“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” ~ Buddha ~
One of the hottest topics of the secrets of successful people is the not so secret notion and daily practice of waking up early. Previously in my former career. Pressure, long hours inside with no natural light, and expectations to keep up with the grind meant waking up late, rolling out of bed (usually on ‘the wrong side of it’), arriving at work already grumpy, poor diet and a general malaise that I would carry throughout the day. I suspected that I was not alone in this lifestyle.
Disturbingly it almost took my life to realise that this wasn’t the way forward. Working with a coach and mentor several years ago meant objectively and honestly looking at lots of aspects that were not doing me any favours and with practice, diligence and commitment, applying what worked and what didn’t work. It didn’t happen overnight and it still is, somedays, a challenge to put it all together. We focussed in on self care – that act for me of spending time with me, for me – and when …
When … first thing in the morning. All the literature I was reading all pointed to it. Whereas once I used to dread early starts and would push back the alarm clock to as late as I could. Now I have no alarm clock – my daily practice is a concrete and now essential part of my routine. I call it my hour of power. My set up for the day. It’s not negotiable. While working remotely makes some of my routine not quite the same as my norm, it still exists in some form. The one part of the day, where I have time to begin again.
Of all of the readings and research I had done, I found that most of the things I was hitting in the early hours were also a part of the practice of the habits of successful people. It wasn’t rocket science, it just takes persistance.
Richard Branson, Tim Cok and Howard Schultz are all up by 0530. Me it’s usually 0430 – but I usually operate on ‘Mountain Time’. Wake up early and you will be ahead of most people with at least 2 hours more each day. There are few distractions and if I’m running on the beach, a simple, ‘Good Morning’ to those I pass is an awesome way to connect with those sharing your energy and cements a foundation of community. In other words, it’s just good for your soul.
Practice meditation early in the morning. Mindfullness and self awareness is huge these days in the positive psychology. For me it’s 10 mintutes of Yoga Nidra – whole body awareness, plugged into my phone for convenience. Daily meditation helps lower stress, encourages pressence, essentialises your thoughts and allows you to better deal with tough situations. It’s a daily reset for your mind and body. Combined with a sunrise is anchoring.
Graditude. We all get busy, or so we say … so it’s easy to lose sight of what you can be grateful for. Graditude is the art of remembering all the good stuff and the benefits of this acknowledgement are vast and well researched including, an improvement of psychological health, reductions in toxic emotions such as resnetment and envy, increased empathy and reduced agression. There are many ways to practice gratitude from a simple statement of affirmation, the appreciation of every thing, finding gratitude in your challenges, keeping a gratitude journal, volunteering, self expression, spending time with family and friends and mindfullness through presence. For me this morning before writing this is was simply observing and noting how many shells had washed ashore overnight, as the beach is usually void of shells. The important thing is to remember how much you have to be grateful for. Write it, think it and if you feel comfortable, let others know it in person.
Which brings us back to Comfort Zones. Doing something scary or challenging each day. I’ve blogged often about this. It’s a favourite topic and is the cornerstone of human potential development in Outdoor Recreation and Education. Just doing scary things is not enough though, transfering those experiences and extracting the life lessons from them to use in tough times is the skill. As a facilitator, this is the most rewarding part of my job, when people have those light bulb moments or return to say thank you as they developed on those learning to assist them at a late date. Advancing people to not being afraid of rejection or failure and moving out of their comfort zone can take time, but doing this will ensure growth, learning and faster adaption to change – and a soar in self confidence. If jumping out of a plane isn’t your idea of fun – start small and commit to it, it can be as simple as trying to take a new route to work.
Read often. When I was redesigning my purpose, my life coach directed my to one place daily for months – the library. Fact: the most successful people in the world read, A LOT. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett credit reading with their massive personal success. With so much negativity on social media, reading is a much better use of your time. Aim to read a little bit each day. I start with 15-20 minutes in the morning, and pursue it in the evening. I traded in the ‘Time Vampire’ (TV Set) long ago. Think your far too busy still? Try audiobooks in the car on the way to work. More on this topic next blog.
Exercise is also a major motivator and factor in my early starts and others will have their versions of what each morning means to them. The important thing is to see through the skepasism of waking up early if you’re a late starter and challenging the benefits to be your best. There’s another quote that says, ‘If nothing changes, nothing changes.’
Next blog – things you should give up if you are looking for personal momentum, success and moving forward. Be your best.
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