Mark Batterson: Social Entrepreneurship | E154

Mark Batterson: Social Entrepreneurship | E154

How do you use your entrepreneurial drive to better your community?

This week on YAP, we’re chatting with pastor, author, and social entrepreneur, Mark Batterson.

Mark is the lead pastor of National Community Church, the largest church in the Washington DC area. He is also the author of twenty-two books, most recently Do it for a Day and the Win the Day journal which helps people to build healthy habits and lose the ones that are no longer working.

When Mark was chosen to lead the National Community Church in 1996 the church had just nineteen members. Since then, the church has expanded into a congregation of thousands of people operating from around twenty locations. The NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, the largest coffeehouse in DC, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center.   

In this episode, we’ll learn what it’s like to be a social entrepreneur and run a business supporting a cause. We’ll get an inside look at Mark’s unique and fulfilling career as a pastor, community leader and entrepreneur. We’ll learn Mark’s 7 Life Changing Habits and understand Mark’s perspective on making and breaking habits. And lastly, we’ll gain insight on how to better stick with our habits using commitment devices, and how to create a chain reaction of good habits with the domino effect. 

If you’re interested in social entrepreneurship or want to learn how to better tackle your goals and create healthy habits – this episode is for you! 

Sponsored by – 

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The Jordan Harbinger Show – Check out for some episode recommendations

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Check out our website to meet the team, view show notes and transcripts:


() – Hala welcomes Mark to the show

() – Mark’s Early Life and His Pivot to Becoming a Pastor

() – Mark’s Business: Ebenezer Coffee Shops

() – Coffee with a Cause

() – How Mark Built Ebenezer’s Coffee

() – Mark’s Many Hats

() – Mark’s Journey to Becoming an Author

() – You’re Never Too Old to Learn Something New

() – Mark’s New Book: Do It For a Day

() – Win The Day: Habit Building

() – Flip The Script

() – Kiss The Wave

() – Feed The Frog

() – Fly The Kite

() – Cut The Rope

() – Mind The Clock

() – Seed The Clouds

() – Habit Formation

() – Mark’s Habit Cycle

() – Change of Pace and Place to Change Perspective

() – The Domino Effect

() – What is a Commitment Device?

() – Understanding Your Personality to Build Habits

() – One Action to Take To Become More Profiting Tomorrow

() – Getting Goal vs Giving Goal

() – Mark’s Secret to profiting In Life

Mentioned In The Episode:

Mark’s Book Win The Day – 

Mark’s Website –

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Hala Taha: Hey, mark. Welcome to young and profiting podcast.

Mark Batterson: Hey, thank you so much. It's a joy to be.

Hala Taha: So we're super happy that you're here today. For those who don't know you, you are the lead pastor of the national community church from Washington DC. You're also a New York times bestselling author of 22 books, including including do it for a day and win the day. And for today's episode, we're really going to focus on do it for a day and all. your methodology relating to formatting.

Let me start this over. Sorry. This is a new setup for me. So just bear with me, I'm using a teleprompter and
literally this is the first time I'm ever doing it. So I'm definitely not this bad. I usually memorize everything, but this is the first time I have a teleprompter. So let me try this one more

Mark Batterson: totally fine. And the thing I failed to ask was, are we, um, will there be a video component or is it just audio? Oh, there is.

Hala Taha: two. Yes. And I have a very big following on LinkedIn. So did you want to change anything with your video?

Mark Batterson: Let me change my hat. I I'm. So I'm so casual. I didn't, I was thinking podcast audio one.
Hala Taha: No, no, that's

Mark Batterson: to okay. One, one

Hala Taha: I have all the time in the world, so you're good. And so This, is a new setup for me. Okay. There you go. Oh, that was so quick.

Mark Batterson: a little bit less wintry. Um, it was, uh, it's, it's cold here in snowy. So,

Hala Taha: No. Yeah. That's way cooler. I think you're better off like that. Okay. Cool. All right, so let's just start this over again. We're both being flexible with each other. Okay. Hey mark. Welcome to young and profiting 5k.

Mark Batterson: well, thank you so much. It's a joy to be with.

Hala Taha: Yeah. likewise, we're super excited to have You on here for those who don't know, you, you are the lead pastor of the national community church in Washington, DC. You are also a New York times bestselling author of 22 books, including do it for a day and win the day. And for today's episode, we're going to really focus in on do it for a day, which is your methodology around how to build habits.

And it's super fascinating. One of my favorite topics and. In addition to that, we also want to cover your journey because I found your journey really fascinating and unique, and you have some great life lessons about that, about following your purpose, following your gut. So I would like to start there. I learned that you got your, uh, you know, when you were first setting out on your journey, you ended up getting a scholarship to the university of Chicago for basketball and.

I study law, but then you quickly decided to abandon those dreams and become a pasture. Let's start there. Talk to us about your, you know, start with college and how you made that big decision.

Mark Batterson: Yeah. You know, I, I let's be honest. I probably went to the best college I could get into. I barely got into the university of Chicago, playing basketball, probably helped my case a little bit, but, uh, I was, I studied, uh, politics, economics, rhetoric, and law, just kind of this liberal. Degree and plan to go on that path, thought that maybe law would be something I would be interested in.

Um, long story short. Uh, I, I really had this moment where. I felt like, uh, maybe just maybe a ministry pastoring, a church would be something that I would want to do, but I would want to do it in a unique way. Kind of from the ground up. I had this entrepreneurial streak that I love starting things. And so we actually started with a core group of 19 people and a.

Couple of decades later, we've had the joy of impacting tens of thousands of people. And, and I might add, uh, giving about $25 million to causes that we really care about that make a difference in people's lives. And so it's, it's been a joy ride, uh, nothing easy about leadership in any venue or any.

Hala Taha: Anything.

Mark Batterson: But, uh, I kinda consider myself a spiritual coach and, uh, like coaching people towards purpose, towards meaning, and really, uh, leveraging the gifts that I believe God has given to each one.

Hala Taha: It's super, super interesting. And I really love what you've done with the NCC and how you've really built that business model around your church. So from my understanding, and from my research, I found out that you guys actually own one of the biggest coffee shops in Washington, DC. It's called Ebeneezer, and it's actually a chain of coffee shops.

It started with you guys buying one.

property in the early two thousands, and then opening your doors in two. And it kind of just took off and I just found this so fascinating. Why a coffee house and what is the, um, like what can we learn about having a business from a cause and all the success that you've had

Mark Batterson: Yeah. You know, I think. Every business is owned by someone and they have some kind of motive in starting it. And if we're just keeping it real, you know, some people it's, it's primarily a profit motive and, you know, I'm, I'm grateful that we live in a, uh, a capitalist society where we can pursue dreams and, and I have nothing against that, but we, we started this coffee house, um, with the idea that what if we actually gave all the profits.

To, to causes that we care about. And, and, and so it really is coffee with a cause. Now I better back up a little bit. Uh, so we did buy a piece of property about, about five blocks from the Capitol itself, right on Capitol hill, a block from union station. So it is, it is location, location, location. In fact, we're kitty corner to the security and exchange commission.

And so. We've often joked, if you, if you can't make a coffee house work, Katie coroner, to like thousands of people in law and finance, like you, you probably can't make it work anywhere. So we, we do have a, uh, a great corner here on Capitol hill and, uh, and it's been an amazing, amazing business. Um, you know, uh, Caffeine makes the world a better place.

If we're just being honest, like I don't know about anybody else, but when I get up in the morning until I get my caffeine, you don't want to spend a whole lot of time with me. I need, I need my morning coffee. And so we feel like we're both, uh, caffeinating the world. And, uh, and then using those profits for some wonderful things, like, uh, the DC dream center that we operate in ward seven and, uh, is just an amazing, uh, Outreach to a part of our city that is under resourced.

And, uh, and so we're mentoring kids. We serve 64,000 meals last year. And so it's really this wonderful outreach, but part of what funds it is, this coffee house that we own and operate here on campus.
Hala Taha: It's it's just so interesting that that's how you decided to kind of fund the different projects that your church takes on. And I have to imagine that a lot of people support the coffee shop because it's related to the church and that a lot of employees really love their job because it's so fulfilling.

Even if they're not making a whole ton of money working at a coffee shop, they know that it's going towards a good cause. So talk to us about that a little bit in the culture that it's driven.

Mark Batterson: Yeah, I think the coffee tastes a little bit better. Feels a little bit better when, when you know that, uh, it's it's um, it's making a difference. Uh, in in fact, um, we use our space part of our coffee houses. We have a performance space. You know, we can do events for a hundred, 150 people. Well, every, every week, once a week, we turn that into something.

We call the living room for our friends experiencing homelessness, which are kind of live on the streets around DC. And so part of what we do is also leverage our coffee house just to love on our neighbors, people that, that, you know, find themselves without a roof over their head. And so. Um, w we feel like there's a way to do business with excellence.

Now we've been around since 2006, so way back then there weren't all of these third wave, independent coffee shops, which they pop up everywhere. Right. But back in the day, it was Starbucks. We felt like, you know, if you can't compete with Starbucks, just stay out of the game. But now more and more of the coffee business has evolved, um, in so many amazing ways.

And so we want to serve a great cup of coffee, but then there's this social dimension to it. And you know, it's not like we came up with that idea. I think about someone like Tom shoes, for example, that, that kind of famous example where buy a pair and you end up giving a pair. And so there is something about that business model though, that that resonates.

And I think it resonates with younger generations. I'd be interested in your take on. Because there there's such a, there's an instinct towards justice and instinct towards, um, just th the good of, uh, our culture and of neighbors. And so I, um, have you seen that as well, that

Hala Taha: Oh, yeah,

Mark Batterson: models that, that

Hala Taha: a lot of millennials and gen Z, like they don't care about the money necessarily. Like they need a certain amount of money. And then everything after that is more about meaning and purpose and, and you know, their place in the world rather than, you know, how much more money they can make on top of.

Whatever they're already making. So I totally agree there. So I think there's something like pretty special in what you're doing. I think it's very unique. And I just wonder, is there any way that we kind of could lay out that, that business model a little bit more deeply for the listeners so they can understand like, Hey, if I have a great call, That I want to support you need money to actually do that, So there is a need to actually generate revenue and sometimes just asking for donations is just not enough and is not a proactive way to actually, you know, fulfill your dream of, of giving back to society or improving society. So talk to us about that.
and kind of your advice for somebody who wants to build a similar business.

Mark Batterson: Yeah, well, maybe, maybe I'll come at that from this angle, that along with this coffee house, uh, there's another piece of property, a city block. It's a hundred thousand square feet, uh, that we have been building out into something called the Capitol turnaround. Ultimately it'll be a mixed use retail restaurant.

One of the things we observed in our city is that our mayor said that one of the top priorities is childcare or child development because there aren't enough spots for those preschool kids. And in DC, most people are, you know, double income and, and so you've got. Um, people working and they need someone to watch your kids.

Well, instead of as a church building a kid's ministry space, which we did, and it's about 20,000 square feet, it's got an indoor playground, it's got a, a kid's theater. It's a pretty, it's pretty amazing. Um, but instead of using that once a week, On the weekend. We said, what if that could be a Monday to Friday child development center?

And so we have one of the largest child development centers in the city capacity for about 200 kids. And, and where I'm going with that is I think, as an entrepreneur, you need a dream. You absolutely need a vision of what you want to do. And it ought to be in keeping with those passions that you have.

Because that's, what's going to get you up early and keep you up late and give you the energy to go after that dream. But the other thing is you, you gotta have a good pulse. You kind of have to take the pulse of the culture around you and what are those needs? What, what, where are the gaps? Where can you as an entrepreneur step in and, and even find unique ways of, uh, of meeting those needs?

Uh, one fun thing is. You know, I even think about coffee shops. We, all we have is just a coffee shop, but isn't it interesting how I've seen so many bike shop coffee, shop tandems pop up. Um, and I, it's such an interesting thing to me. It's like, do these two things really belong together, but I think entrepreneurs are good at cross Pollenizer and getting ideas from different places.

Who has, you know, let's not just do it the way it's always been done. That's how you repeat history. Why don't we make history and do it the way it's never been done before? And so, you know, part of what has driven us as a church, and I would say driven me as a, as an entrepreneur, or even as an author is just, there's a way there are ways of doing this.

I thought of yet. And so that's pretty exciting. And I know some people are listening right now and they have an idea and it sounds like a crazy idea. Can, can I just say, um, hang onto those crazy ideas, cause that, that often is the thing that's going to differentiate you from the market and, and allow you to bring something to the table that maybe no one else has tried.

Hala Taha: I totally agree. I think your story is so inspirational and I really find your careers so interesting because when you think of a pasture, you don't think entrepreneur, but yet like so much of what you do is actually entrepreneurship. And I really feel like you've hit the nail on the head in terms of like passion, but then also like fighting.

Stability and creating jobs for other people and just like helping society. So it's just it's you must feel really fulfilled. So with that, I'd love to hear about all the different hats you wear because you wear a lot of hats. So let's, let's, let's unpack that a bit.

Mark Batterson: well, I wear a few hats. Um, you know, my, my day hat is pastoring a church and I love it. I feel like my job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, uh, in the sense of there are a lot of people hurting. I mean, come on one third of Americans say we're anxious or depressed. Um, there's just so much happening in culture from racial tension to political polarization.

And I want to be someone that, that stands in the gap and is really good at loving people and, uh, and helping people, I think potential is God's gift to us. What we do with it is our gift back to God. So that's kind of the, the pastor hat. What's interesting is the writing hat. Um, it's actually not a natural gifting.

When I was in grad school, I took one of those assessments that. shows your aptitude for different things. And my aptitude for writing was so low. It basically, whatever you do, just never think about writing a book. Um, so we're, we're having a little bit of fun here, but you know, this, some people ask if it's a fake background behind me, I've got.

Bookshelves. Now I read 3000 books before I wrote one, because I knew that it wasn't a natural gifting. So I had to work a little bit harder than maybe other people who can naturally put pen to paper. And so, um, you know, the writing piece has just been to be honest, a lot of early mornings and, and as a word of encouragement, because.

I think the latest stat I've seen is that about 81% feel like they might have a book in them. And, and so to that, that potential author that's out there listening right now. I just want you to know. I felt called to write at 22, but I didn't write a book until 35. So hang in there, don't be discouraged.

It's going to probably take longer than you think it might be harder than what you want, but about 13 years, but I didn't waste my time in between. I was not just reading those books. I was reverse engineering them. And so. The pastor had the writing hat and then that entrepreneurial hat or a few hats that I enjoy wearing, I guess maybe I feel like right now I'm just, um, self-diagnosing is a little bit of ADHD that I get.

I get easily bored, um, that I don't like doing this. Thing for too long. And so in my hunch is a lot of people that are listening to this podcast kind of have that you're gifting is to start things or you have new ideas and, and it's that entrepreneurial streak. And so hopefully there there's some encouragement in there.

Hala Taha: Oh, yeah, your story is super inspirational and it's clear. You love to make an impact. And I love the fact that you said, you know, if, if you have the itch to write, don't worry about how old you are. You're never too old to learn something new and to start something new. Even me with this podcast, I started when I was 28.

I started this podcast when I was 28. And I'm a number one podcast on the cover of podcast magazine, blah, blah, blah. And it took a few years to get there, but that it's okay. You know, and, and it wasn't my first rodeo either. And I didn't waste my time before that either. Like you said, it's not like you just sit there.
and do nothing.

You have to learn, get gain the experience, gain the skills, and then you might be ready to kind of hit the ground running when you do want to take on some.

Mark Batterson: Yeah, I love that. And, you know, full disclosure, I should probably share that, you know, I've had the joy of, you know, starting with a core group of 19 people pastoring this one church for 25 years now, but my first attempt was a fail and I probably ought to put that out there. And so I really believe that the cure for the fear of failure is not success.

It's failure in small enough doses that you build up an immunity to it. And so I think in some ways you have to experience some failure, uh, preferably earlier in life and, and then it, it gives you the ability that, okay, you can get back up dust off and give it a second try. Cause I think, you know, largely success is.

Well learned failure and failure is kind of poorly learned success, right? And so it's about learning those lessons along the way, especially in those, those early years where some foundation is being laid for your.

Hala Taha: And 100%. So let's move on to your new book. It's called do it for a day, had to make or break any habit in 30 days. And so one of the things that you say in your.

book is we are one habit way from getting into shape financial freedom and getting better mental health. So what do you mean by that? Where one habit away from making all these changes?

Mark Batterson: Well, you know, big pictures, show me your habits. They'll show you your future. Destiny is not a mystery. Destiny is daily habits. So whatever goal you're going after, I think a lot of us, we want to dream big kind of set this goal, but you have to reverse engineer it, uh, into those daily habits. So, uh, for example, Few years ago, I ran the Chicago marathon and it's the first one I've ever done.

And I'm not a distance runner. You know, I played some basketball in college, but I was more of a sprinter. Well, I couldn't just go out and run 26.2 miles. I had to download a training plan and then reverse engineer it. And. 475 miles over 72 training runs over six months. That's how things happen. Like if you want to get out of.

It is going to happen one paycheck at a time, and it's going to take tremendous discipline. And so just a big believer in those habits and, and the word of encouragement is like, you know, you, you can accomplish. So much more than you imagine the catch is. You've got to have that daily discipline, that daily habit, and that's the going to be the thing.

And it's true physically, financially. Uh, I think spiritually and relationally.

Hala Taha: Yeah, I totally agree. Um, so your, your, one of your really, really popular books called win the day. You have seven life changing habits and you use these. In your new book. And I thought it would be great if we could do a little quick fire segment where I will rattle off these seven habits, because they're just great life lessons in general.

And, uh, I'll say the habit. And then you give us a like, you know, 30 seconds, one minute explanation on each one. So the first one is flip the screen.

Mark Batterson: Yeah, change. If you want to change your life, you have to change your story. And I think the narratives that we, our internal monologue, sometimes we're our own worst enemy. And so you really have to make sure that you're telling the right. Story. And so in, in cybernetics, um, there are two kinds of change, a first order, second order.

And a second order change is conceptual. It's this idea of you really habit. Can't just be something that you do. It has to become part of your identity. Maybe, maybe the easiest way to say it is quit. Quit saying that you're writing and call yourself a writer. Quit saying that you're running and. Call yourself a runner.
Um, you got to own that identity. So flip the script, you got to change the story.

Hala Taha: I love that I had a guest on the show. Her name is Marissa peer, and she always says, tell yourself a better lie, like lie to yourself. Like you are a writer. You are an honor, even if you're not yet, tell yourself a better lie. Uh, okay. Kiss the wave.

Mark Batterson: Yeah. And this is a, this is a tough one because I don't think the obstacle is the enemy. The obstacle is the way, it's the hard times that you walk through. It's the test that you go through that are going to make you the bigger, better person that you need to become. And so kiss a wave is this idea of I'm going to, I'm going to embrace it.

Can I just on a personal note right here. Cause I I'm guessing that there some people that might find themselves in this situation. Uh, my, my wife, um, couple of years ago, diagnosis. Cancer. And that's so hard when you get that news, but there's one or two things that you can do. One is you can just kind of give up and sort of, um, play defense.

But my wife read a piece of poetry, uh, that posed the question and it said, what have you come to teach me? In other words, like you're going through a tough time. Maybe there's someone out there who's. Going through chemo or radiation, or there's some kind of struggle that you're walking through. You have to kiss the wave, you have to learn the lesson, cultivate the character, um, make the change, whatever it is.
And so just the little challenge there to kiss the wave.

Hala Taha: yeah, like embraced all the obstacles that come your way, basically. Okay. Feed the frog.

Mark Batterson: Yes. So, um, uh, mark Twain said, uh, if you ever have to eat a frog, do it first thing in the morning, then you'll know that the hardest thing is behind you, which is kind of hilarious, uh, because I can't imagine that scenario, but is this idea of, uh, harder as. Do it difficult. Um, you got to get up and hit the ground running.

Uh, and so, uh, eat the frog. Is this idea that the way you gain strength is through resistance training. And so I talk a little bit about things. We can do commitment devices that can enable us to, um, really, uh, eat the frog and cultivate some of those harder disciplines, especially with that morning.

Hala Taha: And we will definitely talk about commitment devices to make and break habits. All right. Fly the kite.

Mark Batterson: Yeah. So the idea here is if you do little things, like they're big things in my experience, God has a way of doing big things that like they're little things I think we want to do. Amazing things, big things, but really if you study exceptional athletes, for example, um, or, or musicians or people who are just really good at their craft, the reality is they're just better than the best of us at the basics.

They really, um, someone asked, um, uh, Pablo Casals, one of the greatest jealous of all time. I think he was like, Late eighties, early nineties. Um, and he was still practicing like six hours a day. Imagine that, and someone asked him why. And I think his short answer was, cause I think I'm getting better. It's this idea that, you know, flying the kite is just getting 1% better every day.

It's this mindset that, uh, I want to benchmark and, uh, get a little bit stronger, a little bit smarter than I was yet.

Hala Taha: Yeah. And in your book you have a quote, how you do anything is how you do everything related to fly the kite. And that is literally my all time. Favorite quote. It has been for years. It's such a good one. Okay. Cut.

Mark Batterson: Yeah. At some point you got to take the risk, playing it safe. Is risky. The greatest risk is taking no risks. And so, um, there, there comes a moment and by, by the way, I love in my books. I, I usually try to include quite a bit of science and history. Cause I like geeking out on that stuff. But, uh, the cut, the rope actually comes from one of the, the, the original, the O G elevator pitch.

Um, a guy named Elisha Otis, who, uh, in the crystal palace, the, the. World's fair, uh, debuted his elevator break and did it in dramatic fashion. He said, cut the rope and an ax man, little, literally cut the rope. And, uh, his elevator break worked. And the next thing you know, there are hundreds of skyscrapers in New York city, but it traces.

To someone who was willing to take the risk. And, uh, without that elevator, you don't have all those skyscrapers. And so, uh, kind of a fun story to back that one up,

Hala Taha: Oh, I love that story. Okay. When w wind the club.

Mark Batterson: uh, yeah. Life time is measured in minutes. Life is measured in mobile. And so I think what we've got to do is be a little bit better at really, um, enjoying the moments of life we're in such a hurry. Aren't we, um, I think, you know, a hundred, uh, average person spends 122 minutes on social media and I, listen, I love.

The, the, the phone, the technology, the way that my phone gives me access to so many things in so many people, uh, I love it. Um, but there's a great danger in it. We're so distracted that we can kind of miss what's happening. Around us. And so the idea here is in there, actually, there are two words in the Greek language for, uh, for time.

One is Kronos and it's this idea of the minutes. Um, and we've gotta be good at time management. Like that's part of the, part of the deal. Um, but. Kyra Ross is not just time but opportunity. And so we also have to be better at understanding the season of life that we're in. And when moments present themselves, like learning to really wind the clock and enjoy those mums.

Hala Taha: okay. Last but not least seed the clouds.

Mark Batterson: Yeah. And this one, I have a little bit of fun on the science side because, uh, you can drop dry ice into clouds and seed the clouds and cause it to rain. There's a fun little story about the origin of that. Um, and, uh, the idea here is that you've got to, you've got to prepare today for what you want to experience tomorrow and, and you would think that this is.

Self-evident and so obvious, but the truth is most of us want to, we want to win the lottery instead of win the day when we got home, want to get lucky instead of, you know, fate favors the prepared, like let's do our homework, let's do our groundwork. Like I, I, you know, I imagined. bet you study it. A lot of other podcasts you watched, what other people did, you did your homework and then in order, and then you launch it and then you keep learning.

Um, and so you're always seeding the future, seeding the clouds. And so, uh, I think. Faith is being sure of what you hope for. And it's pretty critical that you, you won't accomplish a hundred percent of the goals that you don't set. And so I do, I have a hundred life goals and, uh, what those goals do by the way is I think they, they.

Sanctify the reticular activating system, the part of the brain that determines what we notice and what goes unnoticed. And so what goal setting does is, okay, now I'm going to notice anything and everything related to accomplishing this goal. And so I do think that goal setting is a piece of that.

Hala Taha: Yeah, and I, I completely agree with you. You have to put in the reps, uh, disease. You used me as an example, so I'll just dig deeper on that. I used to work at a radio station, young and profiting podcasts, like. The fifth show I had online radio shows. I had a YouTube show at a Facebook show. I built a cat Twitter.
I hacked LinkedIn. Like I knew how to use social media. I did social media for, you know, corporate companies. And so I stuck all those things together and then launch my podcast. But it was after all these things that.

I had been sewing to your point and Tim's story calls us working your land. It's actually taking action every single day towards that bigger dream and leveling up your skills.

Mark Batterson: I love that, uh, we're working your land. And, uh, you know, one of my, one of my MOS is this idea and, uh, Jesus actually said this be innocent as a dove shrewd as a snake. And the idea here is innocent as a dove is you always have to check your motives. Can I just challenge us, everybody on this call? Like.

You got to check your ego at the door. Um, I've got a mentor who, by the way, says, there are two kinds of people in the world. The first kind of person walks into a room and internally announces here I am. They kind of, it's all about me, myself and I they're kind of feel like they're, they're God's gift to everybody, but then there's a second kind of person that walks in and says they're.

There you are there. It's all about everybody else. If, if you just look to add value to other people, if, if you check your ego at the door, then I really think there's no limit to what you can accomplish because you're not going to short circuit. It's not. Come back and bite you in the back. And so, uh, innocent as a dove, I think is key.

If you do the right thing for the wrong reason, it's not going to turn out the way that you want it to, but then you have to be shrewd as a snake. And I love that because I think you've gotta be really good at your game. Like, let, let. I want to be really good at everything from, uh, communicating in public, which is what I do on the weekend, uh, to writing, I, I work my craft.

I can literally spend an entire day, like in a thesaurus trying to figure out what is the best word right here. So I think it's about really working hard. And, and the way I say it is you got to pray. Like it depends on God, but work. Like it depends on you. And if you do those two things, usually some good things happen.

Hala Taha: Guys mark is dropping so many bums right now. I advise that you go rewind that little bit and back and get expired, inspired, and motivated to work super hard. Okay. So, uh, let's talk about. Formation. So 45% of our behaviors are made up of habits. If you guys listen to this podcast, you know that already, we always talk about habits on this podcast.

So something interesting that I found in your book was that you say that habit formation is as old as the sermon on the Mount. What does that mean? And, and, you know, it's habit formation or the concept of it really that ancient.

Mark Batterson: It really is. I mean, I think long before BF Skinner came along or Ivan Pavlov and taught us about condition reflexes or operant conditioning, um, uh, I would argue that the sermon on the Mount, which is, is kind of Jesus' most famous sort of message to the world. Um, I can reduce it down to just six counterparts.

Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you bless those who curse. You turn the other cheek, go the extra mile and give the shirt off your back. Um, that's a quick crash course in the sermon on the Mount. Here's the thing, none of those things are natural. Like if someone slaps me, my reaction is to slap them right back.

And so what what's happening here? Well, I would call them six counter habits and, and so, um, Yeah, I think this idea is, is pretty ancient. And, and I think that habit formation and spiritual formation may be the same thing. And so, um, and I realized, you know, I love the fact that lots of different people from a lot of different faith or non-faith backgrounds listening to this.

Um, and so you, you have to put that through your filter, but the truth is. Habit formation is at the heart of anything and everything that we try to do. And so, um, yeah, I think, uh, I think Jesus had some good things to say about that.

Hala Taha: Yeah. So I knew that you have your habits cycle that you talk about in your book. And it's very similar to Charles Duhigg's habit loop, which is a cue routine and reward. So talk to us about your habits cycle and what the steps are to make or break any habit.

Mark Batterson: Yeah. And let me go on record, you know, like any other writer you're researching, what everybody else writes and, and the truth is, uh, there's nothing new under the sun. Uh, all of us are sort of reinventing recasting. So many other ideas. So I love Charles Duhigg great book on habits. Uh, same with atomic habits.

Um, so many amazing books. Um, you know, I, I, I take my unique slant on it. And I think it is, you have to, you have to identify the prompt. There are so many triggers that we have for better or for worse. Um, and then you have to interrupt the pattern and that's hard to do because we are these creatures of habit.

We just, the way I would say it is once a routine becomes routine, you have to change a routine, even B because it's the law of requisite variety. It's this idea that if you go to the gym, Which good for you, but if you work out the same sequence on the same machines, every single time, it actually loses effectiveness because your body adapts to it.

And so what a trainer will do is actually confuse your muscles. Um, Well, they'll, they'll give you a different incline on the bench or they'll, they'll make you do some kind of exercise with a tire. Instead of, instead of, um, with a weight, what they're doing is the law of requisite variety. You have to change the sequence, mix it.

Then, and only then is your body going to react to that and grow from it and say, Hey, here's a little formula that, that maybe people can jot down. And it's something I put into practice all the time. Change of pace, plus change a place. Equals change of perspective. And so what I need to do is change my pace.

If I'm always running at the same pace I'm going to get in trouble. Cause it doesn't allow me. Sometimes you have to walk three miles an hour to get different mindsets or different ideas and then change a place. There's just something about, I, I, for me. Oh man, get me a 30,000 feet and I just have more better ideas.

I don't know what it is, but that change of place is huge. And so you've got to figure out how and where you can go to change, pace, change place to kind of get that change of perspective.

Hala Taha: Um, very interesting stuff. So I'd love for you to share a story with us. So in your book, you talk about the domino champ, Bob Speca and how he, uh, you know, did really well with Domino's and you describe a term called the domino effect in habit formation. So talk to us about the domino effect and this, uh, domino champ

Mark Batterson: Yeah, absolutely. I, you know, I think it traces back to a guy named Lauren Whitehead, an engineer who published this study in the American journal of physics and it was called domino chain reaction. What he discovered is that a two-inch domino is capable of knocking over a domino. This is one and a half times its size.

So a two inch domino knocks. Three inch three inch can knock over four and a half inch. And so I just have a little bit of fun with it. By the time you get to the 18th domino, you can knock over the leaning tower. Of course, this is leading, so that's not entirely fair. Uh, you get to, I think it's the 23rd domino you could take down the Washington monument, uh, 20, uh, seventh domino, I think the Eiffel tower.

And by the time you get to that 28 domino, you can knock over the Burj Khalifa tallest building in the world. It's this idea that don't get overwhelmed by the huge goals or the things that, you know, Um, are so far out there, just focus on that. Two-inch domino, if you write, um, hundred words a day, um, that, that, and you do that five days a week, um, that may, that may not seem like much.

When that year is up, you've written yourself a book. Uh, so don't get overwhelmed by the quantity or size, break it down into those dominoes. You know, when I, when I started training for that marathon, I could barely run three miles. I, it was killing me. It was killing. And, and, and for the record, like I did not win the Chicago marathon.

Okay. I finished in the middle of the pack, but, um, but

Hala Taha: But you finished.

Mark Batterson: Yes, I finished. Thank you. I've finished. They give you a metal for finishing, right? And so, um, you know, you, you have to start small and then just stick with it and don't try not to get too discouraged. I think. This idea of just do it for a day and then getting a wind street going where two days in a row, three days in a row, that's where the magic happens.

It's about creating winning streaks and, um, and it's breaking it down into that, that daily, uh, discipline. Maybe. Can I share one other kind of

Hala Taha: Yes, 100%, whatever you think to drive.

Mark Batterson: I, you know, I think I'm a little bit concerned, and this is not an indictment per se. And it really, this doesn't matter where you land politically or anything else.

There's just a lot of negativity these days. There is a lot of negativity and, um, one of the things that I do to fight negativity in my own life is I keep a gratitude. Three gratitudes a day and I just jot down, what am I grateful for? What am I like? Like I get to do this, or I'm just so thankful for this or that or the other thing and what that's done in my life.

Just by coming up with three gratitude, three gratitudes a day, that little daily habit totally changes. My mindset changes my heart and how I feel at the beginning and end of the day. And so that, that may be as a simple example. I promise you, you, you find three things you're grateful for every day and, uh, it can really change your outlook and your attitude and how you feel about.

Hala Taha: Oh, I totally agree. And what you said before about.

you know, taking action everyday, taking these small steps really reminded me of something. Jeff Hayden told us when he came on the show, Jeff Hayden's, uh, he wrote the motivation myth and basically it's this concept that like motivation doesn't happen first.

You actually. Action first. And then there's this motivation feedback loop where you take a little bit of action. You know, you get good results, you get motivated to do it again. And then, and then you get more good results, then you're motivated to do it again. But if you don't start, you never get any of that feedback.

And people think that motivation is going to fall from the sky, but really it doesn't. You have to. The start and yes, there's going to be ups and downs, but every time you get that up, you get that motivation to keep going. And as you learn more, you get motivation to keep going because you understand more and it just gets a little bit easier and easier every time.

Mark Batterson: that is so good and so true. Cause that first step is the hardest one. But by the way, the key moment for me in writing that first book after 13 years of kind of a dream deferred was I leveraged my 35th birthday. And I said, I'm not going to turn 35 without a book to show for it. It may not be very good.

May not even be edited, but I'm just, I'm finally, I'm throwing down the gauntlet. And so, you know, part of it is you've got to give yourself. Dark date and a deadline because a dream without a deadline is called a wish. And so in some ways, it's just about you. You have to, you almost have to Jedi mind trick yourself.

You have to give yourself self-imposed deadlines. And, uh, and sometimes, and, and there are ways you can bring other people into the puzzle that kind of holds you accountable to that, but you got to find ways, just, you have to know how you're wired. What's going to motivate me to really go after this. But, uh, that that's so true.

You gotta, you cannot finish what you do now.

Hala Taha: Yes. Okay. So I think you were alluding to a commitment device. So what is a commitment device and how do we use it to make or break habits?

Mark Batterson: Yeah. You know, it's funny. Cause I, I, I think, um, the most obvious commitment device is something called in alarm clock. You know, it's this idea that when you get up, uh, every day is a pretty significant factor because if you're getting. Just in time to kind of eat breakfast, get a shower, get out the door and get to work.

I don't think that's a recipe for like accomplishing your dreams. I don't think you're going to get in shape that way. I don't think you're going to get out of debt that way. I don't think you're going to grow spiritually, relationally that way. You really have to leverage that alarm clock, a commitment device is simply a it's giving yourself a deadline.

It's, it's putting things in place that force you, um, to actually do what it is that you're saying that you're going to do. Uh, w what's fun is I actually leverage occasionally, um, in one of my messages, you know, and I have the privilege of speaking to a few thousand people every weekend. And one of the things I do, and this is a little trick of the trade.

Is all go public with something, because I know that dental hold myself accountable. So I announced in a message. Hey, I'm going to run a marathon when I couldn't even run three miles yet. So there there's a commitment devices, basically something that forces your hand. It's, it's making that. Um, it's, it's, it's filling out the application, it's doing something that initiates that process and forces you to commit to it.

Hala Taha: Yeah. And I think sometimes it can be a financial investment, you know, they always say that if you actually pay for a course or a coach, you actually going to follow through because you made that investment and when it's free, like you're just like, oh, well I guess I could flake. And it.

doesn't really matter.

Um, yeah.

Mark Batterson: that's so good because then you have skin in the game and so fun, fun fact, the coffee house, Ebenezer's coffee house that we own and operate on Capitol hill. It was a crack house. It was the dilapidated property and it wasn't even zoned commercial. Uh, the first thing I did, I was at an auction at our kids' schools and there was some book on the zoning codes for Capitol hill.

And I remember I bid $85 and it would've been a total waste of money if we. By the property and eventually rezone it and eventually build the caveats. But you know what, I go back to that moment. And it was unique moment because I put, I, it was only 85 bucks, but it was me putting some skin in the game.

And so I, I think that's so good that you, you have to invest a little bit in it just to kind of get it off the.

Hala Taha: Yeah. And as you're talking, you know, I talked to all these experts all the time. So I always have like, everyone's like thoughts in my head of all the guests that I've studied over the years. And so Gretchen Rubin recently came on the show and she breaks down the.

world into four personnel. And I feel like this really resonates with people who are one of her personality types called obligers, which mean that they really need external accountability to get anything done.

And so part of this is knowing your personality. So like for example, I'm an upholder and I actually. Really need that much external accountability. That means that if I decide to go on a diet, I go on a diet because I told myself I would, if I want to exercise three times a week, I do it. I don't need a gym partner or a trainer or whatever to go do it.

But if that's you and you have trouble sticking to your internal goals and anything that you don't have external accountability for, then you need commitment devices. And when you're. Start a habit. And so you need to proactively do those things to make you stick to those goals into those habits. And so I also think, you know, knowing yourself and what you're good and not good at is, is key to all of that.

Mark Batterson: oh, that's so good. And that, that may be is where the whole thing starts. Yeah, you have to know yourself really well. That leadership starts with self-leadership. And so much of that is really knowing the way that you're wired. Um, it's crazy. I think some of us know, know more about our, our, uh, favorite celebrity than we know about ourselves.

And so it's, it's that ancient idea know that.

Hala Taha: Yeah. All right. So as we wrap up this interview, a couple of questions that.
I ask all my guests at the end of the show, what is one action we can take today to become more profitable tomorrow?

Mark Batterson: oh, wow. I love it. Can I just, here's the first thing that comes to mind when I set a hundred life goals, the turning point for me was when I shifted from getting goals to giving goals. It totally transformed the way that I think my goal is to give it all away. And, uh, and so instead of setting, getting goals, you set giving goals and you have to get a lot to give a lot, but there's something about that, that setting giving goals was a huge turning point, uh, for me, because it made it more of an altruistic kind of, uh, motivation, which, which really changed the game.

Hala Taha: let's, let's dig deeper on that. Say, say a getting goal versus a given goal, or like, you know,

Mark Batterson: yeah, like a getting goal is, Hey, I want to be financially independent by 50. I want to, you know, make that first million by, or, um, I'll want to have a net worth of X, Y, and Z. W w and, and I get that, like, there's nothing wrong with financial planning and planning for retirement, but my wife and I, our goal is to give a greater and greater percentage of our income away.

And part of that is motivated by what, what I see, uh, in the person of Jesus. And I see in scripture that, um, our, our goal is to eventually live on 10% and give away 90%. And so what we've done with every book contract is that we give a greater percentage away. And I T I tell you what that's, where joy is found on the giving side of life.

And, and then it makes the getting feel really good because you know that you're going to be a conduit for blessing other people. And so, um, Yeah, it's a simple idea that, you know, we, we want to give away, um, a million, 10 million, you know, as a church, we, we want to give away 25 million. We've hit that goal.

And so now we're dreaming bigger. Like how can we give it all away? I think that mindset is really a, a game.

Hala Taha:: yeah, super interesting. I never heard that one before. And what is your secret to profiting?

Mark Batterson: Oh, man. I, I think, um, the secret, I think to profiting in life is to, it's not about. It's just, it's not about me. Uh, it's about other people. When I add value to other people's lives, that's where I find joy. That's where I find meaning. And it's kind of like happiness. If you seek it, you aren't gonna find it.

Happiness is a by-product of something else. I think meaning is the same way, like you, and here's where I would challenge listeners. Have you ever defined success for yourself? Um, not, not adopting a cultural definition, not adopting your great uncles definition. No, you, what, what is success for you? And so.

For me personally, uh, success is when those who know me best respect me most. And that's my wife and my kids. You know, it's not about how many books I sell. How many people I pastor it really is about. Am I, am I better in private than I am in public? And if not, am I at least the same person, I want to be famous in my own home.

Uh, so you really have to define success for yourself and figure out, uh, otherwise you fall into what, what Stephen Covey famously said. So many people are so busy climbing the ladder of success that they fail to realize that it's leaning against the wrong.

Hala Taha: man. That was so powerful. I love, I want, I want you to repeat that quote about respect. What was that quote?

Mark Batterson: Yeah, for me, success is when those who know me best respect me most. And that's my wife and kids. And so really, um, in, especially right in the world that we live in, where a lot of people, there's just a lot of come on. There's a lot of trolling and shaming and baiting and canceling and kinda, everybody's doing this to everybody at the end of the day.

Um, I care most about the people who know me and love me. You start there, make sure that that grass is green, right, right. Where you live. And then, um, let it expand out from there.

Hala Taha: That is amazing advice. Thank you so much, mark. This was such a lovely conversation. I loved learning about your journey. I loved learning about your perspective related to habits, and then this last bit about, uh, you know, your, your secret to profiting in life was also amazing. So thank you so much for your time.

Mark Batterson: uh, my joint privilege.

Hala Taha: Cool, great job.

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