“Purpose is that feeling that you are part of something bigger than yourself, that you are needed, and that you have something better ahead. Purpose is what creates true happiness.” — Mark Zuckerberg
Everyone is looking for that magic formula or neatly prescribed list that lays out all the secrets of how to get exactly what you want. I’ve learned through my experience that it simply doesn’t exist. Everyone’s path to success is different, and in reality, there are hundreds of things that each individual follows that get them from point A to point B.
But that’s not to say there aren’t commonalities or particular attributes that each successful person follows. I’ve read countless books, studied the lives of CEO’s and business executives that I’ve worked with first-hand, and listened to speakers at famed conferences. I’ve aimed to find the ingredients that everyone shares that makes them successful. I’ve determined that if you really want to start a successful routine, you should begin by focusing on a few things.
You can’t “boil the ocean,” as the business cliche goes — it’s best to set small, incremental goals on your journey toward a bigger picture goal, objective and definition of success that aligns with your personal mission statement. Everything should tie back to what you truly want, as well as the values and game plan that speaks to exactly what will fulfill you and give you a sense of accomplishment.
Here are the three things that I’ve distilled and believe add significant value to your day — no matter your location, financial status, age, gender or level in your career. I hope you’ll assimilate these activities and practices into your daily approach as you aim to reach new heights.
1. Supercharge your mind and body at the beginning of each day
Yes, this means mentally, emotionally, spiritually and of course, physically. While it would be easy to think that mental exercises and stimulation are more important, the research shows that exercising your mind is just as important as physical activity. What it actually comes down to is “the amount of activity is more important for stimulating the brain than the type of activity,” according to Harvard Medical School instructor, Dr. Scott McGinnis.
In other words, consistency and repetition are paramount! Don’t get caught up in concerning yourself with the exactly right type of activity, or finding that panacea — because there is not just one solution. The way to supercharge your day may be watching an inspirational video in conjunction with reading 15 minutes of a great book to get you going.
But it may be that one-mile run that you do when you first wake up, or those push-ups and crunches to get your blood flowing. It may be asking yourself a very simple philosophical question like Ben Franklin asked himself:
What good shall I do this day?
From there, the ideas start to flow. You can also practice meditation and deep-thinking in solitude, as well as exercising your faith in prayer or trust that your plans, hopes, goals and dreams will work out and that you will be fulfilled. All of these powerful routines breed confidence and self-assuredness that you will move on the right track toward accomplishing big things.
“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a YOU that you choose to be.” — Joy Page
2. Speak, write and do: Focus on inspirational and positive things that reinforce your purpose and mission
First things first — Be willing to take maximum ownership over your time. This begins by planning your day and setting goals. You don’t need to plan every minute, but you must allot time for creative thinking, goal-setting and relationship-building. Without these things, you do not have the foundation that you need. Your foundation should begin with your purpose, mission and values.
Defining a clear purpose for who you are and what you want to become is the surest mark of a successful leader. When you are intentional and clear about what you want, you have already won half the battle. From there, it’s a matter of staying positive, exercising great discipline and rigor to adhering to the activities that support your purpose. And then, staying positive and working hard to get them.
Develop a personal mission statement for yourself. Here’s mine:
To live each moment to the fullest by having a positive attitude, a smile and a genuine enjoyment for life, while giving everything I have to love the people and environment around me and make it a better place.
Once you have clarified your intentions, start speaking and writing these things down. Tell them to people you trust. Then, go do them. You have to start somewhere, and your foundation is the best place. From there, you have a spring board that will vault you into the doing part, which is where you really go for the win.
3. Don’t waste time; Don’t waste moments; Tie everything back to your responsibilities, ambitions, goals and serving those you love
I absolutely hate wasting time. It drives me crazy. I can barely wait sometimes for a webpage to load, and when it takes too long, I scribble ideas down on a notepad or OneNote, or think of a new activity that will add value to my life. It’s not necessarily that I’m unable to focus or that I lack attention — I just realize that time is the most valuable commodity. I learned this from Steve Jobs.
It’s time you start to integrate this belief and thinking into your repertoire.
Take advantage of savoring, embracing and immersing yourself into every moment of your day. This is of course easier said than done. None of us want to embrace sitting in traffic or trying to pay attention in a boring meeting. Heck, flipping through our Instagram or Twitter is way more entertaining! Maybe.
But when you begin to lose focus or start frittering away time, it can have great consequences in your life. You start to value time less and less. Be present in the moment, plan your day out and BUILD IN moments that will inspire you and propel you to keep pursuing your goals. Everything should tie back to your ambitions, goals and serving those who you love.
When you fill your calendar with things that you love, activities and responsibilities for people you love, and fun, new things to learn, you start empowering and driving yourself to persevere. This is critical and the secret to success for everyone from J.K. Rowling to Oprah Winfrey to Elon Musk and Denzel Washington.
When you practice these three things, you simply will not be denied. What you want will be yours. Now, get to work.
Find your breakthrough
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This article first appeared on Medium.