In the episode:
01:29 – What is MPR?
02:25 – Why entrepreneurs should create MPRs
04:57 – This is the first step
06:46 – If you have a bad routine…
08:00 – Two things you should try
10:44 – S.A.V.E.R.S.
12:47 – A confession from James
15:30 – You need to get THIS first
19:02 – Should you skip the exercise?
22:27 – Reading and Scribing
28:35 – Wrapping up
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James: James Schramko here. Welcome to SuperFastBusiness.com. Today’s the start of a 3-part series called the Power Focus Series. I’m speaking with my special guest expert, Anita Chaperon.
Anita: Hi James!
James: Great to have you here. We had Andre on for a miniseries talking about autoresponders of all topics, and you’re coming along to talk about something that you’re passionate about. You actually teach this stuff in your 1% Club. Listeners could go on and check this out at 1percentclub.co, and that’s the number 1 and then percentclub.co, where you and Andre are helping business owners focus on the things that are important.
Today’s topic is part of our Power Focus Series. We’re going to be delving into the concept of MPR. So I guess we should start off with what that actually means.
What is MPR?
Anita: Yeah. I’m glad you started that way. MPR stands for Morning Power Routine. It’s a much-talked-about topic at the moment in online industry and also in business elsewhere. All it means is basically a set of things that you do every single morning as a routine that empowers you to have the most focus and to be the most productive and to actually enjoy your days at working in your personal life.
James: So right now where we’re recording, it’s morning on your zone over there, have you already done your routine today?
Anita: Yeah. I actually finished it with 5 minutes to spare, so Andre was laughing at me, says you’re cutting it fine. So, yeah.
James: Well, it’s nice to have a practitioner and not a theorist. Now tell me, what point is there having a discussion about Morning Power Routines on a business podcast? Why is it relevant to us at all?
The relevance of MPR for entrepreneurs
Anita: Well, first of all, in my mind — and this is a message that I’m really passionate about and want to spread to as many people as possible — we have this kind of misconception that business and personal life are separate, but they exist in the same body and they exist side by side, so separating them is really not a good thing because with that, your person, your business life doesn’t exist.
So the Morning Power Routine works on both levels. It works to improve your confidence, your ability to focus. So it trains your focus muscle. If you have the right components inside it, it will train you to think clearly, to be able to avoid toxic situations. The really, really useful thing is that it will give you focus for your business, and it will drive you to, basically, everything you do in your business day will be focused towards that one outcome because you will be reinforcing that outcome every single morning, in your Morning Power Routine.
James: That makes a lot of sense. I’m going to have to re-educate the next driver I get who asks me if it’s a business or a personal trip somewhere because I’ve always found it so hard to separate it, especially when you are an entrepreneur and you have your own business. You’re right, it is kind of always on. I’ve always thought the better you are with your mindset, it’s going to flow on into the work that you produce.
You’d have to say a lot of the most successful entrepreneurs have a pretty strong mindset, and it’s always interesting delving into their background. You find out all these amazing things like they take sleeps during the day or they have what other people might call eccentric behaviors, but maybe they’ve got their own routines that have been working well for them.
Anita: Absolutely. The strongest performers in business are usually the strongest in their mind, the ability to focus and to isolate feelings and emotions from business decisions.
James: Right. So our outside world, our business and everything going on around us in our personal life is really a reflection of what’s going on inside our mind. I know that comes from a great book that I read actually by Charles Hendel. What you’re telling us is that having a Morning Power Routine is a really good thing to do for our personal and for our business life.
We know what MPR stands for now. But how do we actually create the MPR? That’s what we want to talk about in this particular episode.
How to create an MPR
Anita: OK. So I’m going to run through this quite quickly because I know we don’t want to waffle on. Basically, the very quick step is to take the status quo. So you need to, first of all, establish what you’re already doing because all of us do some sort of a routine in the morning, whether it serves us right or not. That’s a different discussion.
So you need to first of all, be aware of what you already do. Write it down, and then once you’ve done that, you need to decide what do you want your MPR to do for you. Like what Steven Covey says, “Start with the end in mind.” So you need to decide, what is the big picture? Where are you heading? And also you need to decide what is your “powerhouse why.” Why do you want to create this Morning Power Routine? Because if you don’t have those two first elements, you’re not going to stick with it, basically.
“Create your powerhouse WHY.”
And frankly, if you can’t think of a reason why you should do the Morning Power Routine, then you shouldn’t implement it in the first place. I want to make it clear that creating that routine in your life should be created to serve you rather than, you just created it because we said so, because we said it’s a good thing, but you can’t see the point in it.
James: Is that like a smoker who doesn’t really want to quit and everyone else says they should because it’s bad for their health, or it costs them money, or it makes their teeth yellow?
Anita: Absolutely. I mean, in terms of change psychology, you won’t change unless you want to change and you’ve got a good, immediate reason to change. So yeah. So when you think of the reason to do it, don’t do it because we said so. Don’t do it because somebody else says it’s a good thing to do and you might benefit from it but you can’t really see the point of it.
James: What if you have a bad routine like your status quo is not good, but you just don’t really feel motivated enough to want to change, there’s no real reason? Does that mean you’re unlikely to come up with a Morning Power Routine?
What if you have a bad routine?
Anita: Yes. I would say, in that situation, if you feel strongly, you should at least give it a try then just set yourself one element and then try that art and see if it catches you, the fever catches you or not. But if you don’t have a reason to do it, you shouldn’t do it because it will just be a waste of time. I know I shouldn’t be saying that because I want everyone to have an amazing Morning Power Routine, but it’s just not going to happen.
James: In your experience, because you’ve been doing this for the few different people, what is the take-up rate for someone if they do start, with I guess you call it an MVP MPR? If they have just one simple thing they want to work on that’s not overly ambitious and they have a good reason why what sort of take up rate do you get and have you seen with your sample groups?
Anita: So you’re talking in terms of percentage or what is the one thing that people should focus on if they just want to try one thing?
James: I could go for gold and say both.
Two things to do
Anita: [laughs] OK. I’ll start with the second one. If it’s only thing that I would suggest you try, that would be meditation for me. Absolutely, every single time. Actually no, there’s got to be two things. There’s got to be journaling as well. Journaling can be as little as just writing three things that you’re grateful for today. And then that sounds really trivial.
Take up rate
I think the biggest problem in terms of uptake from people that are top A individuals or business owners, they tend to say to themselves, “I’m too busy to implement an MPR. I don’t have time for it.” You always, always, always have time to write down three things you’re grateful for, and you always have time for 5 minutes of meditation. If you can’t find 8 minutes in your day, then you’re doing something terribly wrong. You need to kind of relook into your life and where your focus is on.
So yes, in terms of uptake, the biggest barrier is thinking that this isn’t going to work for you because it’s just woo woo, and gratitude, who cares about gratitude? But it will turn your life around if you’re consistent with it. So journaling and meditation for at least 5 minutes every single morning, I would say, is the minimum effective dose.
James: These are good things to start with. I’ve certainly noticed a change from when I started journaling a few years ago. Even if you don’t write the gratitude part, in my case, I’m more or less just reflecting on what I actually did today. It gives me a sense of progress so that I’m not feeling deflated by the inevitable horizon Dan Sullivan talks about like you never actually get there to all these great goals, but you can see as you’re laying down on a daily basis what you actually achieved, you can recognize progress.
James: And that connection ground you quite well. Meditation is a good one. I know that that’s been a profound improvement for others. I like it, but I know that there’s been whole books on it. I think 10% Happier was a great book on that topic.
All right. We’ve check out the status quo, we had a look at what we’re doing right now, and I would hate to think we’re people starting out because I’m sure there’s all variety of morning routines, from rolling out of the bed, avoiding the ashtray, trying not to knock over the bottles of wine on the way to get that desperate hit of caffeine.
Anita: Oh, how did you know?
James: Not tripping on the cat food tray. I’m sure everyone’s been there. So you’ve worked out the status quo, you worked out the results you want, you’ve attached a big WHY, what do you do next? Is it some kind of writing it down? How do you actually get this thing created? Where are you creating it?
The next step – S.A.V.E.R.S.
Anita: Well, the simplest form or the simplest way to tackle this that I find is actually Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning S.A.V.E.R.S. He calls them S.A.V.E.R.S. Obviously, it’s an acronym for the six elements that he recommends you should have in an effective MPR. Very quickly, S.A.V.E.R.S. stands for Silence (which is your meditation), Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, then Reading and then Scribing, which is your journaling, basically.
I would say once you’ve established the status quo, see if you’ve got gaps in any of those six and try and feel the gaps, basically. And then obviously define each element for yourself.
So if you take silence for example, which is the meditation, start with 5 minutes because usually, 5 minutes is quite a lot to sit still for and then don’t expect too much. Just try and sit in silence as much as possible. Watch your thoughts and just let it be. Because a lot of people struggle with meditation because they think it’s got to be perfect, it’s hard to get, you’ve got to have complete stillness, and the monkeys and the brain must stop jumping around all of a sudden, and it doesn’t happen the first time around, or the second or the third.
Then there’s affirmations, which usually are what type A individuals have a big problem with because they view affirmations as this woo woo concept, just positive sentences you’ve got to keep repeating to yourself where I like to tie information to your immediate goals. You’ve got to, again, start with the end in mind and then tie your information to that. So usually I would find, if I’ve got any limiting beliefs or anything I want to achieve would change in my thinking, and I would tie my information to that, which makes them a lot less woo woo and a lot more aligned with how your day is going to transpire.
James: Well, I’ve got a confession to make around that one. I think it came from Brian Tracy, The Psychology of Selling. Cassettes. Remember those things? Those little things you put in a player.
Anita: Yeah. Unfortunately, I’m old enough to remember it.
James: A really successful salesperson gave them to me in the early ‘90s. I was playing them and he said, “You should say to yourself, ‘I’m the best.'” I’m pretty sure that’s an affirmation. I’d arrive at the car yard and it would be pouring with rain. Because I was the newest employee there, like this 23 year old BMW salesperson, I would get the big, heavy keyboard with all the keys on it. This was before remote controls were common in cars.
I’d have to walk around the car yard, which is outside, in the rain, with an umbrella, in winter, opening up each car, take the key off the keyboard, open up the car, put the key in the lock and turn the lock. And as I turn the lock, I’d say, “I’m the best.” And then I’d put it back on the keyboard. And then I did the next one, “I’m the best.” I did this like 38 times in a row. Every single morning.
Within a year, I was the number one BMW salesperson in Australia, in my early 20s, which was even beyond my own expectations. I had a feeling that that affirmation routine was helpful.
Anita: Yeah. Absolutely. If that kind of thing works for you, then that’s exactly what you should do because it’s the straightest way to success. But I find that most of the people I work with because they’re high achievers and everything has to be branded in logic, they don’t want to allow themselves to believe in the process, so they need a little bit more meat behind it. But absolutely that works.
Another one that’s actually quite a good tip is you could use your computer password for something like that. So if you’ve got something you want to affirm for yourself, you just make it your computer’s password. And every time you’ve got to log in to your screen, you’re basically affirming it.
James: That is a fantastic tip and one that anyone listening to this can implement because we all have a zillion passwords. I’m really interested in the visualization because when you read this S.A.V.E.R.S. list, I’m thinking, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Visualization has been absolutely critical in my life. I’d love to hear your technique around that.
Anita: Yes. Visualization, just like affirmations, I try to tie back into your end goal. What is it you need to achieve? Visualization is very dependent on how crystal clear you are on where you’re heading. So you need to get that first. If you’re going to tie visualization to your business, then you need to be crystal clear about where you want to go.
And then just pick a point. What I do every morning was mine, and what I advise people to do which is very easy, and it’s actually kind of adapted from the Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, is I say to myself, well, this morning in the theater of my mind I’m going to play episode, you know, and then I pick something. And it could be, you know, sometimes for me it’s about how our business is going to look, let’s say, by the end of this year, because that’s quite a close by goal, or it could be something that I want to achieve in my personal life. Let’s say, related to my yoga movement and how I want to increase my power, etc.
So feel free to make it whatever you want. The only prerequisites in this visualization is to infuse it with a lot of feeling. If you can imagine the smell, if you can feel the feeling, like if you’re visualizing walking on the beach because that’s what makes you happy, then feel the sun on your back, hear the water, the sand between your toes and the water, if you like surfing, obviously, like you, you know, feel the wind in your hair, and etc., I don’t know, the cold water…
James: The brush of a black thing gliding past under your feet. I actually learned about it from Maxwell Maltz as well. That was one of the cassettes in this box that a very wealthy client gave me. Again, way back in the early ‘90s. And I read about how it improved basketball players and dart throwing. And I used it as well, in business.
And I’ve also found that through using mind surfing, I can just gobble up a 15-hour airline flight really quickly. I didn’t actually turn my TV on, on my last flight back from America, and over 14 hours or so, all I did was just go through and surf my favorite waves on my favorite boards, and just keep swapping boards out of my quiver and trying different waves and running my hand along the wave face, and duck diving and paddling out. So I think visualization is just the best thing.
Anita: The best television, yeah.
James: It really is, and you know, the research shows that sometimes you can’t really separate that from the real experience if you’re getting good at it.
Anita: If it’s intense enough, there’s actually no difference to your brain in terms of the hormonal secretion or the centers that light in the brain areas, which you would use for the physical movement as well. And obviously, a progression from visualization you can do any time of the day, and it’s really useful, the progression from that is lucid dreaming. But that’s another discussion altogether.
James: I’ve found also when I’m planning something like I have an event coming up, I often close my eyes and I just imagine walking into the room, seeing how the room’s laid out, what the slides will look like, the staging, what I’ll be talking about. I’ll often visualize my presentation, and gauge the reaction and see that people are excited about it. And then I can build my slides out with all the confidence, knowing that that’s about right, because I can guess it.
I think exercise, I’m wondering if there are any major surprises there, because that’s a topic that is discussed a lot.
Anita:Yeah. Well this is something that really took me by surprise as well, when I was creating my morning power routine. And I’m an exercise freak, I would say because I actually love exercising. It really, really creates endorphins in me. But one thing I could not make work is exercise in the morning for me. It actually created anxiety the night before. So after trying it several different versions, to do a proper workout, I decided, no, I’m just going to leave it, my exercise happens at 3:00 in afternoon and that’s that.
But what I’ve managed to actually implement was sun salutations from ashtanga yoga, right? It’s really intense, the 10 salutations I do are really intense and fast-paced, they get my circulation going, they give me a good stretch without shocking my body. Because your body’s been sleeping for, let’s say 8 hours, if you’re lucky to get 8 hours. I’m not a fan of twisting it and turning it too much, because then you’re shocking it into the morning. But for me, this yoga works perfectly well.
So kind of the takeaway from that is, try a few different versions and don’t be afraid to discard what doesn’t work, and really get introspective and decide what works for you and stick with it. Like for you, I’m assuming there’s nothing better than waking up and then going down for a surf, right?
“Do what works for you.”
James: Yeah, exactly right. I used to do mountain biking, and I can’t do running, I hate it, it’s hard on my knees, I just don’t like it. But surfing, I will do it until I can’t paddle anymore. They call it “noodle arms.” I also walk every day. I make a point of leaving the house several times a day and walk. And I think I average about 8,000 steps on my pace counter, which is in my phone, which I don’t always take with me, of course, because I’m trying to be quite disconnected to the Interwebs. And that’s it. I’ve found my thing, that my acuity and my awareness and my health and my fitness and endurance and strength is much better than it was.
In fact, even when I went for my surf this afternoon, this nice old man greeted me at the elevator, and he goes, “Just who I was looking for.” And I was, what could he be on about? He was, “I need a strong man to undo this thing.” And he’s about 90-something, at least, like he really is getting on. And he’s got this bullet blender thing stuffed full of vegetables, and he’s shredded it slightly onto its side, and he jammed it.
So I lifted it up for him, and then he took the ride in the elevator down and went back up, and then he was all set, hooked up. But seeing what was in his blender, I can understand why he’s like a hundred years old. This guy’s as fit as anything, and even when they were replacing the elevator here, I used to see him walking up and down with his shopping.
Anita: That’s beautiful.
James: But yeah, I was strong enough to open up a blender full of vegetables, that’s how strong I am now.
Anita. Yahoo. Did you go, “Roarr”?
James: I actually was really smiling after that. This guy was such a character, and it was nice to be able to do something for someone else.
So, reading and scribing. Let’s just close that out, and then I think we’re pretty close to having our own MPR.
Anita: Yeah. So, really quickly, reading is what it says on the tin. The only thing I’ve got to mention there is that make it reading that enhances your business or your personal life in front. You can read whatever you want, but I’m saying try and make it something that enhances your experience rather than let’s say, science fiction or comedy books, or something. And again, do this for as long as you can afford to do it.
I personally don’t read in the morning, I’ve got a confession to make, that’s the only kind of element I skip, from the S.A.V.E.R.S. elements, because I just find that I prefer not to be rushed when I’m reading. And I don’t find it useful to read just 10 minutes at a time. But that’s my personal preference. A lot of people just have a book like A Man’s Search for Meaning, for example, and they’ll just open up any page and read from that for 5 minutes, and that enriches them and enhances their experience. So again, make sure that you do what works for you, don’t just do it because somebody said this is a good thing.
James: Well, for the business-minded, I would recommend The Daily Drucker, because you get one page a day for a year.
James: That’s a really easy one to read, even if you’re very busy like I used to be when I was reading that book. And I also want to do a big personal shout out to Rich Schefren, who I bumped into a few days ago again, and he said, “Yeah, you weren’t very kind about the way that I read.” And I said, “Well, come on, it’s completely normal to rip the spines off your books, scan them, shove oxygen tubes in your nose and read them on a treadmill at a thousand words a minute or whatever.” That’s completely normal, why would anyone say anything weird about that?
Anita: He actually does that. Seriously, when we visited him, that’s how we found him as well.
James: I know, and we have a great joke about it. And I said, well, I’m sorry, I was just saying what I thought. I like to sit down in a leather chair and just read, you know, slowly. I say every word out loud. And he was, no, I’m just kidding with you. It’s nice to know that he’s listening to the show, and my point is there’s different strokes for different folks. I mean, he would probably read seven books in the same time that I read one chapter. And if that’s how you like reading, then go for it.
“There’s different strokes for different folks.”
Anita: Exactly. Just make sure you own it, basically. And then the final element, the actual scribing, that’s referring to journaling. Now I know, again, different strokes for different folks, and like Andre for example, he loves to go and just do his creative writing in that segment. And he would take, I think at the moment, I might be a bit wrong, but he would take an hour every single morning and just write, and then he does a bit of refinement with ideas, etc. etc. So that works for him.
For me, I just like to brain dump everything in my journal. I do mine in Evernote, and I open up, every single day, I have a different Evernote for each day. And I’ll just brain dump. And then I’ve made a commitment with finishing off with my 3 things to be grateful, because that’s what makes me happy. I’m a bit of a happy-go-lucky kind of girl. You know, I like things to be pink and fluffy.
So you know, whatever works for you, and I usually find, with the journaling, what’s so useful, like you said to write in the beginning, is that you could go back and actually have a look, and it gives you a sense of achievement because you think that you’re not achieving and you’re not moving the needle, but when you go back and review, like, OK, a year ago I wanted to do this, and now I’m actually doing it and it’s part of my life. There’s an amazing sense of achievement.
Also, it helps to clear the slate and it helps to release the monkeys from your brain, and I usually write with my journal first, and then I go and do my meditation, because by the time I go for meditation, my brain is ready to be clear of monkeys, and I can sit and actually be in peace. This goes back into sequencing, the elements which we’ll talk about in the next episode, I think.
James: Yeah, I’m looking forward to the next episode where we’re going to talk a lot more about execution. Maybe I’m doing some of the things out of order, too. I know that I tend to journal at the end of the day, because that’s what lets me release all the stuff out of my head so I can sleep. It’s like the thing.
And the other weird twist that I’ve found on the journaling, and this might be against some of the rules, too, is I actually journal it inside SilverCircle, and some of the other members’ journal as well, and we actually comment on each others’ journals, like we will acknowledge it, or like it, or ask a sort of specific question about something they did that day or give them some sort of praise or celebrate with them. I often put pictures there, as well, like a scrapbook.
Anita: Yeah, that’s great to do. Obviously, there’s the public accountability of what you might say, which is a good driver, if that works for you, and also depends on what you journal about. Like, I wouldn’t really feel comfortable with that because I like to write about personal stuff. But it’s entirely up to the community and how open you think you can be and if people are contributing, then it can create some, obviously, some massive breakthroughs.
James: Yeah, well I don’t do it for accountability. I do it merely because someone asked me to do it, a couple of years ago. They said, what do you actually do? Like, we know roughly what you do, but I’d love to see what you actually do in a day. So I just started writing it, and then I became more vulnerable and talked about some of the feelings that I have around this or that, some of the strategic decisions I made and why. But I’m often reflecting about myself, and it stops you from getting to the end of the day thinking, what did I actually do today? Like, the day just disappeared. And sometimes, I’ll need to remember, so that’s when I visualize. So, combine all these things.
All right, so just to wrap this up, in the How To Create Your MPR, we talked about what an MPR actually is, and it’s a morning power routine. We’re going to list all the references we’ve mentioned in this episode on the show notes at SuperFastBusiness, look for Power Focus Series. That’s what you’ll be looking for, and we’ll put this all in a nice PDF with links to all the books and references, and how you can find out more information from Anita, at the 1% Club. We also talked about how it can really improve your confidence, give you a lot more focus, that’s something you can do every day. We talked about how you do it, by figuring out where you’re at, what’s the status quo, what results you want and why you want it. And then we just went through the S.A.V.E.R.S. acronym and what that stands for. And in the next episode, we’re going to talk more about execution. How do we actually execute this and turn this into a habit? Anita, did I leave anything out?
Anita: Yeah, and we’re going to talk about how to actually sequence all the elements, because that’s really, really critical.
James: Great. So I’m looking forward to that one. I hope you’ll join me there, Anita.
Anita: Yeah! I’ll definitely be there, thanks.
Anita: Thanks, James.
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