When I think about legacy—the impact we have on the world, on our communities, our businesses and our families—it seems so big and all-encompassing. A lifetime of effort, successes and failures, accumulation and preservation of wealth, vision and execution.
Legacy is what we have to show to ourselves, and others, at the end but what if you could live your legacy every single day?
Explore these questions and decide for yourself. Are you living your life to its full potential? Do you create more good than cause harm? What will make you think fondly of the time you spent on this earth, in your last days? Are you working on that yet; if not, what are you waiting for?
These are big questions that deserve big answers. It’s the small things, however mostly invisible to the external world, which makes all the difference. An insight, seemingly from nowhere, that leads to a business transformation that ensures its survival, and transition, to the next generation of leaders. Feeling calm, and confident, ready to make future-focused decisions when the world around you is filled with tension and uncertainty, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Being present in a conversation to make the other person feel heard, seen and understood, who will, in turn, bestow the same kindness to another human being who is suffering. It is the small steps that you take every day that compound into the outcomes that change the world around you.
What does this have to do with your morning routine? Your morning routine predetermines how well you will perform that day, how well you will be able to handle pressure without converting it to stress, how clear-minded and present you are to spot the next big opportunity, if you will have the patience and compassion for people around you without feeling depleted of energy yourself. In other words, your morning routine has everything to do with the way you show up, your energy levels and your ability to step into your full potential in business and life. Think of it as a daily primer for your mind, body and soul.
So, what does your morning routine look like? And how is it supporting you throughout the day? Step into the shoes of an observer, for a minute, and catalog the first one to three hours of your day. Make a list, it doesn’t have to be in a particular order, as long as it captures the main activities. If you are thinking “I don’t have a morning routine,” you are mistaken. Everyone does, it’s all the things we do first thing in the morning: structured, intention, or random, and happenstance. Being aware of your actions, and habits, and taking an active role in finetuning them to serve your greatest purpose is completely your choice.
The next step is to elevate your morning routine, which will require imagination. For some of us, that’s a lot of imagination. Just imagine that you have no time limits, no dependents, no restrictions of any kind, what would your ideal morning routine look like? Would you incorporate a workout with a trainer, a brain powering cup of coffee, watch the sunrise without interruptions, read for pleasure or spiritual fulfillment, leisurely go through a newspaper, learn a new language, catch up with friends on the other side of the world? Write down a list of five to ten things, minimum, that inspire you, make you happy and feel accomplished just thinking about them, that would set you up for a successful day and life.
My challenge to you is to pick just one thing from your ideal list, even if it’s small, like taking a couple of deep breaths and fully oxygenating your body before you walk out of the door and commit to implementing it starting tomorrow morning. Don’t overthink it, set a calendar reminder, prepare what is needed, make it as easy as possible to complete and just do it. And then repeat the following day and the day after that, and so on.
For overachievers, once you have fully incorporated the first item into your routine, select another one. Don’t rush, the most important thing is consistency, as it might take you a couple of weeks to start noticing the difference in the quality of your day. Being aware of your actions, how they are affecting you, and the environment around you, is the key. As you continue to upgrade your morning routine, notice the difference it makes in your mood, clarity, health and fitness, ability to handle stressful situations, changes in the quality of your relationships,and decision-making.
Taking your legacy, which may feel overwhelming, and breaking it into small, manageable steps, gives you more control and understanding of what comes next. Especially now, during this time of uncertainty, making decisions with calmness and clarity will help you feel in control and at peace. A strong morning routine will get you closer to that state. But as you can imagine, it is just a component of a much bigger structure that supports your mindset and what you allow yourself to experience in this lifetime.
Vera Anderson is a dynamic legacy coach. She specializes in working with domestic and global business leaders and family office principals, helping them create customized solutions to reach their full potential in business and personal life, removing mindset blocks and empowering them to create an intentional, multigenerational legacy. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.