Start the day with a plan…

“The key to victory [is] creating the right routines.”

Charles Duhigg

Over the years I have found that having a morning routine is what sets the day up for maximum productivity and enjoyment. I have tried many different things in an attempt to find just the right way to start my day and while I haven’t settled on a “perfect” routine just yet I am pretty happy with the routine listed below that I use to start each day the right way.

  1. Ice Water – I start each morning with a big (32oz) glass of ice water to rehydrate after sleeping. Yes, even before my beloved coffee… Double bonus is that there is nothing like a glass of ice water to wake up the mind!
  2. Meditation – This is a relatively new addition to my routine but is now a critical component of my morning routine. I meditate for 15-20 minutes each morning as soon as I have had my ice water and before I look at any type of electronic devices.
  3. Devotional & Journal – I find that reading, studying and praying over a scripture based devotional is very powerful, especially after time spent in meditation. The second part of this routine is a daily journal. The topics I write about can be anything that is on my mind but I always include a portion of my time focused on gratitude and those things that I am especially grateful from the previous 24 hours.
  4. Leadership Quote & Blog – Yes, I choose my quote and write my blog post each morning. Occasionally time compression will dictate a later quote or blog post but 99% of the time this is part of my morning routine. I have found that I really enjoy framing my day by taking time to reflect on leadership or life.
  5. Physical Fitness – I have come to the realization that in order for me to be at peak effectiveness I need at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Sometimes I can’t always get it in during the morning before work, but if I can find a way I will. I am much more focused and efficient through the day when I start the day with a hard workout.

What are your routines? Do you feel “off” when your routine is disrupted?

Winning is a habit…

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

Vince Lombardi

Winning is contagious, it spreads like a wildfire on a dry and windy summer day.  But losing is contagious too.  I am sure that you have been on both winning teams, and losing teams.  The difference in behavior and attitude is remarkable.  As a leader the key to building a winning team is to find wins and build on those wins.  Find the little things that are wins on a moment by moment or daily basis.  Create the momentum that allows a team to lean in and seek new and greater ways to grow.

You can apply this strategy in your self-leadership as well.  Reflect on your day and ask yourself “what were my wins today?”  Far too often, for me at least, it is easy to spend the time and energy thinking about all that you have to do, or all that you didn’t get done.  Instead, spend some time focusing on the wins that you did have.  You might find yourself building and reinforcing a habit of winning.

 

Who helps you to “see” clearly?

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Lao-Tze

Have you ever found that the things you don’t want to do, or the type of person that you don’t want to become, can happen without your even realizing it?  That a small thing can become a larger thing and before you know what has happened your thoughts become your words, and your words become actions you never intended.  The good news is that you can fix this by addressing the root source, the thoughts that are driving everything else.  

I unfortunately have made plenty of mistakes in this arena through life (and continue to do so).  Fortunately I have had the rich blessing of great friends and confidants to help address some of my mistakes and challenges before they become tremendous character flaws.  They have helped me reframe my thinking and realize that I the lens through which I have been viewing the world is distorted.  The value of people who will help you see those things that you  can’t is immeasurable.  Who is helping you see the things you can’t, or won’t, see without outside perspective?  

 

All the small things…

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

Robert Collier

Great things aren’t built in flash.  It takes planning, focus, determination, and consistent effort to build anything that is worthwhile.  All too often we want the big deal, the big result, the next “big thing” without having put in the effort required to build it.  Those great things won’t and don’t happen without a ton of work that is built on the foundation of the daily activities and habits we embrace.  Those efforts, performed with great clarity and focus, are creating the foundation for our successes in the future.  It is these small efforts that build great things.  It doesn’t work any other way, so don’t take for granted the small things, for those habits will define who you become.  

If you could travel back in time five years what small things would you tell yourself to start doing in order to change and grow toward greater successes and learning in the future?  What prevents you from starting them today? 

 

Time keeps on slipping into the future…

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Earl Nightingale

The first thing that I thought of when I read this quote was the great Steve Miller Band song “Fly Like an Eagle” Not sure it had a direct correlation of meaning but the opening lyric really says it all for me, “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future.”  That’s what time does right?  Next year becomes next month, becomes tomorrow, becomes today, and then it is just a memory.  Unless we DO more.  Unless we make the time today count.  Then it has the chance to not just be our memory anymore but might even become THE MEMORY for someone else. What on earth am I talking about?  Listen further into the song.  

“I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
Till I’m free
Oh, Lord, through the revolution”

Eagles inspire.  People see them flying and they are so majestic and grand.  I think that people who work hard to achieve their dreams do the same thing.  They inspire, they motivate, they plant within others the spark they might need to follow their own dream(s).  So think of this.  What if you by NOT chasing your dream you aren’t only stealing from only yourself?  What if you are also impacting someone else’s ability to make their dreams come true because they won’t have you their “fly like an eagle” and show them the way?  The time is going to pass, what are you going to do with it both for you AND for others?

What if you impact others the most by chasing your dreams in a way that inspires them?

“Feed the babies
Who don’t have enough to eat
Shoe the children
With no shoes on their feet
House the people
Livin’ in the street
Oh, oh, there’s a solution”

Plan your work, work your plan…

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”

Tony Robbins

I saw this posted on the wall at the gym today and had to take a picture.  What a great reminder.  Though I am pretty sure I need it on the mirror in my bathroom…

IMG_4221

Know your goals, break them into chunks, start today…  I personally use the Full Focus Planner from Michael Hyatt and the Productive App on the iPhone. Love them both.  There is just something satisfying about having a plan and working it.

 

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