Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a "sports fan." Though for me, it goes beyond watching the game on television or in the stands (hopefully again one day soon)...
I grew up playing sports and have always been fascinated by top athletes in each and every sport. I grew up a fan of all of the greats. MJ, Kobe, Gretzky, Lemieux, Tiger, Ali, Jeter, Emmitt, Brady, Manning, and so on. Watching ESPN's The Last Dance gave me absolute chills. Seeing clips of MJ soaring through the air, brought memories back to my childhood. It made me truly appreciate his greatness all over again, just like when I was a kid.
I've read the book Relentless, by Tim Grover, who was Michael Jordan's trainer, so I was aware of the work-ethic that MJ had throughout his career, but it was made even more clear during The Last Dance. The extent of his work ethic was fascinating. In one episode, they show clips of MJ in the summer when he was filming Space Jam. They built him 'The Jordan Dome', as they called it, which was a 'one-size-fits-all facility where he could film, work out, and play pickup games with other NBA stars who happened to be in Los Angeles for the summer' Decider. MJ would film for 8 to 10 hours a day, train with Tim Grover, and then play 3 hours of pickup games with other NBA players every day. He'd even somehow mix in the odd golf game too.
His work ethic was beyond comprehension at times. Even with some of the best NBA stars, like Reggie Miller, who stated "I don’t know how he did it,” recalls Miller. “I don’t know how he filmed all day and still had the energy to play for three hours. We would play until like 9 or 10 at night, and he still had to get weightlifting in. And then his call time was at like 6 or 7 in the morning. This dude was like a vampire, for real."
MJ's determination and work ethic were a result of good habits that he instilled throughout his career. This led him and his Chicago Bull's teams to achieve 6 NBA championships, and he himself won 6 NBA Finals MVPs. He went 6-for-6 in the NBA Finals. When it comes to sports, MJ is the ultimate champion. His habits were made clear throughout the show. In his rookie season, while his teammates were out partying, MJ would either be training in the gym, hanging out at his apartment with close friends and family, or he was even seen handing out business cards at networking events. They even showed a clip of him making his bed and cleaning up the rest of his apartment, which he did daily. This made me think of the speech from US Navy Admiral, William McRaven, 'If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.' McRaven's commencement speech at the University of Texas was on May 17, 2014. This is long after the clip of MJ making his bed during his rookie season in 1984. MJ did exactly what McRaven talks about in his speech. Do the little things (like making your bed), it will allow you to change the world for generations to come.
Sports played a big part in my life. It gave me the opportunity to build incredible relationships with my teammates and coaches. It also taught me to work with others towards a common goal. It instilled a good work ethic, which I feel confident that I have been able to carry on into my professional career. Most importantly, maybe not to MJ's level, is that it has given me good habits. I remember a lot of late nights of shooting the basketball out on the driveway or firing hockey pucks in the garage (Canadians know what I'm talking about). This only came after I finished my homework, of course...Thanks, MOM!
Where I struggled was how to transfer some of those good habits into my professional career. Like most athletes growing up, I had a dream of being a professional athlete. After sports, I did not know what my true purpose was in life. I thought I wanted to be a sports agent because I watched Jerry Maguire a few too many times...SHOW ME THE MONEY!!! I felt lost at times. Over the last couple of years, I have committed myself to figure out what makes the highest performers do just that. Perform at the highest level.
Over the last 18 months, I have read several books to understand the habits of high performers so that I could learn how to improve my daily habits. Here are some of the books I have read to learn from the best:
- High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. He is one of the best leadership development coaches in the world. He has worked closely with leaders, including Oprah, who personally regards him as 'the world's leading high-performance coach.' I have read this book over the past two months, where I have already implemented habits and have experienced a positive impact on my daily life. Brendon breaks down 6 main habits that attribute to high performance. He boiled it down to these 6 habits through extensive research and testing with thousands of high performers and underperformers. What I like best about this book is that he provides exercises throughout the book that he refers to as 'Performance Prompts.' I took the time to read this book and went through each of the exercises. This had me practicing the habits by the time I got to the end of the book. A couple of highlighters later and a ton of notes, I can say that this book has had a major impact on me already since I have gone back to it countless times over the past few weeks. I'm planning to track my progress over the next 12 months then I'm going to write and share my progress, specifically to the 6 habits he covers. If you aren't much of a reader then check out Brendon's podcast, The Brendon Show. Most of the episodes are him talking about these High-Performance Habits.
- Own The Day, Own Your Life by Aubrey Marcus, Founder & CEO of OnnIt, one of the fastest-growing companies in the US. Aubrey's whole philosophy is Total Human Optimization. This book provides habits and tips to implement in your daily life from how to best wake up, work, learn, eat, train, play, sleep, and even have sex. If you are looking for tips on how to make improvements in any of these areas of your life, then I highly suggest reading this book. This book is not for the faint of heart though. Aubrey is a unique human being, who has an unconventional perspective on most things. He's an advocate of Ayahuasca and often tells a story about transforming into a triceratops. Not everything might stick, but I can say that I read this book over a year ago and a couple of the habits I still have in my daily routine. I will talk more about my daily routine further down, but the first thing I do after brushing my teeth is to have the Morning Mineral Cocktail (water, lemon, and sea salt) that Aubrey suggests in his book. I have shared this with a few people that have said they have felt less groggy and feel more hydrated throughout the day.
- Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. If you a frequent podcast listener then I'm sure you have come across The Tim Ferriss Show. His podcast is one of the most popular out there with a long list of interviews with billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. Through all those interviews and the relationships he created with these people, he was able to construct this book, based on the tactics, routines, and habits of all of these people. When you first pick up the book it is quite overwhelming. The good thing is you do not have to read anything in order, and you can skip ahead to the people that you are most interested in (Tim actually suggests that in the beginning). This book is full of great information. As you can see in the picture below I have marked off a few pages with sticky notes, or else it would have been information overload.
4. Game Changers by Dave Asprey, who is the Founder & CEO of BulletProof. He wrote this book to answer the question 'How can you perform better at everything you do as a human being?' This book is similar to Aubrey Marcus's book, in the sense that Dave gives some unconventional, but science-backed suggestions on how to perform better by instilling better habits in your daily life. One of Dave's goals is to live until 180 years old. That being said, some of the stuff he talks about in this book is literally Game-Changing. I don't know about you, but I was definitely intrigued to read up on habits from someone that thinks they can live until 180 years old.
5. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This is the oldest book that I have listed here. It was written in 1937 and is one of the top 10 highest selling self-help books of all-time. This was a book given to me by my father years ago, who suggested I read this. He said I will only get through it when the time is right. He sure was right about that one. I attempted it a few times over the years, but just could not connect with what Hill had to say. Even though the book was written in 1937, the 13 Steps to Riches that Napoleon Hill covers, are still applicable today. He refers to leaders like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Abraham Lincoln and how they built success in their lives. The book has even been updated since it was first written to provide more modern-day examples of where these steps have been applied.
Next Books I am Going to Read on Habits:
- Atomic Habits by James Clear. This was recommended to me by brother-in-law, Brett Cameron, who is a professional hockey player in Europe. I'll take his word for it because he is absolutely dialed into his craft.
- Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. It's his follow up book to Tools of Titans, which I really enjoyed and got major value out of so I'm excited to pick this one up.
I found a lot of similarities between these books. Some of the authors had certain tips on improving different areas of your life. This can be from things to purchase, like sleep devices or certain vitamins. Then there were things like breathing techniques, or how to approach certain tasks or situations. A lot of that stuff will make your life much better for sure, and they will help you find what's most important. There were a few similarities that each author speaks to that will have the most positive impact on your life.
First...you have to do something that you are passionate about and gives you purpose. It must be something that you are going to get up every morning and be excited about. Now I am not saying go out and quit your job tomorrow, but if you don't know what your true purpose is then take the time to figure it out. The tips and habits in these books will help you to get there. One thing I can tell you from experience is that when I started to sit down to really think about what I wanted to do and actually wrote down my goals then things started to become a lot more clear. I didn't know exactly how I was going to get there, and still don't all the time, but now I have direction and take the time to reflect on where I have gone. It is truly incredible when you start creating a path for yourself and reflecting on where you have gone because you start to realize how much you can accomplish. It makes the journey much more enjoyable.
Secondly...have someone or something you live for. Mine personally is my beautiful wife Shay. She has been incredibly supportive and has always been my rock. She has helped instill some of my daily habits (daily gratitude, healthy diet, and exercise), and she is even there to edit my writing to make sure it makes sense. I'm going to build a family with her, which makes me work hard so that we can live a life of comfort and abundance together. To her credit, she is an absolutely brilliant and creative marketing professional. She has taught herself how to use WordPress, Illustrator, and InDesign. I'm so proud of the woman she has become. That's whom I live for every day. 'Thanks for the shout out babe.' – Shay, your editor
Thirdly...is the people you surround yourself with. Who is on your team? Who is in your pack? Who are your mentors? Who are your friends? Who in your family supports you and provides a positive influence in your life? Napoleon Hill talks about if you are the leader and the smartest person in the room then you are not surrounding yourself with the right people. He explains how Henry Ford built his entire company by surrounding himself with the best people. Ford didn't know cars. He called his lead engineer when someone wanted to know something about the car. What he did have was a dream, a desire to fulfill that dream, and then a positive influence on the people around him. Something I have done is sought out mentorship. A dear friend of mine, and now mentor, Cam Speck, Co-Founder & President of FitPlan, has successfully built a fitness plan app that brings world-class trainers and athletes right to your cellphone or fitness watch. I can honestly say that I learned more in one hour sitting down with Cam, talking about lead generation and marketing in the e-commerce space then I could after reading an entire book on it. Seek out mentors that are willing to help and that you connect with. Someone that has been there and done what you are trying to do. It is invaluable.
Lastly...is a positive mindset. You must believe in yourself. I still battle with this every day. I am okay with that because everyone can have those days when they are just not feeling it. What is important is instilling good habits into your daily routine. This is to limit and change that little voice in your head that discourages you or questions what you are doing. I found a real positive effect on my mind when I started to create good habits in my daily routine. My purpose and passion then became much clearer.
A big part of creating good daily habits has been the morning routine that I've followed over the past few months. I must give a thank you to quarantine for this one. Quarantine allowed me to slow down in the morning and not feel like I had to rush off to the office (my office was in my living room throughout quarantine). I have so much respect for my morning routine now that it will never change.
6:00am: Wake-Up. Set an alarm that is nice to wake up to. I have birds chirping, which is a nice soothing noise to wake up to. By changing to this sound rather than the standard alarm I use to have, I now get up on a consistent basis at 6am instead of going back to bed. Something else that helps is putting my phone next to the sink in the bathroom, so I have to physically get out of bed. I then turn on the tap to cold water, brush my teeth right away, and throw cold water in my face.
6:05am: Go downstairs and make The Morning Cocktail, suggested by Aubrey Marcus in his book, Own the Day, Own Your Life. 12 ounces of filtered water, lemon, and sea salt. It provides a nice little hydration first thing in the morning.
6:10am: Meditation. My friend and mentor, Cam Speck, invited me to take part in Deepak Chopra's Manifesting Abundance 21-day challenge at the start of this year. Ever since then, I have found time to meditate every day. Over the past 3 months I have made it part of my morning routine, where I use Insight Timer. They have thousands of free individual mediation practices, as well as a paid version that provides full access to all of the teachers' courses. Meditation was recommended in every one of the books I listed above. Tools of Titans had hundreds of top performers providing tips, with meditation being one of the most consistent recommendations to make part of your daily routine. If you struggle with stress, anxiety, depression, mental health, I highly recommend making meditation part of your daily routine. Every system in your body relies on oxygen. Proper breathing provides proper oxygen to your entire body, which helps with mental clarity, stress levels, proper digestion, and sleep. I have experienced a significant increase in my mental clarity. The key is to be patient. I found it hard to concentrate at first because your mind needs to adjust to sitting in one place. Find a quiet and comfortable place. Start off with 5 minutes of guided meditation.
6:30-6:45 am: Yoga/Stretch. After I finish up my meditation, I just move right into 15 to 20 minutes of yoga and stretch. I used to struggle with sore knees, sore lower back, and tight hips. By doing this every morning I am experiencing far fewer aches & pains throughout the day.
6:45-7:00 am: Movement Exercise. I then get some sort of quick exercise to get the blood flowing. Burpees are the best because they are a good full-body workout that gets your heart rate up and blood flowing through my body to get some energy going.
7:00-7:15 am: Walk the dog. Shay and I have a non-negotiable of walking the dog together every morning. We get to enjoy 15 minutes of each other's time before we both start our days. Fresh air and sunshine are a key ingredient in the morning. Plants grow from the sun. It has the same effect on us. This is a no questions
7:15-7:25 am: Gratitude. I use The 5 Minute Journal. This is something that I have been using for the past couple of years. It provides a good positive quote every day. Then you write down 3 things you are grateful for in your life, 3 things that would make today great, and a daily affirmation. Practicing daily gratitude has provided me with greater happiness and positive emotions. Taking those 5 to 10 minutes every day to reflect on my life has led me to have more positive relationships with my loved ones and given me a greater appreciation for life's journey.
7:30-8:00 am: Shower. Something I learned from a couple of these books is to end a warm shower with a 1 to 2-minute cold blast in the shower. The key is to take a few deep breaths beforehand then let it rip. It will not be enjoyable, especially the first few times, but (1) it will wake you up completely then (2) the idea behind it is that everything else you encounter for the rest of the day will be that much easier.
8:00-8:10 am: Green Smoothie. Shay usually makes this for me so I can only guess what is in it! A lot of greens, some hemp seeds, and a little banana to sweeten it up a bit. I also take Omega 3 Liquids, B Complex Vitamin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D (I take it in the winter because of the shorter days of sun), and Magnesium.
8:10-8:30 am: Coffee!! This has turned into a treat for me rather than an essential at the start of the day. While I am sitting down to enjoy my coffee, I go over my schedule for the day, which I have got in the habit of scheduling the night before. This has just turned into a review so that I can just set positive intentions for the day.
Other Key Daily Habits:
- Plan the day the night before, or at the end of the workday. This allows you to reflect on the day then gives you a better ability to know exactly what you should be working on the following day. Experts say that you should limit the number of big decisions you make in one day to 3 to ensure mental clarity when making decisions. By not preparing your schedule the night before and leaving it until the following morning, you are running the risk of making 3 decisions before you even get into your work.
- Schedule in 5-minute breaks every hour. This is a new one for me. I read about it in High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. He goes to the extent of stopping meetings for a 5-minute break then gets everyone up to have a stretch and walk around for a few minutes. I was hesitant to do it when I was in the middle of something, but over the last couple of weeks I have set a 55-minute timer on my phone. As soon as the alarm goes off, I get up and walk away from my desk, have a quick stretch, and refill my water glass. I have been blown away at how much that has increased my productivity throughout the day.
- Eat my lunch away from my desk. I used to always eat my lunch at my desk to try and catch up on a few emails. Doing it this way keeps my keyboard a lot cleaner, and I now actually enjoy my food a lot more. During quarantine, Shay and I were both working from home, so we used this as a little date every day. It was a great way to enjoy our time together during the quarantine.
- Check Emails once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I have read countless times that emails are productivity killers. Over the past few months, I have scheduled 30 to 45 minutes in the morning and then another 30 minutes towards the end of the day to check my emails. I noticed when I was checking my email throughout the day that I was constantly getting distracted from the things that mattered the most to my success. According to Inc., experts from a UC Irvine study proved that it takes nearly 25 minutes (23 minutes and 18 seconds to be exact) following a distraction to get back engaged into what you were working on before. They also proved that the average worker switches tasks every 3 minutes. There are not many important tasks that anyone can get done in 3 minutes. When I am working on important tasks I shut off notifications and put my phone on silent. 99.9% of the time, calls and emails are something that can wait.
- Figured out my PQO's (Prolific Quality Outputs)...You should be working on these at a minimum of 60% of your workweek. Then the other 40% is working on strategy, team management, and the everyday tasks of work or running a business. This was another lesson from Brendon Burchard's book that really hit home for me. These are the most important outputs that will make the most significant impact on achieving your goals. Through his exercises, I figured out what my PQO's are. I first had to figure out my Primary Field of Interest (PFI), which is Building an E-Commerce Brand To Sell a Product. This is for another day/blog post.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes. Thanks to Shay for always holding me accountable, I was able to keep off the quarantine LBs. We had some weights, bands, and various other things around the house, so we made the living room into our own little home gym. FitPlan App, which is something we have been using for a couple of years, has individual workouts and plans right at your fingertips. This made it easy to follow some home workout plans through quarantine, to stay in shape, wherever you are. FitPlan makes it so easy. Fitness is a big part of our lives to stay in shape physically, but more importantly, our mental health. It's proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and improve sleep.
- Write down 3 things that I am proud of from today & 1 thing that could have gone better. In The 5 Minute Journal, there is an evening exercise. This is an important part of reflection and gratitude as well. It makes you relish good experiences and celebrate the small wins along the way.
- Wind down for at least 1 hour before bed. The key here is to put all electronics away. Pick up a book and read until your eyes start feeling heavy. I have never had issues sleeping, but I do find that I have better chances of sleeping through the entire night doing this. Some experts say not to read in bed because it should only be used for sleeping and sex. I do read in bed usually. If you aren't a great sleeper already, I would suggest finding somewhere comfortable outside of your bedroom to sit and read. I also suggest staying away from self-help books right before bed. They tend to get you thinking too much and lessen your chances of falling asleep.
- Lights out by 10:30 pm. This way I am getting a solid 7 hours of sleep. Everyone is different in how many hours of sleep you need to feel energized then also when you are most productive during the day. This is known as your chronotype. If you are interested in improving your sleep and productivity through the day, I suggest taking this test to learn which one you are. I learned about this reading Game Changers. I thought I was going to be a lion, maybe because I'm a Leo, but it turns out my chronotype is a bear. This has helped me adjust how I should schedule my day. It works.
Other Important Habits for me:
Get mentorship. Find someone that has successfully done what you are working towards. Learn from someone that has done it before is the best education tool. Make sure that it is someone that you can relate to and you see eye-to-eye with their beliefs and values. Test a few people out. Do not just go with the first person that says 'Yes' to mentoring you. Have a plan on what you want to get out of it because you also want to respect their time, so they feel it is worthwhile. Treat it has a sales pitch to a big client. The other thing I have done is found 3 experts in different areas that I want to get better in then I find as much information and content on them that I can; Youtube videos, interviews, books they have written, and follow their Instagram page. I want to get better at branding, so I sought out Shaun Neff, who is known as the Brand Whisperer. He is a branding genius. There is so much information that we have access to at our fingertips so this is a great way of taking advantage, by getting mentorship through the Internet!
Surround myself with good people. You want people around you that are going to be positive, supportive, and will provide good influence in your life. We all hang on to childhood friends, which some of them might be incredible, but others might be quite negative. If you feel obligated to hang out with them, Limit it as much as possible. The people around you should push you to be the best version of yourself.
Listed 3 to 5 skills I want to develop. You should always be trying to develop skills that are going to improve you professionally and personally. For me, I have decided to pick piano back up. I've been scheduling time in a few evenings a week to sit down for at least 30 minutes to learn piano again. Learning something new again has been quite fulfilling and enjoyable, rather than just going and sitting down in front of the TV (Nothing wrong with a show here and there, don't get me wrong!). Professionally I am working on 4 skills: SEO, lead generation specifically through LinkedIn and Email Marketing, branding, and writing.
Review my Week on Sundays. On Sunday I take 1 hour out of my day to review the week. I use Brendon Burchard's High Performance Planner because it has a daily planner, a quick daily review section, a weekly review page, and then a monthly review & planner. I found it a bit overwhelming at first, but I realized that it was just the challenge that comes along with instilling good habits. Good habits will always test your will to see if you will stick with it. I did, and I feel much more organized and productive throughout the week. A big part of this is the weekly review, where you evaluate the different areas of your life that are most important to you. You literally rank yourself from 1-10. By doing this it holds yourself accountable to the goals that you have set out to achieve. I feel like I have made some significant progress towards those over the past few months. A big part of that is taking some time out of my Sundays to reflect on the week then plan for next week.
I'm not saying that all of these habits are for everyone because everyone's goals and lifestyles are different. For example, currently, I don't have any kids. If you do have kids, your habits would most likely be different from mine. My objective for this is to share what is working for me so that you evaluate your daily habits. Treat time as the ultimate resource because it is. "The trouble is you think you have time." Buddha.
Seek clarity on what your purpose is, what's important to you, and who you live for. "There's only one thing more precious than our time and that's who we spend it on." Leo Christopher. This will help you find the habits that work for your day-to-day.
"Own The Day, Own Your Life." Aubrey Marcus.