I read recently in Inc., the way you start your day determines how your day will go. It is a quick and interesting read about how Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, Howard Schultz and Jeff Bezos start their day. None of them begin their day working or reviewing their email like we might think. They make time for other things and go from there. The article goes into the law of first things which basically says whatever you do first thing in the morning influences your productivity for the rest of the day. What do you think about the law of first things? Does it resonate with you?
I grew up in a lower middle class family that struggled financially. Although I always had what I needed, I vividly remember getting food baskets delivered and Santa coming on a fire truck one Christmas. My Dad was sick when I was growing up and spent a bit of time on disability while we tried to figure out a mystery illness. My Mom was a magician when it came to our finances and somehow we made it through. I say all of this because my first financial memories are built off of struggle, not success. I learned quickly that to make money, you need to work harder than everyone else and sacrifice for the company to get noticed. Once you have money, you can’t play with it or lose it. I then ended up a single mom that struggled for a while so that money story in my life was only further cemented. I save like my life depends on it because I am my only source of income so I cant mess that up. My credit is amazing and I am financially secure but taking time off is stressful for me because what if I fall behind or I am not on my A game all the time. All of this to say that before I am out of bed in the morning, I am reading and responding to email on my phone. Some mornings, I am more aggravated before my feet hit the floor than I am at the end of my day. I am a workaholic.
I realize that the habits I learned as a kid growing up and as a single mother were habits I put in place to survive. These are my survival mode habits and I am still using them today even though I am in a different season of my life. I am financially secure with a great credit rating but I am still living like the absence of a paycheck would put me on the street. I realize for many that is a horrible reality but I have made it through that season of my life, thankfully. Living in survival mode keeps me from living. I really want to buy a summer home but afraid to take out another mortgage even though I know I can rent it out when I am not there. I want to begin my consulting business but starting a business that could potentially fail, terrifies me. I might not have the steady source of income I have right now or how will I retire? This is my thought process that keeps me where I am even though I am an industry leader in contact centers and passionate about how they are run and how agents are treated behind their doors. What I need to begin to ask myself is what if I am successful? What if all of this inactivity is just preventing me from reaching my true potential? What if doing what I love will bring me more financial security than I can imagine? I need to flip the switch, unlearn from my past and begin to create habits outside of survival mode.
This morning I flipped the switch on my routine a little. I replied to one email and then put the phone away. Small victories! I listened to a podcast for women entrepreneurs. I did this while I put my makeup on and got ready for work. I have yet to check email and it is almost 8:30. Even this blog post has helped me see things more clearly. I think I will keep acting like Bill Gates for a bit and see how it goes. How about you?