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Personal Development

Daily Routines of Successful Entrepreneurs

By Life Lessons, Motivational, Personal Development No Comments

I just finished reading a couple articles on habits and routines of successful entrepreneurs. You can find a couple good articles from Fast Company and Inc.

As Brian Tracy says, successful people learn how to set up routines that empower them.

Brian Tracy Successful Routine

I thought I’d share with you my own routine that helps me hit the ground running and stay pumped throughout the day.

  • I get up between 5:30 and 5:45am.
  • Fix a cappuccino (as a side note: I highly suggest you buy a fully automated espresso machine instead of going to Starbucks each day. You save time and money.)
  • Spend 15-20 minutes in meditation. It has been an incredible force for good in my life. Meditation helps me stay focused, humble, and be grateful for my blessings. With all the pressure of trying to become better each day, meditation helps me live in the present while still chasing the bigger dream of tomorrow.

Learn how to meditate

  • Exercise by either running, working out, or swimming. I work to get 4-5 days in a week. Most of the time, I take my dog (a German Shepherd) running with me in San Diego’s famous Balboa Park.
  • I then come home, check the stock market (I am a stock investor), and check to see if there are any critical emails that need answered.
  • All this is done by 7:15am
  • By 7:45 I’m ready for breakfast, which consists of egg white omelet with vegetables and avocado. I normally put hummus on top and drink orange juice. This good balance of healthy food, body exercise, and mind exercise gets me ready for the work day between 8:15 and 8:30.
  • At work, I have a couple key concepts:

(1) I plan my day the night before. As I wrap up the prior day, I move all my unfinished tasks to another day (or get rid of them if they turn out not to be important). I also find the 2-3 most important things I need to do tomorrow, and block out time to do them.

(2) Prioritize Tasks. All my tasks are marked with either an A, B, or C priority. My simple rule is that I never work on a B if there are A’s, and I never look at the C priorities if there are A’s or B’s to do.

This routine helps me plan for success and focus on the most critical things needed to keep growing.

What morning routine helps you?

Steven Cox Featured on Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast

By Business Philosophy, Entrepreneur Insights, Leadership, Motivational, Speaking, Start-Ups, TakeLessons.com, Uncategorized No Comments
If you can dream it, you can do it!

If you can dream it, you can do it!

I had a great time being interviewed by John Lee Dumas of Entrpreneur on Fire.

Listen in and hear about my worst entrepreneurial moment, my big ah-ha, and a few awesome resources for entrepreneurs.

To subscribe to Entrepreneur on Fire through iTunes, go here.

Happy in Paris

Try This Instead: Learn to Set the Bar LOW

By Life Lessons, Motivational One Comment
Set the bar high

We’re all taught to set the bar high. Does that always work?

We’ve all heard these pep talks before…

“Expect more out of yourself!”

“Be all you can be!”

“Good enough is never good enough!”

“Set the bar HIGH!”

Your parents, your boss, your childhood soccer coach, and of course every self help book you’ve ever attempted to read has made these statements at one time or another.

These mantras are the melody of success for high achievers. We spend most of our days in a constant state of movement attempting to make ourselves better, richer, and smarter.

High achievers often beat themselves up about past mistakes and fret over the possibility of making new ones in the future. We’re so caught up in engaging in personal and professional growth that we miss the moment here and now. We read The Power of Now. We think we are enlightened. And, then we forget how it works by the very next day.

These mantras aim to push us to do more, be more, and learn more. They are ultimately what drives us to try what’s not been tried and do what’s not been done.

And, when we engage in these high-achiever tendencies, we do in fact get better. We lose the extra 5 pounds. We connect with our kids more. We make our spouses feel more satisfied.

Life is good. We’re happy.

But sometimes, despite our best efforts, life throws us a curve.

Our company downsizes. Our kids fail a class. We gain the 5 pounds back.

And, that happy, enlightened feeling you had just a day ago? Well, that has disappeared in just a matter of seconds.

And, all of a sudden, we’re not so pleasant to be around. We snap at the Starbucks barista who uses whole milk instead of non-fat. Our head feels cloudy. Our chest tightens up. The little things become harder to deal with.

We tell ourselves that when we get life back on track, we will definitely feel better.

But, in that moment, we are not happy. Things are not going our way.

For the most part, setting the bar high is an admirable and worthwhile way of thinking.

Except when it relates to our happiness.

When it comes to being happy. We need to change our way of thinking. Instead of requiring perfection before allowing ourselves to feel joy, we need to make it easier for us to actually experience happiness.

We need to set the bar LOW.

That’s right. I know. I know. It goes against everything we high achievers tell ourselves on a daily basis.

But, it’s true. We need to set the bar LOW. Hear me out and imagine this scene.

Let’s imagine Mike (name made up). Mike is on track for success. He has a beautiful wife and family. He is well educated, and he maintains a good job and a good living. Mike is moving in the right direction!

Mike should be happy, but he is not satisfied.

He thinks he needs to make more money. He wants his kids to do better in school. He knows he needs to drop some pounds. According to Mike, if all of this happens, then he will really be able to feel good about life.

So, Mike keeps on pushing the boulder up the hill, and most days, he feels pretty mediocre at best.

Mike plays a continuous record in his head that says, “When I just get to the next level, I’ll be much happier”

Does that sound familiar?

Why isn’t Mike happy now? It’s not because his life sucks. It’s because he hasn’t given himself permission to be happy, to be joyful for the moment he is in right now.

Happy in Paris

Set the Happiness Bar low. Give yourself every chance to be happy.

His Happiness Bar is too high.

It’s a delusion for Mike to think that the ‘next level’ will be the answer to his happiness. It never is, because as soon as we climb the mountain, there’s another one right over the horizon. We never get there.

Fancy what would happen if Mike lowered the bar? What if he made it drop-dead easy to feel joy? What if he changed his perception about what needs to happen before he can feel happy?

Today, what if Mike just decided he needed to accomplish these two things in order to feel joy in his life:

1. He has to wake up

2. His wife and kids need to wake up, too.

That’s it. If those two things happen, Mike is allowed to feel happy.

What do you think Mike’s chance of success would be? It’s certainly not foolproof, but at least for this one day, his mindset would change, his attitude would change, and his level of happiness would change.

If Mike decides to make a more consistent effort to think differently, 99.9% of the time, he could choose to be happy. He could realize that happiness is a state of mind that can be altered.

Because he set the Happiness Bar LOW.

A couple tools to helping us set the Happiness Bar low is practicing positivity and prioritizing people. In a recent article on happiness on the FirstRound blog, Scott Crabtree, CEO of Happy Brain Science, says that these two factors are key to helping us build the necessary muscle to rewire our brain.

Practicing positivity helps because the brain only holds one thought at a time. The more positive thoughts we have, the less time and energy we spend on negative thoughts and emotion. When you focus on negative though, you’re phasing out your ability at that time to focus on what’s not going right.

The number one factor in happiness is the quality of our relationships, according to Crabtree:

“When you focus time and attention on your relationships, they improve, and that improves your happiness. You also improve your coping ability because you have more support. Bottom line: Warm relationships can fuel happiness more than any other single factor we have found.”

So, there’s more than just cliche behind practicing positivity, and the key to jumpstart your happiness is to make sure you’re sepending time building high-quality relationships.

Summary

How high is your Happiness Bar? Would you consider trying to lower it for couple weeks? You just might like all the joy and bliss that comes along with setting that bar closer to the floor instead of the ceiling.

 (Thanks to Natalie Susi for helping me edit)