Truly successful people are intentional with how they spend their time – and it starts from the moment they wake up.
As entrepreneurs, we look to the people who have paved the way before us. We ask ourselves, “what are they doing differently that is working so well for them?”
Having been in the entrepreneurial space for a little over five years now, I’ve met my share of coaches & mentors & motivational speakers. Some of them have a lot of incredible advice, some are just fluff and flash but lack true substance. The one thing that remains consistent is the one secret of successful people.
Here’s a hint: It’s NOT checking your phone or email.
Successful people are intentional with their time because they want to work hard and play hard.
Let’s get real. Just because you’re an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you need to enslave yourself to your laptop and cell phone. The cliche of the entrepreneur hustle has brainwashed our entire community with the work-until-4am-fall-asleep-at-your-laptop mentality.
I won’t name names, but the coaches who insist “you don’t want it enough” if you’re not willing to work yourself into exhaustion are simply not right.
You can’t fill from an empty cup. Your business and brand need you to be serving your soul and respecting yourself as a human, with human limitations. You will never be able to show up and give 100% of your best effort to your work or your clients without taking care of yourself first.
The best, most successful entrepreneurs making things happen in the world know how to properly manage their time, so they have plenty of time to relax and recuperate before they get back to making magic happen.
So let’s get through this together right here, right now:
- Successful people are hyper-effective at time management
- Successful people make time for relaxation & fun (AKA Treat Yo’Self Time)
- Successful people start their days with intention, from the very moment they wake up
If you want to do what successful people do to get off to the right start, you need a morning ritual.
So now that we’ve established WHY you need to be super intentional with every part of your day – even if that means taking scheduled “fun time” – let’s find some of the most effective morning rituals for successful people.
Wake up at 5am
Okay, hear me out, because I know voluntarily waking up at 5am every day sounds like the most crazy-pants concept in the world.
Think about it: Your day is already packed, right? You work hard, and you deserve the time to relax – but what about personal development time? Where does that get factored into all of this?
By waking up at 5am, you’ll be creating a time slot for yourself for this personal development time. In Hal Elrod’s “The Miracle Morning,” he talks about how all his clients would resist his suggestion to wake up at 5am to make time for a good morning routine – until they would actually do it. But after following his advice, they’d come back RAVING about how this subtle shift to their lifestyle was radically changing their lives.
I remember the first week of getting up at 5am for my personal development time. By the end of my first week, I was practically jumping out of bed, ready to get started and have the “me-time” I had no clue I so desperately needed.
If 5am seems just outrageous to you, try waking up just an hour earlier than you usually do. Use that hour wisely. See how it changes things.
Speak positively about yourself
I like to do this part in the mirror, first thing in the morning, after I’ve washed my face and brushed my teeth. I smile at my reflection, and I tell myself at least 5 nice things about myself and the day I’m going to co-create with the Universe.
Some of my favorite positive morning messages to myself:
- I am confident, intelligent, and deserving of respect.
- I am successful and attract all the right people to me and my business.
- I am worthy of massive compensation. (Got this one from the always inspiring Kathrin Zenkina of Manifestation Babe)
- I am a beautiful and beloved creation.
- I am the co-creator of my reality, and I am in charge of what happens in my life.
- I am going to have a fantastic day, filled with meaningful interactions.
You can go on and on! Even if it feels weird or uncomfortable at first, keep pushing through it. If it’s uncomfortable saying nice things about yourself and the day you’re about to have, it is even more important for you to do this.
It’s like a little self-pep talk for the day. You’re starting it with positive intentions right from the very beginning. This also helps you to cope better with negativity when it comes your way, like a deflection shield of Leslie Knope-proportions.
Positive self-talk builds up over time, equipping you with the confidence that successful people have.
Visualize your perfect day & Practice Gratitude
If you don’t know what your perfect day looks like, you should take some time right now and sit back and give some undivided attention to this daydream.
If you could design the perfect day, what would it look like? You can do the work you want to do in the time frame you want, spending the rest of your day with family, doing yoga, eating at fancy restaurants, traveling around the world, reading books, talking to interesting people, making art – WHATEVER. No dream is too big!
Take at least 5-10 minutes (though longer is better!) to close your eyes, slip into a meditative state, and visualize this perfect day. Visualize it like you can see, feel, and smell this experience like it’s happening right on the other side of your eyelids.
One of my favorite visualizations for me and my goals is to imagine that I am very well dressed, filled with the excitement that comes right before you’re going to get on stage, studying my cue cards and breathing deeply before I get ready to give a motivational talk to an auditorium full of ambitious, compassionate women who want to hear what I have to say. The room smells like books – maybe I’ve written a book? My shoes are stylish but comfortable, so you know they’re probably expensive – worth the investment. I’m standing tall and confident, and in the moments after my name is announced and I’m walking onto the stage, the audience erupts with cheers, and the atmosphere is electrically charged from all of the energy in the room.
I’m literally tearing up right now, visualizing this reality.
I’ll go into it a little more in a future post, but here’s the trick of the visualization exercise: You have to feel truly, immensely grateful for this reality you’re creating, right now – even though it’s not here yet. It’s a trust relationship between you and the Universe, because you know that reality is coming to you.
Get your blood flowing & your body moving
Don’t overly complicate this part. If you’re not a hit-the-gym type of person, that’s okay!
Grab a yoga mat and do a few Sun Salutation flows. This will help your body prepare for the day, stretch out, and get your blood flowing and your oxygen levels in alignment.
Here’s a quick morning flow from one of my favorite online yogis, Erin Motz, aka Bad Yogi:
Get something in your stomach
Again, this doesn’t need to be elaborate. You don’t need to wake up every morning and cook a huge feast for yourself; you just need to get your metabolism activated and keep your digestion regular.
We’ve got some quick breakfast ideas over on our sister-site, Fair+Frugal, but some of my go-tos are:
- A cup of yogurt and a handful of almonds
- A piece of toast topped with avocado and/or an egg
- A smoothie made from previously prepped ingredients (I am not chopping fruit and veggies first thing in the morning, okay)
- Granola and a hard-boiled egg
They say “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and in my old age, I’m starting to think they’re onto something. I definitely notice the days that I skip breakfast. I’m more sluggish, both physically and mentally, and I’m more prone to snapping at the people around me. The technical term is “hangry.”
Successful people make sure they eat something within the first hour they’re awake. Eat some breakfast.
Learn something new
Perhaps the most obvious, if you want to do what successful people do, you need to keep developing yourself. This can mean you’re learning new techniques to get you ahead professionally, or maybe you’re working on your emotions, your mental blocks, your relationships – whatever. Just keep learning.
Take as much time as you can reading, listening to a podcast, watching video lectures, and consuming positive, useful information that will empower you in some way.
Successful people don’t just automatically know what to do to be successful people. They invest in themselves and learn.
If the knowledge and skills required of successful people were taught in school, we’d all know what to do. Unfortunately, the code isn’t unlocked for us. We have to go out there and crack it ourselves.
Get some accountability
I will forever be indebted to the person & place that jump-started my morning ritual routine, and that is Reese Evans, the founder at Yes Supply. I am not exaggerating even slightly when I say that her Good Morning Beautiful emails changed my life.
If you think you need some help/direction with your morning routine and want some guidance from a beautiful, brilliant soul, start your day with intention with Yes Supply.
Full disclosure: My links to Yes Supply are affiliate links, so I make a little something for you deciding to join the Yes Supply community – because the GMB emails are just ONE of the incredible perks you get as a member of the Yes Supply Collective.
If you’re on the fence about joining through my affiliate link and want to check it out independently, I still fully encourage it. I was “converting” people to Yes Supply LONG before I became an affiliate, and I will continue to share Yes Supply for as long as it lives!
The support that comes with a community of like-minded people can’t be matched.
Whether it’s with us in the Sprout + Sage Society, over at Yes Supply, or in a totally different group, you’re going to need your girl gang behind you to hold you accountable, and vice versa!
Make a To-Do List & Set Your Big Intention
Doesn’t it sometimes feel like you’ve got a million things to do, but you’re not actually GOING anywhere? That feeling can lead to disappointment, discouragement, and burn out.
Making a to-do list is obvious, but here’s a little twist on the traditional to-do list: Take your big picture goal, and break it down into smaller steps. Then break that down into even smaller steps – as small as the steps need to be.
Knock out one of those small steps every single day. Before you know it, you’ll have tackled some huge monster of a project, and you’ll have spent quality time on each piece – meaning that the work will be high quality, and you won’t feel like plucking your eyes out from staring at this enormous big picture task for hours and hours straight.
Remember, it’s not a race. You will get “there” when you’re ready for it, and not a moment sooner.
Now, get out there and crush it!