Today is “I Love To Write Day.” Founded in 2002, this day is designed to be the world’s largest party for writers. In honor of this day & my love of writing, I want to share something that has helped me out during this past week. One of the privileges of being a part of a world-class leadership development organization is having a book of the month club. Our leaders read tons of books & carefully decide which one book will be distributed to each of us as a whole. This one portion of our system has been the defining moment for me. I was a non-reader or only on a “need to read” basis. I called myself a leader in church, but only read when I taught Sunday School, Small Group or hosted special functions as a speaker. Sadly my practice for reading was if the book had 13 chapters, I would read the first chapter a few times, create my teaching outline, teach & repeat. Very seldom did I read a book cover to cover prior to teaching. Thank God I picked really awesome books because this would have been disastrous!
One book that has produced significant results not only in my business, but in my life in general is the book, The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson. The “easy to do, easy not to do” philosophy helps me resolve many decisions. I have to say one of the greatest areas it helped me gain discipline in was using the blessed alarm clock. You have to understand my lifetime practice. As a child, my daddy went through several sequences to get me up in the morning for school. First he came to my bed & gently shook me to let me know it was time to get up. This was repeated a few times. Then he would unplug my fan, which was on a stand butted against my bed rail, pointed in my face. This step was torment!! The last step was water. Yes, you read correctly. He would get a cup of water & a teaspoon, pull my covers back & sprinkle me. That step was the final step. Once I got to junior high, daddy gave up. He bought me an alarm clock & said I was on my own. This created my practice of snoozing. Once married, I had two alarm clocks. My primary clock was set 15-30 minutes ahead & I would hit the snooze button several times. The second clock was in the kitchen. When it alarmed, I had to actually get up, thus being my final alarm. I stopped that ritual, but adopted another one. Until The Slight Edge, I set my alarm 15 minutes ahead, snoozed several times, then finally got up. I can’t imagine even doing this now, but….. I did. When I had kids, they got up. I never went through this ritual with them.
Reading the book didn’t convince me at first to alleviate the snooze. We attend monthly leadership seminars as a part of our leadership development program. One of our Dallas conventions, Marc Militello, used The Slight Edge book to reference how our daily decisions can be directed differently therefore creating different results in every area of our lives. Sounds elementary, but remember…..easy to do, easy not to do. During this seminar, Marc mentioned how we were not being people of integrity in little things such as using the snooze button. As I listened to him, I decided that night I would stop, cold turkey, the lifelong, habitual practice of using the snooze. It has been almost 3 years & I haven’t used it since.
Moving on to something that I am passionate about. Exercise. Fitness/ health & wellness is a huge part of my business & being a woman of integrity I wanted to lead by example in this area. I started off by completely & totally changing my eating habits. Watching the documentary, Food, Inc., spurred me to do a 360 degrees turn. I hope that is the right measurement of degrees to depict I changed everything! (You could say 180, but I by the time I did a 360, I was a completely different person at the starting point!) I actually carry this video in my trunk because I believe in it that much. A friend of mine, who runs a family owned & operated tortilla factory, has it right now. He told me he may not have to courage to watch it! For over 25 years I worked in the sickness industry as a nurse. During that time, I always believed prevention was the cure & chose the holistic / homeopathic route for anything. On a daily basis I witnessed how poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking/vices & a sedentary lifestyle contributed to the now epidemic proportions of disease & obesity. Having this video to project the truth, not merely my opinion, is the greatest ever. Once I developed the change in my diet, I had to master the exercise component. I have to admit, it started off very good. I was faithful until this summer when the heat index was a ka-zillion degrees in Texas & I wimped out. No excuse, but I took the low road. A friend from my old church, Elizabeth Brito, recently moved, with her adorable family, in my loft complex & we have committed to each other to work out daily beginning at 530am. Yeah, you read right. Which means I get up at 5am. The most convenient thing is she lives right across the hall from me & we walk down to the 2nd. floor to our gym! I can tell you this is the greatest decision we have made. Here are some things I have noticed by participating in slight edge discipline:
- Accountability partners rock! I preached this for years as a Singles Director. I wimp out on myself, but would never leave Liz hanging.
- I no longer avoid the elliptical machine. Confession: I felt like a spaz because I was so uncoordinated on the machine. Not anymore!
- I plan the clothes, accessories, & of course, shoes, I will wear to work the night before. This may not be a biggy for you, but….it is for me!
- I am a clean freak & before I leave for work, my loft is clean. Because I allow a few extra minutes before meeting Liz, some of my ritual cleaning habits are accomplished! The rest is done by the time I leave for work because I have instituted the things outlined above in #3!
- Water…..I have doubled my daily intake of water by drinking what I would normally drink during the day before I ever leave home. This is always better for me.
- My morning discipline is prayer w/ Liz, exercise, & then listening to self-development CD’s while getting ready for work. By the time I actually start my day, I have covered many of the most important things.
- In making sure I squeeze all of the items outlined in #3, #4, & #6, I am finding I am no longer late for work! Yay! The power of compounding works in many areas!
In summary, I encourage you to read the book, The Slight Edge, & determine for yourself which areas of your life can be adjusted to make necessary changes in your life. I recently gave this along with the book, Success for Teens, to an acquaintance whose son attends a prep school & has to read a certain number of books per school year. To date, it is one of the most referenced books in our business. I have not arrived by any means & have far, far to go, but……this is a huge step in the right direction. What you do will either lead you closer to or further away from your goals.
Easy to do, easy not to do!