Do You Want to Know What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast?

Don’t Sleep Walk Your Days Away

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast is a bookSunrise3 I read a few years back and adopted many of the habits because I do want to be successful at home AND work.  I was in the gym this past week and the gym owner mentioned this statement and it reminded me that I read this book a few years back.  I recommend reading it, but wanted to recap what the habits highly successful people do before breakfast as I believe we should be intentional about our days and our life.  Adopting some of these habits will only help you be a better you.

Here is the quick run down:


  1. They wake up early.
    • Like 5:30 AM , successful people know the morning time is time they can control and understand time is a precious commodity.
  2. They exercise first.
    • Taking care of yourself first is a priority. Whether it be lifting weights, cardio, or yoga it is important to do this first as it reduces stress and allows you to process better throughout the day.
  3. They work on important projects.
    • Whether business or home, they start with the important stuff, not the urgent. This allows more focus time without interruptions which means you get the important stuff done.
  4. They work on passion projects.
    • This could be personal, family, or work, but something they are passionate about so their life is not one sided. If things get one sided, anxiety can kick in and regrets of how they are living will creep in for a negative pull on their effectiveness.
  5. They spend quality time with family.
    • Depending on the stage of your family, grabbing 30-45 minutes with your spouse or children can set the tone for their day and for yours. Remember why you are working.
  6. They connect with their spouse.
    • This can be challenging but have many benefits. Taking time to talk, walk, enjoy breakfast or even workout together is time well spent.
  7. They network over coffee.
    • If you like to be home for dinner and you are limiting lunch meetings and end of day cocktail socials, networking with your key team members over coffee is an important activity.
  8. The write down things they are thankful for.
    • Getting a good perspective of what is going on can center yourself. Writing down things that you are grateful for – wins of the prior day, people, opportunities, accomplishments can change your attitude for the day. Attitude is super important as it has a direct impact on our actions.
  9. They meditate or pray.
    • Successful people are demanding of themselves and others. It is important to have a clear mind to make clear decisions. This gives them a calm before the rush of the day begins.
  10. They plan and strategize when they are fresh.
    • Planning your day, week and month is the way you get things done. When you are fresh, you see clearly and can make better priorities that align with your goals. The brain is a muscle and gets tired just like your body does. Do the important stuff like planning first.
  11. They check their email
    1. Email can be a huge time waster. Check for the important emails, and time block email checking throughout the day. Only process email at specific times.

So there they are, the habits of what the most successful people do before breakfast. Mornings hold the key for you taking control of your life and having significant outcomes on what you really want to accomplish. Own your morning, own your day, and own your life.  Do the action items below to take your next step.

Are You Thinking About What You’re Doing?

I recently had some big changes happen at work that are impacting my role and the responsibilities I have been asked to focus on.  Cognitive TriangleUsually I am the one making decisions and leading the charge, but this change was politely handed to me.  My initial thought was “WOW, I need to digest this change a bit.”

When I say digest, I mean process and think through because for me, the past 20+ years, I have been making the decisions so this was different for me.  I needed to pause, process, and respond appropriately vs. react.  In reality, I may have had too many plates spinning but doable for me with a strategy.  Either way, it’s done and now it’s time to process and adjust my vision.

Fortunately I was out with a good friend of mine a few weeks ago and he was explaining a process that his coach has him do throughout the day so he is responding to activities appropriately.  The process is to ask yourself 3 questions throughout the day.  The questions are:

Are You Playing to Your Strengths?

Do this checklist checkup to see…

Do you really know if you are playing to your natural strengths in all aspects of your life?  Many people don’t really know what their natural wiring is.  We all have ideas of what we think we are good at, but why wouldn’t you know for sure?

I am facilitating an all-day exercise for Executive Forums this week to a great group of people to explore how the world sees them.   The groups will be made up of over 100 business owners, key executives, college presidents, and nonprofits.  All of us should all be seeking to continually understand ourself as we are changing human beings, but our core strengths do not change.  The more you are self-aware the better off you can be and build habits to support your strengths.

Do this checklist evaluation to see if you are operating in your strengths. 

Success Leaves Trails – Who Are You Watching?

Success leaves trails for sure.  My Uncle George is a pretty cool guy for many reasons.  2015 Glendale FishingWe were fishing this past weekend for bluegills and red ear also known as pan fish and we caught a bunch.  To be exact, and not a fish story, it was probably 600 for the weekend.  Now this was with my cousins and nephews but for 5 people, not a bad weekend catch.

It was windy and rainy, but over the 10+ years I have been going on the fishing trip with Uncle George and family, I have learned many things.  One very important one is be prepared for rain and cold.  I failed initially and you only make that mistake once.  We camp in the primitive section of the park which means no electricity, so you have to be prepared on many fronts.

Over the years, my uncle has taught me many things like how to fish, how to camp, and how to filet a fish. Some of the life lessons he has shared have been pretty impactful on my life.  He is in his mid 70’s and has the health of a 50 year old.  He crawls around in our pop up camper, hikes down the hills to the boats, crawls in the boats and still teaches all of us some fishing tips.  He is even quite fashionable with fishing gear and in life.

How’s Your Moral Compass?

Well it’s the last day of quarter 3 moral compassfor 2015.  Wow, time is flying and it’s time for a checkup to see if your feet are pointed in the right direction.  A big part of your moral compass is who you are “hanging” around with.  As I mentioned in my previous post, my wife and I started working out in the AM at Dan V.’s gym.  It’s refreshing to see the type of people that are doing life on purpose for a purpose. We are into our 3rd week and you can just feel the type of people in the room.  Wanting to improve themselves, help others, and seemingly help others they come in contact with.  It definitely is a positive way to start the day.

The people we hang around with can impact our attitude,

Do You Have a YOU V2 You Are Creating?

There are many options to create new versions of you or new versions of attributes of yourself. pic2 It can be health, job, relationship, marriage, purpose, or whatever you deem important.

This last week my wife and I embarked on the 21 Day Fix Challenge to start our v2 of our health.  The 21 Day Fix is an educational series on nutrition and portion control along with daily intense cardio and high rep weight routines.  I heard about the exercise routines and gym experience from my good friend Scott.  In one of our meetings he peaked my interest but not enough to engage me to do anything about it.  I kept lifting my heavy weights and trying to “bulk up” as much as I could.  Then Scott mentioned going to the gym a few weeks after that meeting and then my wife started researching the details.  She did a lot of research which I’m glad she did and now we are on week 2.

The first week was awesome – although sore as heck in new muscles, and a lot of sleep time adjustments, it was well worth it.  Getting our workouts done before the sunrise and getting the encouragement and motivation from others in the gym has been great.   I have to say it is a very new experience for us.  We even did

Do You Know Your Ripple Effect?

My wife and I were down visiting our daughter at Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana for Dads Weekend. iutailgate2015We had a blast getting to know her friends and their parents and just hanging out with our daughter seeing her spread her wings.  Early on my wife and I decided to put some guardrails in place to help us be the best parents we could be and allow our daughters to grow in as safe of an environment they could be.  Nothing is perfect, certainly not me but understanding the ripple effect and seeing how it impacts families, friends, friends of friends, and communities is really neat to see.

Formally the ripple effect is “the continuing and spreading of results of an event or action”. 

What’s Your Commitment Level?

How committed are you to your ____________________?jaredccsclays


  • Health?
  • Spouse?
  • Boyfriend/Girlfriend?
  • Family?
  • Friends?
  • Job?
  • Co-Workers?

This past weekend our daughter was home visiting from Nashville, TN with her boyfriend.  We were talking about life plans, goals, ambitions and normal dad “stuff” that you talk about with the new boyfriend.  As we were shooting clays, we got deeper on the topic of commitments and what that means.  It was a good thing to talk about as we all have a level of commitment to a few things and another level of commitment to a few specific things. It certainly doesn’t happen without some forethought, but can change fast if you are not in the right environment – specially an environment that supports your character, your values and encourages you to be better every day.

Are You Tracking Milestones or Finish Lines?

I am working on adjusting my check lists and goals to milestones vs. finish lines.  mini3If you are like me, you set goals, you like to check things off a list, and simply accomplish things daily, weekly and in your overall life.  Well I was listening to the entreleadership podcast and they were interviewing Gretchen Rubin.  She was discussing creating habits in your life that continue on vs. being checked off.

The premise of the conversation was if you have a finish line, you usually don’t continue with that habit. She stated setting milestones vs. finish lines is how you really should be thinking especially when it comes to goals and habits.  I related to this with my annual ½ marathon target/goal.  I used the milestone mentally when I was running the race and did set each mile as a milestone with specific times I wanted to hit and that worked.  The bigger picture problem was that I only set 1 race a year and my training was only preparing me for that race and not the bigger goals which was to be healthy and run throughout the year.  Of course my training dropped off after the race.

My First Book – Intentional Living and Leadership is Ready!

Consciousness Choice and Planning for Success

Life should be more than a series of situations in which you find yourself. IntentionalLiving3D-CCSIt should be more than a string of events in which you are a passive observer taking a reactionary stance. Intentional living requires that you act, that you decide, that you choose.

I have been blogging for almost 2 years now and I love the feedback I receive.  I feel I am helping others live their life on purpose, take actions toward the life they want and prioritize the right things. So earlier this year I embarked on creating a short book of “nuggets” called Intentional Living and Leadership to help anyone I can.  I’m excited to let everyone know it is out in all the major outlets including eBook format.

I had to apply a lot of what I blog about on this book project.  I had to push myself out of my comfort zone, fight the perfectionism issue remembering perfection is the enemy of progress, and rely on others so I could stay in my sweet spot.  Below is the book introduction and about the book.  Check it out here.

Book Introduction

Intentional living—the conscious choice to create your life, to respond rather than react, to chart your own course both professionally and personally—is an amazing thing. However, it’s also difficult to achieve.