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7 Critical Components of a Powerful Morning Routine 

morning

One of the most important habits of developing consistent high performance in your life is to put your self-esteem into your work habits rather than your production.

The reason is because we want our confidence tied to things that we can control rather than things we can’t.

Production often fluctuates up and down but our effort, work ethic, and intensity needs to always be consistent.

The decision to embrace this philosophy can be something that you demonstrate in the first few moments of every day.

I first learned the power of a morning routine from my time in college working in The Southwestern Advantage summer program.

They taught us to have and focus on a “mini-victories list” every single morning.

To this day, I follow a regimented routine every single morning that includes many of those original habits I developed selling door to door in the summer:

 

Gratitude – The very first thing I do when the alarm goes off is immediately start saying “thank you”. I thank God for as many specific blessings as I can possibly come up with in those first few moments. In addition to being a powerful way to start the day, it also keeps my mind from being occupied with negative thoughts about how tired I might be or what I have to do that day.

 

Scripture – For me it is a very intentional choice that the first input into my brain each day be scripture. Not email. Not Twitter. Not news. Scripture. Not only does it help charge my soul for the day, it is also an external representation of an internal decision to prioritize my spiritual walk and relationship with God above all else. After reading scripture I pray. It’s an important discipline. (Tip: Timothy Keller’s book Prayer taught me to focus on reading each individual word slowly and one at a time instead of speeding through sentences.)

 

Affirmations – Over the years I have amassed several lists of different affirmations. Some speak to the person I want to be, some speak to the company we want Southwestern Consulting to be, and some are very specific to reprogramming my brain about certain fears, current limiting beliefs that I have or new habits I’m focused on developing. I read those next.

Goals – I’ve always then spent a few minutes reviewing my short and long term goals. What has been very powerful for me in the last couple years is that I read my wife’s goals first. And when I know of them, I read specific goals of my business partners as well before I read mine. This is another discipline that I practice to try and cultivate more selflessness in my life. It’s important because I’m embarrassed and ashamed to admit that absent an intentional decision to think about other people, I unfortunately naturally default to thinking mostly of just myself.

Schedule – I spend a few moments reviewing my schedule and making sure I’m consciously aware of everything that is supposed to happen that day. A great piece of advice that I’ve been trying to practice that I learned from profiling a Multiplier for the Procrastinate on Purpose book is to “throw everything off my calendar and make it fight to earn its way back on.”

Exercise – This is another habit I learned directly from Southwestern, which is to do something physical first thing in the morning every single day! Even if it’s only a few push-ups, sit-ups, or weightless squats, it’s a major victory to do even some small physical activity. And you should never underestimate the power of consistency in your life; literally a few minutes of exercise every day does wonders for helping you maintain your physical state.

Vitamins – Taking vitamins and veggies is not something I particularly enjoy; but I do it every single day. Because staying healthy requires discipline and it’s a choice I want to consistently make first thing in the morning. My body is something I choose to protect and preserve and supplements are an important part of the routine. As mama always said “enjoying it isn’t a requirement of doing it.”

Making it through this entire list (including a 20 min workout routine) takes me about 45 minutes.

(In full disclosure, there is one other step to this routine that I’ve been doing the last couple years that I left out since it’s not ubiquitous to everyone: I also write 1 little inspirational social media post each day on Instagram that I also share to Facebook and Twitter. It takes about 7 minutes a day but I find that writing a little each day adds up tremendously over time. Those little thoughts often later get expanded into blog posts, which then many blog posts get put together to become a book, which is then made into keynotes, virtual trainings , and coaching modules.

Part of the power of this routine is programming your brain for success each day.

Another part of the power of this routine is preparing yourself to have a positive attitude each day.

But perhaps the most powerful part of this routine is that it helps you start “winning” right away.

Because all of these things are things that you can control.

And all of these things are mini-victories.

They are demonstrations of discipline that happen every morning.

They are resolutions that I will not let my life happen by accident but by design.

I will not be confused about where I’m going; I will be clear.

And I will not lose to the natural voices of fatigue, negativity, and distraction in my head; I will silence them.

This process helps remind me of how much I’ve been given, why my life counts, and who I am focused on serving.

You don’t have to follow this exact process, but I would highly recommend that you and your coach create some process – and that you follow it relentlessly.

Because success is never owned; it’s only rented – and the rent is due every day.

What Do You Really Believe?

believe

It doesn’t much matter what we say we believe, our real beliefs are revealed by how we act.

We can lie with our words but we cannot lie with our actions. 

You don’t even have to tell people what you believe, because you can show them. 

And people watch what we do much more than they listen to what we say. 

So what do your actions tell people about who you are and what you believe?

And how congruent are the things you say you believe in alignment with the things you actually do?

It is a moment of truth, a sobering reality check, and a sometimes uneasy accountability when we are asked to reconcile what we say and what we do. 

In fact, my pastor once told me that if you want to know what someone really believes in, don’t even bother asking them. 

All you have to do is look at their calendar and their checkbook, because what we spend our time and our money on is what we believe in the most.

Greed, Giving, and Making Money Matter with Cole Hatter – Episode 159 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

greed

Cole is an entrepreneur, investor, award-winning speaker and founder of Thrive. Cole started his career investing in real estate and has progressed to investing in large funds, start-ups, and angel investing. He has been on stage speaking to audiences about investing/entrepreneurship around the world collectively for over 2,000 hours. Cole’s vision behind creating Thrive: Make Money Matter is to change the way businesses are run forever, creating a new breed of “For-Purpose Entrepreneurs” directing profitable businesses that focus on a local or global initiative.

Show Highlights:

  • What you convince yourself to be true about money will largely guide your relationship with money.  @rory_vaden
  • What you think about money will affect your ability to acquire it and manage it properly.  @rory_vaden
  • Greed is largely the result of thinking that you will find security and peace from having money. @rory_vaden
  • Greed is the rooted in the belief that money comes from taking from other people. @rory_vaden
  • Find all the bible verses Rory shares that that have to do with greed, generosity and money here.
  • Generosity is powered by abundance and by thinking generously about money.  @rory_vaden
  • Ferraris are great but feeding hungry kids is better.  @colehatter
  • I decided to make what I can do for others the purpose of business, not what I can do for myself. @colehatter
  • It’s no secret that some of the wealthiest people are infatuated with giving back because it is in our DNA to want to care for others. @colehatter
  • If you make your money matter you will find more reward personally than from anything else you could spend your money on. @colehatter
  • Giving isn’t so much about what you have or don’t have but a demonstration of your power over money. @rory_vaden

Thrive: Make Money Matter is the conference for entrepreneurs and business professionals who want to discover practical income-growing business strategies, create a positive impact in the world and leave a lasting legacy. Click here to get your ticket!

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting™ every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Joanne Miller: Creating a Haven of Peace – Episode 153 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Peace

Joanne Miller is an artist, speaker and author with her newest book, Creating a Haven of Peace, released this month. She married Dan Miller in 1968 and together they run 48 days. Joanne and Dan are great examples of living a peaceful life and having a healthy marriage.

Show Highlights:

  • We live in a world so busy and stress producing – you need a place to go where you can escape the stressors that live outside your home. @48daysteam
  • Your home can and should be a sanctuary. @48daysteam
  • Peace in the home starts with Respect. @48daysteam
  • Difficult times in our lives can be learning experiences if you look at them that way and don’t let them define who you are. @48daysteam
  • We get so involved in the clutter in our lives that we don’t take the time to enjoy our homes. @48daysteam
  • Making time for each other is a key ingredient to a healthy marriage. @48daysteam
  • If you’re stressed, ask yourself, “when was the last time I went to church and exercised?” @rory_vaden
  • Comparison is the thief of joy and creator of mediocrity. @rory_vaden
  • It’s not about beating other people – There is no value in thinking “I’m going to beat somebody else.”  @rory_vaden
  • Our level of peace is direct reflection of how well we are in sync with the people around us. @rory_vaden
  • You don’t want to choose to be right, but to do right. @rory_vaden
  • Admitting wrong was not the same thing as admitting defeat. @rory_vaden

Click Here to learn more about Joanne, her books and for tips on how to create a haven of peace.

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting™ every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

How to Fight: 10 Rules of Relationship Conflict Resolution – Episode 151 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

conflict resolution

In this week’s episode of the Action Catalyst Podcast, Rory shares his recent run-in with anger and his realization that anger is an emotion that needs to be managed. So much of the problems we have today are related to people trying to get along with one another – and not getting it.

Listen in to learn about the mentality and mindset of dealing with conflict and creating resolution in your relationships that matter.

Show Highlights:

  • Anger is a dangerous form of indulgence. @rory_vaden
  • Anger is a natural emotion and emotions must be managed. @rory_vaden
  • One of the highest callings of mankind is to learn to manage our emotions and to channel them productively into useful, purposeful and reasonable action that forwards our collective progress. @rory_vaden
  • “Are you going to allow your emotions to manage you or are you going to be the kind of person who rises up, takes control, and manages your emotions to achieve great things?” @rory_vaden
  • relationships develop not from the absence of conflict but by determining an agreeable pattern for how to resolve the conflict. @rory_vaden
  • Become a master of your emotions. @rory_vaden
  • Yelling is destructive because it clouds our judgement and ability to assess what is and what is not. @rory_vaden
  • Always start and end the conversation by affirming that you care about the other person. @rory_vaden
  • Be open to the idea that you made a mistake even if you’re sure you did not. @rory_vaden
  • Don’t speak in generalities and absolutes. @rory_vaden
  • Be hard on the problem, easy on the person. @rory_vaden
  • Work to be the first to apologize. @rory_vaden
  • Focus on trying to discover what’s right not who is right. @rory_vaden
  • Exaggerated language is often proof of exaggerated understanding. @rory_vaden
  • Belittling a person always shifts the focus from resolving the actual problem. @rory_vaden
  • Remind yourself that the person you’re talking to cares about the relationship and finding the resolution. @rory_vaden
  • Often you’re on the same team even if you’re not on the same page. @rory_vaden
  • Never ask another person to fill a hole in your life only God can fill. @rory_vaden

 

The Action Catalyst show is a weekly podcast that Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting™ hosts every Wednesday, which is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts and has listeners from all around the world. The show shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action”. Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews one very special expert guest and thought leader every week. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Johnny Quinn: When Your Dreams Fall Apart – Episode 149 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

When Your

Johnny Quinn is a professional speaker, former professional football player and  United States Olympian in the sport of bobsled. He spent time with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL, and competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Johnny travels the globe to inspire audiences by delivering thought-provoking and action-packed messages to businesses, schools and organizations. He is also the founder of The Athlete Watch, an online pro-active leadership course that helps student-athletes and their families search for scholarships.

Show Highlights:

  • What actions do you take in the face of broken dreams? @Rory_Vaden
  • Hearing someone tell me ‘I believe in you’ allowed me to believe I was going to come back even stronger. @JohnnyQuinnUSA
  • The new Journey to become a U.S Olympian allowed me to dream again – it set in motion a new dream. @JohnnyQuinnUSA
  • We are told ‘make your dream come true’ as if you’re only allowed to have one dream. @Rory_Vaden
  • During the Sochi Olympics, Johnny got stuck in my Olympic Village bathroom and had to break down the door. @JohnnyQuinnUSA
  • The attitude of ‘Never Give Up’ carried me from NFL to Olympic Bobsledding @JohnnyQuinnUSA
  • When the plan you laid out is broken, the way you respond in those moments matter so much. @Rory_Vaden
  • Take the Stairs – Perspective Principal of faith is my favorite because it covers how to respond when things go wrong. @Rory_Vaden
  • A huge part of becoming successful is having a plan for dealing with failure. @Rory_Vaden
  • 5 choices to dream big again in the midst of a broken dream:
    1. Think Long Term –  Complete the untold Story about how this seemingly negative event actually protected you from something worse. @Rory_Vaden
    2. Create the possibility that something better awaits. @Rory_Vaden
    3. Realize that everything you are going through is preparing you for the person you someday need to be. @Rory_Vaden
    4. Realize God is powerful enough that he could have had it go the other way. @Rory_Vaden
    5. John 15:5 ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’ @Rory_Vaden

To learn more about Johnny, Click Here!

The Action Catalyst show is a weekly podcast that Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting™ hosts every Wednesday, which is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts and has listeners from all around the world. The show shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action”. Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews one very special expert guest and thought leader every week. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!