“People who fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin
My day starts at 4 am. Let that sink in for a second. 4. O. Clock. AM. It’s not because I’m a morning person. It’s not because I like to be up two hours before dawn. It definitely isn’t because I go to bed at 8 pm. My day starts at 4 am because it is of paramount importance that I start my day out right. It is imperative that I have goals and expectations laid out for my entire day. Starting from the moment I get up, until the moment I go to bed, my day must be productive. That means when I am with my family I am 100% present and focused on them. When I am at work, I’m 100% committed and focused on my goals. I refuse to live my life on the defense, scrambling, so I plan meticulously to ensure my productivity. I plan daily, weekly, and monthly, down to the smallest detail. I also revisit my prior plans to make sure I am checking off my own lists before I start tackling others. Being organized and proactive allows you to avoid situations that are complete time sucks, and more importantly it protects your mood, energy, and motivation.
Right about now you’re thinking “Wow he wakes up early and plans, really groundbreaking stuff”, but let’s dive into it a little more and see if I can’t provide you with some gems!
Let’s start with the fact that most people start off their day just winging it. They wake up, they put on a pot of coffee, shower, get some breakfast, maybe read an article online or a blog, and suddenly, they’re 90 minutes into their day and what have they actually accomplished? Nothing!
The brief moments immediately after you wake up define your day. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Seems like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed!” This comes from the idea that if your day starts out lousy, it affects your mood, your productivity, your optimism, and your outlook for the rest of the day. Those key moments after you wake up set up your success or failure for the entire day.
People ask me all the time, especially if they know that I wake up so early, what I do to start off my day. For years I have followed a regimen that I have perfected, and most importantly it works for me. It’s called the 4X15. I have four 15 minute bursts during which I focus intensely on all aspects of myself that set me up to have a successful day.
- The first 15 minutes entails the body. I sweat for 15 minutes each morning. This is before my actual workout later in the morning. We have a company-wide FitBit challenge going on currently, so I try to get 2,000 steps in, first thing in the morning. Not only does it help to wake me up and get my endorphins flowing, but it also starts my day out on a positive note, knowing that I have at least those 2,000 steps under my belt.
- The second part of my hour is spent on reflections. Journaling, meditating, practicing gratitude, and visualizing what happened yesterday along with what needs to happen today. The narrative is defined. This allows me to calm both my mind and body, so that I can remember, learn, reflect on, and understand the reasons certain things have happened and what has brought me to this point.
- The next portion is reading/inspiration/education. This is the point where I feed my mind with important blogs, articles, or books to continue to learn and grow, both as an individual and as a successful professional in my field. We can never educate ourselves too much, and there is no such thing as knowing enough. Whether it’s politics, world news, or real estate across the region, state, or country, there is always something more to know.
- The last 15 minutes of my power hour concludes with planning. People ask me all the time how I can do all my planning in 15 minutes. The answer is simple: I don’t! I have my weeks and months planned out, meticulously (remember?). This makes my daily planning much easier! However, I still need to compartmentalize and prioritize my day, so this is the time in which I do that.
These are MY 4X15— they are the things that work for me, in the order that works best for me. Your order, or your priorities may be different, and that is wonderful! Maybe you have 6X10 or 3X20, and you order them differently or have completely different priorities. There is nothing wrong with that! The purpose of me sharing my morning ritual with you is so that you can be more cognizant of how you’re starting your day and what may need to be changed.
While I have your attention let’s talk about mindset, because motivation and energy are imperative when it comes to finding success.
It’s important to recognize and monitor your wins and successes throughout your days and weeks. It’s very easy for 43 good things to happen, but for you to hyper-focus on the one or two bad things that happened and in the process destroy your mood and momentum. You need to pat yourself on the back when you reach, achieve, and maybe even exceed your daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Share your wins and successes with other agents, staff, me, or anyone else who is willing to listen and celebrate you and your accomplishments. In doing so you’ll maintain your mood and you will build momentum.
Additionally, it’s important not to allow external distractions to sideline your success. If you allow others to control you, your good habits and routines will fall by the wayside. This is why it’s important to have your own set of goals and plans, and not just play defense to other people’s personal intentions or motivations for their day/week/month, etc. If you are constantly checking off other people’s “to do” list, then you do not have the time and attention to focus on your own.
More recently, people seem to be afflicted by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It tends to force people, who may otherwise have been able to focus, to live in a state of constant panic where they are afraid that they may miss out on an opportunity if they commit to one right now. Maybe they won’t be included again, maybe they won’t be able to celebrate the Big Win, maybe, maybe, maybe… And what ends up happening is they don’t commit to anything, and they don’t focus on anything. It is so important that each and every one of you stay grounded in your intentions and motivations. It is important not to create excuses for not fulfilling your daily, weekly, or monthly tasks, because of “something that just came up”. It is important to set up these Habits of Success, like a motivational morning routine so that you can start your day out right.
All of these things are important because YOU are succeeding FOR YOU. Your failures and your successes don’t come down to anyone but yourself. That’s a lot of pressure, but it also creates a huge amount of freedom because your success is only limited by your hunger. You don’t know how many people I have encountered whose ambitions and actions don’t line up. They have the ambitions of a billionaire with a bagger’s work ethic and discipline. They expect to roll out of bed, and the opportunities to just fall at their feet. No one has found success that way. Success takes diligence and determination, information, a winning spirit, motivation and ambition. It takes good habits and deliberate sacrifice. Stop living the same year over and over again and calling it a life. That isn’t life, that is surviving. Let’s be bigger than that. Let’s expect more than just “survival”, let’s demand nothing less than “thriving”. For these things to happen, you must improve, you must evolve, and most importantly, you must get out of your own way and not be afraid to succeed. You all have this potential within you— let’s unleash it and let it thrive! Let’s live purposeful lives and achieve greater success than we ever could have imagined.
I am not asking you to wake up at 4 am. What I am asking you to do is be in control. You’ve got one chance at this thing called life! Do more than you expect to do. Be more than you ever thought you could be.