Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Unusual things successful people do every day (a repost)

Great ideas from great minds... I've been switching up my schedule these past weeks, biking and exploring and climbing and having good conversations with good friends, and the ideas below ring true for me. Enjoy.


Every day I wear the same outfit and eat the same dinner. As an entrepreneur there are hundreds of micro-decisions I need to make, and decision fatigue can be a huge problem, so I try to eliminate any decisions I don't have to make.
For example, I only own 5 white t-shirts. In the morning I never need to think about what I'll be wearing: it's going to be a white t-shirt. I also only own 2 pairs of pants.
I do the same thing with meals. I have the exact same dinner 6 times a week (1 sweet potato, 1 chicken breast, 1 red bell pepper, 1 zucchini, pan-fried with tomato sauce) for the exact same reason. Staying focused on eating healthy can take a lot of willpower, and I'd rather spend that willpower on different decisions--so I created a healthy meal I can eat every day. The fewer decisions you have to make, the better decisions you can make.
-- Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer

It's important to keep the fire in the gut burning because without passion or purpose you become complacent--and complacency kills. I give myself a gut check every day to make sure I've still "got it" because over time it's easy to lose sight of what matters to you and instead focus on what is important to others (think new employee versus senior leader).
For me, the connection between mental and physical fitness is important--in the SEALs and in business--and something I continually try to strengthen by doing crazy gut checks like driving across country in 42 hours straight with no (read zero) sleep (not something I recommend, by the way) or waking up at five am every day to play guitar, write my blog, and exercise--rain, sleet, or snow--before heading into work.
If you lose the fire in the gut then you lose the values that define you.
-- Jeff Boss, former Navy SEAL (every list needs an ex-SEAL) and CrossLead team member at the McChrystal Group

We have a very casual "jeans and t-shirt" environment at Road ID but I still never leave for work without ironing my t-shirt.
Yes, I iron my t-shirts.
I use this simple routine as a subtle reminder to myself that Road ID, like every company, needs a leader. Even in a super-casual environment, the boss should look the part. Nothing says, "The buck stops here," like a neatly pressed t-shirt... right?
-- Edward Wimmer, co-founder of Road ID

I ride my bike to work because it creates a stress-free time. I get my best ideas on my bike, especially in the morning on my way in to the office.  Unlike driving it really creates a space for me to be creative.  Riding also gives me time to relax and decompress on my way home.
-- Tania Burke, President of Trek Travel

I've always equated business with creativity, since the majority of the activities involve solving problems or just figuring stuff out before our competitors do.  Therefore my daily routines are about preparing myself to be as creative or effective as possible and I approach it from a physical and mental perspective.
I try and run a couple of miles every morning just to clear my head. Then after a frantic hour of parenting (breakfast and lunches for my 3 boys, breakfast and walks for the 2 dogs), I get in the car and listen to music; I find it to be a great distraction and inspiration. The volume knob is adjusted based on the level of distraction required and the music I listen to most are the artists I find most inspiring. Obviously this is a very personal choice but my taste tends to be along the lines of the Dead, Dylan and classic rock like the Stones, Led Zeppelin etc. But I also am a huge fan of early punk like the Clash, the Ramones and most everything from that era.
I believe that all of these guys had the courage and talent to blaze their own trails, and it inspires me to want to do better and not be afraid to take risks.

I shift my day. I found long ago that I have my best ideas and am at my most productive early in the morning. I used to lose this time in the rush of getting the kids out of the door and getting ready for work, and then I found myself trying to remember the great idea I had as I was putting on my mascara.
So now I go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier--I'm up by 4am--which gives me a few hours of super-productive time before the craziness of the day starts and my mind gets jumbled with the mass of tactical decisions to be made.
-- Sallie Krawcheck, owner of 85 Broads, former Head of Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney