What do Warren Buffett (investor), Angela Merkel (chancellor), Barack Obama (president), and Winston Churchill (prime minister) have in common? What is the thread that ties together Jack Dorsey (entrepreneur), Maya Angelou (author), Benjamin Franklin (founding father), Claudia Chan (leadership expert), and Shama Hyder (social media guru)? The obvious answer is success, prominence, and impact. The not-so-obvious answer is a daily routine.
There is fairly significant research, and profound real-life experience, that suggests that having impact and experiencing success are all about our daily routines. Daily routines define our moments, and the accumulation of our moments determines the course of our entire lives. Mike Murdock said that, “…the secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”
The word “routine” comes from the French word route, or road, and goes back to the 17th century. It speaks to a road or a set path. A routine is literally a sequence of actions that is regularly followed, a fixed program, or a series of steps for performing a task.
You can’t say enough about the power of routine. People who make the greatest impact in any area personally or professionally always have a road, a route or a routine. A routine is important because the things we do every day matters more than the things we do once in a while. Aristotle said that, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” William James said that humans are “mere walking bundles of habits”, and so our impact and success is crystalized by the sort of things inhabit our bundles. Here are 6 Daily Routines that tend to populate the habit bundles of people who are most successful and have the highest impact, and these will also elevate your impact:
Internalize. We live in a fast-paced world, where externals consistently scream for our attention. To play on the field of high impact, we need to be comfortable with the externals, but also know what it is to internalize: to withdraw, retreat, and be alone for a period of time each day. People who make a high impact are equally comfortable in both the internal and external realms. They understand that if we operate exclusively in the realm of the external, and don’t take daily time in the internal zone, our outflow will far exceed our inflow, and our output will soon surpass our capacity. High-impact people take the time to be with themselves, and in this place find centering and focus.
Energize. This is closely aligned with internalization, and speaks to self-care. People with a high level of impact understand inherently that a simple daily investment in self-care is perhaps the smartest investment we can make because it keep us energized, and energy leads to productivity. The highest impact investments are in the physical realm, the mental and emotional realm, and the spiritual realm. Energizing physically generally looks like sufficient sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Energizing mentally and emotionally can look like continual learning and development, healthy relationships, visualization, and affirmations. Energizing spiritually can look like meditation, prayer, journaling, and time communing with nature. The most efficient people on the planet take time to rest, replenish, recharge, and re-energize themselves. Productive people are energetic people.
Prioritize. Prioritization is stark in its simplicity, and yet can be difficult in its application. Once they have internalized and energized, high impact people take time to prioritize. Prioritization flows when we spend time to internalize and energize, because when we take time to centre and focus, and to rest and replenish, we become much clearer on our priorities. If your priorities are unclear, it could be an indicator that you need time to internalize and energize. At its core, prioritization is simply about deciding what to say yes to, and what to say no to, and sticking to it. So much potential is wasted when we say yes to what we should say no to, and when we say no to what we should say yes to. The daily routine of high impact people includes time to sort out the “yes’s” from the “no’s”, and the primary criteria is this: What is the most valuable use of my time in order to achieve my long-term goals? This alone separates the “yes’s” from the “no’s”, and separates high impact people from minimal impact people.
Strategize. Strategy flows from priority. A strategy is just a plan of action to fulfill an objective. So, priorities determine objectives, while strategies determine plans. High impact people never strategize without taking time to prioritize, and also will not just prioritize; but they always strategize. Strategy involves the notion of planning and efficiency, incorporates tactics and logistics, and includes the nuances of interpersonal and professional relationships. Strategy takes time and effort, and is well worth it. Though our plans rarely go exactly, “according to plan”, success is seldom accidental either. Planning positions you for success in a way that the lack of planning never can. Often the critical difference between high potential people and high performance people is simple: strategy and its execution.
Visualize. As part of their daily routine, high impact people visualize their strategy being mobilized successfully. Do you see yourself achieving and succeeding in your goal, or do you see failure, and not achieving? I cannot overstate the importance of visualization. Alberta Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Before any major goal can be achieved, the goal must first become a reality in the subconscious mind. When we learn how to use the imagination, and then imagine a goal being achieved, so much that the feelings we have about the goal are the same as if the goal as already been achieved, then that goal will become a reality. Your expectations determine your whole life: what you think, feel, experience and do; what you create, grow, build and dream. You are thinking, feeling, experiencing and doing what your expectations allowed. You are creating, growing, building and dreaming what your expectations permit. Mahatma Ghandi said that, “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” And 2000 before that, Jesus said that, “All things are possible to him that believes…” Learning new visualizations, expectations, and beliefs is often about breaking free of our stresses and fears. Please check out this site to learn more about that: www.BreakingFreeofFear.com
Verbalize. There is power in our words, and power in our proclamation. Words can light a fire in our minds, they can calm a storm in our hearts, they can pull tears from our eyes, and they can inspire energy and passion in our soul. Words can ripple a message of confidence and conquest, healing and hope, or they can ripple a message of failure and fear, or regret and reverse. The words we speak powerfully ripple and set the course for our lives. High impact people verbalize their passions, their possibilities, and their pathway, speaking out empowerment through their proclamation.
One final thought: Become a high impact person, because those closest to you and even the world needs you to do so. Collectively, we need the gifts, treasures and aspirations that lie within you. But as you do, pay close attention to your daily routines, and especially these 6 Daily Routines. Confucius said that, “Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.” People who make the greatest impact have a daily routine.
Abe Brown is the Coach’s Coach, and is the Founder and President of Momentum Coaching, and the President of the Certified Coaches Federation (www.certifiedcoachesfederation.com). Momentum Coaching has experienced triple digit growth for several years running, and the Certified Coaches Federation has trained and certified over 10,000 Life and Executive Coaches in the last 8 years. Abe does Leadership and Executive Coaching, and works with profit-based, and non-profit organizations around strategic planning, cultivating fully engaged employees, and facilitating coaching and training programs. He has also worked with several small, medium, and large businesses to accelerate revenue growth and maximize engagement.