3 Steps To Being Successful

Here is a great guest post by Andy Traub. Andy hates getting up early but loves being up early. He’s the author of Early To Rise: Learn to rise early in 30 days. Win a copy at the end of this post.

You can learn more about his book at EarlyToRiseBook.com. He is a full time podcaster and founder of Take Permission Media Network.

Andy Traub

Leaders are different because they go first.

Leaders have three jobs.

  1. Look into the future
  2. Map out a path to get there
  3. Go first

If these things sound difficult then welcome to leadership, it’s work. There’s a silver bullet habit that will help you achieve all three aspects of your role as a leader. Before we talk about the habit let’s define the three jobs of a great leader.

Look into the future:

Someone has to lay the asphalt and someone needs to map out the road. Your job is to map out the road. You have to look ahead so people have work a year from now. You must have a vision and that happens by looking into the distance. You need quiet to do this. That’s tough because distractions are everywhere. This habit will almost completely reduce your distractions.

Map out a path to get there:

Strategic thinking requires balancing the many different aspects of your business. To think strategically you must mentally traverse a path that doesn’t yet exist. You’re guessing, planning, and dreaming. That requires total focus. You can’t get that type of focus between meetings or at 4pm at your desk. Mapping out a path takes total focus. This habit allows you room to think.

Go first:

Intentions aren’t worth jack squat if you never take action on them. Leaders go first. They are the head of the spear. They don’t just yell “Charge!”, they are in front leading that charge. This habit gives you the time you need to take action.

Jon Acuff told me once that opportunities are drawn to people in motion. He’s right. People who take action get more opportunities than those who don’t. I’m going to invite you build a habit that will bring you opportunities. If you take those opportunities is up to you but you’ll get them if you build this habit.

Rise early. Rise early with intention. Rise early and listen. Rise early and read. Rise early and dream. Rise early and create. Get your butt out of bed.

If you get out of bed before the rest of the world and do it with intention your life will change very quickly. Don’t get up early to just do the same crap you do day in and day out. That won’t change anything. If you want a different life then you need to take different actions. Most people sleep in as late as they can. You’re not most people. You’re a leader.

If you are a leader then you must begin to wake up early and do it with a purpose. Here are three steps to building a habit of rising early as a leader.

  1. Go to bed earlier. You’re up late watching television, working or putzing around on the internet. Go to bed earlier because your night hours are not as productive as your morning hours will be. 5-6am is three times more productive a time to dream, plan and take action than 11pm-Midnight is.
  2. Have a plan for your morning. Don’t do more of the same. Buy a nice notebook and make it your dream notebook. Write out dreams for your business, your team and yourself. Dreaming is free so you have no excuse not to do it. You can’t become it if you don’t dream and believe it first. Schedule your coffee maker to turn on at 5am. Have everything ready for a productive morning before you go to bed.
  3. Be accountable to someone. Text a buddy every morning 10 minutes after you wake up. If you don’t text him then you owe him lunch. He can do it too. Competition is healthy. Leaders are too often lone rangers. Don’t be afraid to invite members of your team or a friend to take this challenge on with you.

My business and personal life have radically improved because of my habit of rising early. I’m a better father, husband, friend, Christian, and business owner because I get my butt out of bed early.

If you want to change your life then change something tomorrow morning. Rise early.

Andy is giving away free copies of Early To Rise. And each includes the full audio edition as well as 30 days of email encouragement to help you build a habit of rising early.

If you would like to win a copy of Early To Rise, you must first:

  1. Leave a comment below in the comment section.
  2. Fill out the contact form. Don’t put your mailing info in the comment.
  3. Tweet a link to this post. Click here to Tweet. If you don’t have Twitter, you can use Facebook.

I will pick the winners on February 5 based on your promotion and comments. If you are selected, I will notify you by email.

 

More pages:

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134 thoughts on “3 Steps To Being Successful”

  1. I started rising one hour earlier in the past few days and its been great how much I’ve been able to get done toward my dreams. I’m writing an ebook and I’ve been able to concentrate better and get more done.

  2. Great tips. I love the third suggestion related to accountability. Texting a friend 10 minutes after you get up is such a creative way to encourage accountability.

      1. Great point. I’ve had to shut down some of the chat features on FB and Google in the morning at times. It’s great to have friendly friends, but not at 5 in the morning when I’m trying to be productive.

  3. I’m a morning person anyway, but I started intentionally getting up early last summer (I confess it is quite a bit earlier than 5) to spend time in prayer and devotions, writing and running. Best thing I ever did. I am so much more productive all day and happier. And it is important to have a plan – otherwise I waste time on Facebook or email. Definitely a good thing for a leader to do.

      1. I HAVE to exercise first thing in the morning or I fall asleep reading or writing.

        My first five hours usually look like this:

        5:30 Tea and light exercise
        6:15 – Breakfast writing
        7:00 – Work
        8:00 – Family is up. Time with them.
        9:00 – Run/workout and then devotional time
        10:30 – Get ready and head to office.

        Without light exercise first thing and then a run or workout, I would sleep until 10:30 🙂

  4. I would like to lightly suggest that for some people it is as effective doing this at night time. Trying to open people to possibility they have untapped within themselves does not need to be in the a.m. only- it is what you benefit from more- on personal level – try both ways see what is more your niche. I know i am a night person unless it is to go fishing and that’s because i like the break of dawn over the foggy water.. Point of it is to give yourself permission and time to effectively use your own rhythms and space to leap into your possibilities.. it doesn’t have to be morning if it doesn’t work for you. I paint much better at three a.m. then I ever do at 6 a.m.
    Quiet and solitude and connecting to your purpose is the aim- make time for that – no matter what time it is. Thanks for the reminder to stay open-

    1. Totally agree with this point Cass “Point of it is to give yourself permission and time to effectively use your own rhythms and space to leap into your possibilities” I just think most people are better in the morning. If you can do nights then go for it. The point is to change your life, not to obey an alarm clock.

  5. I already get up early most days, but I would enjoy a copy of the book because it will give the justification to text Skropp at 2:00 AM his time when I’m up at 5:00 AM Eastern. It is all about creative accountability, right? I’m sure the East Coast CLoBlog Tribe could help me in this?

  6. If I would rise an hour early, I’d be up at 3:45 AM. I do go to bed at 9:00, so that’s sort of a problem ;0)

    However, my version of rising early is engaging early with things that matter. By 6:45 I’m on the train reading about leadership, listening to the EntreLeadership podcast or typing up a blog post. I’ve been doing this for over a year and the growth I have experienced has been unbelievable. There are times when 4 AM comes and my body is done sleeping. Instead of getting frustrated and trying to roll over and fall asleep again, I meditate and pray. This gives me great focus.

    I’m not by nature a morning person, but my early mornings certainly have been fruitful.

    1. I think I’ve got a similar issue as you…you’re up early, and immediately you’re attacking your day. I love including things that matter most to me into my day – like reading the Bible, listening to Entreleadership, etc while riding the subway…or walking to different class locations…but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like I’m really getting the right time I need. (Bible reading to be more specific…) I’m not sure how to rearrange things in my life to make this work better, but boy…I am working on it.

      Life audit on the way!

  7. Thanks for the great tips! Starting my day earlier is something that God has been prompting me to do in the past several weeks, so this post could not have been more timely!

  8. I slept in today…until 5:45 🙂

    I have read (OK listened to) Andy’s book and it is great.

    I like that it is practical. It doesn’t deal a whole lot with theory and “why” you should wake up early (we know that), but the how and the motivation to do so.

    So my suggestion is get a copy. Free or purchased. Then do what he says.

  9. I’m so excited to read this book Andy! I used to have a job where I was required to get up early (sometimes as early as 2am). Now that I’m done with that, I’ve gotten lax on rising early. I would love a copy of your book to have a plan to be more intentional with my mornings!

    I love your comment “Most people sleep in as late as they can. You’re not most people. You’re a leader.”
    Definitely some burnt rice in this post! Thanks for sharing!

          1. You might want to return that crystal ball…
            He won’t be at the one I’m volunteering at 🙁
            But I’m sure he’ll be at yours–so jealous 😉

  10. Good stuff Andy! Looking forward to listening to this!

    “You must have a vision and that happens by looking into the distance. You need quiet to do this.”

    This is so true! I’ve been an early riser for most of my life, but I can tell you that the times that I’ve slacked off, I can feel it in my bones…life just isn’t the same.

    Every time I get up before the rest of the world (and especially before my five year old) several other people show up; my author, my artist, my fitness guru, and my God. They are all there waiting for me.

    What a great reminder to turn off the tv at night and make it happen!

        1. Indeed it does Bob. Just look after Day 30 and you’ll see where to sign up for that AND you can hear me read each day’s passage from within the book if you’re on any device other than an eink Kindle. Built in audio links baby!

  11. List Lady is back:

    1. Inertia and momentum – mornings are hard because of the first, and it is easy to stay up late because of the second.

    2. I don’t want Andy’s book because I will STAY UP LATE AND READ IT!!

    3. Maybe I’d like it on tape/CD/podcast – someone can read to me while I work.

    4. Lily Kreitinger – a long commute sounds like uninterrupted time to do the things that those of us to walk to work feel guilty about doing instead of working!

    5. Nothing quite like a newly retired spouse to disrupt the former household habit of early rising. . .

    6. TEXTING SOMEONE FIRST THING??? For real? Does anyone ever turn off his phone around here?? (I have no signal at my house, so this is so flippin’ foreign to my way of life.)

    7. If I did Twitter, I’d definitely use the sentences: “You are not most people. You are a leader.”

    8. @Cass – AMEN!

    1. Tying to today’s post- I am thankful someone is a night owl and dreamer and reader like me!!! as long as we put our eyes forward and expand into our present I think we all can grow- into the path God planned for us. And Jana- I have no signal at my house either- I love it! Dinner is a sit down event every night – and the teens take off their hats, shut off the tv and tell me the best part of their day. We map out what they can “do next” what they can give back and what they learned. Its good to have someone to keep you moving on your path- face to face, text or skype.. as long as we create a better now our tomorrows will follow.

  12. I’m getting my butt out of bed…for vision and planning and dreaming and praying! 5-6am is not for house cleaning, laundry, checking email, facebook, negative thoughts, or doing any tasks that are urgent/non-urgent and unimportant. Ohhh, the possibilities.

  13. I have experienced periodic times of getting up early and I know it is beneficial but…. it is hard to get out of a nice warm bed. I hope to learn Andy Traub’s tips on doing it.

  14. I Will wake earlier. I Will plan for my future. For me it’s about being intentional in my life. I have just created my first personal mission statement this last weekend. “I Will demand excellence in every aspect of my life. I will believe each day will bring new opportunity.”

  15. One of my goals this year was to wake up at 5:30 every day. I can’t say that I’ve done very well with that. I love the idea of texting a friend in the morning for accountability.

  16. Hmm. This was a challenging post. I do wake up early – 5a.m. But it’s not early enough. My day starts IMMEDIATELY at that time. Showers, getting kids up and dressed after my wife and I are up and dressed, breakfasts, lunches prepped, – and we’re out the door at 6:30a.m. – if not, we don’t make it to work / school on time.

    This frustrates me, because I have always been an early riser. (Grew up on a dairy farm.) It used to be so much easier to create space for the things that matter most: devotions, thinking, planning, exercise…but now the difficulty level of the game feels like it has gone up..way up.

    This post has challenged me to look at how I’m playing my game. Inside me…those afore mentioned important things are what matters most….but what I end up doing some days is quite far away from the mark.

    Proverbs 4:26 – “Examine the paths of your feet…” do I like where I’m going? It’s funny how our future gets here from taking one step at a time. If we don’t like what we’re living now, the only way to change it is to start taking different steps, in a different direction. But that will never happen if we don’t make available that vital space in our lives.

    Serious burnt rice for me today. (There….I said it!)

        1. I get your struggle Aaron! I used to get up at 5:30 and still had plenty of “me” time. However, since the second child and a few more hours of work each week, 4:30 is the only way. However, I definitely don’t hit that as much as I’d like.

          Your quote from Proverbs is perfect. Almost like the question, “Want to know what’s important to you?”—-“look at where you’re spending your money.” In this case, look at where you spend your time.

          For me, putting a brick through the tv seems like a good idea right about now. 🙂

          1. Agreed – the TV has robbed many hours. I tend not to watch much now that we only have Netflix. (And helps save money that way too hehehe.) But yes, having kids sure does add complexity to the mix. And having your own life to lead and keep running…. meaning you’re responsible to make it run….adds to it too.

            That space where I had my early mornings and quiet times all squared nicely away was back when I lived with my parents – no wife, no kids, no job but a paper route…the only thing I really had to worry about was school and getting those papers out on time. Funny how life changes. And how vital it is not to forget what what really matters to us, no matter how complex our lives get.

            Hmm….going into reflecting mode. 🙂

  17. You know, it’s just good to get up early just to watch the sun rise and be in awe what’s around you. That’s why I must fish! Great post Chris.

  18. This is take 2 of my comment to this post. I like to be busy and do lots of things, the more and the earlier, the better. However… I’d like to redirect my early morning efforts to stop the craziness and think about my purpose. What is it in my daily activities that will help me reach my current life goals? Rather than rising early to cram a whole bunch of more stuff in and be more productive, I want my early hours to be more reflective. What do you guys think?

    1. I think you’re a comment hog 😉 haha. jk.

      No, you’re exactly right. it should be a time that is different than the rest of the day…almost a sacred time. A time where you can look within yourself and make sure you’re on the right path and doing the right things..

      But thats just my thought…I haven’t written a book on the subject, like others on this comment thread 😉 I’ll yield to his opinions!

  19. I took Eric Thomas’ (google his videos BTW, great motivational stuff. He does TGIM, which is just awesome) approach and when daylight savings time ended I kept getting up (went from 6AM to 5AM). I use the time to read leadership books, research, learn to code, learn a language, you name it. It’s been so productive I may just move on to getting up at 4AM so I can workout after doing my hour of learning.

    The biggest obstacle for most people is turning off the TV. Trust me, it’s worth it. Plus your brain won’t rot!

  20. Excellent stuff here Andy. I use the early mornings for writing and once I’m at the office the mornings are used for strategic meetings and / or strategic thought sessions. My mind is supercharged in the morning regardless of my coffee intake. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Getting in late today, but this is a great post! Thanks, Chris and Andy!

    I’d love a copy of this book to help me get better at managing my time. I currently have a weird schedule, working 5 pm – 5 am at least four days a week, but I know I can apply the principles.

    I’d love to share this on my blog and future podcast.

  22. I completely agree that early mornings are more productive than evenings. Even though it’s not easy to get up early I get more done when I start early. The biggest problem I have is focusing on productive things rather than just starting my day. Because of this I have been working on a combination of adjusting priorities and getting up earlier. I currently get up at 5 and 4:45 most days, but think maybe 4:30 is that ticket. The question I struggle with is how early is too early, and what things can I change to make this time productive! This book could help me make some of those important changes.

  23. Really enjoyed this article. Not only does it outline and describe a successful leader, it gives you examples on how you can relate it to your everyday activity. Accountability is a big piece that lacks in leadership and this mentality and lifestyle change holds leaders accountable in a fun way. I am intrigued by this and would enjoy reading on.

  24. Love this! I am about to finish a trial period at a gym that is approx. 17-20 minutes one way from my home. (we live in a rural area) I am planning to join on Friday but not just for the physical benefits, primarily because I love the idea of creating the discipline of rising at 4:45 am and starting the day with a couple of productive hours! I struggled at first thinking about the commute, but what better time to listen to podcasts, audio books, and dream?!
    I’ve never had a problem rising early as long as I had something to do, but it’s way too tempting to stay under the covers on the days that my ‘to-do’ list doesn’t start until 8am. I’ve personally found that the first hour of my day is not a good time for me to have my ‘quiet time,’ I’ve fallen back to sleep one too many times in the midst of praying and/or reading!
    Thanks for the encouragement Andy, it couldn’t have come at a better time and thank you Chris for sharing!

  25. I was impressed…and I don’t impress easily. I was convicted…and I don’t convict easily. I was challenged and inspired…and those also don’t happen easily. Thanks for your well written and to the point article. I’m going to share the encouragement with others.

  26. This is one of those areas where I’ve always wanted to do it but never seemed to manage it. I’ve always been a night owl and years ago found my night hours to be more productive. However with age that’s flipped around and I haven’t managed to reset my body to rise early. I’m going to commit myself to following this advice and see if I can make this happen, because now my early hours are my most productive hours.

    Thanks for the insight.

    Scott

  27. I have heard this before and have no doubt it is true but have never had the discipline to do it. I tend to stay up too late trying to get things done and end up falling asleep and not getting them done, obviously. If this book could be the catalyst to help me break that bad habit then it could be very instrumental in helping me achieve my dreams of reading my Bible more, exercising more regularly, starting a blog, writing a book, and stretching myself beyond my comfort zone in the second half of my life. I would welcome the challenge and think this could be that trigger I need to take that step I need to take.

    1. Frustrating isn’t it? (Staying up late trying to get things done…but not really getting em done.) Feel your pain sometimes man.

      How are you doing at prioritizing time during the day? For me, that’s where my battles are won and lost, and right now – I’m fighting several uphill raging vicious battles with time and finances – but the more I focus on getting my priorities straight in my planner (not always at the start of the day…grrr) the easier it is for me to tackle all my stuff. How about you?

  28. Thanks for the post! I’m constantly struggling with making myself get up EARLIER!!! I’m typically a 7am riser and even that is painful b/c I stay up way too late reading books, blogs and researching … my new focus is to rise at 6am. I know how critical those early hours can be to productivity, dreaming and honoring yourself.

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