The Leadership Blog

How to Stress Less and Accomplish More

accountability advice growth leaddership mark batterson personal growth Jan 07, 2024

If you’re wondering what it takes to stress less and accomplish more in 2024, keep reading.  I’ve got seven daily habits that will help you do that.  I’ll share the first four with you now and next week I’ll give you the last three.

I know your life might feel like one big bundle of stress.  How will we fix the national debt? How do I meet my work deadlines?  Will the stock market decline?  Will my kids get into the right college?  How will I pay for it?  How can we harness the power of AI without destroying things?

Our world is changing faster than ever.  If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll never find peace and satisfaction.  Our changing world requires us to change our daily habits.  These seven tips come from New York Times Bestselling Author Mark Batterson’s book Win the Day. They've made a huge difference in my life, and I believe they can help you too.

1. Flip the Script: If you want to change your life, start by changing your story.

I know that’s not easy to do, but you need to put a positive spin on everything in your life…especially the so-called bad stuff.  It’s more than seeing the glass half full.  It’s creating a narrative of what you’re learning from the bad stuff and how the bad stuff is actually helping you get better.  Hang in there with me, I’m pulling out the textbook.  Cybernetic theory states there are two types of change.  Step one is behavioral change.  You’ve got to find the courage to do things less or more.  Example if you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. Step two: is conceptual change that’s mind over matter.  I call it willpower.

You have to believe that you have the power to change and make your life better by the way you see things.  If you’re miserable at your job, go get another one.  Be grateful for the skills you’ve gained in your current position that will help you land your next opportunity.  Stop wallowing and take action.  You may be telling yourself the wrong story about your life.  The book describes it this way, “Your explanations are more important than your experiences.  Your stories are more important than the situations you find yourself in.” So, what do you do?  Flip the script.  Talk to yourself differently about your life.  You may not be where you want to be but look back at your life and realize thankfully you aren’t where you used to be.  That’s progress and that’s “flipping the script.”

2. Kiss the Wave: The obstacle is not the enemy: the obstacle is the way.

I love this one a lot because it goes against traditional thinking.  It seems natural to not like the problems/obstacles in our lives.  You start by owning your past.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  You may not be responsible for something bad that happened in your life but the way you view it and the stories you tell yourself about it are your responsibility.  None of us can change the past but we can all leverage the lessons from it to change ourselves for the better.

Here’s a personal story.  When I graduated college and got my first job in television, I made $10,000 a year as an anchor/reporter at a small NBC affiliate.  That was considered poverty even thirty years ago.  I didn’t whine about it. I was so darn happy to be in television that I just learned how to live on very little.  As I look back over my career, I see that was a setup for my success.  Who knew I would one day lead a non-profit and have to make difficult decisions to keep the business solvent.   Learning how to live on that little bitty salary has served me so well in my career and throughout my life.  I don’t think I’d be where I am today, if I hadn’t started with nothing.  Every move I’ve made since then has been better and so have I.  We each have a choice to make.  Ask yourself what has this obstacle come to teach me.  Will you allow it to make you better or bitter?  You know the right answer.  Go ahead and be grateful for every obstacle that comes your way. Once you learn the lesson from it, it’s helping you get to your great destiny.  So go ahead and “kiss the wave.”

3. Eat the Frog: If you want to do the super, you’ve first got to do the ordinary.

This strategy suggests that you do the hardest thing on your to-do list first thing each day. When you do this, it brings comfort and satisfaction knowing that you’ve put the hardest thing behind you.  I confess, this isn’t easy for me.  I’m a task-oriented person and sometimes, I need to get a couple easy things done quickly so I can feel that sense of accomplishment before tackling the most difficult.  If you’re like me, I suggest you work to complete the hardest thing no later than noon. The longer you put it off the harder it gets.

Batterson suggests that consistency beats intensity every day.  When we create a good habit, which experts say takes about 21 days, we create patterns for success.  I call it my superpower, “action.”  I love taking action and my routine makes me feel satisfied.

You can’t sit back and wish things will get better or that your laundry list of responsibilities will magically disappear.  You’ve got to do everything you can.  Hope is not a strategy.  Don’t shirk your responsibilities.  Plan your work and work your plan and eat that frog.

4. Fly the Kite: How you do anything is how you’ll do everything.

Here’s why I like Mark’s writing.  It’s always simple and actionable. Let me rephrase that.  It’s simply stated, and easy to understand.  But it’s not always easy to do. His book taught me that you don’t find time, you make time.  We all make time for the things we find important but perhaps we need to reprioritize. If you slap together the easy parts of life with sloppiness and errors, chances are you’ll see the same results with the harder, more important things.  They’ll be filled with mistakes too. Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden created this seven-point creed that he used as his NorthStar to help him fly the kite.

1. Be true to yourself.

2. Help others.

3. Make each day your masterpiece.

4. Drink deeply from good books.

5. Make friendship a fine art.

6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.

7. Seek guidance and count your blessings daily.

Mark writes, “the key to landing your dream job is doing a really good job at a really bad job.  Do little things like they’re big things.  Dream big but start small my friend.  

         “Little by little, bad habits are broken.  

Little by little, good habits are built.  

Little by little, dreams become reality.” Mark Batterson

Those are the first four of seven habits that can help you win the day.  I’ll share the remaining three habits next week and explore the difference between, 

         One Day When….


         One Day Win!