You Create Your Success Twice
Alinka Rutkowska is the CEO of Leaders Press (www.leaderspress.com), a USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling press, where she helps entrepreneurs create books from scratch and then launches them to bestseller status with a one hundred percent success rate. She has worked with top business leaders such as Po Chung, co-founder of DHL International; Mark Nureddine, CEO of Bull Outdoor Products; and Christopher Catranis, co-founder and COO of Babylon Telecommunications. Leaders Press releases have landed on bookshelves together with Nobel Prize winners and World Economic Forum speakers. Her mission is to help 10,000 entrepreneurs share their wisdom with the world by 2030.
Alinka is an official member of the Forbes Business Council, and her cutting-edge book creation process has been featured in Entrepreneur magazine. Visit http://www.leaderspress.com
to learn more about Alinka, Leaders Press, and how this anthology and many of the solo books of the entrepreneurs featured within were created. Your Regular Morning?
As soon as you wake up you reach for your phone. You look at the number next to the envelope icon. Two hundred and fifty messages have arrived while you were sleeping. You click on the icon and start scrolling. A deal you were hoping to close just fell through. A client is demanding to meet ASAP. A team member working on that client’s project is requesting to extend their delivery deadline. Some good things have happened, too, but you obviously need to put out those fires first.
You start answering your emails on the way to the bathroom and continue while you’re there. You have breakfast, worried about everything you need to handle today. You scroll your email feed and multitask that with scrolling social media and the news.
By the time you get to your desk to start your workday, you’re already exhausted and in firefighting mode. You’ve been extinguishing fires all morning, and feel frustrated and overwhelmed during lunch (a takeaway sandwich) and all afternoon. You get to the evening and realize you never had time to think about that new lead-gen strategy you wanted to test.
Does this sound like a version of you?
It’s all habit.
And it can all be changed. You Create Everything Twice
Habits are things we repeatedly do and we’re all creatures of habit. What we do is a result of what we think, so everything is created twice. When you want coffee in the morning, you first think about its taste, smell, and effect (you create the coffee in your mind). You then go to the kitchen and actually make it (so that’s the second time you actually create it).
We are what we think, so what we put in our minds is what we then manifest in reality. In other words, our happiness, abundance, and health are a function of the quality of our thoughts. You don’t have to work more to become wealthier. You have to think higher quality thoughts.
I double my business every year (we’re at seven figures now) and I do not work more; if anything, I work less. But the quality of my thinking, as a result of my habits (and as a result, my reality), is constantly increasing.
Let me walk you through my day. It took me a while to create what works for me. See if there’s anything you could emulate to get an immediate boost in your results. Tiny Habits
Pick just one thing and start doing it after another habit you’ve already created. For example, if you want to do a mind movie, anchor it as a behavior you will do immediately after turning on your computer. Once you do that without thinking, add another habit in the sequence. Make it as easy as possible so that it sticks. I took BJ Fogg’s training on tiny habits and it’s a great methodology that works. Check out BJ’s book Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything for more information on this technique.
Let’s begin. My Morning Routine
The first forty minutes of my day are sacred. I wake up before anybody else at my home (at 6:30 a.m.). I start with a glass of water with lemon which I drink outside while admiring the scenery (ocean views definitely help with that). Then I head to the garden in any weather (unless it’s really pouring) and go for it.
- I do a seven minute qigong practice (based on the 30-Day Challenge with Lee Holden, whom I met at an event).
- I spend ten minutes meditating (based on The 6 Phase Meditation by Mindvalley founder and CEO Vishen Lakhiani).
- I practice eight minutes of Wim Hof breathing with breath hold (makes you live longer!) using the Wim Hof method app (wimhofmethod.com).
These activities don’t add up to forty minutes. As you can see, I put in a margin of time in case I want to spend longer than noted on any of these activities.
(Do any of these immediately resonate with you? If so, add it to your morning routine!)
Now that I’m grounded and awake, I’m ready to start my day! Mind Movie
When I actually sit down at my desk at around 8:00 a.m. I start with my mind movie. It’s a two-minute movie I put together myself with images, music, and affirmations that describes everything I want to be. The mind movie works; I’ve already had to change my financial goals twice… because I reached them!
Why a mind movie? People spend hours a day watching and reading news that gives them nothing but negativity. The news show a very narrow slice of life that probably has nothing to do with individual reality. Rather than allowing myself to be programmed, I create my own programming.
Your happiness is a direct result of your thoughts, and if you’re focused on the negative how can you be happy? Important vs. Urgent
After the two-minute mind movie (it’s short, but it required its own paragraph above!) I get to work. I turn on Brain.fm
, functional music which enhances my thinking, and I get started with the important (not the urgent). Everything that’s urgent can wait until after lunch. The important things are what grow my business.
I have one spreadsheet with just a few lines on it with weekly targets. The most important line is revenue. I have an annual goal which I divide by week. Every Monday (actually, even the week before) I look at my goal and how much recurring revenue will come in to meet it. I then determine how much new business I need to sell in order to meet my goal.
There are lag measures and lead measures. A lag measure is last week’s revenue. It already happened and I can’t change it. A lead measure is what predicts this week’s revenue: the number of cold messages scheduled, the number of initial calls on the calendar, the number of sales calls scheduled, the number of agreements that are out to be signed, the types of promotions I can run.
I spend my morning by looking at lead measures and making sure we hit our revenue goal by the end of the week. I do this every morning. Then I go on to other important things, such as testing a new lead generation strategy, making sure the team is doing their best, brainstorming potential new services, all things that will grow our business.
If I’m done with the important before my morning work segment is over, I’ll get to the urgent. If not, it will be time for my noon swim. Cold Water Swimming
I live by the sea and swim every day. Whether the water temperature is 26°C (80°F) or 13°C (55°F), I go for a swim. I even created a local “polar bear” group of amazing individuals who swim with me in the cold water. It’s a thrilling experience, which perfectly divides my day. When you get into cold water (no wetsuits!), all you think about is survival. Your blood stops flowing to your toes and fingers, supplying your heart and brain, and endorphins kick in and life is bliss. It’s always a challenge to get in and sometimes, while I’m knee deep, I think about turning around and getting dressed. I never do. I always jump in. It’s a win that I gift myself every day. It reminds me that our moments add up and become days, those days become weeks, months, years and that adds up to our lives.
If you want to enjoy your life, you need to enjoy your now.
Check out information on Wim Hof, also known as The Iceman, to learn about the phenomenal benefits of cold water swimming. One of the widely-studied benefits of cold water swimming is that it boosts your immune system. I haven’t had a cold since I started swimming in cold water. If you prefer not to take the plunge right away, you can start with cold showers (which I also take every day). Lunch Segment
Remember the quick sandwich in our introduction? That’s not going to happen. Lunch is to be celebrated (I live in Italy so that’s obvious here) and I take a full hour for lunch. Whether my husband is at home and we eat together, or I’m on my own and watch something funny on Netflix, I enjoy lunch.
I do take a quick nap (ten to fifteen minutes) and turn on a Mindvalley meditation after lunch before I get into my next work segment. Urgent
I get back to work (it feels more like play for me) and now I deal with the urgent. I allocate one to two hours. I do it knowing that all the important stuff has already been taken care of. It’s like that pebbles in the jar example: if you first put sand in your jar, there’s no space for the big stones (the things that move your business forward). You need to put the big stones in first (the important) and then allow the little pebbles and the sand to fill the space around them. Offline Segment
Once my urgent work has been completed, it’s my time with the kids. I call my family, I hang out with friends, and I DO NOT look at my email. Meetings Segment
Since I live in Europe and work mostly with the US, my calls are held in the evenings. I look forward to them and enjoy them (like I do my entire day). And I come to these meetings grounded. Ninety-nine percent of my interactions with clients, partners, suppliers, and team members are positive. I’d say that’s because ninety-nine percent of my thinking is positive.
But I do get the one percent.
I recently had a disagreement with an influencer someone connected me with. Our mutual connection wanted to understand what had happened. It’s not necessarily a pleasant call, but I came in happy and actually looking forward to the conversation. The mutual connection said that while the influencer screamed at him, I came in grounded, clear, and positive. The call ended with him referring two more people to me. He said he liked to work with people who keep their cool.
Now you know where my cool comes from! A New Day
So now imagine this. Before you go to sleep, you put your phone on flight mode. You do the six phase meditation (or any meditation) and you visualize a restful night and a great day. Once you wake up, you put your feet on the ground and say, “It’s going to be a great day.” (This is the Maui Habit from Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything.)
You do your morning routine (I suggest reading The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8AM by Hal Elrod).
You don’t turn on your phone until you’re done with your morning routine.
You look at your day and prioritize your tasks, doing the most important first. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, you do a quick meditation, or watch your mind movie, or simply take three deep breaths (I tell my five-year-old to take deep breaths whenever he throws a fit and it always calms him down).
You take the time to realize that your life is a sum of now moments, so you look for things to delight you in every moment (at least when you remember to look for them…).
You’ve created new habits.
Habits of success.