What’s Missing From Your Morning Routine

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Ashley Good is the Founder of The 90 Day Achievement Detox and Elite Coach to Fearless, Driven and Awakening Executives & Business Owners. 

Peak performance coaches talk a lot about “states.” Your emotional, mental and physical state determine the way you perceive, experience and respond to life on any given day. Life could be wonderful one day and horrible the next and the only thing that’s changed is your state. This is why high achievers — from executives to entrepreneurs to athletes — often cite their morning routine as the single most important aspect of their day.

The purpose of a morning routine is to create a specific state that gives you the best possible opportunity to experience and create the results you want in your day. The idea is that if you can control your state, you can control your life. So you push your body through grueling 5 a.m. workouts and white-knuckle your way through ice-cold showers because you believe this strategy is priming you for success.

But what if something’s been missing? What if your understanding of “state” has been only half right? What if a few simple shifts in your morning routine could elevate your state, and therefore your life, to a new level that’s both easier and exponentially more successful?

If you added just two things to your morning routine, your default state itself would level up so that eventually, even your worst day would be better than your best day ever was. There’s a saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The difference between determinedly stacking your morning routine with podcasts, pushups and ice showers and doing these two things is the difference between having a pot of fish and having the fishing rods.

The two activities you need to engage in, if you really want to get to the next level, are meditation and grounding. In the past decade, every mainstream publication from The New York Times to HBR  to Time Magazine to Fast Company has written about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for executives. It’s been so extensively and exhaustively covered that there’s little more to add except this: most people still aren’t doing it, despite being lauded by experts.

1. Meditation

Meditation is simply focusing your attention inside of you, instead of outside of you, and getting present to whatever is going on in there. In order to do this, you have to be still and therein is the chief objection from the typical achiever who concludes that stillness equals “being idle” or “doing nothing.”

Most achievers equate success with productivity, and productivity is almost always measured by how much gets done. Thus, success is inextricably linked to being busy. Doing is still far more valued than being, so “doing nothing” is discounted as a waste of time and, therefore, “failure” whether the achiever wants to admit it or not. 

In order to truly level up, achievers need to expand their own consciousness instead of reaching for the next strategy. The same thinking that brought you to your current level of success will not get you to the next. You are always only as successful as your current consciousness allows.

Think of your mind as a room and your thoughts as the furniture, boxes and miscellany in the room. After a while, there’s no more space and you can’t even find what you’re looking for. You either need to offload or you need a bigger room. Meditation gives you both.

The easiest way to begin meditating is to just sit down, close your eyes and listen to your thoughts and inner voice. Don’t worry about “emptying your mind” or “letting thoughts go.” That usually doesn’t happen right off the bat and it’s an unrealistic expectation for people new to meditating. Let your mind be busy, let your thoughts do whatever they’re doing and let your inner voice say whatever it’s going to say. What is more important than anything is consistency. Can you commit to 15 minutes a day? 

2. Grounding

Grounding, also called earthing, is simply connecting consciously and intentionally to the earth. We walk on the earth, we are of the earth and we are part of the Earth’s creation. It governs us and is so much more powerful a creator and conductor in a micro-second than we are in our entire lives, yet we hardly connect to it in a meaningful and collaborative way.

If you’ve ever laid down in the grass or on the beach, you have likely experienced a mood-enhancing effect. Most people feel better when they get outdoors because they connect to the earth. Activities that support grounding include walking barefoot on the earth, swimming in a natural body of water, hugging a tree (yes, really!) and gardening. 

Meditation without grounding is like getting into a hot air balloon without sandbags. You may access new and inspired creativity but you won’t be able to land them without being grounded. The more grounded you are, the easier it is to access your own genius and then use it for your tangible success.

With regular and consistent practice of grounding, you get more in your body and less in your head, you feel more spacious, you slow down, solutions become clearer and more readily available, you begin accessing more of your intuition and you have more energy. 

Try this for 30 days: take 10 minutes in your morning to sit down and get still and present to your thoughts. Focus your attention on whatever is going on inside of you from a place of curiosity. Then go outside and walk barefoot for five minutes while saying, “I am grounded and connected to the earth.” See what happens.

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