Now I was talking to a client early this morning, and by anybody’s outside perspective, he was an amazingly successful man. He had done all kinds of great things. He owns his own law firm. He’s got an amazing family, a loving wife and two beautiful young children. He’s a leader in his community. He sits on civic organizations as well as sits on the board of several nonprofits. If you were looking from the outside in, you would think this guy had it all, but inside he wasn’t feeling good. He was dying inside, and that’s why we were talking.
You see, every day he would come home and just feel unfulfilled. Yeah, he loved seeing his kids and his wife, but inside just, it wasn’t right for him. He wasn’t achieving greatness, and one of the reasons that he reached out to me was he was like, “Doug, I’m just not living the life that I want. I got one shot at this game …” That was his belief system, “I have one shot at this game and I want to do the best possible.” So in our conversations, we talked about it, and what his day was like. He gets up in the morning, goes to work early, has coffee, works out at a lunch, goes through in just meetings and at night, go home and play with the kids, maybe do some stuff for some of the civic organizations, and then he goes home, has a couple cocktails and goes to bed.
Now pretty typical for a business owner, especially a successful business owner, right? You have that way of, “How do we discharge the end of the night?” What he was feeling is, he wasn’t feeling accomplished. All these accomplishments he had, but all his to-do list was huge and the day would go and he’d see all these bad things through his practice going on in the world, and just wasn’t living his life. So I gave him one tip … Well, I gave him a lot, but one tip that I’m gonna share with you. That one tip is: Make your bed in the morning.
This served me really well and it’s served him also. Make your bed early in the morning, and I got this after listening to the University of Texas at Austin 2004 Commencement Speech. That was by Admiral William H. McRaven. I had to read that off. Amazing man, it sounds like. Very inspirational and I hope to meet him someday. I was really impressed by what he was doing. What he caused me to do is start making my bed every day. You see, making your bed is easy, but like most things, it’s easy not to do, and I was always of the mindset of, “Well, why make my bed? Because I’m just gonna get in it later and mess it up and hopefully mess it up in the day and have a good time.” And even when I check into hotels, when I’m traveling, speaking, or meeting clients or just traveling for fun, one of the first things I do if I stay in a hotel is I take the sheets and I take the corners that are tucked in and I rip them out, because I just hate that constraint. I feel like I’m just confined when I’m in that bed that’s tucked in.
But what I’ve started doing is, after listening to this speech, is I start making my bed. Now here’s one of the reasons why. When you make your bed in the morning, it does a couple things. One is, you start your day with one small accomplishment. Now, this one small accomplishment doesn’t sound big, but it’s the first stepping stone to the rest of your day, right? It’s just like if you want to lose weight, you don’t have to run a marathon, you just need to take a single step. It’s the first step along the journey of a successful day. Now, making your bed, I was surprised at how much I felt better walking back into my bedroom. It just looked cleaner, nicer, it just had a better feeling, but also I was even more surprised, is the effect it had on my wife.
We have a newborn, and so we’re not sleeping quite as much as we’d like to, so when I come back … I get up at 5:15 in the morning, but when I come back and she’s up and I go back and I make the bed, wow, it makes her feel great. It shows her that I’m on the same team as her, helping out around the house. It shows her that there’s one small thing that’s getting done that allows her to go throughout the day. There’s so much going on with our newborn, there’s so much going on with our lives and we love to travel and play, so we’re always on the go, but having that bed made just makes her feel better and it makes me feel better, warms my heart.
Now the Admiral talks about, and I found this to work in my life too and I’m telling my client to do the same and I’m giving you the opportunity to try it as well: By making your bed, whatever happens through the day … There’s so much going on in the world, I mean if you watch the news it’s so much negativity, there are wars over here, South Korea, Syria, all over the place. There’s flooding in Houston and Florida. It’s mind-boggling, right? But when you make your bed, what happens is by the end of the day, you come back in from that whatever’s happening … Hopefully, your day is glorious, but whatever happened, you come back in, and seeing your bed made is a reminder of the accomplishment that you’ve achieved. The small little accomplishment. You’re also able to tuck yourself into a nicely-made bed that’s already warm and can embrace you and make you feel so, so good.
Now I still don’t tuck my sheets in but I love the bed being made, and also it’s just a reminder of the little things in life to be grateful for. I found this to actually be one of these small little things that I could do, these small little hacks that the Admiral gave me, that I can do in my day to just make it a little bit better. Again if we’re going for 1% better every day, that accumulates over time. These little things that we can do. Oftentimes as business-owners, we focus on the business so much that other parts of our Five to Thrive can go away. This is one small thing we can do to have an accomplishment done every day. Even if it’s small and even if you’re not trying to have accomplishments, psychologically that intention, putting your intention forward to being successful or to moving forward, really helps. It’s amazing, and I invite you to try it.
What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna throw the video of the speech and I recommend watching the whole speech, I’m gonna throw that onto the Author of Your Own Story Facebook community page, and I’m gonna ask my team to put this video also on the website so you can see it. I highly encourage you going over. If you’re watching this right now, click over. Watch the video. You’ll get a bunch of other tidbits from the Admiral. He is amazing. If you’re listening to this in your car, just remind yourself, go to the Author of Your Own Story website, find this Daily Growth Hack, and make sure you do it.
That’s it from me today. Go ahead, make your bed, and reminding you: Go out and be the author of your own story.
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