“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”
I have started repeating this words in the mirror for the last month, or so, as the last thing I do before I step out of the condo elevator. They are the last lines from the epic poem Invictus – yes it was a poem before a movie – and helps me get into the mindset I need, to bring the necessary energy and passion to each day.
I am a firm believer that we have a great deal of control of our future, or at least in how well prepared we are for it. The start of each day is no different. How many times have we all “woken up on the wrong side of the bed”, and had a miserable day as a result. It is such a waste of a day to let how you initially feel to dictate the next twelve hours of your life – five focused minutes could make all the difference.
Starting your morning off properly helps you make each day your masterpiece by priming your mind, and body with imagery, and intent, you aim to bring to all of your day’s activities. In a recent Tim Ferris Show Podcast, the superhuman Tony Robbins divulged some of the methods of his morning routine (Episode 1 – 19:08 to fast-forward), and it motivated me to incorporate some of these changes into my November’s 30-day challenge.
A good morning routine should aim to prepare your body in three dimensions: the physical, mental and emotional.
Physically – do something that literally wakes your nervous system up, and increases your heart rate from their overnight lull. This can come in the form of a workout, run, yoga, or for those with less time (e.g. everyone), an ice-cold shower, dynamic stretching, or diaphragmatic breathing. The point is that you move, and fire up your metabolism. Getting movement into your day early will dramatically improve your energy, vitality, and the things you can achieve.
Mentally – Mental preparation for each day has a “what”, and “how” component. The “What” is the nuts, and bolts of your forthcoming day, in the form of projects that you are going to execute, and execute well. This is not a long grocery list of stuff. It is the two or three vital tasks that are going to make a significant difference in your business, or life. Two or three, that is it. It might be something like, “call business person X, to work on this deal”, or as simple as “get a work out in”. The focus is not on completing them but rather, initiating them with earnest and intent.
More importantly, is the mental preparation of “how” you are going to approach your day. This entails focusing not on what tasks to do, but how you are going to execute them. Spending a minute or two, and deciding what energy, and focus you are going to generate in your day can make a world of difference for how well you perform, and the effect you have on your peers. Words like the following might be useful: present (in the moment), positive, compassionate, decisive, energetic, helpful, driven, passionate or empowering, might help you out. It is better to focus on positive attributes than avoiding negative behaviors like “do not get frustrated with yourself”. If this latter statement was your desire, it might be better to focus on being “accepting”.
I want my patient’s to experience their encounter with me as the best part of their day, so I focus on this. I generate a picture of how I am going to create this, and how I will react to unforeseen circumstance. Having a schematic of how your day is going to go is more than halfway to ensuring it gets there.
Emotionally – Tony Robbin’s considers this potentially the most important component of his routine. It is the minutes or seconds that readies the soul for the day ahead by shrugging off “negative energy”. Starting your day, ready to kick butt, means shrugging any unnecessary stress, anxiety, anger or frustrations. Start each day anew.
Diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, and yoga will go along way towards this. Based on popular research, Tony Robbins and others use such things as proclaiming three things that they are thankful for in your life. He always makes sure than one of them is anything that lets you consider how you feel in the moment.
A process like considering aspects of your life you are thankful for, sending a thank-you note or e-mail to someone, or anything that helps you see the big picture is fantastic.
You morning routine can take as little as five minutes or extend for however long you like. The point is that you should step out the door physically primed, emotionally calm and focused, and mentally alert to do the best work you can for yourself, and those you care about.
Try it for yourself and a guarantee you will notice a different
If you are lacking inspiration here is what I am attempting
Wake up (obviously)
- take a minute to roll out of bed and think of all the great things I am going to get to do today
- wash face, brush teeth, shave etc
- 5 minutes of meditative breathing, just focusing on the word “breath” and the feeling of the lungs expanding and emptying
- 1 minute of being thankful (three things)
- 1 minute full body stretch
- 1 minute mental preparation of the how’s of my day
- Good look in the mirror on the elevator ride down
- Kick ass