A few Saturdays ago, I was fortunate enough to attend Lean Networking: Lean In LA’s One Day Conference. It was a really informative day filled with 150+ eager professional women wanting to learn the secrets of how to network more effectively. As a career coach and former recruiter, I have a strong sense of what networking is all about but I was also curious to learn some new styles and approaches. Plus, I subscribe to the good old adage “practice what you preach” and was delighted at the opportunity to mingle with strangers to identify and relate to what my clients go through.
While we had a great workshop hosted by the co-founders of Let’s Vibe, my true stretching and learning came from hosting a mini-workshop. If you’ve been following my Instagram stories, then you know that one of my largest fears is public speaking. I’ve been jumping on the Instagram story (almost) every day to share a little nugget of wisdom. I do this for 3 reasons:
1. I love sharing things I’ve learned as well as any cool discoveries
2. Teaching is a way to help me retain and memorize information
3. I’m terrified of broadcasting myself in-person and in media; but the Instagram stories are really helpful because I know no matter how terrible it is, it will delete in 24 hours
I was really thankful for this event because during the registration process, they asked if we had anything we would like to share with up to 8 other attendees in small breakout sessions for 30 minutes. Normally, I’d play small and stay in my observer seat, but I thought, “What the hell… this is the year of being bold, stepping out of my comfort zone, and so what if I make a fool out of myself in front of 8 others?”
What did I get myself into?
So, I signed up! The organizers asked for a topic, and I wrote together a little title with a 3-sentence statement blurb of how I would be sharing the six daily habits successful people incorporate into their morning routines before they check email.
As I showed up to the event, I saw there were eight sign-up sheets for the different sessions people were leading. Then I saw my topic and all of the names and emails spilling over to the back side of the page… what was supposed to be only 8 names watching me make a fool of myself turned into well over 25 names. Needless to say, nerves and anxiety kicked in. My inner critic said, “Hahahaha. Look at you. You’re going to fail so miserably, you haven’t even prepared a speech or talking notes. Your voice is so small, look how large this warehouse is. People won’t even be able to hear you.” A lot of self-doubt crept in as I tried to put on a smile while mingling with others.
As we broke out into lunch groups, I quickly went into a corner, pulled my Notes app up, and jotted bullet points of the things I’d mention in the case my mind went completely blank.
During the mini breakout session, there I was with 50+ eyeballs staring at me. It was a bit nerve racking as I have never enjoyed being the center of attention. I tried to engage participation by asking questions, getting a show of hands, incorporating a bit of humor and story-telling. 30 minutes later, no one fell asleep or walked away, so I considered it to be a success.
The Six Daily Habits of Highly Successful People
I shared how prior to being an entrepreneur, for all of my life, I had been one of those people who hit snooze 5 times before finally getting up. I mastered the 15-minute wash face, brush teeth, put on makeup routine. By the time I got to work, the first major action I took was checking email, before being interrupted or getting dragged into a meeting. Day in and day out this cycle went, and I always felt frantic, without any headspace or time to unwind. By the time I got home, I was beat, tired, hungry, and sleepy. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
So, when I got my hands on Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning book, I was intrigued. This book provides a startling truth: the only thing you have 100% control over is your mornings. In his interviews with highly successful people he found patterns of how each woke up early in the mornings to complete six habits before the rest of their day started. As a result, they often led the rest of their day with a ton of headspace, clarity, focus, control – despite having to be reactive in many situations. These successful people have managed stress while tackling all of the challenges and obstacles thrown at them at the highest levels.
I know, I’m really great at building up suspense. You’re probably wondering what are the six daily habits. Without further ado, here’s what you can start incorporating into your day. To make it into a successful daily habit, try starting small and just picking one. As you do that consistently for a week to a month, then feel free to pick another and keep adding them on until you’re knocking out all six as part of your daily morning routine.
It personally takes me about an hour to get all of these in. The amount of time you will dedicate to each may be adjusted and there’s no hard rule. In the book, some people wake up at 4:30am. That’s way too ambitious for me. I aim for 7am and get everything done by 8am.
Silence can be in the form of meditation, prayer, or just pure reflection. I personally use apps like Headspace and also try to remember stating 3 things I’m grateful for. It’s important to have this type of proactive thought because we’re often reactive during our day. This is the chance to really form intentional thoughts or no thoughts. This process usually takes me anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
Affirmations are really big to me. I know some people who write there’s and stick it on post-its so they can read them aloud in front of the mirror. I write mine in my bullet journal as a list of positive statements I’d like to believe. One of my favorites I’ve written is, “I’m exactly where I need to be today.” This came from the awful habit of comparing myself to others. Reminding myself of this affirmation and believing in it has really allowed me to focus my attention on bigger and better opportunities. This step usually takes me up to 3 minutes.
If you can see it and believe it, you can achieve it. – Oprah
There’s a ton of exercises on Youtube if you’re looking for guided visualizations. Oprah says, “If you can see it and believe it, you can achieve it.” A lot of guided visualizations have you start visioning the life you desire as if you’re watching yourself in a movie. I find it incredibly inspiring as I may not really use my five senses to think about desires so clearly. In my visualizations, I often see a recurring version of myself gardening and waking up to emails with happy client messages. This has really opened me up to the opportunities around me and also allowed me to be more mindful of the way I want to step into my days. Here’s a video to start with if you want to try it out. This process takes me 15-30 minutes depending on the video/audio.
Because I often work from home, I find myself needing to move this towards the mid-afternoon when I just need a break away from the computer. If you don’t have time to carve out a full exercise routine though, the book recommends even doing some push-ups or yoga stretches. Even five minutes of active movement can get your blood flowing.
I meet a lot of people who say they don’t like to read. That’s too bad, they probably aren’t seeing this message of advice then. But Hal Elrod makes a good point, if you read even 2 pages a day, by the end of the year, you would have read a 700 page book. I personally use nonfiction books as my mentors. I feel like there’s so much wisdom captured in each book and I am always learning something new. I use fiction books for my source of entertainment. Nothing beats snuggling up with a hot coffee and a good read. This process usually takes me 20-30 minutes but I love to read.
Scribing is essentially writing. Whether it’s typing or good old pen to paper, journaling is a powerful exercise to get your thoughts out there so you can read it back and reflect. If you’re ever stuck on what to write, you may want to check out this list of 30 Thought-Provoking Questions to Ask Yourself Everyday. You’ll be surprised at how effective journaling is when you really take time to stop, reflect, and write! This process usually takes me 15-20 minutes and I usually do it in my bullet journal.
There it is… the life SAVERS (an acronym for the above). I hope you find it as helpful as I do. Since incorporating it into my morning routine, I have seen a big upswing in my business. But most importantly, I never feel stretched thin. I have so much energy and am in this constant state of peace. Maybe that’s why it’s called lifesavers.
Oh, and for the record in case you’re wondering, my little session breakout went great! I didn’t even need to reference my notes I typed out and I even had several attendees approach me afterward to thank me for sharing this wisdom! Take that, pesky inner critic! 🙂