Growing up, one of my favorite commercials was McDonald’s advertisement for the Big Mac. The ad listed the ingredients of the sandwich in the form of a jingle. My friends and I would sing the song as we placed our orders.

So what are the ingredients in the sandwich? The Big Mac is two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. If you reflect on the Big Mac’s ingredients, you have to ask what made it different from other burgers?

Well, it was the secret “special sauce!”

My friends and I would try to identify the secret formula to replicate it at home as we enjoyed our sandwiches. Although we tried, we never uncovered the recipe for the secret sauce.

When I discuss success with aspiring leaders, they always ask, “what is the secret to success?” This question always comes up in the conversation. Like my friends and me tried to figure out McDonald’s secret sauce formula, leaders want the formula for success.

So is there a secret formula for success? According to Craig Groeschel, there is a formula, but it’s not a secret…

“Successful leaders do consistently what others do occasionally.”

– Craig Groeschel

What is Groeschel’s formula for success?

“Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = Radical Difference” (i.e. success)

I know the formula seems very simple on the surface. However, it requires a level of intentionality and commitment for leaders every day.

So how can you, as a leader, use the formula to achieve success? Well, let us examine each element of the formula:

  • Small, Smart Choices – every choice you make, big or small, has an outcome, so make sure you clearly define your why.
  • Consistency – the actions you take on a re-accruing basis will lead to the outcome you receive. 
  • Time – time is a defined quantity; therefore, it is essential to be intentional about how you are spending your time.

Now, ask yourself the following questions from each element.

  1. Are your choices aligned to your values and adding value to others?
  2. What actions are you repeating every day to achieve your why, and are you getting your desired results?
  3. What are you willing to give up of lesser value to gain something of greater value?

So, why is the formula successful?

“It’s the small things no one sees that lead to the big results everyone wants.”

– Craig Groeschel

So, how can you use Groeschel’s formula to achieve success? Start by making good choices, establish a routine, and focus your time on actions that support your goals. Remember, the secret to success is not a secret.

Do you understand the formula for success?


Lead Confidently
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  • Great advice Kim. My struggle is to establish a regular routine.
    I’m not employed at this time but learning what it will take to work for myself.

    • Sharon, I have either worked remotely or been unemployed (another form of working remotely without immediate income) for multiple decades (let’s just say I am old). My advice to myself and others who I have helped through the years is you must first choose to “go to work”. It begins with a mindset of “I have work to do today”, and is followed quickly by, “I must get dressed for work”. If you were going to an office you would never wear your PJ’s or not comb your hair. No, you would dress appropriately and presentably. You need to do that when you work remotely as well. There is a mental focus that accompanies getting ready for work that prepares you to be intentional with your work time. Next set boundaries around your time and space. If there are others at home and home is your place of remote work, tell them that you are as much at work during the time you set as if you had gone to another location to work. Ask them to use the same guidelines of when to call you at work as they did when you worked away from home. For example: tell them to call you on the phone just like they did before. I know it sounds silly when you are in the next room, but it gives you the opportunity to either answer it immediately or let it go to voicemail and return the call when you can…just like you did when you worked outside the home.

      There are many other things to add to order and focus your time but these will help you start the journey of being focused and undistracted in your work.

      I hope that helps you prepare to be self-employed.

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    About the author

    Hi, I'm Kim, Your Leadership Guide. I equip aspiring leaders to lead with confidence, emerging leaders to expand their influence, and accomplished leaders to achieve significance!