Writing is arguably the most important thing I do every day. Listen in on why and how to think about it.
This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”
“Enoch walked with God.” (Gen. 5:24)
In Marketplace Leaders, Os Hillman writes that “the true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the daily grind of everyday life when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening.”
From my ability to remember anything until now, my dad has always told me pray as the first thing I do when I wake up, the last thing I do when I go to bed, and every moment in between. Zen Habits taught me to be present – even in the most simple activities like washing dishes, taking out the trash, and handling an email. And my time at Saddleback Church has taught me that anything and everything is a form of worship…if I make it so.
All of this has strengthened my resolve to walk and talk with Him all through the day – about my wins, losses, struggles, confusions, my moments of happiness and sadness, and/or any random topic that comes to mind. I want to speak with Him like I would any other family member, friend, or someone I just met whom I crave to learn more about and befriend. I feel horrible when I only come to Him when I’m knee-deep in some altercation; He still helps me out of it and stays with me through it like an unconditionally loving Father…but that’s not the kind of relationship I want to communicate to Him.
I want to seek God with all of my heart, body, mind, and soul the way David did; the way Enoch did. It’s the relationship that matters the most to me – and I pray that You’ll help me know it and live it at 100%, 100% of the time.
Below is a prayer my business coach shared with me that has been so helpful to priming my day.
“On awakening, let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. We ask Him to show us how to best be of service to others and how to be more loving and tolerant. We ask God all through the day what our next step is to be, and ask especially for freedom from self-will. As we go through the day, we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.”
We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
One of my biggest struggles is learning to consult with my Father on all aspects of my life. Not just when things are really good or really bad, but throughout everything. EVERYTHING. I’ve spent much of my adult life being independent – which has carried me pretty far – but I’ve outgrown that and need to get fed, advised, reset, and re-composed through Him.
Your effectiveness – in your business and personal life – is sooooo much better when you optimize the beginning of whatever you’re doing.
When you start your day, what daily habits can you implement to ensure that no matter what happens, your day ends in success?
For me, since the beginning of the year I’ve followed this ritual:
- Wake up at 4a-5a in the morning. This is the best time for me to have quiet and focus. I do not check my phone for any messages.
- Prayer. It usually goes like this: “God – please help me hear what you want to tell me. And please give me the strengthen to follow your will. And if I don’t do anything else, I want to love you more and get to know you better. And You are sovereign, in control, and always provide – I have nothing to worry about. And please help me put You first and throughout everything.”
- Walk/Feed the dogs. I have 3 chihuahuas (my wife is a dog fanatic, and the only reason why we have 3 is because in Irvine it’s illegal to have 4 or more lol) that I take out to the park across the street. While this isn’t my favorite thing to do at first, I get to move my muscles before I sit down to work; the cold morning air is invigoriating; and the sunrise is beautiful. Doing this and feeding them feels like making my bed (and I can’t do that while wifey is sleeping, so this is the alternate), and that’s another win I can add to the tally.
- Read the daily Bible devotional from Marketplace Leaders. Once a day, I get an email from this site that takes a Bible passage and dissects/explains it as it relates to our everyday struggles as a Christian businessperson, marketer, salesperson, and overall worker. It’s helped me remember that doing God’s work doesn’t happen only on Sundays, as a pastor, at a soup kitchen, on the mission field, and off work hours. Jesus did more miracles and called more people to Him in the workplace – where we spend most/all of our time; and that whatever we do for work, it’s a form of worship if we do it with the right mindset.
- Journal. Yep, I write there AND I write here. I use DayOne to share my confidential thoughts/challenges/wins, jot down unrefined ideas, clarify my thoughts, and document memories. This is where I brain dump, and clear the space my head for good/positive/helpful thoughts to pour in.
- Drink water & brew green tea. It’s universally accepted that drinking a cup of cold water will jump-start your body and prime yourself for burning calories; and green tea is my preferred method of caffeination.
- Meditate. Over the years I’ve failed at meditating for long periods of time; I’d give up after a few days and a few minutes. During those times, I didn’t use the relevant method for me; I didn’t have the right mindset; I didn’t have sustainable expectations; I wasn’t mature enough; I didn’t have enough BS in my life to benefit from it; and I guess I didn’t hear it nagging at me enough times until now. I have the Headspace app downloaded on my phone and do the “Take 10” guided sessions, and they have been incredible for me. I’m now on my 3rd go-round and have increased my meditation time to 15 minutes a day. I hear from Tim Ferriss and others that 20 minutes is where the real benefits kick in, and I’m excited to get there after this rotation.
- Read. I feel the most fulfilled when I am reading, learning, and growing. It’s the body version of the personal finance principle “investing in yourself first.” I’m currently reading Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of Titans” (the main inspiration for this post); John Eldreadge’s “Moving Mountains” (a gift from a great friend and amazing online businessperson Dean Soto); Tony Robbins’ “Money Master the Game;” Bob Fifer’s “Double Your Profits: In Six Months” (recommended by Fransmart CEO Dan Rowe); and Brendan Moynihan’s “What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars.”
- Blog (if inspired).
I don’t succeed every day (I miss 1-2 of these items about once or twice a week) and I don’t follow these habits on the weekend (I sleep in; I do love being lazy, too). But whenever I get this checklist done, I feel primed and have better control over my decisions. I get the most important things done first and don’t get seduced by social media, text messages, and emails that will eat me alive…and somehow get done anyway =)
I envision my day as a big empty bucket on a beach full of sand and rocks. When you sand – the small, trivial things – to the top of the bucket, you make no room for rocks – the most important things. But if you decide to fill the bucket with rocks first, you will still be able to pour sand after, through the openings that rocks leave.
It’s interesting – When I started this post, I didn’t expect to write this much; and I didn’t think that I’d want to write another “Do It Right From The Start” post. It might even become a series.
Goes to show that you don’t need to know all the details sometimes. Just take action.
I’m interested in learning how others set themselves up for a successful day. Please share!