Episode 114: Morning habits of today’s top business owners, with Stephen Woessner.
Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.
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Good Morning Onward Nation…I’m Stephen Woessner.
Thank you for taking the time to be here with me for today’s solocast. It is an honor to have you here — thank you for tuning in — your time is sacred and I am delighted you have chosen Onward Nation and this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine. However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine — I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.
During today’s solocast, you and I are going to dive into a topic area that I just mentioned…and that’s morning routines — sometimes we call these habits, maybe even rituals. But whatever name, title, acronym, or description we put on them…they represent the things we do every morning consciously or sometimes unconsciously that guide our success for the day.
What I have discovered after interviewing over 100 of today’s top business owners is that they do not leave their mornings to chance. In fact, if you were to ask them, most would say that their mornings — or the night prior — are the most important parts of their day for a couple of key reasons.
The night before is when they take time to reflect on the day that just was…perhaps add to their gratitude journal…and prepare their list of priorities for the next day. And by doing this, they consciously take the time to acknowledge all the good that happened that day and to get their mind into a peak state before bed, so that while they are sleeping, their brains are processing, thinking, solving, and getting ready to be at their best when they wake up.
I first learned this principle way back in my senior year of high school. My Senior Math teacher said to us one day in class…if you’re struggling with a problem and you cannot find a solution…then do your absolute best to solve it right before bed. Thinks of all the possibilities, think of all the solutions, give it your very best effort. And if you solve it before bed…great. But if you don’t, you will have loaded your brain with all it needs to be able to solve it while you are sleeping.
I thought to myself — “Okay, this could be awesome because this class is really kicking my butt and I need all the help I can get.” So I tried it that night. I saved my math homework for last…I followed the specific recipe he had outlined in class earlier that day when I got stuck on one particular problem. I did exactly as he had taught us to do. And then I went to bed while hoping the recipe would work.
The next morning…I got up…went over to my desk where I had kept all of my work, my notes, my scratch sheets…all of my frustration from the night before. And no joke, Onward Nation…honest…I reviewed the problem again and the correct solution was as clear as day. I was stunned.
Here’s what I learned. Your brain is a very powerful tool — a supercomputer — the best ever invented. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with an owner’s manual so we need to learn along the way from others who have faced similar struggles or who are knocking it out of the park. People who are operating or living life at a completely different level than we are…but where we know we can be if we apply the right recipe.
So here we go…let’s go deep into dissecting the morning routines, the morning rituals, the morning habits of today’s top business owners so you can apply a similar recipe to your morning.
The owners I have interviewed are strategic about what they do each morning, about how they prepare for each morning, and how they understand that what they do each morning sets them up for success the rest of the day.
I am going to share five morning habits shared by some of our most recent guests. But what has been fascinating to listen to — and to discover along this journey of learning — is the commonality shared across all of our guests.
For example…you could go all the way back to Episode 1 with Scott McKain and listen to his powerful morning routine and daily habits.
In fact, if we were to take a survey of our Onward Nation guests…I suspect over 90 percent of them share some aspect of a morning ritual designed to kick-start their day — and in some instances — the days of their employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
With that…let’s dive into the morning habits of today’s top business owners. These habits are simple and can be easy for you to apply into your business.
Habit #1: Focus on One Most Vital Priority
Episode 98 with Larry Winget (despite the fiasco I had with my microphone that day — so sorry about that Onward Nation!) was an exceptional discussion with one of the most motivating and inspirational business owners I have had the joy of interviewing. Which is a bit counterintuitive because Larry does not consider himself a motivational speaker — nor does he subscribe to any of today’s popular personal development mumbo jumbo. But that does not mean he is not focused on personal development or getting better every day…his approach is just radically different and a refreshing change from the sea of others out there.
Larry’s success — the root of all that makes him so powerful at what he does every day and the value he delivers to his customers — is that he does the one thing each day he knows he MUST get done. He only allows himself to focus on his number one most vital priority each day. That’s it. Just the one.
Where did that singular focus come from? If you listened to Larry’s, you heard him talk about how he went from rich to poor in a single day through no fault of his own. He had bills to pay and had to make money. How did he work through the devastation of losing his business? He distilled everything down to selling a training course that we quickly developed — and he started with the As in the phone book and started selling. He knew that his most vital priority — his one thing that had to get done that day was selling. Nothing else mattered…it was his singular focus for the day…and every day.
So maybe yours is not selling…maybe it is leadership…maybe it is hiring the best talent…whatever your most vital priority is…how you move the needle…it deserves all of your attention…today and every day.
Joining Larry in his focused pursuit of one most vital priority each day is John Gumas…my guest on episode 92.
John is the founder of Gumas in San Francisco, an incredible advertising agency that helps challenger brands take on larger, more well-funded competitors. And they are excellent at it.
John Gumas sets one goal a day – accomplishing the daily keeps him positive and moving forward.
Habit #2: Create a Priority List
Adam Carroll, our amazing guest on episode 113, starts every day by creating his Power Priority List. And he only focuses his time around completing the task or priorities on the list.
Adam even separates the priorities into multiple categories, such as income producing, or business development, etc. But the key about his time management or Power Priority List system is how he assigns the time for each task.
We have all felt this before — that if we have an hour to do something — oddly, it takes us about an hour to get it done. But if we are leaving that afternoon for a two week vacation — it is amazing how productive we are that morning, right?
So Adam brilliantly uses the same principle by assigning the amount of time he thinks each task on his list will take to get done — and then he races the clock to beat the estimate. Then checks the items off the list as he goes, and in the process due to his efficiency, he is creating more time in his day because he is now running ahead of schedule. Wow, Onward Nation!
Habit #4: Get Up Early
I recently had a thought provoking conversation with Joe Calloway during episode 112 of Onward Nation. Joe shared and taught us several valuable lessons that revolved around the fact that value never goes out of style. And how part of being at his best for customers, and getting ahead of competitors, is to get up early — no later than 5:00 in the morning. This of course requires discipline, Onward Nation but the rewards are substantial.
And then Aaron Walker during episode 108 shared how he blends getting up early with the power of prayer during his first 60- to 90-minutes of his day to get centered and ready to tackle his most vital priorities.
Aaron’s morning habit of prayer and centering is shared by over 80 percent of the most elite athletes, high performing business owners, leaders, etc. The best in the world all have some form of daily meditation, reflection, centering, or prayer. And I share the same practice of daily prayer, as Aaron described, and it is the most powerful part of my day and an invaluable part of my morning routine. I smiled a big smile when Aaron shared it during our interview.
Habit #5: Get Focused and Eliminate Distractions
Gene King, my guest during episode 107, shared some specific, practical, and tactical recipes with Onward Nation — including patience and persistence — but what was so compelling about our conversation was how he approached each day with the attitude of “you have to get up and go, no matter what.”
And sure there will be days, Onward Nation that you don’t want to…there will be days when you would prefer to hit the snooze button. But, if you get up early like Joe Calloway and Aaron Walker and you apply Gene King’s outlook on life with the Get Up and Go mentality…your productivity and success will soar to new heights…you will push through the fears…you will push through self imposed obstacles (because most obstacles are self-imposed) and you will move your business onward with gusto!
And combine Gene’s Get Up and Go attitude with Jim Cathcart’s (episode 106) strategy of starting your day by eliminating external distractions — you will be part of the uncommon few. You will be among the top business owners in the country. You will be able to, like Jim, start your day with a fresh mind so you can focus on doing the things he needs to do in order to become the person he wants to be.
And that is what it is all about, Onward Nation…so you can be the person you want to be — so you can live the life you want to live — and you don’t waste your precious time living someone else’s dream, life, or building someone else’s business.
You, Onward Nation…you…have 86,400 seconds today — how will you apply your time toward making your dreams come true and leaving a lasting legacy in this world — making someone else’s life better as a result of you being you.
Onward Nation, I just want to say thank you…thank you for being here and for giving me the privilege to be with you this morning — to share some strategies and recipes for success. I wish you the best of success as you move your business onward to that next level.
I will be back tomorrow with my interview with Dr. Pamela Dennis — another one of today’s top business owners. Until then, onward with gusto!