Imagine this: Apple CEO Tim Cook sleeps in, eventually rising after failing to find the snooze button for the fourth time. He scoffs down a sugary cereal, before drudging into the office to go through the motions. Meanwhile, over at General Motors, Chair and CEO Mary Barra skips breakfast altogether, leaves it until the last minute to battle peak-hour traffic into the office, and spends the rest of her morning tapping her pen on the desk, wondering where to get started.
Can’t picture it?
Well, that’s because it doesn’t happen.
While corporate norms change from country to country, one thing that successful leaders around the world always have in common is starting their day right.
You see, success isn’t a product of luck. Of course luck can play a part – it can change the course of a business in an instant – but more often than not, long-term success is a product of planning, hard work, and the right mindset. And at no point is this mindset more crucial than in the early hours of the day.
We’ve all heard the quotes. Benjamin Franklin famously told us that “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”, while American entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker and Tony Robbins’ mentor, Jim Rohn, warned us that “either you run the day, or the day runs you”. But these are more than hollow catchcries echoed through time. These have real credence – especially at a time when so many are struggling for intrinsic motivation.
From a biological perspective, starting your day off with a healthy routine – and with a purpose – has untold benefits. Whether you’re a bodybuilder, a business owner or both, effectively managing your ultradian (intra-day) and circadian (full-day) rhythms can help you take advantage of energy peaks and troughs, giving your mind and body the best chance for peak performance.
Meanwhile, from a practical standpoint, there are a number of principles we can lean on to ensure the best use of these times.
For instance, Ultimate Edge Communications Founder and CEO, Aleisha McCall, believes that starting your day with a sense of gratitude is a key step in setting your day up for success.
“Whether it be family, friends or work, or an amazing project you did… or even just the fact that your heart is beating and you get to wake up today… whatever it is, everyone can find something to be grateful for,” she says.
“And what that does is it stores that instant positivity within you, that instant gratefulness within you, and it really fills you up to get you ready for the day, to give more to the world and be more.”