I use the app Blinkist as part of my personal growth plan. The app summarizes the content of books and then presents this in audio and written forms (about 15 minutes in audio length per book). I try to listen to a book review a day from various topics such as personal growth, psychology, productivity, time management, leadership, communication, biographies, and more.
This past week I was listening to a book by Tim Farris called The Tools of Titans, and this quote really stood out to me: “Success is not about achieving goals but it’s about forming systems.” He goes on further to quote Scott Adams, “Losers have goals. Winners have systems.” As I listened to this, I realized I have structured my life to focus more on systems than achieving specific goals. As I have done this, goals automatically get done. Tim Farris put language to what I already believed.
To illustrate this, I’d like to share part of a devotional from my book Victorious Mindsetscalled “I Put Things in My Path to Bump Into.”
It isn’t unusual to see on a golf course, next to a green, a golf club left behind by a previous golfer. I have done it and most other golfers have, too. It usually happens when the player leaves his golf bag (or golf cart) on the path to the next hole and then takes two clubs toward the green (usually a pitching wedge to hit onto the green and a putter to finish the hole). Before putting, the wedge is put on the ground and can easily be forgotten (unless the golfer either has a good memory or a good plan). My plan for remembering my pitching wedge is to place it intentionally on the ground between the green and my golf bag. I put it in a place where I will “bump into” it so I won’t forget it. This strategy has worked very well for me in golf and illustrates a powerful lesson for us in life and ministry.
I have developed four main systems in my life to “bump into:”
Beliefs Systems – I bump into the right beliefs through making declarations, regularly feeding myself on faith and hope teachings, and by not trusting any belief in my life that does not have hope.
Personal Habit Systems – Successful people put into their schedule the important but not urgent things of life. Whether it’s daily writing or taking specific steps to remain healthy, I bump into commitments I have made and hold myself accountable to continue to move forward in them.
Projects Systems – I have written fourteen books, travel half the year, work at Bethel Church, and develop team members into stronger leaders. I have only been able to do all of this by having a system of regular scheduled meetings to bump into to do what I often don’t feel like doing.
The System of Deadlines – I started writing by having a deadline to bump into for a weekly newspaper article I wrote in Nevada in 1990’s. I committed to doing it, and that helped me build the muscle of meeting deadlines for other things.
As I pray over those who will read this blog, I sense grace being released to you to go to the next level in what I am sharing. Here are two questions to help you apply systems in your life in greater ways. What systems do you already have that you may not realize you do? What simple systems can you add to your life and calling which will make a huge impact?
To understand the heart behind these systems (and to hear more examples), please listen to this week’s podcast on the subject below. I have had to grow into these systems (and I’m still growing). In this journey I have celebrated progress, not perfection. I truly believe systems are indeed more important than being focused on achieving goals.
One final note – my book The Culture of Empowerment is a very helpful resource to help you develop relational and organizational systems that will bless others and you.
For more on topics like this, listen to my podcast by clicking the link below.
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.