5a.m. the hour when legends are either getting up or going to bed
He swears we will feel more energized and productive. He tells us that Mozart, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Ernest Hemingway made a habit of rising early.
He promises that if we wake up at 5 every morning and follow his 20/20/20 formula for what he calls a “Victory hour,” our life will change. Our creativity and or productivity is going to soar, our fitness will improve, and we will just generally feel better about ourselves.
But.. Can we do it? What is the reward? Will it stick or be a one week wonder?
Sharma, the famous Canadian personal success guru and author of many best-selling books including 1997’s The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Wrote The 5am Club. Told in parable form, the story features four central characters: The Spellbinder, The Homeless Man/Billionaire, The Artist, and The Entrepreneur. Through the course of the book, the Artist and the Entrepreneur go through a complete life change due to the teachings of The Spellbinder and Billionaire characters. The main point of their lessons is, that the two should get up at 5 a.m. and structure their days according to Sharma’s formulas.
When the clock strikes 5am we are to begin our days with the 20/20/20 formula that is to change our lives.
Robin Sharma is the son of Indian and Kenyan immigrants to Canada. He says he came from humble beginnings, and the immigrant mindset that drives so many high-achievers took root in him from an early age. He graduated from law school and became a successful lawyer at a big firm in Toronto.
“But when I would wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, I didn’t like the person that was looking back at me,” says Sharma. “I was very empty. There was an angst.”
He turned to education, this time studying the lives of the great women and men of the world, looking to understand their tactics and methods to implement those practices in his life. Out of this transformation came his first book, 1994’s Megaliving.
Despite some difficulties as a first-time author, Sharma was able to sell enough copies of the book to begin his career as a speaker, author, and personal success guru. Out of that moderate success, Sharma started to dream bigger. His second book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, caught fire and launched Sharma into global fame.
Suddenly, Sharma was a man in his early 30s speaking to audiences of thousands all over the world. His morning routine and his disciplined life that had been shaped in his 20s were vital to helping him avoid the pitfalls that so many people experience when fame and success come their way.
What will you do today to ensure your tomorrow is different than your yesterday?
So, do we just get up at 5am and get the housework done before the whole house awakes? Do we get on the computer and get on top of emails and our to do list for the day then sit with our cup of tea trying to figure out where to start? Go to the fridge to eat something while I think about it (or that bottle of vodka! If I’m feeling overwhelmed). Is that how we get ahead and stay ahead?
Nope … that is NOT the answer.
Sharma lays out a detailed routine in the book and claims it’s what has helped billionaires, superstar athletes, and others with whom he’s worked through the years.
Action Plan Here’s how the 20/20/20 formula is broken down:
The first 20 minutes of your day are for sweaty exercise. Sharma’s “Billionaire” character gets deep into the science of why sweating and getting your heart rate up early in the morning are so good for you. In summary, you’ll increase your feel-good dopamine and serotonin levels and kickstart your metabolism while lowering your levels of cortisol, essentially a stress hormone. For me, Ferne Eliz King I get into my infra-red sauna I have in my bathroom (I will post the benefits of infra-red saunas on another day) and mix it up between this and taking the dogs for a brisk walk.
The next 20 minutes should be quieter, dedicated to journaling, meditating, planning, reflecting and contemplating. This should get your mind, heart and soul in the right place for a day that promises to throw all kinds of difficulty and stress your way. Taking this time to be quiet and still will increase your gratitude and your happiness. For me, Ferne Eliz King I use an application for mediation called Synctuition. 20 mins is equivalent to 2 hours ‘old school’ meditation. I also have beautiful journals / books to write thoughts down. I have one for inspirational ideas, goals, plans. I have one for my feelings / thoughts and what I am grateful for and the reasons why. In my ideas, goals and plan book I also write down the emotion I will feel when those things come to fruition, what I will feel, whom I will tell, what emotion they will have. I put myself into that future moment in time.
While the exercise piece is a pretty specific and, in Sharma’s terms, “non-negotiable,” piece of the 5 a.m. puzzle, the reflection portion allows more creativity for you to do what is most comfortable for you. But one part that Sharma insists should be included in your second 20 minutes is journaling. Writing down your goals, plans, commitments, and the things you are grateful for will shape your day more positively.
The final 20 minutes allow for even more customisation. The “Grow” period is left for you to learn whatever it is you feel like learning. So, if you want to listen to a podcast about successful entrepreneurs, or read a great book, or work on a language you want to learn, all of that is in play in these 20 minutes. The goal is to stimulate your brain and improve your intellectual capabilities. For me, Ferne Eliz King on the last Sunday of each month I spend a bit of time making a list of things I wish to read, listen or view in the next month and I reward myself when I have achieved my list. I purchased some really good Bose earphones so I can listen to material while I am going about my day – not wasting a minute.
How consistent can one be?
Have you done that analysis that advises what character you are as to what times of day it suits best for you to work / sleep… it’s very cool..
For every Hemingway the book uses as an example of an early riser, there is of course a Winston Churchill, one of the most prolific writers and human beings ever, who would write until 2 or 3 a.m. and stay in bed until the late morning. Surely there are those who are built for the 5 a.m. club, and there are those who are more suited for the night club.
For me, Ferne Eliz King, I used to be a night owl, I would stay up to the wee hours of the morning working on spreadsheets, client reports, analysis, leadership – sleep for 3 to 5 hours and then do it all over again. OR I would be out partying and networking until the wee hours climbing into bed at 5am. Every 6th to 8th day I would have a good long sleep. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE.
I now have a 6 year old ad I’m in mid 50’s!!! I have my 84 year old mum living with us, independently in our back yard, but still an extended household. I’m going through a separation from a 15 year relationship. I don’t function the way I used to.
I need a refreshed way to approach my day! And the added stress and strain of this current Coronavirus outbreak .. mmmm .. let’s not digress to another topic.
Robin Sharma himself says..
“I slip all the time. I think most people do. Each day is simply about fighting the disruptive currents and getting back on track.”
So, what does this look like in my house? I use the old way of waking myself up. My dad told me many moons ago (an outdoor man and never traveled with an alarm clock – something extra and useless to carry he would say). Bang your head on the pillow for the time of day you wish to wake up. I have used it when I cannot rely on my phone and it works.. So, whether you head bang or use an alarm clock, I will leave to you.
For me, I wake often with my 6 year old entwined over, on, under, around me. It takes me a few minutes to untangle myself. I love that little arm across my neck!
I sneak out of the bedroom, I turn on the infrared sauna (I’m still trying to figure out the timer!!) – or I put on my runners and grab the dogs and go out into the dark morning. They are excited to get the first fresh smells of the day and chase the kangaroos and every now and then chase the sound of the deer that come to eat our grass.
After the sauna or workout / walk. I get my special magic water (I drink Kangen water) and set myself up in my special beautiful space in my ‘ladies lounge’. I meditate, journal and reflect. I often extend this to 40 minutes if I have not meditated the night before. I try and have the habit of meditating before I go to sleep – I find I have a better quality and quantity of sleep when I do this.
I then spend the final 20 minutes of my learning time multi tasking. I will either read, sitting in my space. Or listen or view something online. If it is the latter, I will quite often do this while multi tasking doing something else as well. A definite focus on LEARNING and EXPANDING my knowledge or thinking. I have my special LEARNING journal that I carry around with me during this step.
Ferne Eliz King journals:
- inspiration, goals, actions, new ideas, strengthening current ideas
- feeling, thoughts, gratitude
- learning, expanding my knowledge
It’s now 6am or 6.20am …
Now it’s shower, personal care and looking myself in the mirror and liking who is looking back at me. I feel inspired, energised and clear to start my day ahead.
My productivity in my day has expanded. I have wobbly days for sure, but they don’t last long, I’m able to kick myself back into gear quite easily without a lot of effort.
And to tell you the truth, there are a few mornings a week I start this routine at 4am or 4.30am depending on my evening prior. I try to be in bed by 9pm, meditate and asleep by 10pm at latest. Some nights I am in bed at 8.30pm.
I try to plan my meals a week in advance, I try to cook and prepare on a weekend so that I am not at 3pm starting to stress about the evening meal. I’m fortunate in that my ‘ex’ partner cooks much of the time during the week. With the current situation we still share the same property and the care of our daughter and treat each other kindly which is GREAT. I’m grateful for that.
One of the impacts I found is not checking my phone or computer until AFTER I have got myself ready for the day. Prior to this I would often be still sitting in my PJ’s at midday as I had got ‘caught’ in the virtual working environment and getting into my work before I was personally ready to do so.
There are days when I am not consistent at this routine. There has been a few days where I wake up and go.. ‘oh this is too wonderful to get out of’ (the little arms wrapped around me and the comfort of my bed). I do a quick equation of the impact of staying in bed and then make a decision. If I decide to stay in bed, I do not beat myself up. But I only allow that to occur once or twice a week.
Robin Sharma advised a journalist. “I slip all the time. I think most people do,” says Sharma. “One time the pilot on a little plane let me fly a little bit, and as I was holding the yoke, I noticed the plane was constantly being pushed off course by the winds. My goal was to make sure that we stayed on course. That’s what happens every single day to every single one of us. There are temptations and distractions that get us off our habits and our priorities. Each day is simply about fighting the disruptive currents and getting back on track.”
Knowing that many entrepreneurs slip, makes it easier to put boundaries and limits to not ‘being perfect’ at this plan.
I do feel the difference, I feel I can manage my day and week in a better way than I did before. I feel the difference which is all I needed as evidence of the benefit to continue with striving for a 5am start to my day.
What will you do to ensure you tomorrow is not the same as yesterday? Will you start that thing today?
Ferne Eliz King
Love Life Love YOUR Life
This article was inspired from an article in Success Magazine talking about the 5am Club.
My superpower is to ignite change and inspire actions to achieve the imaginable future of individuals and businesses. The first step is facilitating you to unlock your curiosity.
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