It’s What You Do In the Dark…

 

This new Michael Phelps #RuleYourself commercial by Under Armour nails it. “It’s what you do in the dark, that puts you in the light.” What a fucking wake up call. No, I don’t have Olympic dreams, but I do have huge aspirations for this life and this world, and I’ve been slipping WAY behind on those things I should be doing “in the dark.”

For me, those things entail a simple and powerful morning routine, based hugely on Hal Elrod’s book, Miracle Morning. That system helped draw out the little steps that have to be taken daily in order to lead me exactly where I want to go. When I do this morning routine consistently, I show up to the world like a Lion, ready to conquer, feed, protect, or explore. When I don’t do that routine consistently, I show up like a slug; lazy, timid, fearful, and slow.

We are inundated with brief messages, snippets, and news feeds. Lives and accomplishments are squeezed into 30 second (or less) sound bytes, and our collective sub-conscious has begun to believe that fame, victory, wealth, and madness are created in an instant. That’s not the case, and while we think we know that logically, our behavior, at least for the grand majority, suggests otherwise. If we really, really knew and believed that, wouldn’t we work every fucking day toward our dream, rather than put off to some distant someday that will NEVER come?

What you do in the dark-what you do when no one is watching, is the difference between greatness and mediocrity. What do you choose?

Back at it Again

For the last couple of months, I’ve fallen off the habit horse again. I have plenty of excuses for it; business is booming, relationship needed attention, I’m too tired, etc. But, that’s all they are- excuses. 

I gave myself the time though, guilty free. I took it easy on myself the last two weeks too, when I swore I would start my morning routine again, and didn’t. I listened to my body, more so than my mind. My body tends to feel my emotions and knows more what it needs. But I told myself it was time to be ready, and today, I finally jumped in the saddle of the 4am morning routine again, and I feel great. 

I’ve streamlined the routine, focusing more on me than any business component, and that feels even better.

In the past, I would have been harsh and critical of myself for missing so many days of my routine, which would have sent me on a spiral that would have been almost impossible to correct. These days, I give myself space. Explore why I’m resisting. Then, take action. 

The 40 Hour Work Week Delusion

Habit Daddy

Since the late 1800’s, there has been a huge movement to confine the American work week to 40 hours. This certainly served it’s purpose, as many companies were clearly taking advantage of the labor force during the Industrial period. This is not an article about the socio-economic impact of a 40 hour work week though. This is an article about the un-anticipated side-effects of regulations like this.

Through several generations of this programming, we’ve trained our brains to count on and expect our dreams to come true within a 40 hour week. Without consciously making the decision, we’ve come to trust that by working hard, either for ourselves or for others, for  40-50 hours a week. We invest our time at a J-O-B, and then come home and inadvertently turn off our brains with TV, video games, cleaning house, or some other mind escape. But, this is not how dreams come true. Building a dream life, accomplishing goals is hard work, well beyond 40 hours. And, it’s worth it.

Simply working your job and then checking out isn’t going to cut it. There is work to be done, either on yourself, your art, your passion, or your business. Always. There is no easy, or cover-all system to get & stay on track. It’s a very personal experience. Luckily, there are thousands of books already written on the topics, but here’s a good system I advocate:

  1. Have a very specific vision about what you want, where you’re going, who you want to be, and, most importantly, WHY you want it.
  2. Take inventory about where you’re at right now versus your new vision and where you want to go. Analyze this gap between the two.
  3. Mind Map the Gap and figure out what needs to happen to get you there. Start big and work backwards until you get small action steps that you can take every single day.  This is reverse-engineering your dreams for success.
  4. Schedule these steps into your day. If it means waking up an hour, or even two hours earlier, than do it. You can live the life of your dreams through habits and routines. Your future self will thank you.
  5. Stick to it. Taking consistent action over an extended period of time will give you MASSIVE results.

Other considerations; Cancel your cable and cut back on your TV/Movies/Video Games; Incorporate some sort of physical activity into your day; Mind your diet, stay energized, and consider supplements to keep you focused and enthusiastic; Turn your car into a driving university-turn off your radio and listen to audio books instead.

100 Hours. That’s the average amount of time I spend building my businesses, and creating myself, each and every week. It may seem like a lot, but it really doesn’t even feel like enough yet. Because my days are scheduled, and I have taken back control of my agenda, my 100 hours includes reading, physical activity, play, business development, relationship building, sales calls, social media, networking events, personal events, and so much more-all credited and categorized as part of my personal development plan. Every night I sleep easily, and with more confidence than I ever have because I know that each morning, before most people wake up, I have taken MASSIVE action towards my dreams.

I urge you to escape the 40 hour work week delusion. Nobody out “there” is going to ensure your success. We’ve been trained to think that all we want in life comes in 40 hours a week. It doesn’t. So put the time in now. Your ship doesn’t come in without a signal, a beacon, or maybe even a long swim. You have to be willing to stand up for your greatness and do the work it takes to get it. Take massive action today. Become part of the 1% that makes shit happen.

 

Tracking What Matters

What gets Measured, Gets Managed

I finally listened to what all the gurus say, and I now track & record my progress on my dreams and goals. It totally makes sense and I’m not sure why I resisted it, but I’m over it now. In fact, ticking off each of my daily routine items has tapped into another part of my inner nerd and I now look forward to the sense of accomplishment. It really helps establish even more self-confidence too. Every day, I have a written record of every step I’ve taken towards my dreams. And, my daily mantra is, “Don’t let the sun set without taking a step toward your dreams. ”

I use Evernote as a tool for tracking. It allows me to set up a checklist for my expansive to do list every day. In it, I include my morning routine items, that are usually done within an hour or so of waking up. Then, I have what I call my “Daily Do’s” which are more business oriented items that I have to do every day to make progress towards the bigger goals I have laid out.

Each item gets 7 check boxes next to it. That’s one box for each day (remember, dreams don’t get a weekend). At the end of each week, I take a tally by dividing the total available boxes and dividing it by the total number of check marks. My goal is to hit 100%…eventually. To give you an idea of the journey ahead, let me share some numbers.

I am playing the best game I’ve played in my entire life right now. I’m effective, motivated, enthusiastic, and productive beyond any other time in my life. I’m managing six businesses, designing an invention, writing a book, learning every day, staying committed to my partner, friends, and family, and taking care of personal business. I consider every week, hell every day, an outstanding success. And, I’m only hitting 35%-43% of my weekly goals and objectives. Every day I get better. Imagine what life will look like when I’m at 100% consistently. That thought fires me up.

 

Dreams Don't Get Weekends Off

 

Daily Guru: Jack Canfield on Mind-Mapping

habitdaddy

I don’t remember the first time I learned of mind-mapping, but it stuck with me over the years and it works for me. Mind-mapping is essentially the chunking down of a goal or dream into actionable steps to help you achieve it. I like to call it “reverse-engineering your dreams for success”, and that’s the real focus of Habit Daddy.

Mind-mapping will help you wrap your head around your goal or dream, no matter how big or small. You’ll be able to see the critical components you’ll need to incorporate to help you achieve it. What I like about a good mind-map session is that it can be a total brain dump at first too. Let everything out, all ideas, good and bad, and you’ll soon be able to tell the difference when everything is out on paper.

The key to this working for you, like everything else, is the action you take afterwards. That’s why it’s important to chunk this down to daily actionable steps that you will do every single day. Avoid vague generalities and “shoulds.” Get specific. Then do it.

Daily Guru: Eckhart Tolle- Awakening from Self Talk

www.HabitDaddy.com

The reason this particular video jumped out to me was the fact Tolle is talking about awakening from something (self-talk) that I’ve recently integrated into my daily habits and routine to actually enhance my life experience. The idea, of course, is to replace some of the limiting thoughts and patterns I’ve created throughout the years with powerful statements of the possibility I am.

Without a doubt, a five minute morning routine of quoting gurus and having morning affirmations have very limited impact if you go the rest of the day bashing yourself, or holding yourself back with negative self-talk. Realizing this, I have included some self-talk shifts throughout the day that keep me feeling powerful and on track with accomplishing my goals. Then, I run into Eckhart Tolle, and realize I still have a long road ahead.

His book, The Power of Now, resonated with me as a resounding truth about the Universe and how it works. I know I have to find a way of blending this teaching into my modern life, and I struggle to do so every day. How do I live an accomplished, goal-driven life, surrounded by love, wealth, health, and global enterprise, and still practice present moment living? How do I focus on the future, taking daily action for a specific outcome, and still be present here and now, free of the mind-addiction to thinking?

That’s just a little bit about what’s on my mind this, and nearly every day. Both of these videos spoke to me, especially the second, because that is a question I ask myself a lot. How do you constantly learn, and then implement, without over thinking?

Links to the videos below: