I once heard a speaker talk about the importance of “leading your life from quiet” (I wish I could remember who said that…whoever it is, just know I’m thankful!). Over the years, I’ve tried to put this “lead your life from quiet” principle into practice. I’m not perfect at it, but every year I get better. And every year, I experience more real success in the most important roles of my life and one of the reasons is because I lead my life more effectively. For me, leading my life from quiet revolves around 6 B’s I practice practically every weekday morning. Before I share the 6 B’s, let me lay some groundwork for how to lead your life from quiet.
Groundwork for the 6 B’s:
My routine, especially Monday through Friday, is to wake up around 5:00 AM and begin my day with the 6 B’s. And for those who gasp at “5:00 AM,” just know I used to be one of you. By nature, I’m a night owl. Waking up this early is something I’ve learned to do (Kathy, my wife, has been a huge encourager to me in this area). Believe me, if I can do it, so can you. What’s more, if you want to experience REAL™ Success in the most important roles of your life, your chances go WAY UP if you get a jump-start on your day. I have yet to meet someone I would consider truly successful in each of their most important roles in life who is not also an early riser. I’m sure there are successful and balanced late-morning or early-afternoon risers out there, I just don’t know any of them.
Most mornings, I invest 60-90 minutes in the 6 B’s, but sometimes I can only invest 20-30 minutes. In fact, there have been seasons in my life when investing 20-30 minutes is all I could pull off. Whatever situation you find yourself in, the key is to invest whatever time you can! If you invest zero minutes into leading your life from quiet, you will likely be leading your life from chaos.
Finally, I don’t accomplish every “B” every morning, nor do I try to do so since that’s not the point. The point is to invest in a variety of activities each morning that “sharpen your saw” (a Stephen Covey-ism). I do accomplish every single “B” listed below at least once a week during my “lead my life from quiet” times. What this means is that the cumulative impact of practicing each “B” every single week is:
- Tremendous personal growth and development
- Better perspective and insight
- Greater balance in the major roles of my life
- Real success and living WAY BEYOND my average
The 6 B’s that will help you lead your life from quiet:
1. Body & Brew
The very first thing I do when I get out of bed (after brushing my teeth and washing my face) is to enjoy my first cup of coffee and do about 10-15 minutes of stretching. This is a great way to wake up and get my blood moving. During certain seasons, I might even get a workout in (i.e. a cycling class, a masters swim program, yoga, or strength training), but my current schedule is flexible enough that I like to workout during the lunch hour. However, if morning was the only time I could squeeze in a workout, I’d do it. Exercise is that important. After I’ve stretched, I pour myself a second cup of coffee and practice several of the following B’s in my favorite quiet spot in our home…
2. Bible & Prayer
I regularly read the Bible and spend time in prayer. Most of the time, I focus on quality instead of quantity—reading one chapter of the Bible and really looking for something I can apply that day.
3. Blessings Journal
I’ve discovered something interesting about myself. I journal inconsistently. When I’m struggling with something significant, I journal A LOT! When my struggles are more the day-to-day things, I don’t journal. Not sure why this is the case, but I can go months without writing in my journal. That all changed when I started writing in a “Blessings Journal.” I basically pick one thing—person, place, truth, attribute, value, or something similar—for which I am grateful and write 1 or 2 short paragraphs about the what and why of my gratitude. It takes all of 5 minutes, but WOW, what a positive and empowering practice! This one little practice focuses my mind on the positives of life and often causes me to do something later in the day to express my gratitude in a proactive way.
When I was in 3rd grade, my teacher approached my parents and asked them if they knew I couldn’t read. Additionally, when I graduated high school, my SAT scores were so low in English, writing, and vocabulary that I was not accepted into college—I had to take an entire semester of “Developmental Studies” just to get accepted.
Why am I telling you this? Because I am not the world’s fastest reader. Yet every year, I read 30-50 books (yes, I keep track). Over the years, I’ve become a much stronger and faster reader simply because I’ve read. I’m still not a speed-demon, but my speed is probably slightly above average. How do I read so many books in a year even though I’m not a speed-reader? By spending at least part of my “lead my life from quiet” time with my nose in a book. Think about it—if I give 2.5 hours a week to morning reading (that’s just 5 days a week for 30 minutes at a time), then another couple of hours during the week in the evenings, I can polish off 1 book every week or two. As a side note, 1 in 4 people in the United States do not read even 1 book a year. The average number of books read in one year by an individual in the United States is 4 (read more). Are you beginning to see how practicing this particular “B” during your “live my life from quiet” time will allow you to live WAY BEYOND your average.
5. Big Picture Thinking & Planning
Once a week, usually on Friday or Monday, I spend most of my “lead my life from quiet” time (and, if necessary, the entire time) reading my Envision It Forward COMPASS™ (i.e. Life Plan), my Aim It Forward MAP™ (i.e. my plan of action) and reviewing my annual goals. This allows me to focus on what I call my “true north” and navigate how I will proactively get to where I believe I’m suppose to go.
6. Block Out My Day
I don’t do weekly “To-Do” Lists; I do weekly 1-20-80 Lists™. Then, everyday, I take my weekly 1-20-80 List™ and determine my 1% Task for the day, my 20% Tasks for the day, and my 80% Tasks for the day. I use a “blocks” system that I set up on a 3×5 Card to manage my day. My 3×5 card usually looks something like this:
Block 1: Lead My Life from Quiet
Block 2: 1% Tasks
Block 3: 20% Tasks
Block 4: Personal Development
Block 5: 80% Tasks
Evening: Family Time
Again, this one little practice, which takes all of 5 minutes, pays HUGE dividends in my life. Most days, I invest in what matters most simply because I’ve taken 5 minutes to block out my day accordingly.
There you have it, the 6 B’s that help me “lead my life from quiet.” If you practice these 6 B’s, I guarantee you that over time you will see yourself living it forward in the most important roles of your life and living WAY BEYOND your average. Seriously, it’s impossible NOT to see vast improvements in your life if you invest in yourself by leading your life from quiet and practicing the 6 B’s.
And just because I like you, I’m going to throw in an additional B…BREAKFAST! Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast with a balance of lean protein, good carbs, and healthy fat. It will give you the balanced fuel you need for consistent energy throughout the day!
As always, I wish you real success in both your life and work!
Question: How Do You Lead Your Life From Quiet?