The greatest thinkers and leaders of our time have one thing in common: they rise with the sun and capitalize on the quiet hours of the morning to energize and prioritize for a day of creative productivity.
According to ancient eastern cultures like China and India, the early hours of the morning are considered the spring season of the day — a precious time for planting seeds and harnessing the energy of the rising sun to energize and invigorate us. This season spans the hours of 4am to 10am and is considered precious because of the expansive, creative, upward-moving energy it represents. If harnessed correctly, this energy fortifies and strengthens our inner resources so we can show up more fully in the world and share our gifts without exhaustion or burn out.
So what’s the best routine to make the most of this precious time? I love applying this old Indian saying for a wholesome and nourishing morning routine:
“Each one of us is like a house with four rooms: a physical, an emotional, a mental and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room at a time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”
The first step in this process is to make sure this is your time with you and/or your loved ones. No phone, no news and no other distractions.
Let’s air each room, shall we?
Most successful leaders schedule a workout in the morning to get energized. A healthy breakfast is a close second. Research tells us a regular healthy breakfast ensures a higher intake of several vitamins and minerals, sets one up with enough fuel to tackle the day’s most challenging tasks.
Barack Obama enjoys non-negotiable breakfast time with his family before he gets to work (currently that involved kite-surfing but you get the picture :))
An often overlooked aspect of preparing for the day is to connect with the powerful energy of the heart. I invite my clients to connect with their true north in the morning so they know why they’re doing what they’re doing. Another easy practice to connect with the heart is to start with an act of generosity: retweet someone’s blog post, connect a friend to a prospective employer or business partner, write and send that thank you card. Another powerful way to keep the emotional room aired is to write a gratitude list to stay grounded and aware of life’s many gifts.
Arianna Huffington has a daily habit of making connections and giving generously before beginning her day.
Nothing starts a day right than mindful planning and intention setting. Some great options are morning pages (stream of consciousness writing), setting a one-word or phrase as an intention for the day (gratitude, expansion, joy etc.) and reviewing the day’s tasks and prioritizing the three most importance tasks. It also helps tremendously to review these tasks the evening before.
Tony Robbins consistently schedules time for motivational sayings and visualizations as he prepares for the day.
Meditation is the secret to many inspiring leaders and entrepreneurs. It’s a powerful way to reduce stress, improve concentration, expand our capacity to feel calm and centered, and connect with the bigger vision of why we’re doing what we’re doing. A simple meditation routine can work wonders for small business owners in handling day to day unpredictabilities and external stressors. Meditation techniques can range from active meditations, guided meditations, breath work, or stream of consciousness journaling. Pick a technique and try it for 21 days.
Oprah has a daily meditation practice and cites it as a major contributor to her success and happiness.
Which of these are you regularly nourishing? Which needs more time and attention?
Originally published at medium.com