It’s Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. Two San Francisco entrepreneurs are pitching their ventures to potential investors today. They’d both agree that this is one of the most important days of their lives. This is the story of Jane and Joe...
Jane was up until 4 a.m. putting the final touches on her deck. In fact, she spent the entire weekend fixed in her apartment, preparing the presentation. This morning, she woke up late and rushed putting together her most “investor-worthy” attire. She slammed a shot of espresso, grabbed her computer, and ran out the door feeling hungry and tired. She arrived right on time but felt anxious and flustered about the events of the morning.
Joe, on the other hand, went to sleep last night at 11 p.m., as he does most nights of the week. His presentation was ready Friday afternoon, after seven revisions thanks to feedback from advisors. He spent the weekend in nature connecting with friends. This morning, he woke up at 7 a.m., had a glass of water, ran two miles, meditated for 15 minutes, and drank a smoothie. He put on the outfit he picked out the evening before, grabbed his bag, and walked out the door. He arrived 10 minutes early, feeling confident, calm, and eager to share his vision with potential investors.
Which entrepreneur would you bet on?
And, which entrepreneur most closely resembles you?
Jane and Joe are fictional characters but having been immersed in the world of startups in both New York and San Francisco, I see a lot of Janes. They work 16-hour days, seven days per week, and wonder why they aren’t getting the results they’re looking for. The truth is, results don’t come through hours spent. Great results often come by doing less and working smarter.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak with my friend Mike Del Ponte, who resembles the character of Joe. Today he launches a Kickstarter campaign for his company Soma, which aims to revolutionize the water industry using sustainable design. (It’s awesome. Check it out.) Surprised by how cool, calm, and collected Mike was so close to launch, I asked him what his secret is.
“Every day I need physical energy, mental clarity, and emotional balance to tackle everything that comes my way,” Mike said. “Self-care is the secret to performing at the highest level.”
Here are the six simple rituals he uses to perform at his highest, which you too can begin implementing right away:
1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up. Your body loses water while you sleep, so you’re naturally dehydrated in the morning. A glass of water when you wake helps start your day fresh. When do you drink your first glass of water each day?
2. Define your top 3. Every morning Mike asks himself, “What are the top three most important tasks that I will complete today?” He prioritizes his day accordingly and doesn’t sleep until the Top 3 are complete. What’s your "Top 3" today?
3. The 50/10 Rule. Solo-task and do more faster by working in 50/10 increments. Use a timer to work for 50 minutes on only one important task with 10 minute breaks in between. Mike spends his 10 minutes getting away from his desk, going outside, calling friends, meditating, or grabbing a glass of water. What’s your most important task for the next 50 minutes?
4. Move and sweat daily. Regular movement keeps us healthy and alert. It boosts energy and mood, and relieves stress. Most mornings you’ll find Mike in a CrossFit or a yoga class. How will you sweat today?
5. Express gratitude. Gratitude fosters happiness, which is why Mike keeps a gratitude journal. Every morning, he writes out at least five things he’s thankful for. In times of stress, he’ll pause and reflect on 10 things he’s grateful for. What are you grateful for today?
6. Reflect daily. Bring closure to your day through 10 minutes of reflection. Mike asks himself, “What went well?” and “What needs improvement?” So... what went well today? How can you do more of it?
Whether you more strongly resemble Jane or Joe, these six rituals will help you up your game, taking your performance to the next level.
We'd love to know the rituals that are most valuable for you! Leave your tips in the comments below.
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—Amber Rae is Founder & CEO of The Bold Academy , a life accelerator designed to accelerate your performance and potential. Applications for Bold Academy San Francisco are open. For more on Amber, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.
[Image: Flickr user Charlie Stinchcomb]