Your Success Awaits!
Written by: Brian S. Szepkouski (2022)
What is considered one of the key actions of successful people from entrepreneurs and world-class athletes to celebrated actors and high-achieving CEOs ─ and everyday people building a happy, fulfilling life?
What do we all do every day that influences everything from our mood to our stress levels to the outcomes of our day?
Often ignored, it’s something we might stumble through without a thought or a plan, or we might take it for granted ─ or perhaps it’s something we sometimes rush through, already feeling behind before we even start.
No fair looking ahead for the answer
Entire books have been written about it.
And if you’re not already doing it, it’s easy for you to do, too.
What is it?
How Successful People Start Their Day – or better yet: How Starting Your Day as Your Own Best Friend leads to being Your Best Self for the Day Ahead, the Week Ahead, and Beyond.
Your day may be intense, filled with opportunities and challenges, or just plain wild and crazy ─ and you may feel you can’t control much of it.
But the first hour of your day may be the only time where you can have control, and in taking that control, you can influence the tone and outcomes for your whole day.
You’ll find the morning routines and quotes of many well-known personalities in numerous interviews and books. The routines are as different as the people themselves and cover the usual to the unexpected to the extreme.
If you read them, don’t be disheartened by all those 4 am people who meditate, read the latest best-seller, hit the gym, take a run, eat a healthy breakfast, take their dog for a walk, get their kids ready for school, and after all that are ready for a Zoom call at 7 am, all showered and well-dressed!
And don’t feel like you’re missing the mark if you don’t want to do what actor Ben Stiller does and dunk your head in a bucket of ice water to wake you up or jump into a cold plunge pool of 57 degrees like Tony Robbins does each day.
Instead, let’s look at five of the most common themes that energize the day of so many successful people, empower their actions, and help them be their best selves, personally and professionally. Their routines are as diverse as each person, but each tends to be consistent in what they do each morning.
First ─ they wake up early to get ahead of the day before the day has a chance to consume them. “Early” varies, of course, for all of us depending on our jobs since “early” for some could be noon!
Many thrive on getting up before “the rest of the world”─ whether that’s before co-workers or customers, kids or pets, or just the sun. Having that time to establish some aspect of control in their day is pivotal to influencing the outcomes for the day, being more proactive, and reducing stress.
Next ─ they spend time in quiet reflection or meditation. They make time to be kind to themselves, breathe, relax, drink some water, and practice stillness. Remember, what you say to yourself, read, speak, or watch lays a foundation for the rest of your day, so you want to support yourself, not derail yourself.
Third ─ they focus on gratitude and speaking or writing three things they’re grateful for, helping them choose positive thoughts and controlling their brain’s focus. Tony Robbins chooses gratitude because “when you’re grateful, you can’t be angry; and when you’re grateful, you can’t be fearful.”
Fourth ─ they tend to delay or avoid email, texts, the internet, and television until a little later. Why? Words have power, and the words we hear, speak, or write to ourselves, especially when we awaken, can affect our mind and confidence throughout the day. Think about how all these tech things in your life steal your focus, make you reactive, and force the priorities of others to be ahead of your own ─ they hijack your day!
Fifth ─ they find that sometimes starting the day with a powerful question can direct their focus, beliefs, ideas, and actions. The morning question can lead their efforts to the most deserving activities for their time and energy.
Again, words have power, so use them to empower yourself, enrich your life, and energize your actions. Here are the morning “powerful questions” from two people you know: Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin.
Steve Jobs gave a commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, where he revealed one of his morning routines:
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
Benjamin Franklin asked himself, “What good shall I do this day?”
Food for thought.
As you can see, there’s no magic “right way” to start your day ─ no magic formula on what actions and habits would be the “best” ─ for you.
We all start our day – somehow, somewhere, every day. Let us know what works best for you. And however you start your day, may it support you in being your best and feeling healthy and empowered to accomplish your goals and dreams!
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Brian S. Szepkouski, President