been.

David Horsager: athletic coach or I guess a fitness coach and I did this, when I was really losing the weight is like push yourself until you’re sore doesn’t matter what you do push yourself into because if you do that, instead of just i’m.

David Horsager: Like I would get on the elliptical, which is good.

David Horsager: They you know she said, if you push it off till you’re sore that works for 48 hours, and that will help you that, because your muscles have to.

David Horsager: break down and build back up bigger and that will help you so much more and i’ve learned.

David Horsager: No matter what I do that’s like hit training, too, but it’s just like you can do it shorter, but if you just do push ups.

David Horsager: And do them again do another set doing those till you’re sore to set up, so you can’t do them anymore like pushing to that point all sudden you get stronger and turns out it’s a lot easier to stay healthy and other ways to but interesting yeah desirable difficulty.

Mark Batterson: Well, I think that’s it’s fascinating the according to the law of requisite variety.

Mark Batterson: If you do the same exercise over and over again, the same way it loses effectiveness, because your muscles adapt to it and so really what trainers do is They confuse your muscles.

Mark Batterson: And I think that that is so critical when it comes to self leadership and not just physically, but I found that to be true spiritually.

Mark Batterson: well.

Mark Batterson: Every year, well my most prized possession is a 1934 Thompson chain reference Bible that belong to my grandfather elmer Johnson, who, by the way, happened to be the first municipal judge of fridley Minnesota.

Mark Batterson: wow taught at northwestern taught at the University of Minnesota.

David Horsager: first place we lived in Minnesota was friendly Minnesota the base.

David Horsager: of an 86 year old lady Clara Miller.

David Horsager: wow no windows no bathroom no kitchen black mold on the walls.

David Horsager: that’s where, at least when I started.

David Horsager: It back in, as we have to tell our kids back in the 1900s when we started our first business.

Mark Batterson: Yes.

David Horsager: Come on, well leave Minnesota love it, you know.

Mark Batterson: We might have cross paths back.

Mark Batterson: So I want to every year what i’m getting at I want to have enough bibles to leave for my kids and grandkids.

Mark Batterson: Because I love seeing what he underlined and what he wrote in the margin, but the other thing I do is I choose a different translation.

Mark Batterson: Because it makes my synopsis fire in a little bit different way, so it almost kind of confuses maybe the version that i’ve memorized I want to hear it in a different way, so that it produces some different thoughts and so, and you know just beyond beyond the Bible.

Mark Batterson: Ivan Pavlov said, if you want to new ideas read old books.

Mark Batterson: And so you know it’s it’s reading anything and everything that will just make you think in slightly different ways, and I might add.

Mark Batterson: Reading some things that you should read some books that you don’t completely agree with when you’re done.

Mark Batterson: Otherwise you fall into this binary thinking, but I live by this little maxim that truth is found in the tension of opposites true wisdom has two sides and so we’ve got to get better.

Mark Batterson: As a culture and get better as leaders at looking things from different angles and and that’s coming from someone who has.

Mark Batterson: Hundreds of hill staffers and dozens of members of Congress and cabinet members.

Mark Batterson: who attend our church and we are bipartisan we have people across the aisles, and so what we’re trying to do is sort of stand in that gap.

Mark Batterson: And we’ve got to be able to dialogue back and forth, and I think when you do that, you come up with you realize it’s not just a or B David it’s sometimes see.

David Horsager: We need it so much right now and we talked about building trust across you don’t have to like people to trust them and to build trust right this.

David Horsager: This whole idea, there was an article this week from a PhD from a bio that wrote basically oh man I wish I had in front of it, we can put in the show notes, but basically seeing both sides right yes.

David Horsager: And we if we could do more, that we could actually have a conversation see people as people there’s a whole lot of research on how what one reason trust has gone down and capital hills.

David Horsager: In the old days they’d ride the train all the way back to California together the Democrat or republican they would spend time together they go for a beer together at night.

David Horsager: They never see they don’t see each other as humans now because they never spend time together they come they battle on the House floor like senate floor they go back they don’t see each other and there’s a host of other reasons, as you know, i’ve.

David Horsager: worked with a group in Congress trying to build trust across Republicans and democrats across senators and representatives and it’s great work today, I mean it’s not great work it’s when I say great I mean like i’m holding heaviness right.

David Horsager: Yes, oh yeah.

David Horsager: Work but it’s it’s even more so because of a lot of the ways we’re.

David Horsager: systemized against trust on the Hill and in our government and there’s there’s a whole lot more to say about that.

David Horsager: yeah.

Mark Batterson: Well, David on.

Mark Batterson: on behalf of everybody, listening to this podcast keep doing that.

David Horsager: Well, I often one time I flew back from Congress, I was in front of this group.

David Horsager: You know, and speaking and the CEO introduced me said well he’s he spoken to Congress before and, obviously, is not very good.

David Horsager: Clearly.

David Horsager: it’s not making a difference may, at least from what we know so.

David Horsager: Anyway, we keep on we keep on keeping on.

David Horsager: there’s so much more to the book when the day there’s so much more of the others, maybe one more thought on when the day here I want you to just touch on the grand gesture, and what that means.

Mark Batterson: it’s it’s one of my favorite parts of the book, you know, there is a guy cal Newport who wrote a wonderful book called deep work and and I think that’s where I first stumbled across the idea.

Mark Batterson: But but let’s be honest, it grand gesture is nothing new it’s as old as Noah building a very big boat.

Mark Batterson: it’s this idea that when it comes to life goals you do have to reverse engineer them into daily habits into small wins, but there are moments David when you’ve got to.

Mark Batterson: Go big or go home, you have to make a dramatic decision I won’t ruin the book but it’s one of my favorite stories about.

Mark Batterson: If you wondered how we got all of these skyscrapers How did the world gets so tall I would credit, the inventor of the elevator safety break who pulled off one of the greatest sales pitches ever in the.

Mark Batterson: world’s fair His name was aleister Otis and now i’ve kind of I have shared a little bit, but i’ll say that cutting the rope was a key part of his stunt.

Mark Batterson: In.

David Horsager: Those one of the principles in the book.

Mark Batterson: Yes, and.

Mark Batterson: Yet the.

David Horsager: Seven habits.

Mark Batterson: yep habit number five and we’ve got to find ways to personally.

Mark Batterson: To create our own grand gestures to two simple examples, for me, when I was 19 I walked into the admissions office at the University of Chicago.

Mark Batterson: And I said, you can have your scholarship back, and it was a defining moment for me, I had a full ride scholarship I was playing basketball.

Mark Batterson: On paper, it was perfect, but I felt like there was something else for me to pursue and giving up that scholarship it was a grand gesture that not everybody agreed with.

Mark Batterson: But it was a it was a turning point packing all of our belongings into a 15 foot hall yeah 15 foot U haul and moving to Washington DC with no place to live and no guaranteed salary was a.

Mark Batterson: grand gesture, and so, and I would say, using my 35th birthday, to set a book deadline was a grand gesture So what is it that you need to self imposed, so to speak, what is that commitment device that it’s going to help you go after that goal, that is in your heart.

David Horsager: A grand just, even though I really this is so critical I just think of so many things, for me, you know where where the little things, make the big difference.

Mark Batterson: No doubt about it.

David Horsager: But the big gesture for me.

David Horsager: Yet funny one for you back when I mean I didn’t have much, then you know, and I said I knew I had to lose the weight.

David Horsager: I told the staff i’d give 20 $500 to eat if I wasn’t at my high school weight by May 1 for me that was a little grand gesture to say I am I was like what are you talking about.

David Horsager: But that planting in the standard saying i’m going to give you 20 $500 and, of course, what do they start doing bringing in donuts but you know, but I.

David Horsager: wanted to.

David Horsager: I had to make a mark out loud that i’m committed to this right oh you something big.

David Horsager: You know let’s go let’s a little fun play on words here but go back full circle to circle maker for two because everybody should get when the day I just your work is fantastic inspiring inspiring it’s actionable.

David Horsager: And you know what it’s true, and so you can look up mark batson with a B bateson and if you if you don’t know how many of you do when the day is his new book we’ve got to go back to a couple ideas here.

David Horsager: In the circle maker.

David Horsager: To highlighted sentences one May you die young at a ripe old age.

Mark Batterson: yeah.

David Horsager: I could explain it.

David Horsager: i’ve read it and underlined it but.

David Horsager: yeah let’s have you do it.

Mark Batterson: Oh, I love this word neon honey it’s the retention of youth what qualities into adulthood don’t you love I love someone who is young, who is maybe wise beyond their years.

Mark Batterson: But I love someone who is old, who has this playful spirit, who has this holy curiosity about life, who, who knows that they are not finished and so it’s this idea of.

Mark Batterson: yeah of retaining those youthful qualities and and I talked about it, some in when the day to with wind, the clock this we it would be a whole nother podcast on Ellen Langer and her work with mindfulness and the way that well one thing, do you know how a doctor ascertain your age.

Mark Batterson: The way everybody else by.

Mark Batterson: Asked asking your birth date there’s no other way for them to know, and if you don’t believe that different people age at different rates, you have not been to a class reunion.

Mark Batterson: And so there is a way, I think, to stay young and part of it, David is vision, without a vision, the people perish but with a vision you’re never past your Prime it’s something it almost acts as a preservative that kind of keeps us young, because we have something that we’re going after.

David Horsager: I think one of one of the parts in the book that I loved about that idea, by the way, was this this how we’ve even statistically lost the ability to dream we start as kids were dreaming about this dreaming about that dream and there’s a lot of.

David Horsager: Data on how we stop learning as much once we go to a public education system in some ways, but.

David Horsager: What I just started thinking about what about dream my dad it was similar to when your stories in the book and i’m so grateful for him a lot of my trust really work comes.

David Horsager: Not from the research but living under a great leader on a farm going up, but I was with him recently 91 runs a you know they have I don’t know 1500 acres 1200 or something like that.

David Horsager: But I looked at this this new beautiful grove he planted all these fruit and flowering trees, it was a it’s about a half mile.

David Horsager: or a mile from our House so it’s a whole it’s a different property it’s across a tar road and whatever but it’s part of their land, I said well you know yeah what we kind of thinking here dead he’s an all he said was somebody will enjoy it.

David Horsager: Some somebody will enjoy this.

David Horsager: and

David Horsager: I just thought yeah he’s not thinking about himself at all they’re not going to be, you know, even if he gets the century, which I think he will.

David Horsager: he’s not going to see the fruit of that Labor so so that gets us to the at least my last question from the book and then I got to ask you a quick fire questions, a close, but the think long idea yeah so tell me about that that’s that’s.

David Horsager: kind of that idea of my dad right.

Mark Batterson: It really is in fact the book revolves around this true legend about honing the circle maker, who draws a circle.

Mark Batterson: kneels in that circle and said sovereign Lord I swear before your name that I will not leave this circle until you send.

Mark Batterson: Rain it’s a prayer that saved a generation, while they were in a devastating drought, but there’s a second story that I share in the book that.

Mark Batterson: I might like it just as much that he’s walking by someone planting a care of tree that takes 70 years to mature and.

Mark Batterson: says why why Why are you doing that you’re not going to see you’re not going to enjoy the fruit of the tree and he said well my parents planted trees for me and i’m planting them.

Mark Batterson: For my grandchildren and so it’s this mindset of the 200 year present I write about it a little bit in in when the day ELISE bolding it’s this idea that.

Mark Batterson: we’ve got it, you know someone was born 100 years ago and then their babies being born today that will live to 100 so we kind of live in this 200 year present and we’ve got to.

Mark Batterson: Think about that third and fourth generation, we think, right here, right now, but but it’s always about the third and fourth generation, and so, if you want to do something that’s big you’re gonna have to think long.

Mark Batterson: And I think you have to have some life goals David that are going to take a lifetime to accomplish and again that’s kind of what keeps us young and.

Mark Batterson: By the way, on that note, you know i’ve got 100 life goals i’ve got seven steps to setting life goals and that’s free to anybody who wants it.

Mark Batterson: Could I share my website, just in case.

David Horsager: you’re gonna want us.

David Horsager: let’s do that right now.

David Horsager: And we’ll put it all in the show notes trusted leader show.com but.

Mark Batterson: yeah.

David Horsager: Where can we find you where’s the best place let’s let’s stop right now to do it.

Mark Batterson: yeah mark Patterson calm and there’s nothing that cost anything on that site it’s all my goal David has to add value and, if I can add value then that puts a smile on my face and so.

Mark Batterson: i’m a big believer in life goals you want to accomplish 100% of the goals you don’t set and then I share seven steps to setting those life goals and so folks can find it right there.

David Horsager: Perfect mark patterson.com we’ll put that in the show notes.

David Horsager: Well, here we go, we gotta we gotta land this plane, this has been a treat we could have three more of these probably five more and I can’t wait to be biking next to you until I need to catch my breath and grab a glass of water and August, but um let’s.

David Horsager: let’s go couple of our quickfire questions not going to go through all of them today, but a favorite book or resource right now.

Mark Batterson: Oh, my okay right right now.

Mark Batterson: Upstream is a book that i’m reading right right now I think well since you’re in Minnesota it’s the headwaters of the Mississippi river right.

Mark Batterson: By the time it gets to New Orleans wow there’s a lot of power there’s a lot of water rushing into the Gulf, but it always starts upstream, and I think that’s true with habits it’s true with character.

Mark Batterson: I bet you would even say it’s true with trust you know it’s this idea of going upstream.

David Horsager: love it do you have a favorite I don’t know APP or gadget or.

David Horsager: Maybe it is a productivity tip again but.

Mark Batterson: yeah I really like time hop i’m a pretty future oriented person, but time hop reminds me, you know shows me pictures from a year to 10 years ago and I kind of like that it keeps me grounded and reminds me to keep evolving my fashion as well.

David Horsager: All right, one two questions left.

David Horsager: one.

David Horsager: going to go to this one one big hope for the future, yet maybe it’s one of your top maybe 20 or hundred goals but what’s it what’s your big hope big bucket list big hope for the future that you’re thinking about right now.

Mark Batterson: wow if we’re talking go big or go home.

Mark Batterson: I just I really want our church to demonstrate what it looks like to be a multicultural Community this idea that Dr King talked about it being a beloved community.

Mark Batterson: And I happen to believe that church ought to be the most diverse place on the planet and the most creative place on the planet.

Mark Batterson: And those are two sides of the same coin, so if you’re if you’re asking me what i’m hoping for, I really would love for us to demonstrate what it looks like to have our differences, not divide us, but be something that we celebrate and.

Mark Batterson: And we’re working hard towards that and and finding our way forward.

David Horsager: I gotta jump in here, how do you do it, you know every people are working, whether it’s companies or.

David Horsager: You know, all kinds of organization churches were trying to create the beauty of healthy diversity and inclusion and equity, how are you doing it, people said to me, the most the least diverse day of the of the week is Sundays at 11am right or at least the first time, how do you do it.

Mark Batterson: yeah no easy answer is, you know.

Mark Batterson: You have to be on defendable For starters, I think you have to put pride on the altar.

Mark Batterson: I think you have to stay humble and stay hungry and those sound like nice maxim but that’s a mindset it’s a mindset and I would add one more thing to the mix.

Mark Batterson: And this is something that my mentor taught me David two kinds of people in the world, the first kind of person walks into a room and they’re thinking here, I am.

Mark Batterson: They see themselves as the solution, they they their ego barely fits through the door it’s all about me myself and I second kind of person.

Mark Batterson: There you are it’s all about everybody else it’s all about adding value it’s not going to happen until we have this there you are kind of mindset and.

Mark Batterson: And so i’m grateful for a mentor who taught me that a few years ago and that’s how I try to approach live I think if if we keep checking our ego at the door some really good things can happen.

David Horsager: there’s so much more.

David Horsager: Thanks mark it’s.

David Horsager: been fun.

David Horsager: can’t wait to see, and maybe i’ll see it before then, but the final question it’s the trusted leader show we asked this one to everybody who’s a leader you trust and why.

Mark Batterson: um I would probably go right back to that mentor of mine he’s a former college President he’s a former pastor worked on Capitol Hill for many years, in fact.

Mark Batterson: helped that national prayer breakfast happen in February, every year, his name’s deke Fo.

Mark Batterson: And he’s someone that is invested in my life immeasurably took me under his wing when I was pestering 19 people 25 years ago and.

Mark Batterson: I love surrounding myself with people who stretch my faith but who also keep me grounded.

Mark Batterson: And people who have been there and done that, and when I feel like panicking or I feel like the world is falling apart, I kind of go back to those elders those people that I trust and Dick faith is one of those people for me.

David Horsager: He is what a what a choice.

David Horsager: I met him see him speak.

David Horsager: You know bandwidth them and and there’s something about people like that just being with them you’re encouraged and inspired and he’s one of those peoples that there you are.

Mark Batterson: There you are.

David Horsager: Mark thanks so much for sharing with trusted leaders in our audience thanks for being my friend and thanks for thanks for this time together that’s the trusted leader show thanks for joining us until next time stay trusted.

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