Similar to first responders, my job involves a lot of pressure. Day in and day out, client demands, pressing deadlines, and having to deal with other lawyers put my body through torment.
Reading is not something I particularly enjoy. I spend so much time on an airplane that I need something to do other than wait for the next beverage cart to come by. I try to read one book per month. In September 2015, I read a book that changed my life.
Hal Elrod was ultra-successful at a fairly young age only to go flat broke less than 10 years later. To make matters worse, he was hit head on by a drunk driver causing him to die for over six minutes, suffer permanent brain damage, and to be told he would never walk again. Despite all of those obstacles, he overcame and is now an ultra-marathon runner, father and bestselling author.
While in an airport recently, I picked up a copy of Hal Elrod’s newest book entitled “The Miracle Morning – The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8 a.m.”
I assume that most people are like me and 8:00 a.m. is a respectable wake-up time. And 7:00 a.m. is difficult but doable. At 6:00 a.m. somebody is going to get hurt and 5:00 a.m. is when nothing is awake other than ghosts and mass murderers.
Elrod’s book outlines a plan to transform your life by doing six essential tasks prior to 8:00 a.m. After reading the book (TWICE!!), I implemented the steps. At first, I felt goofy. Now, I feel better than I ever have in my life. The following quote from iconic journalist George Lorimer sums up my feelings — “You’ve got to wake up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”
The Life S.A.V.E.R.S
I am going to present Hal Elrod’s practices to you from my perspective. Each of the letters in S.A.V.E.R.S stands for an activity that I engage in each morning. Let’s go through them.
“S” is for Silence
I was the most skeptical of this practice. The book encourages you to wake up early each morning to sit in silence. You have the same question that I have, I am sure. Won’t I just fall back asleep?
In my experience, the answer is no. Elrod encourages you to sit in silence praying, meditating, listening to your breath or reflecting. For the first couple of weeks, I sat there and thought, “What in the world am I doing?” Then I started appreciating the silence. You cannot appreciate silence until you discover that almost all of your days and nights are filled with noise. Noise can come from kids, spouses, barking dogs or invented drama in your head. Having the ability to empty your mind first thing in the morning makes for a more energizing day.
“A” is for Affirmation
We all know that optimism is good. However, it is powerful stuff when you tell yourself each day that it will be a good day. A lot of that chatter in our heads is generated by negativity. Spending time each morning filling your head with positive affirmations fights off the effects of “blue-ish” thinking. When you have self-doubt, thinking that doubt away with self-affirmation gives you the power to overcome.
“V” is for Visualization
I read one time that Tiger Woods visualizes every shot he makes prior to taking a swing at the golf ball. Elrod notes that Will Smith visualized his future success before he ever left the projects of Philadelphia. I guess that I have visualized my future before; however, I always called it “living in the clouds.”
After reading the book, I spend some time every morning visualizing my day. Notice I did not say the far off future. I visualize just that day. It is amazing the feeling you have when you visually plan your day. It makes life so much easier.
“E” is for Exercise
I know. You were expecting this one. I have long fought building exercise in to my daily routine. I used the “I am too busy/tired” excuse for years.
Now exercise is part of my daily routine. I started real simple. I just went outside and walked around my neighborhood for 15 minutes each morning. It was amazing watching the neighborhood come alive! The simple increase in heart rate and deep inhalations of oxygen cleared my mind, and frankly, my soul.
“R” is for Reading
I have already admitted that I am not a fan of reading. But now books and articles are much handier. They exist on the Internet, on e-readers, on Ipads, on phones and via audio.
Did you catch that last one? Books can be downloaded and listened to via audio. This is perfect for me. Some days I listen to a positive self-help book while exercising. Other days after I have exercised hard, I listen to a book while I rest afterwards. Nevertheless, I read. It is important to expand your mind every day. Otherwise, it turns to mush — I think.
“S” is for Scribing
Like silence, this one was a head scratcher for me. At first, I wondered what to write? It seemed that each morning the first thing that I wrote was “I am tired.”
There is no limit as to what topic you should write on. Write about your goals, dreams, plans, family, commitments, lessons learned, etc. The goal is not to write perfectly. The goal is to get it out of your brain. Dump it on to a piece of paper. It is amazing how much clarity you get from simply writing. In fact, I am gaining clarity by writing this article.
There you have it, folks, Hal Elrod’s “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” I encourage all of you to implement them in some form. I cannot begin to describe the effects of these activities on my life. We owe it to everyone around us to live out our best lives.
I enjoy hearing from others how they live their best lives. Feel free to look me up at www.westgalawyer.com to send me an e-mail sharing your story.