How to Leverage the Almost Unfair Advantage of “The Golden Hours.”

 

Healthy trail run

In Fire Your Excuses we urge readers to hold a “Personal Business Meeting” at least once a week. Why is this strategy so powerful? Because, as Brendon Burchard, best-selling author and productivity expert, says, The inbox is nothing but a convenient organizing system of other people’s priorities” [for your day.] The minute you open your email, whether it be on your phone or computer, your day and priorities are no longer your own. Without a minimum weekly personal business meeting, your activities will likely be reactionary and defensive, not self-directed and purposeful.  This is not the blueprint for an extraordinary life.

Interested in joining the 5 A.M. Club?

Leadership expert, Robin Sharma, invites us to go a step further by joining “The 5 A.M. Club.” Sharma observes that many consider the hours between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., the “golden hours.”  It is a time before most of the world is at work and, for some, even awake. Many who do make the shift and capitalize on these early morning hours report that they are their moments of the highest productivity.  In the early morning quiet we are free of distractions and our will power has yet to be assaulted by the demands of the day.

__________

Video: Robin Sharma on “How to Wake Up Early”

__________

Making the Shift-A Personal Journey

As a personal experiment, over the past year, I have Inched slowly and deliberately into being not only conscious but alert and productive during the earliest “golden hours,” Immediately I noticed that whenever I won the battle of the bed, I enjoyed the significant psychological boost that comes from accomplishing so much before the traditional start of the work day. Today, several mornings before six, my wife and I are in the gym, and I also get time to pray and plan my day.  Business-wise, this practice has already yielded great dividends.  Big picture, strategic thinking gets done and game-changing projects that I have meant to do for months are now well underway. I have also become a more disciplined, professional, and prolific writer. As a result of getting up earlier, my outreach and networking is on overdrive as I follow-up more consistently with colleagues and clients. The golden hour has brought its health benefits too.   Let’s just say, “the cooler containing my six-pack” now has a bit less insulation.

Making the shift wasn’t easy.  I was definitively not a “morning person.”  My journey began in earnest in March 2013 when I started a mastermind group with five other entrepreneurs which continues to meet every Wednesday morning before work for 90 minutes. Now the highlight of my professional week, it has had a tremendous impact on my business and my soul. Once I began to catch the early morning rays of the golden hours, I was eager to spend more time there.  The breakthrough step was to plan one event that was so compelling that I didn’t mind getting up early for it. Our mastermind group has served that purpose for each of us and much more.

How about you? What weekly event could you put into place to help “jump-start” your new resolve to begin your day earlier and on “your own terms?”

I see a pattern here….

In my consulting over the past 25 years, I have noticed, as Burchard asserts in the video below, that many of my millionaire friends do, in fact, start the day both early and with a short planning session. While each has his or her own ritual, some high tech, some low, some involving exercise, others not, it is difficult to come to any other conclusion from my modest informal survey that there is a pattern: Those who are running a nice-sized chunk of the free world, order their day in a way the rest of us do not. Eventually, I decided that if I wanted to experience some of the successes they enjoyed, I could do far worse as starting place than taking notes and implementing some of the common work habits all of them seemed to share.

____________

Video: Brendon Burchard: How Millionaires Schedule Their Day

_________

What about “night owls?”

Some readers can no doubt make a compelling case that their circadian rhythms enable them to be highly productive late at night.  I am not one to argue with success.  In this article, though, I am addressing those who feel as if they could be more productive. For many, feeling worn out after work precludes those late night bursts of creative energy and output.  As mentioned, I was the quintessential “night owl” and it did work modestly well for me. Getting up early has simply worked better, now that I am used to it.

Afterword: Giving yourself a significant cognitive advantage

When exercise is included in your golden hours, results can be even more marked. It is not uncommon to feel as if one has gained an extra 10 IQ points after an exercise session.   A study conducted by University of Georgia’s Phillip D. Tomporowski seems to confirm it.  Tomporowski reported that just one workout immediately boosted higher-order thinking skills when BDNF, a protein, which sits at the synapses of your brain neurons, is activated by exercise making you more productive and efficient throughout your day.

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, maintains that daily exercise DOUBLES his productivity. He still gets up early to run, and, he is 64 years old!

________

Video: Branson on exercise and productivity

________

Giving what we now know about productivity, exercise and planning, the evidence appears overwhelming. Who’s up for an early start?

If you have made the shift or, like me, are moving in that direction, let’s hear your story in the comment section below. See you at dawn!

 

Who needs to Hear From You Today? Target the “Small Five”

20140529_092207If I were to take you on a safari to Africa (and it is a must-do for anyone’s “bucket list,”) you would undoubtedly hear our guide speak of “The Big Five.” The phrase refers to the five animals that we simply must see during our time in the bush. They are: the elephant, the black rhino, the Cape buffalo, the lion, and the leopard.

Getting the opportunity to see magnificent African animals in their natural habitat is truly the experience of a lifetime. Seeing all of “The Big Five” makes for the ultimately special trip and an unequalled natural high.

Researchers like Robert Cialdini, from Arizona State University, however, have documented another type of peak emotional experience popularly known in the literature as “the helper’s high.” The helpers’ high is a euphoric feeling, followed by a period of calm, which we experience after performing an act of kindness. All of us have experienced this feeling at one time or the other, but did you know you can build into your life the weekly habit of service that blesses not only yourself but also those around you on a consistently blissful basis? For me, serving others is a natural expression of my Christian faith, but non-religious and religious people alike are involved in helping others and enjoy the great feelings engendered by doing so.

In thinking about the peak experience of serving, I would like to propose that as you support those causes closest to you heart, you don’t forget to also “serve small.” My Fire Your Excuses co-author, Dr. Dayhoff and I, define “serving small” as serving one-on-one, in a deliberate, often anonymous but powerful way. Each week make it your goal to reach out and encourage each of “the Small Five.”

Who are “The Small Five?” They are:

  1. Your relatives
  2. Your friends
  3. Your neighbors

Continue Reading

 

 

iStock_000008664639Small

Spring Into A Better Career: The 10 Questions You Must Ask Yourself

By Dr. Bill Dyment, Co-author of Fire Your Excuses

Each year, I meet scores of career professionals and students whose stories closely parallel the ones below. Is one of these stories your own?

· Robert lost his current position due to restructuring. He knows that his field has changed and it is unlikely he will be hired at the same salary as before. He has been out of work for more than a year. Every month he is not working, he is losing thousands of dollars.

· Melissa’s job is not what it used to be. There is a salary freeze and she constantly hears, “You should be happy just to have a job.” Yet, her family’s bills keep rising and, then there is college and retirement. She doesn’t want to become a full-time entrepreneur, but an extra few hundred a month sure would help.

· Ryan will be entering college soon. He is smart but unfocused. Given the cost of college these days, a clearer understanding of his strengths, weaknesses and interests might save a lot in unnecessary classes, even an unnecessary extra year in school.

· Kim is an artist at heart. She is talented and helped a number of friends with parties, flowers, and crafts. Everyone says she should go into her own business but she doesn’t know where to begin.

· Daniel lost nearly all of his investments when the real estate market crashed. He knows at his current salary, he will never be able to make up that loss before retirement. He wonders what else he could do to earn more in the time he has to work.

Getting Real with Your Career:

10 Questions to Ask Yourself

1. Will my current position likely be in more or less demand in the next three years? If the answer is “less,” are you O.K. remaining in a fading position or field? (If you are close to retirement or have more than enough, this may not be a concern.)

2. If my position is not likely to grow, am I O.K. with capping my salary indefinitely at this point in my career? If you enjoy a rich, full life outside of work and you are fine with the income and the responsibilities you have now, this may be O.K. too. Just keep in mind, your expenses, i.e., fuel, health care, etc., will continue to rise each year.

Continue Reading

Free Teleseminar: Fire Your Excuses and Start Building Your Business

DRB

Your business is your heart and soul, your income, and your purpose! Make it exactly what you want and dream it to be by getting the latest inspiration, marketing, social media & business trends for FREE! Launch & Monetize Your Business Telesummit March 20-25! http://bit.ly/1hJkcxd Get in on the Free Training Tonight at 9 pm EST!

Title: Dr. Bill Dyment – Fire Your Excuses
Time: Tuesday, March 25th at 9:00pm Eastern/6:00pm Pacific
Listening method: Phone + Web Simulcast
Phone number: (425) 440-5100
PIN Code: 890575#

To attend, visit:
http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventID=52739157

 

Five Career Mistakes to Stop Making Now

February 21, 2014– Dr. Bill DymentPencil Erasing on White Paper

Mistake #1: “Sitting This One Out.”  Quick, what was the first year you used a computer in a serious way?  If you are currently in the middle of your career, you may have been in your teens or older before you hopped on a keyboard or joystick to work on anything other than your video game score. Marc Prensky called those of us who were not born with a mouse in our hands, “digital immigrants.”  We may be quite proficient in all things electronic but it is important to keep in mind that the digital world is our “second language.”  In contrast, Prensky’s “digital natives” are those who can’t remember ever not using computers and the Internet to communicate.  

While we are all learning new digital platforms; ways of communicating and doing business, digital “immigrants” are especially susceptible to declaring a new site, platform or media avenue, a fad, not-relevant to our industry, or my favorites, “unprofessional” or even “unethical.” This bias makes us vulnerable to being isolated from where the real action is taking place in our industries.

Two years ago, a clinical colleague in his early 30’s praised Psychology Today’s online therapy directory while we were catching up over coffee. I had heard of it but was skeptical.  Experience had cynically taught me that most paid directories only served to enrich the publisher and a few featured star performers while the hundreds of other professionals, who received little or nothing in the bargain, paid the bills. Entry was typically steep, billed yearly, and usually yielded only a lighter wallet.  Reluctantly, then, I decided to try the directory for a month.  I am glad I did.  Today 30% of my clinical referrals come from the site.  It wasn’t hard to see what was going on, the site was heavily represented by digital natives, less so by digital immigrants.  The paradigm was shifting and I was late to the party.

A Challenge:  The next time you dismiss a new app, site, platform, or digital trend, pause for a moment to ask, “Am I biased against this new offering because of my “immigration status?” Use wisdom, but test out the new opportunity. Don’t be afraid to be the first among your colleagues to see if it is right for you and anticipate a learning curve.

Click here for Mistakes #2-5

Mastermind Groups: Are You Missing Out?

February 19, 2014: Dr. Bill Dyment

14.02.19 D&A Website Mastermind Post Istockphoto

In May, 2013, I formed a mastermind group of six with the help of my colleague and friend, Trent Adams. It is not an exaggeration to say it was the best business decision made all year. Not only have we dissected each of our businesses in a grueling but highly-rewarding fashion that would make the Shark Tank venture capitalists proud, we have laughed together, challenged, and been there for each other through personal and business changes, crises, and triumphs.

Our rules were fairly simple:  Each person committed for three months to meeting for 90 minutes every Wednesday before work and 80% attendance was required, no exceptions. To our delight, it worked and all agreed to continue for at least a year. Today, we routinely turn down requests to join our group as word has gotten around that we have a good thing going.  Truly, we all feel as if our investment of time has become an almost unfair business advantage.  What’s more, it has been a commitment to myself and my business development, I wish I had implemented years ago.  This post is designed to explain a bit more about mastermind groups, in general, to help you decide if joining or starting one is right for you too.

If you haven’t heard much about mastermind groups yet, you will. Thanks, in part, to the praise they have been receiving from some of the top business podcasters, they are springing up everywhere these days. Mastermind groups are usually limited to a maximum of 8-10 people.​ While not a new phenomenon—Ben Franklin was in a Philadelphia group he called the “junto” (latin for “meeting”) for 37 years, they are experiencing a fresh, 21st century resurgence. Some take place in-person, others are made possible by fast web-based video and cheap phone connections. All are fueled by a growing understanding that collaboration with others is the primary way of succeeding in today’s interdependent marketplace.

Click here to continue reading

This Tuesday, January 14, is National Fire Your Excuse Day! Are you in?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How to celebrate National Fire Your Excuses Day

Honor your resolve to live excuse-free in 2014 by taking one or more of the actions below this Tuesday:

1. Plan…set your written 2014 goals.

2. Connect…join one group that will help you succeed.

3. Move…no after-hours electronics before exercise.

4. Learn…what skill is separating you from your dream?

5. Serve…contact one person or group who needs your support.

 

Key Principles to Remember This Year:

Refuse to minimize. “Not all excuses are the same, some hinder us, some hurt us, and some kill us.” At the very least, excuses rob us of our dreams, impact and purpose.

“Don’t try harder in 2014, get more connected!” Do you have important goals that have eluded you for years? It’s time to admit that willpower is needed, but it is not enough.

“Everything changes when we walk the last mile of denial.” What is your “last mile?” What two or three actions have you been unwilling to take until now?