Morning Glory

Last week, I celebrated a milestone birthday… I turned the big “Four O.” Some friends told me life starts at 40, while others, jokingly I hope, commented that the years move quicker after 40. Either way, I don’t feel any different today than I did when I was in my 30s.

I believe it was Joe Karbo who once said, “Use each minute before it disappears forever.” I live by this… and I embrace and enjoy every day that passes.

The question I’m asked most often is, “Michael, what would you credit as your most successful life and business building tool?” For me, my most successful tool has been the morning glory. Let me explain.

Since I was in my 20s, I have been an early riser. In fact, each year I put the alarm clock back a bit more. Right now I wake up each morning at 4:30AM… and I’m ready to work by 5:30AM. Our staff doesn’t get in until 8:30AM-and by then I have a full three hours on them. It’s three peaceful, reflective, and productive hours.

In a recent survey, when men over 65 were asked what they might do differently if they could relive their 40s, they said they would have: Taken more time to reflect (to see the big picture); taken more risks (by being bolder in their careers and investments); and defined their purpose (finding out what dent they were they making on the world).

Reflection is important. We all need uninterrupted time to think about work and family. In fact, it was Rockefeller who once said, “Do many of us who fail to achieve things… fail because we lack concentration-the art of concentrating the mind on the thing to be done at the proper time and to the exclusion of everything else?”

To my thinking, the mind is the powerful force in the universe… all we need to do is put it work. Imagine if you had an extra two hours a day… 10 hours a week to really think about where your business, career, and family are going or where they should go… how valuable would this be to you? Priceless would be my guess.

Now, it would be silly for me to assume we need 10 hours a week just to think about “where we are going.” But with my extra morning hours, I read and research things of interest to me to help me get where I want to go… such as learning about growing my investments and business, being healthy, and raising my kids properly. You may face similar challenges or completely different ones at your current life juncture.

Changing one’s sleep habits is not as difficult as it may seem.

“Early to bed, early to rise” has been a good foundation for many successful business leaders. And it only takes four to five early mornings to adjust your body to a new “wake-up” time. You can start by putting your alarm clock back one-half hour every week until you get to your desired “wake-up” goal. I hope you’ll find these early morning hours as valuable as I do.