If you just started working for yourself you know that it’s hard.
I’m not even talking about the challenges of building a sustainable business, figuring out healthcare or being lonely…
You see, I started my business in 2012 on the side while I had a full-time job.
The time I did have available to work on my business was limited.
5pm-9am, with some sleep of course.
Who am I kidding, sleep came second many nights. ( I don’t recommend this)
As the business started gaining momentum, my audience was growing and I was generating revenue things got harder…in a good way.
It was the sort of momentum that I was going to need if I ever wanted to quit my job and work for myself.
I dreamt of what it would be like to work on my business full time.
My advisors and mastermind partners even said things like:
“Look how far you’ve gotten and what you’ve built all while having a full time job…you’ll crush it once you can dedicate 100% of your time to your business”.
They were right.
Only I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Waking Up With No Plan
“A day unplanned will likely be unproductive.” Tweet this
I quickly realized that having the full day to work on my business was awesome.
In fact, it had even more time than I thought.
I was waking up earlier and didn’t have to drive 40 minutes each way.
I had almost an extra 3 hours to be productive…
That was just the opposite of what I was…
You see, I’d wake up and be super pumped that I could work on anything I wanted.
If I was a fly on the wall I’d would guess that I looked like a chicken with it’s head cut off…
Jumping from task to task on a massively big list of things to do.
I really had no plan whatsoever.
The only thing I really had planned was a number of speaking gigs and conferences I had lined up for the year.
There was at least one ever month from January through May and at least one every month from July through November.
When you looked at my calendar it looked like a piece of swiss cheese.
Little spaces of opportunity to be productive before quickly approaching another trip.
It was hard to gain momentum and my days were very reactionary.
Gaining Some Clarity
Finally, in March I went off to the Philippines to speak at my good friend Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Conference. As a speaker I had the chance do a full day mastermind with the other speakers and top entrepreneurs.
Coming out of the event I was super energized and had much more focus on the handful of projects I was juggling.
I implemented a daily routine that allowed me to manage all of these projects (read “too many”). My friend Bryan Harris introduced me to this concept of the Zero Based Calendar which I adopted, made my own.
I was making progress on my projects and gaining some momentum—the only problem—I still had too many projects I was working on at once.
I was as efficient as I could have been leveraging the zero based calendar but I was burning out.
There was just too much stuff I was trying to do.
Choosing the One Thing
A friend recommended I read, The One Thing by Gary Keller which is a must read for just about everyone.
Can you figure out what it might be about? 😉
Identifying the one thing you should be working on and then blocking off time on your calendar for it each day.
I was sort of already doing this with my zero based calendar technique, but wasn’t dedicating enough time to my one thing and had a bunch of other “one things” on my plate each day.
I needed to cut the fat—and I did.
I honed in on what I wanted to accomplish and got rid of some of the things that were not aligned with that.
That’s what led me to ending my second podcast Leaving Corporate, which was a really tough decision but better in the end.
Tweak, Tweak, Test. Tweak Tweak, Optimize
With some new focus and a lot more clarity I had less things to work on.
The zero-based calendar just wasn’t relevant anymore…at least it wasn’t working for me. I would tweak my routine here and there to see what worked. If it wasn’t working after a few weeks I’d drop it.
The one thing I took away from the zero based routine was always starting my morning off the same way–EVERYDAY.
I was waking up every morning, walking my wife Sarah to her job, stretching, using my foam roller and journaling, which I’ve written about here and was even featured on LifeHacker and Productivityist.
Although I was getting a handful of these things done, I fstill elt like things were missing.
I had been telling myself I was going to start my day by reading for 30 mins before working because reading more books is something I really wanted (and still want) to do more of.
Often, I’d skip this because I was stressed and lacked a daily plan. (Hey not everyone is perfect every day)
As a new entrepreneur I also found myself riding this emotional roller coaster— one minute I’d feel super confident—the next, second guessing myself like crazy.
You’ve probably caught yourself at some point or another saying things like:
“I’m not good enough”
“That won’t work for meee”
“This just isn’t working…I suck”
“I have no idea what I’m doing”
Yeah, I’ve been there.
Probably a few times yesterday and probably a few more today.
The thing is your “ego” (as many call it) will always be that rebuttal that kicks you down.
Guess what it’s not going to go away.
BUT, if you have a strategy that gives you more awareness and the ability to power through you’ll be just fine.
Enter The Miracle Morning
Someone recommended I read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (a must read by the way) and it has literally changed my life and business since I started doing it.
The great thing about—it’s completely customizable to your schedule and style.
“Greg, I have no idea what The Miracle Morning is” you may be saying.
Well, if you didn’t read it (again, I totally recommend you do), here are my main takeaways/lessons and how I’ve used it in my own life.
Each morning should start out with your S.A.V.E.R.S. It’s an acronym that breaks out to be:
S = Silence
A = Affirmations
V = Visualization
E = Exercise
R = Reading
S = Scribing (or journaling )
On a good morning I was already doing 2-3 of these as I already mentioned, but like I said—something was missing.
That constant battle with my inner ego and self-doubts were not being addressed.
That’s were Silence, Affirmations and Visualizing swooped in to the rescue.
Each morning after I walk my wife to work, I sit down on my living room couch in silence for 5-10 minutes.
At first I focused on my breathing but just recently I started using the app called Headspace which has been really helpful in reaching that meditative state.
Starting my day off with silence in meditation has become my way of taking control of the day.
I’d usually just jump to my computer and start checking email.
In my silence, tons of ideas and thoughts pass through as I acknowledge them and let them fly by.
Between focusing on my breathing and following the guided meditation of Headspace, I’ve ended my sessions very relaxed and refreshed vs frantic and reactionary to my email.
Following my silence, I go to my affirmations.
According to Success Consciousness, affirmations are aimed to affect the conscious and subconscious mind. The words composing your affirmation, automatically and involuntarily, bring up related mental images into the mind, which could inspire, energize and motivate you. Repeating affirmations affect the subcontious mind, which in turn, influences behavior, habits, actions and reactions.
I wrote my own affirmations using the template provided from the book as my guide. I read them two times every morning. I broke out my affirmations into categories and have one for each of the following categories:
- What True Success Means To Me
- My 3-5 Top Goals
- Financial Abundance and Contribution
- My Morning Routine
- Rest, Relaxation and Fun
- Overcoming Fear, Comparing and Worry
Reading these over and over helps me battle that inner ego and has helped me in gaining further clarity on why and what I want to achieve and what it will be like when I’ve gotten there.
As someone who constantly self doubted himself, this exercise has quickly become my favorite part of my miracle morning.
Once I’ve finished my affirmations I take 3-5 minutes to visualize what it will be like when I’ve accomplished these things.
I think about what it will feel like when I’ve reached my financial or health goals and more.
I’ve found the most important part of the visualizing process is not only visualizing what it will be like when you’ve reached the goals, but what it looks like on your way to the goals.
For example, I have one goal to get my new mobile marketing agency to $20k/month in recurring revenue. So I visualize myself having successful sales calls, doing webinars that drive new customers and speaking at events in front of my prospects.
I also want to write a book this year so I visuzalize myself at my computer writing every day or at a coffee shop writing and doing research.
For me visualization has been more about visualizing the work needed to get there as it makes it less scary and less of an obstacle.
Ahhh, here is where you’ll realize you don’t have to do these things in order. 🙂
I choose to go from visualizing right into reading. I take out a book or my kindle and I read for about 10-25 minutes.
This really helps get my mind firing back up, giving me ideas and helps me read more books which was one of my goals.
Since I’ve started the miracle morning I’ve already finished 2 books and halfway through my third.
That’s more books than I read all of 2013 in just a matter of a few weeks.
This one was going to be tough for me because I don’t like working out in the morning. Thankfully, when I realized how customizable The Miracle Morning was it really helped.
The goal here is to get your blood flowing.
For me, I basically take 10-15 minutes and do the following:
- Foam rolling
- Rolling on my mobility ball (this has helped with a back problem I’ve been dealing with this year)
- Some yoga that losens me up and stretches me out
- Handstand pushups
- And some jumping jacks.
By the time I’m done with this little routine, I feel loose and the blood is flowing so I’m ready to rock.
I usually work out about 3-4 times a week but this is something I do every morning now. My “main” workouts come later in the day.
Right after that I hop in the shower and make breakfast.
Scribing (or journaling)
As you learned earlier, I was already journaling.
I use an app called Day One on my mac and iPhone so I wait till I sit down at my desk for this one.
The first thing I do is open DayOne and begin my journaling process.
Want a quick video review of how I do all of this?
As apart of my journaling process I review my tasks for the day and identify the ONE Thing that MUST get done that day or I would have otherwise been disappointed.
Make It Your Own Miracle
Now, it’s important to know that you can make it your own. You can do them out of order or do each for a shorter period of time.
The Author, Hal Elrod states that he does each of the SAVERS for 10 minutes each morning, but he even shares the 6 minute miracle morning in the book as well.
I have shifted mine up based on my schedule and the day of week but I always get all 6.
On average my morning looks like this:
- Silence = 3 – 10 mins
- Affirmation = 3-5 minutes
- Visualizing = 3-5 minutes
- Reading = 10-25 minutes
- Exercise = 10-15 minutes
- Journaling = 3-10 minutes
Getting Sh*T Done
Since starting the Miracle Morning, I’ve had one of my best months in terms of revenue this month and I worked the least amount of time. Some of the other benefits thus far have been:
- I feel way less stressed because I have a clearer vision of what I want to achieve (and repeat it everyday through my affirmations)
- I can actually see myself getting there (because I’ve been visualizing it everyday)
- I’m reading more which has given me tons of new ideas for things I want to share with you and ways to grow my business
- I’m starting my day fully in my control, excited and energized to be the best and most productive I can be
For me, my miracle morning has been the perfect combination of activities for me to start the day in the best possible way.
I literally go to bed excited to start my miracle morning the upcoming day.
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you have a miracle morning routine of your own? If not, are you going to give it a try?
Let me know in the comments!