Checking your emails before the sun rises? Grabbing an "energy" bar as you’re running out the door? These habits may be impacting your ability to lead your team. The articles and podcasts below outline successful leaders’ rituals. Here are my takeaways. Choose one or two of these morning activities to adjust your routine until you are feeling your best to lead:
1. Meditate. Ugh...I personally have struggled with this for my morning routine, but when I do it for just 5 minutes, I have less anxiety over all the things I have to accomplish in a day. Use an app to help you out like Simple Habit or Headspace.
2. Move, stretch, walk, lift, run. Do something! Even if it’s for 15 minutes. Just about every study out there says that some form of activity in the morning gets your brain moving. You don’t have to be at the gym at 5:00am, unless that works for you.
3. Write it down. Identify what you need to accomplish and write these things down. This only takes 5 to 10 minutes. List just one thing or five things, but write them down or log them on your calendar. Don’t list so many that you won’t accomplish them, and try to tie them to your overall personal and business goals.
4. Fuel your body. That’s different for everyone. I choose protein and vegetables with healthy fat so I’m not looking for a sugary "energy" bar at 10:00am. Try some new things like leftovers, write down your breakfasts for two weeks, and figure out when you aren’t getting “hangry.”
5. Look yourself in the mirror. Say “I’m going to make a positive difference today” or some other affirmation. As a leader, you influence everyone around you as soon as you walk in the door. If you’re in a bad mood, you will demotivate your team members. By affirming your role as a positive influence, you and your team will accomplish great things.
The common theme among all great leaders is that they have a morning ritual. Build yours one habit and one week at a time so you can handle the ups and downs of your busy day. And by the way, many effective leaders don’t check their emails first thing in the morning...
Here are the articles and podcasts worth scanning or listening to.
Inc Magazine's 6 Celebrity Morning Rituals to Help You Kick Ass
Awesome at Your Job's Podcast - Supercharging Your Mental Brilliance Energy and Health with Megan Lyons
Fortune's Why You Should Start Your Morning the Night Before
Tim Ferriss' YouTube Talk on Morning Rituals
Happiness Matters' Why You Shouldn't Check Your Email First Thing in the Morning