Mornings are a mad-cap time in many households. Everyone’s so focused on getting out the door that you can easily lose track of just how much time is passing. I’ve had hundreds of people keep time logs for me over the past few years (you can see some of mine here and here), and I’m always amazed to see gaps of 90 minutes or more between when people wake up and when they start the commute or school car pool.
That would be fine if the time was used intentionally, but often it isn’t.
The most productive people, however, realize that 90 minutes, 120 minutes or more is a long time to lose track of on a busy weekday. If you feel like you don’t have time for personal priorities later in the day, why not try using your mornings? Streamline breakfast, personal care and kid routines. Then you can use 30-60 minutes to try one of four things:
1. Play, read, or talk with your kids. Mornings can be great quality time, especially if you have little kids who go to bed soon after you get home at night, but wake up at the crack of dawn. Set an alarm on your watch, put away the iPhone, and spend a relaxed half an hour reading stories or doing art projects. If you have older children, aim for a leisurely family breakfast. Everyone talks through their plans for the day and what’s going on in their lives. If family dinners aren’t a regular thing in your house, this is a great substitute.
2. Exercise. You shower in the morning anyway, so why not get sweaty first? Trade off mornings with your partner on who goes out and runs and who stays home with the kids. Or, if your kids are older (or you don’t have any) work out together and make it a very healthy morning date.
3. Indulge your creative side. Lots of people would like to resurrect a creative hobby like painting, photography, scrapbooking, writing, even practicing an instrument. What if you went to bed a little earlier three times a week? Skip that last TV show or those last emails and get up a little earlier the next morning to put in some time at your easel before the day gets away from you.
4. Think. Strategic thinking time is incredibly important for seizing control of our lives. Spend 30 minutes in the morning pondering what you want to do with your time. You could also use this time to pray or read religious literature, to meditate or write in a journal. All of these will help you start the day in a much better place than if everyone’s running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
Note: Are you looking for a better start to your day, or to use your time more effectively in general? I’d like to do a few time makeovers of readers over the next few weeks. Email me if you’d be interested in logging your time, trying a few strategies, and sharing what you learn. Thanks!
What operating a coffee shop for nearly 4 years has taught me:
- What at first seems like a negative challenge can turn into a great blessing just as soon as your attitude changes - and we have the power to change our attitude whenever we choose.
- The fundamentals stay the same, but on another level, if you don't keep on innovating, your business will suffer and so will you.
- Quit holding on to what doesn't work. Just because it's the way you've always done things is no reason to keep on doing it the same way. Keep reinventing yourself and your business until you get the results you deserve. Even if what you have now is a good thing, you have to let go of the good in order to go for the great.
- Give yourself permission and time to think about what you actually desire for yourself and your business.
- Constantly pursue your "happy place" feelings. Listen to what those feelings are telling you. Take control of creating the kind of environment that you truly enjoy being in. You create your own reality - even at work.
- Creativity, happy feelings, purpose, and vision - it all begins with gratitude! Cultivate gratitude in yourself daily. Practice it, think it, write about it, read about it. Without gratitude, your reality turns into ash. Developing a spirit of authentic gratitude is a life-long pursuit.
Amelia Earhart's Last Words to Her Husband
Amelia Mary Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and is remembered for her courage, vision and groundbreaking achievements. Setting numerous records and writing best-selling books, Earhart is most remembered for her final flight—an attempt to make the 29,000-mile journey around the world. Although she only had 7,000 miles left, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island on July 2, 1937. Her final radio transmission revealed she was low on fuel.
Artifact discoveries last year on a remote South Pacific island suggest Earhart tried to survive as a castaway after her twin-engine plane "The Electra" crashed. In a letter to her husband—written in case a dangerous flight proved to be her last—the aviatrix wrote: "Please know I am quite aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others."
Inspiration from Amelia Earhart
- “Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done.”
- “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”
- “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
Here is a good question to consider: If your body is the billboard of your personal development, your calling card & your personal 15-second commercial, what is it communicating? Take a good hard look in the mirror (literally) & determine if that is the message you want conveyed. I know this is pretty direct & maybe a bit harsh, but this is the reality of life. Do you like what your billboard says about YOU?- Darren Hardy
Challenges to Pursue by Jim Rohn
Here’s a list of 15 challenges to pursue, excerpted from the 2004 Jim Rohn Weekend Leadership Event—his last recorded weekend event.
Review Your Performance. Whether it’s communication, whether it’s activity, whether it’s a CEO, whether it’s on the job. Here’s what my father said: “Always do more than you are paid for to make an investment in your future.” Now some unions would argue with that. My father was so unique. Review your performance—your language with your children. Say, “Have I been too harsh, too strong, too stubborn? Should I have learned to be easier and mixed more compassion with the tough stuff I have to deal with?” And yes, prayer will help. Ask for help to say the right thing, not to ruin it all by poor communication.
Face Your Fears. That’s how you conquer them. Don’t dismiss them; face them. Say, “Here’s what I’m afraid of. I wonder what I could do to change that.”
Exercise Your Willpower to Change Direction. You don’t have to keep doing what you’ve been doing the last six years if it’s not yielding the benefits you want. My mentor helped me review the last six years so I wouldn’t repeat those errors the next six. Pick a new destination and go that way. Use your willpower to start the process. You don’t have to repeat last year. Clean up the errors. Invest it now in the next year. Watch it make the difference.
Admit Your Mistakes. Sometimes you have to admit them to others. Parents have to do it. We ask our kids to do it. We have to do it. Here is one of the best phrases in the English language: “I’m sorry.” The reason those are good words is because they could start a whole new relationship. It could start two people going in a whole new direction. Simple, not easy. You get this done, the turnaround can be dramatic. The early years can be big in payoff. Here’s the big one. Admit your mistakes to yourself. You don’t have to babble about them to everyone in the neighborhood. But it doesn’t hurt to sit down and have a conversation with yourself and say, “There’s no use kidding myself. Here’s where I really am. I’ve got pennies in my pocket and I’ve got nothing in the bank.” That’s what I said after a Girl Scout left my door. I had a conversation with myself and I said, “I don’t want this to happen anymore.”
Refine Your Goals. Start the process. Set some higher goals. Reach for some higher purpose. Go for something beyond what you thought you could do.
Believe in Yourself. You’ve got to believe in God and you’ve got to believe in the community. You’ve got to believe in the possibilities. You’ve got to believe in the economy. You’ve got to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. Here’s the big one. Believe in yourself. There isn’t a skill you can’t learn; there isn’t a discipline you can’t try; there isn’t a class you can’t take; there isn’t a book you couldn’t read.
Ask for Wisdom. This is communication of the highest source. Ask for wisdom that creates answers. Ask for the wisdom that creates faith to believe things are possible. Ask for wisdom to deal with the challenges for today and tomorrow, to deal with the challenges your family brings you. Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better.
Conserve Your Time. Sometimes we get faked out. Bill Bailey says the average person says, “I’ve got twenty more years.” No, Bill says you’ve got twenty more times. If you go fishing once a year, you’ve only got twenty more times to go fishing, not twenty years. That fakes you out.
Invest Your Profits. Here’s one of the philosophies that Mr. Shoaff gave me. Profits are better than wages. Wages make you a living, profits make you a fortune. Could we start earning profits while we make a living? The answer is yes.
Protect Your Family. These are troublesome times. At school—troublesome times. Protect your family as best you can from the hidden dangers, the lurking evil one.
Live with Intensity. You might as well turn it up a notch or two. Invest more of you in whatever you do. Be a little stronger; be a little wiser. Step up your vitality contribution. Put everything you’ve got into everything you do and then ask for more vitality, more strength and more vigor, more heart and more soul.
Find Your Place. If you just work on a job, find the best place you can serve well, and sure enough they’ll ask you to occupy a better place. And if you keep doing a job well, do the very best you can. That’s your best way out. Here’s a Bible phrase. If you work on your gifts, they’ll make a place for you.
Demand Integrity from Yourself. Integrity is like loyalty. You can’t demand it of someone else; you can only demand it of yourself. Be the best example of loyalty, and you’ll get some loyal followers. Be the best example of integrity, and you’ll have people around you who have integrity. Lead the way.
Welcome the Disciplines. Can’t give you much better advice than that because disciplines create the reality. Disciplines build cities. A well-disciplined activity creates abundance, creates uniqueness, productivity.
Fight for What’s Right. It’s a fight we’re in. The storyteller says “And there was a great war in heaven.” One of the writers of later Scripture said, “I fought a good fight.” That’s extraordinary to be able to say. I fought for my kids, and I fought for what was right and I fought for good health, and I fought to protect my company and I fought for a good career that would bless my family. I fought a good fight. It’s good to fight the encroachment. Opposites are in conflict, and you’re in the middle. If you want something valuable, you’ve got to fight for it. Then this writer also said, “I fought a good fight and I kept the faith.” See, that’s the deal. Keep faith with your family. Fight the enemy and keep faith. Fight the illness and keep faith. Fight the evil and keep faith. I can’t give you much better advice.
BIG QUESTION: Do you think about what you don't want to happen or do you think about what you do want to happen?
Are you programming your brain to work for you or against you?
Did you know that your subconscious brain doesn't hear the word "don't"?
If you are in a stressful situation and you are telling yourself: "Don't freak out, don't freak out, don't freak out," your brain completely disregards the "don't" and is sending out the following message instead: "FREAK OUT! FREAK OUT! FREAK OUT!"
Now, take this law of brain function and apply it to the bigger pictures in your life - like that ugly problem or situation that's bothering you. You know, that thing that you don't want to happen so you try not to think about it, but you can't because your subconscious keeps hashing at it 24/7 and guess what it's working to do? Make that very thing your reality.
Hey! DON'T think about a pink elephant!
What did your brain just do?
So, do yourself a favor. Instead of killing yourself thinking about what you don't want to happen, replace those thought with pictures of what you DO want to happen. Your brain is always working on something. From now on, make it work FOR you, not against you.
Because what you focus on in your life (positive or negative) is what is going to develop in your life. It's just a law of nature, same as gravity.
"Think happy thoughts." - Peter Pan :)
Vitamins for the Mind
by Jim Rohn
Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don't go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won't laugh at you.
There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have. Thanksgiving opens the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way.
Resolve says, "I will." The man says, "I will climb this mountain. They told me it is too high, too far, too steep, too rocky and too difficult. But it's my mountain. I will climb it. You will soon see me waving from the top or dead on the side from trying."
Disgust and resolve are two of the great emotions that lead to change.
Until we obtain a healthy and progressive understanding of our comfort zones through the process of personal development, we are like nervous, timid creatures peeping over ominous walls of our own making. At times, we may venture a few steps on the other side, but as soon as we start making mistakes, experiencing setbacks and disappointments, we retreat back into our comfort zone for that seductively numbing feeling of familiarity and even add a couple more stones to that wall for “protection.”
Remarkably, the riddle is that when we stay in our comfort zone, we are actually denying ourselves the amazing experience of fulfilling our potential to be stronger, better, and wiser and to live more abundant, significant, and happy lives. With every stone we add to our inner wall for the purpose of increasing our sense of security, we are growing more and more insecure. We are sacrificing our God-given power to create the life we want to live.
So why does this seemingly twisted human condition exist? Success has quite a knack for disguising itself as failure. When met with failure, we unconsciously follow the train of thinking that since we are not experiencing the results we want right away, then we are not on the path to success. So we run in the other direction: to our comfort zone. The challenge of personal development is to realize and internalize that success is on the other side of failure, not the opposite side. It is a continuous journey of three steps forward and one step back.
What a dramatic turning point it is to come to the realization that obstacles and disappointments are not something to be avoided as oppositions to what we want. You see, the fact that the path to success is obstructed with hardships has a deep-seated significance. For it is in rising above the disappointments, solving the challenges, and getting up again and again after every failure that makes us who we need to be in order to attract the success we desire. The great personal development coach, Jim Rohn, put this truth into words perfectly when he said, “Success is not to be pursued. Success is to be attracted by the person you become.
If the path to success were smooth and free of any element of resistance, we would never feel the pressure to rise to greater levels of self-discipline, gratitude, and self-awareness. A great truth to take to heart is that it is in overcoming that we become - become who we are meant to be, who we truly are. The discomfort we feel is that of self-transformation as it chisels our character into something more noble, authentic, and strong.
It is a beautiful thing, when you have matured in the world of personal development to the point where you can picture yourself with all of the physical manifestations of success and feel that what you really and truly look forward to is the person you will have become in order to achieve such a lifestyle. This is precisely the wonderfully balanced attitude toward success that personal development creates in us.
Your most authentic self, your best life, your deepest desires are all on the other side of your comfort zone. Don’t you think it is high time to embark on the process of getting to know that person? Embrace the incredible journey that is personal development and you will.