Do The Things That Suck
Three weeks ago I reached a point in my business (and life) where something had to give.
Slowly but gradually things had started to slip. All the habits and actions that contributed to my past success, were no longer being regularly practiced. They were non-existent.
Habits like reading ten pages from a good book, writing down new ideas, and most importantly getting up before the sun each morning had all but vanished.
To use an analogy from Jim Rohn, throughout our lives each of us experiences and enjoys “the summer season.”
My “summer season” was a time where everything just clicked. Physically I was in the best shape of my life. Financially I hit levels I had before only dreamed of. Mentally I felt unstoppable and was unafraid of trying new things and “putting myself out there.”
My family life was great, and spiritually my relationship with God was at an all time high.
Things were pretty darn peachy.
While reflecting on this time of my life, I quickly remembered how equally uncomfortable this time had been. Although I would describe it as the high of my life, it would be deceitful not to include that this time was also incredibly difficult and trying.
I got in the habit of doing ridiculously hard things day in and day out.
And fell in love with it.
I never let the sun beat me out of bed. Never. It didn’t matter how late I was up the night before, I was up early. I spent the first 30 minutes of each day immersing myself in religious literature and sales training material. Clean eating became so commonplace, anything else felt wrong. I frequently volunteered myself to speak and take charge in meetings in various settings.
None of these activities were pleasurable.
Collectively, over time, they all produced an indescribable level of satisfaction and happiness.
Why? Because they forced me to get outside my comfort zone. The place where all growth takes place.
Progress is what brings the most happiness to the human heart.
Three weeks ago as I pondered the current state of my life and business, I happened to glance up at “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. Maybe it was time to revisit this book. Things weren’t going poorly, in fact they were going pretty darn good for the most part.
I almost talked myself out of it.
After a brief internal debate, I stood up and grabbed the book from my bookshelf.
I sat down and read the first ten pages.
In the book, Hal shares his story of going from success to failure to mega-success. He blames his success on what he has now dubbed “The Miracle Morning.” He guides the reader through his experience. He shares the life changing effects he experienced from waking up early and completing a morning routine.
A familiar excitement ran through my body.
I committed to getting up an hour earlier the next day to complete my first Miracle Morning in over two years.
I set my alarm for 6 A.M. I concluded that I needed to mitigate my risk of failure by plugging my phone in across the room, thus forcing me out of bed at the sound of the alarm.
Morning came quickly.
I immediately got dressed, brushed my teeth, and started into my 100 push ups. They seemed like a lot better idea the night before.
The next 30 minutes consisted of me immersing myself in the books of my choosing. I decided to keep reading 10 pages of Hal’s book every day until I completed it.
I concluded that I would couple my reading of Hal’s book with Peter Thiel’s book, “Zero to One.” A very intense, thought provoking masterpiece.
This combination gave me a great mix of practical action and conceptuality.
My entire day felt like a breeze.
By the time the sun had risen that day, I had a win under my belt. It felt beyond satisfying. It was euphoria.
I successfully completed my morning routine for two more days. Things were beginning to change. I could feel it.
Wednesday night as I set my alarm, I compromised on my commitment and plugged my phone in right next to my bed. My self control was back! Or so I told myself.
I woke up the next morning to the sound of my son’s voice asking me repeatedly to, “come make me some breakfast.”
Hesitantly I grabbed my phone and checked the time. It was 7:45.
That day felt like a nightmarish reenactment of my circumstances, pre-commitment.
I’ll never let it happen again.
Not only have I successful completed my morning routine every day since my day of epic failure, but I’ve now started doing the same on Saturdays.
It is. And what’s more is that for the past five days I’ve been up at 5:30 A.M. instead of six. The difference in my day was so noticeable that it felt like a no-brainer. I was finally firing on all cylinders again.
Getting up at 5:30 meant 30 more minutes of productivity on top of my morning routine. I now use that time to plan out my day to successfully utilize every waking minute to building my business.
I’ve learned two things from this experiment with early rising.
The first is that getting up early actually is all it’s cracked up to be. There’s just something about being up before everyone else (your competitors) that brings a new level of satisfaction.
Secondly, and in my opinion more importantly, I’ve been reminded of a single truth that if practiced religiously, will change everything. Your business, your life, and even your relationships.
Repeatedly doing uncomfortable things will bring you satisfaction and happiness in massive quantities.
As Robin Sharma so emphatically put it, “greatness begins beyond your comfort zone.”