Episode 44: How To Give Yourself a Competitive Edge in Life

And now it is a Monday morning, another beautiful day. And as I look out the window, the snow is falling and it has just been a fantastic scene of a winter wonderland. Hey, this is Jimmy Williams. Good morning! I’m glad you’re joining me for another episode of Live a Life by Design.

You know, we bring you information on a weekly basis that helps you live your life in a manner you wish. We only provide recommendations to you, and ideas and strategies and hacks so that you can become the person you wish. Now, many people have written to us, and emails, and posting on social media that they are enjoying the podcast. If that’s the case, I’d really love for you to do me another big favor. If you could go to our website at livealifeby.design, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter we put out that contains some other great strategies, some hacks, some things that you can do. Books to read, to make you a better person and understand the world in a brighter set of eyes.

But today we’re gonna focus on something that follows up from last week’s episode on rituals. Last week we tackled what we call, in my world, the morning ritual. It’s how I got my day started so that I could start my day with the best attitude, with the best mindset for accomplishment. You cannot be successful in life if your attitude is not where it needs to be to attract success. You know, so often we find ourselves pursuing and chasing success and especially if you’re in sales. You know a lot of people go out and really overwork when they should be attracting that success by becoming someone that someone else sees as desirable.

Now when I use the word desirable, I’m talking about someone that has it all together. You know those kinds of people. When you go into a room, these people are the ones you immediately can see has the crowd around them. It has something to do with their voice, it has something to do with their body language, their demeanor. These are the kinds of people that really do attract success. They don’t do it by wearing Rolex watches, they don’t do it by driving fancy or European sports cars. They don’t do it by living in the biggest house. But what they do is show success by giving of themselves to others in hopes that the other person will become a bigger person themselves.

That is true success. That is how we as people on this planet can achieve success in its highest, most valuable form. And I’m gonna talk to you today about how to get ready for that day. You know, last week we talked about the morning ritual. Gave you every detailed step as to how I start everyday of my life. Today, we’re gonna follow that up with how I end everyday of my life.

Particularly the weekdays. Now I may not use this same ritual, as I call my evening ritual. I may not use it on the weekends, just because I have entertainment, we travel and do other things. And I’m not always at home on a weekend where I can implement the routine without some interference with a hotel or some entertainment that my family’s decided to do that goes way beyond my normal bedtime, if you will. The time that I like to finally call the day over and start resting and recharging for that next day.

You see it’s not so much that you go to bed at night. It’s the how you prepare to go to bed. You know, it’s just like any other process of life. If you’re simply going through it haphazardly you don’t have any real function, you don’t have any system or process laid out. You’re just going through the motions a different way every night, your mind and body can not get to that final state of relaxation to allow you to sleep with a deep quality rem sleep, to allow your mind to recharge.

So today I’m gonna share my ritual with you. This evening ritual is the bookend to the morning ritual that we spoke of last week. And these rituals will give you a commanding feeling about your day. You see too many of us are not seizing the day as Jim Rohn would say, you know you either run the day or the it runs you.

And I should say some of us may have such a tough day that they feel like you either, run the day or the day runs you over, right? Like you’ve been hit by a truck. So to perform at your optimum level, you must prepare for your day by planning the night before. Many people achieve success. But few can sustain success at a high level, unless they have some form of rituals.

For example, before I get in the detail of my evening ritual, I want to share with you a valuable point about rituals. To truly be efficient with your time and energy, your rituals should occur at the same time each day. You heard me say I arise at a certain time of morning. I do that every morning, except for one morning and I allow myself to sleep. Perhaps I didn’t get enough that week and I had an extra-long week, great successes, had a lot of activities. And maybe I just needed to let the body rest until it wakes on its own. And that’s ok. These rules and rituals are not written in stone. The reason we have them, though, is to maximize our energies for success during the week.

Now if you’re not in your career, but you’re retired. I encourage you to utilize these rituals even more so. What I have found, as a specialist of retirement planning is that when people leave their careers of active work, and go into their next phase of life. Their retirement phase, they think all of a sudden, that I don’t even have to get out of bed until I wish, so I sleep in everyday until 9 – 10 o’clock, when they’re used to getting up and going after that work at 6am in the morning, they find that their bodies change on them. They find their energy levels drop. And the reason for this is is simply because they’re now in a different rhythm with their body.

Before it was a, “I have to get up and get going, I have responsibilities”. As a retired person, “I don’t have any responsibilities”, is now their thought. Highly recommend you do these rituals no matter if you’re still in your active career or if you’re winding down that career. You see all workday evenings to me are treated the same. The same procedure at the same time. Now I know what you’re thinking. Geez whiz, this guy is a robot.

Just the opposite, actually. I have automated several important and vital preparations steps in my day to give me the edge I need to be attentive, alert, creative, all day. Which is what our clients in our company want us to do. I know what you’re saying. Hey, many of you get that 14 cups of coffee in the morning and you are wound up like a Swiss clock until noon. Then you eat that heavy starch, carbohydrate filled bread and all this stuff at lunch. You come back and ut oh, by about 2:30 it’s Oh, man my eyes are heavy, I can’t even hardly think. I’ve got no energy to barely drag myself to the water fountain.

I hope that’s not the way you live each day at work. So I’m gonna share with you how to maximize your body’s natural rhythms, which will use less energy to get started in your day and shutting down for the day. To get to your evening rest state faster, you might consider what some of the most famous people in America do. Now I mention this name, not because I know her personally, I do not, but I have read many books on this individual and I am amazed and astounded by her life. If she had merely accepted her beginning as her fate in life, she would still be a poor African American girl doing very little in the world. But instead she owns an empire, is worth billions with a B. And has helped millions of people realize their full potential as well.

Of course, I’m talking about the big O, as they call her. Oprah Winfrey. Oprah maintains a hectic schedule managing, producing, and starring in her own daytime shows. She’s got her own radio show, tv stations. She’s got all types of businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises, and still she has one routine that has not changed, as she says, in 40 years. Would you like to know what this magic action that she does, that created this billion plus empire for her? It really didn’t catch me off guard. She does something that all of us have the capability of doing, but we simply don’t act. You get killed in the implementation of life if all you do is understand and know what to do and fail to act. She does this every night before retiring for the evening. It’s this simple. She takes a bath before bed. This is her ritual.

She declares, “I am a bathing professional. I have different bubble baths, salts, beads, oils.” She has everything she needs to set her mind and body in a total relaxed state as part of her ritual for getting to sleep quicker with higher quality. You know, other famous entertainers like Beyonce, for example, have a difficult time shutting their brains off at night. Just like you and I. This is what’s amazing to me. People take entertainers, and they have done some great things in life, I’ll give them that. But down below all of those career goals and heights that they’ve reached, they are still carbon-based beings just like you and me. They have the same wiring from the brain, down the spinal column to all parts of the body, just like you and me.

What I’m saying to you is they are very good at staying focused on the primary goal, the one that moves that needle. And they have taken steps in their lives to create rituals that allow them to maximize their capabilities during the day. So what am I really saying is when their backstage, they’re back preparing at home, or backstage away from that camera, they are rehearsing, they are practicing. They are doing things with their body and their mind to relax. They have found a way to take their level of concentration and performance to the elite level. And you can do the same. Beyonce says her ritual consists of keeping a full schedule of activities all day long, like swimming. She says if you’re active during your day, you’ll be so exhausted you can’t help but fall asleep.

Thank you to all of our listeners of the podcast. We have received many reviews on iTunes and appreciate your comments. Here is a review from The Office Runner, “Jimmy, I have been listening to your podcast on my morning runs. So much great information and makes me always think about my life, two daughters, I love to travel and work out and in my 50s. I laugh about the similarities. Lots of motivation.” If you haven’t subscribed to the show, please do so today so that you will not miss an episode of this outstanding content. It would help us spread positivity around the world if you would rate and review the podcast on iTunes. Now, back to the show.

My ultimate goal of the end of evening ritual is to get my physical and emotional state to a point of ultimate rest. Now I’m gonna tell you my secret to getting the environmental piece of this where it needs to be. Now if you’re married, as I am, and I am married to a beautiful, understanding and brilliant woman. But we have two different body types, in terms of temperature. She can’t take the cold, and I can’t absorb the heat. So you can only imagine we have a difficult time finding the median between the two of us. So here’s what I do in our bedroom at night to create the perfect environment to allow me to get into this ritual.

And I will tell you it’s this simple. I make sure the room is pitch dark. I don’t want to see light coming from the blinds or window dressings. I don’t want a night light. I don’t like any light whatsoever. No TV, I don’t want anything that’s gonna stimulate my brain. My optic nerve needs to calm down. It needs to quit sending images of whatever’s going on on that boob-tube. So I don’t do any TV, no electronics. I don’t want an iPad, I don’t want an iPhone, I don’t want anything that’s going to create any kind of stimulation disturbing me while I’m resting.

Also, I have a ceiling fan in our bedroom, and I have it on slowly turning just to stir the air for us. And then the most important ingredient for me is to set that thermostat on 69 degrees. I know what you’re thinking, that we could probably hang meat in that bedroom, but it really sets the tone for my evening ritual to be successful and me to gain that rem sleep quicker. It takes me, probably, no more than 3 to 5 minutes, and folks I am out like you wouldn’t believe. I do have some challenges when I’m on the road, speaking across the country and going to things to support my kids. In hotels, it’s hard to get a pitch-black room. So what I do is I actually take a sleeping mask with me and I will actually take some of the styrofoam earplugs to put in so I can shut out the noise and shut out the light, and I crank that AC down as low as my wife will let me in that room.

There’s a book that I highly recommend for each of you to read. Now, I know what you’re saying, Jimmy, you’re asking me to read another book after you just sent me this list of books to read off of your website. You bet I am. You do not gain knowledge by watching the boob-tube. You gain knowledge by reading and really discerning information and how you can apply it in your life. This small paperback book can be bought, you can go to our website if you like. It’s going to be on the website. It is called Power Sleep, by Dr. James Maas. Dr. Maas is a world-renowned sleep scientist. He has evaluated conditions of sleep, outcomes of poor sleep, how to get to sleep, sleep studies in what makes a person get to rem sleep and then what brings them out. He has done all of this. Now you may say, oh I don’t need to study that. I’m sleeping fine. He has a small quiz on the very front of this book. I assure you, when you answer this small quiz, that you will find that you are not gaining the quality and quantity of sleep that you think.

Many of us have these apps on our phones, if you have something that allows you to track your sleep so that if you wear your FitBit or whatever device, your Apple Satch to bed and you tell it you’re going to sleep and it tracks your every movement. It tracks when you’re in a deep sleep when you’re not, and so forth. And I have used that to analyze my own sleep a little bit when I awake in the morning. Now I just put it on, and I tell it I’m going to sleep and my FitBit goes to work, but at the end of the day, I don’t have the phone in the room. You don’t want those distractions it could bring for you. And so, by reading this book, which is full of interesting information to guide you in achieving your best sleep in both quality and quality, look at what you do in your routine. This book is gonna help you develop what is a unique routine for you.

If you travel, there’s a section in the book on what to do to your hotel room environment to recreate your bedroom in your home. You see we sleep better in our most comfortable in that which we know best. We usually feel more comfortable in our home. Now I want to relay a story to you, just real quickly, we were in Manhattan, New York City. And we were on the 52nd floor of a hotel in Times Square. This hotel chain has been one of the best to service us and give us the best quality of beds, pillows, the whole bit. The room was just outstanding. If I had not had my styrofoam earplugs, cause I took them out for a little while and actually failed to put them in before I went to bed.

I had the room pitch black because we were up so high we were away from the lights on the street and so forth, but I could hear sirens, horns honking, of all hours of the night, and you’d heard these sirens going off at all the time if you will, and I realized you have to literally be on an airplane, 30,000 ft above the ground to get peace and quiet. Now you may not get peace and quiet on an airplane, it depends on who you’re flying by, right, if someone next to you likes to talk and so forth, but my point I’m making with this is, establish in your hotel what your bedroom is at home. And I implement some of the tips from this power sleep book, literally every time I travel.

So rituals provide me a means to maximize the most important relationships in my life. Every night I spend quality time with my wife, Dena, discussing our day, or planning out our future. We also speak with our daughters, typically on facetime to maintain that closeness that we shared when they were still at home. And sometimes, the challenges of different time zones and other communications, logistical issues, you know, they may not meet our desired timeframe, but keep things in perspective.

So I want to share with you now what my evening ritual consists of. And you’re gonna laugh when, you know you heard me say I spent 71 minutes in my morning ritual, and I gave you all 8 steps that I do every morning. Well, these are my evening ritual steps, there’s only 6. The first thing I do is I select my clothing for the next day. I spend 5 minutes is all that I use on selecting whatever attire I wish to wear the next day. The second, I pack my exercise bag for crossfit. I love to work out, and it makes it so much easier. I do not have to decide if I’m going to work out, I’ve already packed my bag. It is setting by the door as I leave my home. That takes me about 3 minutes at the most. I then place the towel and washcloth in my shower to be ready for my awakening shower that I mentioned last week in my morning ritual, and that takes about 1 minute. So you can see real quick, I’ve only burned 9 minutes and I’ve done some substantial tasks to get ready for the day. To seize the day. Number four, I brush and floss my teeth. That takes about 5 minutes. I then kiss my family goodnight when they’re home, if they’re not, I will facetime them a few minutes. About 15 minutes for that. Now I don’t set a deadline if my children are telling me something wonderful and exciting, and they talk for more than 15 minutes, remember to keep perspective. I’m not going to shut them off at 15 minutes like a robot and say hey, your time is up. And then lastly, number six, I read. I love to read, so I’ll read at least 15 minutes. And I’m a pretty fast reader, I can read several pages in 15 minutes. I’m not saying that I have a certain book I read. I read everything from fiction, I might read something that’s biographical, I mean something that may just be history. But I love to read and it helps me get my mind relaxed.

You noticed I didn’t say anything about taking the iPad to bed with me. Or taking anything electronic with me. You don’t see that in my evening routine. So your challenge for this week is to record your steps to maximize your most efficient routine to getting and even more importantly, staying asleep. Go to our Live a Life by Design Facebook page and post your ritual or your thoughts about the process of rituals. Don’t think you must use the ritual I use for my life. This is what I do. You will be totally different in most instances. Be specific about what you do. Track your time and see how long it takes you to do it. This way you’ll know when should I arise, and when should I start my shutdown to get to that 8 hours of good sleep. Use your best efforts this week to create a ritual that helps you be a bigger, better and bolder you. Until next week, Live a Life by Design.

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