10 things highly successful people do before 8am v Reality
I read a really interesting article on Linked in regarding the lives and approaches of successful people and how they structure their day and the things they do before 8am.
I always find such articles interesting because there are always positive messages contained within and like all things, there are bits you can take away and use and there are bits you might scoff at and just think are absolute tosh.
The advent of social media seems to be a very strong catalyst for the need for all to strive for success – often that success seems to be measured by financial prowess or materialistic acquisitions rather than personal growth and job satisfaction – not all, of course. Those non-materialistic stories of success can be a measure of the true limits of human endeavour and demonstrate what can be done when you put your mind to it whilst also shaming one into realising you could do more. The reality of daily life and how that fits in is, for most, often very far removed.
I recently turned 40 and like any landmark birthday one is compelled to assess life to date and what you have achieved. The harder part is working out what you measure that achievement against. The true measure, I guess, should be personal fulfilment and overall happiness – often it tends to be financial success and how comfortable life might be in retirement or indeed whether you can retire!
Whether I feel it everyday or indeed whether I express it (and far too often I don’t), I have been very fortunate. I set up my own business last year alongside my business partner Joe Gregory. Despite the risks involved and the inevitable lack of financial security that being a business owner can bring, it still remained an easy decision to make. Not all days feel that way but I still wouldn’t have it any other way.
The temptation is to measure the success of our new business against others and that will always be the case but it still remains important to reflect on our success by reference to our own business identity. There is no business like ours because it doesn’t have our people. Its important to recognise that and so to is that the case for us as individuals.
On any analysis, we have been successful and we hope that the service we provide and our approach to recruitment sets us apart for those that work with us. But do I consider the business a success – well, yes and no. Yes, because it is. No, because it feels that there is so much more to achieve.
So, on a purely technical basis, I am a successful person so I thought I’d give you an idea of what pre 8am looks like in real life. This may or may not differ from the likes of Warren Buffett and Stephen Covey:
5.30 – 5.40 am – Dog enters bedroom and unrelentingly moves around precluding continued sleep
5.41 – Get up – in the summer when it is light this isn’t too bad. Winter will be horrendous. Feed the dog and let her outside.
5.45 am – Alarm goes off – seemingly redundant given previous rude awakening
This is where the day can diverge into one of three paths:
6.10am – leave the house, jump on the tram and go to Crossfit for 7am – shower and at the desk for 8.15am ready to roll – needing coffee but otherwise feeling good and ready for the day ahead. Check initial emails on tram in and a little bit of business social media activity and day planning. Strong start to the day – the article I read didn’t mentioned whether these successful people felt goosed by around about 3 in the afternoon.
5.50am – go back to bed – check in on bbc news site and frantically send whatsapp messages to see if anyone fancies giving me a lift in at a sensible time so I don’t have to get the tram in. If successful lift acquired (or not) – head out the door at 7.15 and think about what needs to get done!
5.50 go back to bed – let the dog under the covers to keep her quiet and then try to get some extra sleep
7.45am – feel guilty, realise you haven’t achieved anything by staying bed – definitely haven’t made it to the gym so make up a false promise to go later (definitely, well almost definitely. Well, I’m sore from yesterday so maybe I won’t). Shower and change in world record time so as to be out the door for 8am. Little consideration for the day ahead – just the knowledge that I need to be out the house for 8am so when doggy daycare comes to pick up the hound they don’t judge me because I still haven’t left for work.
It feels like my start to the day won’t be making it into a motivational book anytime soon. Unless that book seeks to give an accurate portrayal of what I anticipate are most people’s start to the day. I mean, I’d love to squeeze yoga and 30 mins mindfulness into a pre 8am routine – I just know that I’m not going to. I think I’m ok with that.
Now don’t get me wrong, some may read this and on reflection consider their routines superior and that they are better people as a result. Good on them. I’m happy to have helped and I’m sure they are.
For the rest, do your thing. In life as it is in work, measure yourself against what you want and hope to achieve – not others.
What do you want to get out of your job and what makes you happy – cash is great but it isn’t everything. Someone may earn more than you and seemingly be less deserving. Their rewards are not your measure for success. Work out what you need and what you want. If you can’t get it where you are then either accept it and be happy or be proactive and look elsewhere. Above all, be reflective and honest. Are you worth what you want – I mean from a business perspective. Recognise that sometimes decisions which impact you personally are business decision. If you bill £80,000 a year but you want to earn to earn £50,000 because one of your colleagues earns that – ask yourself the question – am I worth it. Objective assessment is not easy and the desire to appear successful and happy drives us all to some degree or another which can make it harder to face the reality.
Real life is hard. Just know that if you are reading this before 8am, chances are I am in the gym or, more likely in bed. Whilst I can’t yet afford that top of the line range rover, I’m still a success. I have found a purpose in running my own business. It makes me so much more invested in candidates outcomes (not that I wasn’t before) and it gives me the freedom to do the best for people that I can and that I think are fair and honest.
For the lawyers out there, if I can help (and I hope you will see from the above that you’ll get an honest appraisal of things) then get in touch. I can, of course, speak before 8am if needed.
To the next adventure.
Paul Warburton – firstname.lastname@example.org