Leadership development is a process of self-mastery. Before we can successfully lead others, we must first learn to lead ourselves. We can take simple steps each morning to bring us closer to achieving the greatest version of ourselves.
How can you get a running start towards success each day? Begin with these three morning rituals to unlock the full magnitude of your inner power, peace and prosperity:
Weaponize your body. It can be trained and re-engineered; it’s a machine. Take your hour of power for personal fitness every morning. The Greek Spartans would say “The more you sweat in the morning, the less you bleed in battle.” Make sure before you engage in the corporate battle with your calendar, email, and people who want your time and attention, that nothing you will encounter is harder than the war you waged on yourself every morning. Remember this from Buddha: “A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle.” Get the right nutrients in your body; drink a green smoothie and take in some protein. Time: 1 hour
Practice gratitude. All abundance begins within self. When you appreciate the gifts in your life, they increase in value. Believe in your dreams. Our greatest strength comes from the power within. See, feel and have gratitude for the abundance you want to create in your life. Cultivate inner peace through internal reflection, prayer or meditation. Then you can tackle each challenge with an expanded mindset. In the words of the Spartan warrior and poet, Tyrtaeus: “You should reach the limits of virtue, before you cross the border of death.” Time: 20 minutes
Now that you’ve visualized and felt gratitude for the world you want to create, make concrete written plans and calibrations for the productive achievement of your burning desires in business and personal targets. For ten minutes, read a good book that helps you progress each morning. Share a deep insight or personal testimony with someone that is learning and growing and help enrich their life. In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill shares this wisdom, “No one can prosper without first enriching the lives of others.”
In the book, Give and Take, Adam Grant studies three kinds of people: Givers who give without strings attached, Matchers who give and expect in return, and Takers who take take take. Who of these three personalities reached the most success? The answer is surprisingly two-fold. Givers showed the lowest performance when they self-sacrificed too much. Givers also ranked as the highest performers (with Takers and Matchers in the middle). Giving creates value in people’s lives. Grant advocates ‘five-minute favors’ that bring high value to other people’s lives without taking too much of a toll on you. Stay away from the takers. Think each morning, who is someone that could benefit from a 5 minute gift from me? Is there a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note? A cheerful text? A loving response? The prosperity you create for others will multiply and return to you in the long run. Time: 30 minutes
Bonus Round: There are two more things that are super important. 4) Sleep. Go to bed earlier and 5) Wake up earlier. Combined, this is the best productivity hack to gain more energy.
Our external world is a reflection of our inner world. There are only a few things over which you have total power: your body, mind and soul. “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom,” the great Jim Rohn said.
The practice of leadership doesn’t begin once we step into the office. We can make choices to spur our growth as leaders as soon as we wake up in the morning. This is the way to inner power, peace and prosperity. Success, self-mastery and a better world are within our reach. We’ve already started the journey.