Energy Rituals to Start the Day

 

Energy Rituals to Start the Day

 

April 10, 2020
 

In Energy Matters last month I challenged each of us to commit to 3 new activities to raise our Energy level. Our commitment was to move the needle on our Energy Score by consistently adding on 3 simple actions -- every day for 1 week. Of course, the latest research shows that it takes, on average, 66 days to create a new habit.

So, by my count, we are 32 days into installing our new habits. How is it going? This question is simply a check-in for self-awareness. Please do not judge yourself. I know you are doing the best you can in this moment.  Simply take a few minutes for self-reflection. I will share my self-reflections at the end of this Blog. 

First let us broaden and deepen our awareness of how to manage our Energy. I am evolving my practice of a Morning Ritual to be Energy Rituals to Start the Day. 

As I have been doing work on Energy -- it just came to me --- my Morning Ritual is actually an Energy Ritual. I use the word “ritual” with intention. What feelings comes up when you say the word “Ritual?” What feelings come up when you say the word "Routine" or "Self-disciple?"  

I like "Ritual” because it carries the intention that our lives are sacred, that how we take care of ourselves first – and first thing in the morning – is how we are best prepared to be of service to others during the day. Quite simply: the start of our day is our time to put ourselves first – to be grounded and centered -- to be the best we can be to meet the challenges and the opportunities of our day.

My simple philosophy and the foundation of my Energy Ritual is: 

How you start your day is how you live your days.

How you live your days, is how you live your Life. 

In this sacred time, it is important to touch all the bases of body, mind, emotion, and spirit because they are all inextricably interconnected.

How I start my day --- sets my energy and intention for the day – and how I live the day. My Morning Ritual -- now my Energy Rituals to Start the Day --  has been transformational for me over time. 

Last month I highlighted a Harvard Business Review article from October 2007 by Tony Schwartz (CEO of The Energy Project) and Catherine McCarthy (Senior Vice President of The Energy Project): Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time. One of their key points was that:

"Most large organizations invest in developing employees'' skills, knowledge, and competence. Very few help build and sustain their capacity -- their energy -- which is typically taken for granted. In fact, greater capacity makes it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and with more sustainability."  

Has our collective experience managing to get through a global COVID pandemic over the past 2 years taught us to more deeply understand why it is critically important to invest in our Energy?  I certainly hope so. 

This month, we will go deeper into the research and framework created by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, and explained in depth in their 2003 book, The Power of Full Engagement . The subtitle is our lead quote: 

"Managing Energy, Not Time,
Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal."  
 

Loehr & Schwartz go on the explain their framework for managing energy, with case studies and results. The authors outline 4 key energy management principles that drive being fully engaged: 

  • "Principle 1: Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental & spiritual.
  • Principle 2: Because energy capacity diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renew.
  • Principle 3: To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do.
  • Principle 4: Positive energy rituals -- highly specific routines for managing energy -- are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance."

This is the full context, process and rationale for our focus this month: Energy Rituals to Start the Day. 

I will give an overview of 4 examples of Energy Rituals to Start the Day. I start with my evolving Energy Rituals, simply because it demonstrates how we each can create meaningful and fun rituals, as we listen and learn from world-class coaches, including Robin Sharma, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.  

 Alison's Energy Rituals to Start the Day

The 5 elements of my Energy Rituals are: Smile & Hydrating; Stretching; Gratitude Journaling; Meditation & Centering; Setting Intention & Priorities 

  • Smile & Hydrating: As I walk up the stairs to my Loft in the morning, I Smile. I can feel my smile radiate across my entire face and illuminate my space. You know, smile with your mouth, eyes, cheeks & ears. Lol. I also drink an 8 ounce glass of water. It is important to start the day by flushing the toxins from our body and our brain. I often add 1 teaspoon of homemade Himalayan salt water, also known as sole water, courtesy of my massage therapist, to enhance the detox effectiveness.  
     
  • Stretching: I have a great stretching routine starting with a Sun Salutation, shoulder rolls, neck stretches, flowing on down through my hips, legs ankles and feet. I am waking-up my body – gently. I may add/substitute push-ups, planks, marching in place or going up and down the stairs several times. I find that generating energy improves my positivity and self-confidence. 

  • Gratitude Journaling: I highly recommend a Gratitude Journal because it imprints a feeling of grace and gratitude more strongly on our neural networks. A daily gratitude practice can turn a single lane highway into a super highway in your brain over time. There are so many things to be grateful for: running water, a good bed, a hot shower, a roof over our heads, our sense of taste or smell, our hearing, the family, friends and pets in our lives. Look outside at nature and be grateful for the wind, as I was last night. In the darkest of moments, you may find that you can draw on your gratitudes for strength. There is a large body of research which indicates a consistent gratitude practice will materially improve your mental health and outlook on life.

  • Meditation & Centering: As one of my favorite teachers, Davidji says, “Comfort is queen.” Personally, I use my large comfortable chair/recliner. I consciously continue deep, diaphragmatic breathing -- in through the nose and out through the mouth, affirming: I breathe in light and breathe out darkness; I breathe in calm and breathe out overwhelm; I breathe in forgiveness and breathe out blame; I breath in love and breathe out pain; I breathe in love and breathe out love. Like everyone else, my mind wanders – and I let my breath bring me back to center. As you may know, my personal go-to meditation app is Insight Timer. With more than 130,000 free  meditations and a wide-range of teachers and styles on Insight Timer, I choose 1 or 2 meditations that support and/or grow an area I am personally working on. When we start the day centered, our body-mind knows what it feels like to be calm and centered. Then, when things get off course –we already know where and how to come back to center. 

  • Setting Intentions & Priorities: Now I am ready to tackle the real world. The first thing is to set an intention. If you follow me on Facebook, you will usually see my intention posted with a famous quote against the backdrop of the sunset from my Lake House overlooking Lake Erie. Right now, my intention is Energy. Check it out: Facebook @alisonlanzafalls. I then turn my focus to the 1-Page Productivity Planner from my High Performance Coaching Practice. On this one page, I have my top 3 priorities for the week as well as the one thing I must accomplish before the day is done. Energy flows where focus goes. I also ask a motivational question, such as: Who can I surprise today? Who needs me on my A-game today? What situation is likely to stress me out today and how will I deal with it from my best self? These questions are used in my High Performance Habits Coaching and are included in Brendon Burchard’s “The High Performance Planner.” It may be the best planner on the market right now, in my opinion.

I am presenting a framework, rather than a formula. For that reason, I left the math of my 60 minute Energy Rituals to the end. Smile & Hydrating:  5 minutes. Stretching: 5 minutes. Gratitude Journaling: 10 minutes.  Meditation & Centering: 25 minutes. Setting Intentions & Priorities:  15 minutes. 

Can you squeeze all this into 30 minutes? Of course. However, I get up early... and I hold my first hour of the day, sacred.   
 

Robin Sharma's Energy Rituals to Start the Day

Robin Sharma has formalized many of his teachings in new book, The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.  This is a story of two everyday people who are led on a magical journey by a quirky billionaire. The 5 AM Club, as the cover flap reads, is "Part manifesto for mastery, part playbook for genius grade productivity, and part companion for a life beautifully lived" Robin Sharma is a masterful storyteller -- and a world class coach. 

In Chapter 13: The 5 AM Club Learns the 20/20/20 Formula, from page 206:  

  • "Pocket # 1: Move. From 5-5:20 AM. WHAT: intense exercise; sweat hard; learn; hydrate; breathe deeply. WHY: cleanses cortisol, BDNF flows; dopamine rises; serotonin increases; metabolism elevates.  BENEFITS: more focus + productivity; focus + brain optimized; energy grows; less stress; live longer. 

  • Pocket # 2: Reflect. From 5:20 - 5:40 AM. WHAT: journal; meditate; plan; pray; contemplate. WHY: gratitude is boosted; awareness soars; happiness lifts; wisdom develops; serenity expands. BENEFITS: greater positivity; decreased reactivity; higher creativity; stronger performance; richer life.  

  • Pocket # 3: Grow. From 5:40 - 6:00 AM. WHAT: review goals; read books; consume audiobooks; listen to podcasts; study online. WHY: the 2x3 mindset; knowledge deepens; acumen escalates; confidence accelerates; master change. BENEFITS: better income + impact; craft calibrates; domain dominance; personal growth; inspiration rises."  

And, there it is --- Move, Reflect, Grow --how to start your day from Robin Sharma. Robin  talks about the start of your day as the "holy hour." You pick the specifics that work for you. 

The billionaire shares this advice to his students, the entrepreneur and the artist,  "As you apply The 20/20/20 Formula, always remember to keep improving the way you run it each morning. Stay hungry. Keep a white-belt mentality around it. Because nothing fails like success. Once you experience how transformational the practice is, it'll be easy to start coasting -- and maybe even neglecting -- a few steps in the process." Priceless!

This brief overview does not begin to do justice to the theory and practice of The 20/20/20 Formula and the breadth and depth of the teachings Sharma shares in his book. It is a gift. I highly encourage you to invest in this book. The link on Amazon is: The 5 AM Club

Jim Loehr's and Tony Schwartz's Energy Rituals to Start the Day  

As Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz write "Positive energy rituals -- highly specific routines for managing energy  -- are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance."  In their New York Times Best Seller, The Power of Full Engagement, they share their research and why they believe that Energy, rather than time is our most precious resource. In the Resources section, there is a great summary of their "Full Engagement Training System, the Full Engagement Personal Development Program of Roger B. and the Full Engagement Personal Development Plan Worksheet."  

While this is a different framework than the Certified High Performance Coaching™   program which I use -- I believe we all learn and grow and when we learn new frameworks. Besides, the same concepts and approaches, taught by different people, can resonate and connect differently with people. 

To be fully engaged, as defined by Loehr & Schwartz, we must by physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned. These are their recommendations for energy management to increase our capacity across all 4 sources of energy from the Table: Sustained High Performance in the Storm, on page 202.  

  • Physical Energy: Supportive Habits/Skills (Small "Muscles") -- sleep; exercise; diet; hydration. Primary Capacities/Skills (Big "Muscles") -- heart and lungs; abdominals; shoulders and back; arms. 

  • Emotional Energy: Supportive Habits/Skills (Small "Muscles") -- patience; openness; trust; enjoyment. Primary Capacities/Skills (Big "Muscles") -- self-confidence; self-regulation; interpersonal effectiveness; empathy/caring.
      
  • Mental Energy: Supportive Habits/Skills (Small "Muscles") -- visualization; positive self-talk; positive attitude; mental preparation. Primary Capacities/Skills (Big "Muscles") -- focus; realistic optimism; time management; creativity.  

  • Spiritual Energy: Supportive Habits/Skills (Small "Muscles") -- honesty; integrity; courage; persistence. Primary Capacities/Skills (Big "Muscles") -- character; passion/commitment; integrity; service to others. 

Isn't this a thought provoking list of habits and capacities? It certainly informs how I coach Energy and helps shape my personal list of Energy Rituals to Start the Day. I love the focus on Purpose, Service to others, Courage, Self-talk, and Positive attitude. These all are part of my focus in my prayers and meditations and daily practices. 

This outline also makes very clear why they believe Energy Management is the currency of high performance --- with time management simply one component in the framework. 

Kenneth Soares: Energy Rituals to Start the Day

I have followed Kenneth Soares on Insight Timer for many years. Soares is a meditation teacher, trained in EFT, NLP, one of the creators of PowerThoughts Meditation Club, with 190,000 followers on Insight Times. Three years ago, I  signed up for his 10-Day Course on Insight Timer: "Manifest Your Ultimate Goals and Dreams." Day 10 is a magnificent conclusion: "Awakening With Morning Rituals." In this last session, Kenneth shares that he started to get up 30 minutes earlier every day in order to make time for his 30 Minute Morning Ritual.

Soares' Energy Rituals include the following 5 Steps: 

  1. Smile: 2 minutes. Start your day, right away, with a smile and hold it for a full 2 minutes. Smile whether you feel like it or not. The brain does not recognize the difference between a “real” smile and a “fake” smile, as he says. So just smile – with your full face --- and maybe even laugh at yourself. 
  1. Move, stretch and breathe: 10 minutes. Use your body and jump start the interconnections between your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual arenas. Whatever you choose to do – make it fun! Do what you want to do – whether that be stretching, walking, yoga, jumping, planking, push-ups, jogging, etc. Create energy in your physical body and raise your vibration. Just do it – no excuses. Kenneth challenges us: “Excuses are lies disguised as truths.” End this step with 1 minute of deep breathing with your hands on your heart.
  1. Manifestation – visualization, goals and affirmations: 10 minutes. Pick your favorite tools. Your tools could include positive affirmations, guided meditations, visualizations of your goals, either short-term or long-term dreams. 
  1. Gratitude: 5 minutes. Have a daily gratitude practice. Gratitude is “the water and sunshine to the seeds and plants in your garden.” Start a Gratitude Journal – with your 3 daily gratitudes. Perhaps your gratitudes are for the most important people in your life or your accomplishments, or for the awe in Nature or small things you may have taken for granted in the past. 
  1. Intention: 3 minutes. Set your intention for the day. How do you want the day to feel like? Is it fun, joyful, adventuresome, productive, etc.? Shine your intention into every room in your house, into every relationship – and send it out to the universe. Most importantly, end this step with a 10 second dance! How fun.

And, there it is --- Smile, Move, Manifest, Gratitude, Intention -- how to start your day from Kenneth Soares. You pick the specifics that work for you.
 

Checking In: Where is Your Energy Level Now?

In last month's Blog, "Energy Matters," we took a page out of my Certified High Performance Coaching Program, and focused the Lesson on Energy, asking ourselves: 

On a scale of 1-10, do you have the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual Energy  every day -- the habits, the stamina, the consistency, and joy -- to keep your energy tank full , to achieve your goals and live your life fully? 

A challenging question, right? This is an important question because all change starts with awareness and acceptance of where we are. 

What is your answer -- today? On a scale of 1-10, what is your self-assessment score on Energy? Please set aside judgment. The score, per se, does not matter. A score of 9 is not "good." There is always room for improvement. Raising your Energy from a 9.0 to a 9.3 has a geometric impact. Likewise a score of 6 is not "bad." This observation simply opens up a lot of opportunity for improvement.

What is your score today? What was your score last month? What 3 new actions did you commit to add to your daily routine? Did you stick with it for a week? For a month? Were you consistent is your efforts? Were you aware of and celebrate your successes? Were you accepting of and non-judgmental when you slipped up? 

Here is my Self- Assessment: Last month, I scored my Energy at a '6', which is lower than average for me. I was in the throws of dealing with a beloved pet, a member of my family, who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive and painful cancerous tumor on his leg. In addition, my Morning Ritual went out the window, as I slept on the coach, and spent most of my time with Yogi, my fox red/yellow lab. My dearest, Yogi passed away very quickly -- way too soon for me-- at only 11 years young. At the time, I knew why my energy level was low -- and there was nothing I could do about the situation. So, I chose to focus on 3 things I could do something about. I committed to: 

  • Restart working out with a personal trainer
  • Eliminate multi-tasking
  • Thoroughly read a new book, The 7 Energies of the Soul, by David Gandelman

Today, April 8th, my Energy score is a '7.5'. A significant improvement, for sure. I am still processing the grief and pain of losing Yogi. My Lake House seems even bigger and quieter without him.

My focus on taking action has helped me. I love my new workout routine and have a fantastic trainer who is great at integrating stretching, balancing, and strength training. I am just finishing up the new book, I mentioned, and have learned a lot about the concept of balancing -- the Creator, the Healer, the Warrior, the Lover, the Artist, the Explorer, and the Master -- the 7 Energies of the Soul, as defined by Gandelman.

And, I have totally flunked eliminating multi-tasking. In fact, after Yogi passed over, I was so distracted, my multi-tasking led to even more serious mistakes than usual. Thankfully, nothing criminal or fatal. I laughed at myself, forgave myself … and continue to commit to doing better at eliminating multi-tasking. I share my personal journey simply to be honest and hopefully to provide an example of how this process can work for you.

How have you done?  

There is, however, another very important element which I  want to share.  I am now back on track with my Morning Ritual -- which as just discussed, has morphed into Energy Rituals to Start the Day. On its own -- this action has probably accounted for a substantial part of the increase in my overall Energy level. For sure, this is a primary reason for the topic of this April Blog. 

In conclusion, I believe it is important to experiment and discover what works best for you. You decide what changes you are ready to make, immediately -- tomorrow. Let’s talk about it.

Wishing you joy, fun, and great Energy on your journey as you change a few habits and create your own unique Energy Rituals. 

  

Till next time, 

 May you be happy now and always, Alison 

 

 

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