Two years ago this week I was in New York City on business. The day dawned wet, cold and very dreary. The alarm went off and I just laid there dreading the walk to the office. I did not bring an umbrella or a raincoat. It was too close to call a cab and too far to walk and stay dry. I was having a mental pity party and feeling more and more miserable.
As I left the hotel and started the dreaded walk to the office I began to hear singing in the distance. There was a deep and lovely voice booming out “Great day, great day, it’s a truly great day.” I was walking toward the singing and quite perplexed about this seemingly crazy person. It was definitely not a great day! I was still having my pity party.
The closer the singing I got the more I could make out other voices. When the first voice paused, several smaller and higher pitched voices sang “it’s a great day great day, it’s a really great day”. Who were these people singing in the streets of Manhattan?
Then I turned the corner and saw them. Not a group of Broadway actors performing in the street - no, a beautiful mother with long dreadlocks walking her three daughters to school in the cold and rain. Their voices echoing in the streets, their faces full of joy. For them it was a Great Day!
As I passed them and was the recipient of a beaming smile from a tiny girl in a puffy jacket with raindrops all over her hair - I too was having a really great day. This was my AHA moment.
How you start your day is generally indicative to how you manage your life. If you lay in bed each morning till the very last minute, then start your day with email or the morning news you have just set your day for the hamster wheel. Hurry to get ready, gulp down some breakfast, freak out in traffic over being late, then get to work already stressed.
Wouldn’t you rather start your day with success? Start in a calm, peaceful place that lets you dictate a good day? Or sing out loud on the streets, or just in your car, that it is a Great Day!
If you study successful people, you will find that just about every one of them has a morning ritual. A way to start their day that program's success into their life. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be. Those young ladies on the streets of New York were changing all of our reality, even if it was for just that moment. It was not a dreary day, it was a great day.
One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practicing and maintaining daily rituals. Some of these rituals may seem odd or eccentric, but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available to you!
In studying successful people I have found that, although their morning rituals are quite different, they have several things in common. They all include time for five things - a time for quiet reflection, hydration, movement, setting your day, and one early, easy win.
I get up at 5 am and practice something I learned from Bill Cortright in his Stress Mastery program. It’s called the Green Focus Power Hour. Green for staying in the green zone of peace and control versus the red zone of stress and anger. I start with a glass of room temperature water with lemon and vinegar in it then do each of the following for 15 minutes:
Read something inspiring or spiritual. This gets me in the mindset of self improvement or connecting with my maker.
Write in my journal - I start with 3 things I am grateful for that day. No matter how bad things are in your life you can come up with 3 things to be grateful for. In the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” Viktor Frankl could find gratitude for the blessings in his life while in a concentration camp during World War II. If he could find blessings while being starved, tortured and watching his entire family perish, I can certainly find the blessings in my life.
Meditate - this calms my mind, ramps up my creative juices and gives me a sense of peace and control over the daily aspects of my life.
Visualize and affirm a successful day. I write down my “to do” list for the day the night before. This gets it out of my head so I don’t fret about it while I am trying to go to sleep. In the morning I set the expectations for my day. Projects complete on time, productive meetings with my clients and time for a bit of fun. I also visualize my “perfect day” that we talked about way back in week 1 or 2.
Then, I go exercise for 15 to 60 minutes. Either just walking the dog and getting some fresh air or full on hour with trainer who seems to get great pleasure out of kicking my butt.
This morning ritual has changed my life. I leave the house feeling fully in control of my day. No longer am I frantic about being on time, wondering if I forgot anything, or worried I might miss a meeting or deadline. I am calm, happy and the master of my day. I am living in the Green Zone and having a Great Day every day.
Let’s look at the morning rituals of some successful people. According to Inc. Magazine, here are six celebrity morning rituals you can implement immediately:
1. Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is a master of self-discipline and really understands the psychology of success and happiness. He makes a strong but valid point:
If you don't have ten spare minutes to work on yourself every morning, then you don't have a life.
Using a ritual called "Priming," Robbins follows a three-part program:
Perform three sets of 30 Kapalbhati Pranayama breaths.
Close your eyes and slow your breathing while expressing gratitude for everything you have.
Pray and ask for help, guidance, and strength throughout the day.
2. Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is a great person to emulate, simply because he's adapted his own morning ritual after interviewing thousands of successful leaders from all walks of life.
First, Ferris makes his bed. He says it fills him with a small sense of pride and accomplishes something right away.
Next, he meditates for ten to 20 minutes. (I highly recommend an app called Headspace, which I've personally used to help guide and track my meditation.)
Then, Ferris does at least 30 seconds of light exercise followed by some strong tea. He finishes his routine by journaling for five to ten minutes, which helps him "push the ball forward and feel better throughout the day."
3. Oprah Winfrey
Like Ferriss, Oprah Winfrey starts her morning with twenty minutes of meditation, which she says fills her with "hope, a sense of contentment and deep joy."
Next, she hits the treadmill to get her heart-rate pumping. Winfrey swears that at least fifteen minutes of exercise improves her productivity and boosts energy levels.
Then, Winfrey "tunes herself in" by going for a walk, listening to music or preparing a nice meal. Finally, she always concludes her ritual by eating a healthy meal full of complex carbohydrates, fiber and protein.
4. Barack Obama
Former president Barack Obama would always start his day in the White House two hours before his first scheduled event, which often meant rising early before 5 a.m. This allowed him to prioritize exercise, an activity he never missed. Surprisingly, Obama doesn't drink coffee. Instead, he opts for green tea and stays hydrated with orange juice and plenty of water.
After his morning exercise and breakfast, Obama would stay on top of current affairs by reading the New York Times and watching ESPN.
5. Jocko Willink
Jocko Willink is a former Navy SEAL commander who lead SEAL Team Three's Task Unit Bruiser during the height of the Iraq War. His morning routine (which you can see him do on Instagram at @jockowillink) starts very early, usually around 4:30 a.m. Willink sets three alarms to make sure he sticks to his routine.
Next, Willink heads straight to the gym for a grueling strength workout which lasts around one hour. He finishes his workout with a thirty minute jog, and jumps in the shower at approximately 6 a.m. to get ready for the day ahead. It's this routine and consistency which he credits to his massive business success in life after the military.
6. Steve Jobs
The late, great Steve Jobs had an incredibly profound yet simple morning routine. Each day he would get up, make his bed, shower, and then look himself in the mirror. He'd lock eyes with himself and ask, "If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I'm about to do today?"
If the answer was "no" too many days in a row, he knew something needed to change.
Create your own "win the day" morning routine
If you look at the habits of successful people, you can create your own morning routine. Once you start practicing this routine you will find that you will feel happier and tend to get more done.
I would love to hear how you apply this in your life. Please send me an email about how you applied a morning routine to your life and what the results were at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next week Live Rich!
December 13, 2017
Join me every Wednesday on my podcast “Unlocking the Secret to Living Rich”.
If you have questions or comments you can contact me at my email email@example.com or find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @cindybbrown777
Who is Cindy B. Brown? Cindy is a CPA, MBA, CFO, and board member of public and private companies, business consultant, entrepreneur coach and a foremost expert in the field of financial
mastery. Cindy’s purpose is to motivate, educate and inspire people to live their richest life. Host of “Unlocking the Secret to Living Rich”.