I once heard a speaker talk about the importance of “leading your life from quiet” (I wish I could remember who said this…whoever it is, just know I'm thankful!). Over the years I've tried to put this “lead your life from quiet” principle into practice. I'm not perfect at it, but every year I get better. And every year I experience more success in the most important roles of my life and one of the reasons is because I lead my life more effectively. For me, leading my life from quiet revolves around 7 B's I practice practically every weekday morning. Before I share the 7 B's, let me lay some groundwork for how to lead your life from quiet.
Groundwork for the 7 B's
My routine, especially Monday through Friday, is to wake up around 5:00 AM and begin my day with the 7 B's. And for those who gasp at “5:00 AM,” I used to be one of you. By nature I'm a night owl. Waking up this early is something I've learned to do (Kathy, my wife, has been a huge encouragement to me in this area). Believe me, if I can do it, you can too. What's more, if you want to experience real success in the most important roles of your life, your chances go WAY UP if you get a jump-start on your day. I'm sure there are successful late-morning or early-afternoon risers, I just haven't met any yet.
Most mornings I invest 60-90 minutes in the 7 B's, but sometimes I can only invest 20-30 minutes. There have even been seasons when investing 15 minutes is all I could pull off. The key is to invest whatever time you can. If you invest zero minutes leading your life from quiet, you will likely be leading your life from chaos.
Finally, I don't accomplish every “B” every morning, nor do I try since that's not the point. The point is to invest in a variety of activities each morning that “sharpen your saw” (a Stephen Covey-ism). I do accomplish each “B” at least once a week during my “lead my life from quiet” times. The cumulative impact of practicing each “B” every single week is:
- Tremendous personal growth and development
- Better perspective and insight
- Greater balance in the major roles of my life
- Real success and living WAY BEYOND my average
7 B's for Leading Your Life from Quiet
The first thing I do when I get out of bed (after brushing my teeth and washing my face) is pour cups of coffee for Kathy and me. After this, we head to our favorite quiet spot in our home to practice several of the following B's…
2. Bible & Prayer
I regularly read the Bible and spend time in prayer. I usually focus on quality instead of quantity—reading one chapter in the Bible and really looking for something I can apply that day.
When I was in 3rd grade, my teacher approached my parents and asked them if they knew I couldn't read. Additionally, when I graduated high school my SAT scores were so low in English, writing, and vocabulary that I was not accepted into college. I had to take an entire semester of “Developmental Studies” just to get accepted.
Why share this with you? Because you need to know I am not the world's fastest reader. Yet every year, I read 20-40 books. Over the years I've become a faster reader simply because I've read a lot, but I'm still no speed-demon. So how do I read so many books in a year? By spending part of my “lead my life from quiet” time with my nose in a book. Think about it—if you give 2.5 hours a week to morning reading (that's just five days a week for 30 minutes at a time) and another couple of hours a week during the evenings, you can polish off one book every week or two. As a side note, one in four people in the United States do not read even one book a year. The average number of books read in one year by an individual in the United States is four (read more). Are you starting to see how practicing this particular “B” during your “live my life from quiet” time will allow you to live way beyond average?
(SIDE NOTE: I also have a membership to Audible.com and listen to one audio book every month. This increases how many books I “read” by 12 additional books a year.)
4. Big Picture Thinking & Planning
Once a week, usually on Monday, I spend most of my “lead my life from quiet” time reviewing my Envision It Forward COMPASS™ (i.e. Life Plan), my Aim It Forward MAP™ (i.e. my plan of action), and my annual goals. This allows me to focus on my “true north” and navigate how to proactively get to where I believe I'm supposed to go.
5. Block Out My Day
I don't have a weekly To-Do List. I have a 20-80 Lists™. Basically, I break down my action items into two categories—the 20 percent of my activities that will produce 80 percent of my results and the other 80 percent of my activities that will produce only 20 percent of my results. Then, every day, I determine how I can spend most of my time focusing on the 20 percent of my activities that produce 80 percent of my results. I use block of time, which I set up on a 3×5 card to manage my day. My 3×5 card usually looks something like this:
- Block 1: Lead My Life from Quiet
- Block 2: 20 Percent Tasks
- Block 3: 20 Percent Tasks
- Block 4: Personal Development and/or Exercise
- Block 5: 80 Percent Tasks
- Evening: Family Time
Again, this one little practice, which takes all of five minutes, pays HUGE dividends in my life. Most days I invest in what matters most simply because I've taken just five minutes to block out my day accordingly.
Before I start my day, I practice two more B's. First, I spend 15-20 minutes stretching. I exercise almost every day, so staying limber is important. I usually catch up on sports via ESPN while do different yoga poses I've learned through the years.
Perhaps my favorite B to do in the morning is to bless my wife Kathy. One of her love languages is services, so I do little things like make our bed, clean up the dishes after breakfast, and set up the coffee maker for her when she comes home from a day of teaching kindergartens. I love to finish my “lead my life from quiet” time doing special little things to serve her and show her I value her.
There they are…the 7 B's that help me “lead my life from quiet.” By practicing these 7 B's, over time you will see yourself living it forward in the most important roles of your life. Seriously, it's impossible NOT to see improvements in your life if you invest in yourself by leading your life from quiet.
And as a special bonus, here's an additional B: BREAKFAST! Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast with a balance of lean protein, good carB's, and healthy fat. It will give you the fuel you need for consistent energy throughout the day.
Questions: Which ideas from this list connected with you the most? Additionally, what do you do to lead your life from quiet?