What could you do with an extra hour every morning?
Do you usually wake up, hit the snooze button a couple of times, and scroll through Instagram for a little while before you get out of bed? It’s okay — we’ve all been there, me included! But what if we approached our mornings a little differently?
Think about your heroes. The great thinkers, writers, entertainers, and creators of the world. What do they have in common? They get up early and hit the ground running. They know that to be productive and successful, they have to take full advantage of their time.
The greatest people in history woke up before the sun, and today, my guest is here to show you that you can too. I’m bringing one of my favorite guests back on the show to share more of his wisdom with you guys. He’s developed the optimized morning routine that anyone can follow to maximize their productivity and happiness, and he’s here with me to share it with you!
His name is Robin Sharma, and he’s a true icon. He’s worked with everyone from Nike to NASA, and today we’re bringing his genius straight to you. His most recent book, The 5 AM Club, takes you through the morning routines of the world’s greatest thinkers, superstars, and millionaires and teaches you how to get the most out of your 5 AM “victory hour.”
In our latest interview, Robin and I talk through that morning routine and why it works. And for those of you who think getting up at 5 AM must be the highest form of torture, we’re going to share why and how you actually can learn how to get up early and get the most out of your morning. And finally, Robin and I talk about the importance of rest and recovery, and how you can use your times of rest to optimize your performance in every area of your life,
“… I think one of the most important things a human being can do is press the pause button each morning while the rest of the world is asleep and ask yourself, ‘How can I fortify my mindset? How can I insulate my heartset? How can I optimize my healthset? How can I escalate my soulset … so that when I walk out in the world, I’m creative, I’m productive, I’m compassionate, I radiate positivity, and I have resilience in case I get knocked down?’” – Robin Sharma
I’m so glad I got to have Robin back on the show! He is a brilliant guy, and he’s changing the world with his message. Let’s dive in to see how we can all optimize our mornings and be our greatest selves!
(And by the way, if you stick around all the way until the end, Robin’s going to offer some great free resources just for The School of Greatness listeners!)
Robin Sharma is a world-renowned expert in the art of optimizing your morning routine and being the best you can be. He’s spoken at events for many major players in the business world — companies like Nike, GE, Coca-Cola, NASA, and Microsoft. He is truly on a mission to serve the world and help us all get the most out of our mornings.
But Robin isn’t just a coach and a speaker — as if that weren’t enough! He’s also a multi-time bestselling author. His very first book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, become a #1 bestseller. At the very beginning of his career as a motivational speaker, Robin started giving seminars on the book to tiny audiences. From there, he worked to steadily grow his reach and serve more people with his message of self-awareness and greatness.
Since then, Robin Sharma’s books have inspired over 15 million people in more than 96 countries! His latest book, The 5 AM Club, is full of tips and wisdom Robin has picked up over his 20 years of working, leading, and serving with love and understanding. I’m excited to dive deeper into the power of the 5 AM victory hour and learn how we can all level-up our four interior empires! (If you need a refresher on the four interior empires, check out Episode 754!)
And today, Robin Sharma can claim “podcast host” on his list of job titles! His podcast, The Mastery Sessions, reaches tons of new listeners every day. Through the show, Robin continues his work coaching and teaching millions of people to level-up their lives and be as great as possible.
This interview will inspire you, inform you, and help you tap into your innate inner greatness and reach your highest potential, so keep reading!
Robin Sharma’s approach to a morning routine is unique, and it’s actually very simple. He follows a 20/20/20 formula, meaning you spend 20 minutes on each stage of the whole routine. Let’s review the formula, and then I want to talk a little more about why it works. (Remember — if you want to get some more details about the formula’s specifics, you can check out Robin Sharma’s previous appearance on the show here!)
“… The 20/20/20 formula is simply this: You get up at 5 AM — and anyone can get up at 5 AM — … [and] for the first 20 minutes, 5:00 to 5:20, you move. … Second, … from 5:20 to 5:40 … reflect. … And then the final pocket of the 20/20/20 formula that I talked about in The 5 AM Club is grow.” – Robin Sharma
Pretty easy formula, right? You start by exercising — and I’m talking about really breaking a sweat. According to Robin, when you exercise, you release something called BDNF — brain-derived neurotrophic factor — which really optimizes your brain. You also release serotonin and dopamine, which make you feel good and set you up for happiness and productivity throughout the day.
Then you reflect. This step is all about meditating, praying, journaling, just sitting in silence with your thoughts, or doing whatever else you need to do to reflect on yourself. I think it’s a great idea to do some affirmations! Use this 20 minutes to fill up your cup and enjoy some distraction-free time alone.
And finally, grow. This is when you ask yourself the tough questions — “What are my priorities today? How do I need to show up in my life right now? What do I need to change to be a better version of myself?”
Guys, this is the morning routine of the greats. Robin calls it the “victory hour,” because it absolutely gets you in a flow state and sets you up to succeed for the rest of your day. Geniuses, entrepreneurs, movie stars, and millionaires alike know that to be successful, you’ve got to start each day by getting those good juices flowing and making sure you’re in the right mindset to conquer your goals and succeed. You can do it too!
For those of you who think getting up at 5 AM sounds impossible — I want you to know that there is hope! You really can train your body and mind to wake up that early.
“… Anyone can get up at 5 AM. One of the gifts of the human being is neuroplasticity. … If we recite our excuses long enough, we actually believe they’re true. … We are built to change. We are built to grow. We are built to own our heroic nature. … According to University College [in] London, if we do any practice or habit for 66 days, we reach a point of automaticity where it becomes easier to do that new habit than not [to] do the new habit.” – Robin Sharma
66 days — that’s only a little more than two months. Guys, most of us have been in quarantine for twice that amount of time. If you can commit to waking up at 5 AM every day for the next 66 days and following Robin’s 20/20/20 formula for your “victory hour,” that routine will start to feel natural. You won’t be rolling out of bed and stumbling toward your coffee maker first thing every morning — your body will actually adjust and become comfortable with waking up that early.
That said, it is okay to adjust the formula for your needs. If you discover that it works better for you to have a victory hour from 6 AM to 7 AM, that’s fine! Maybe you prefer to spend the first 20 minutes praying, reading, meditating, or journaling and the second 20 minutes exercising. That’s fine too! You can switch up the order as you need to.
The point is, we’re all on our own journeys. You have to do what truly feels right to you. The important thing is that you’re taking that hour every day to focus on getting your head and heart in a healthy place so that you can be the best version of yourself.
If you’re still hesitating to try out Robin’s morning routine, maybe these words will inspire you:
“… What I would say is: If you don’t read that book you’ve been resisting because you don’t think it’s for you, you might just miss your new favorite book. … If you say, ‘Well, here [are] the kind[s] of friends that I hang out with, and I’m not open to anyone else,’ you might miss that new friend or that new mentor who will transform the way you run your craft and live your life. And it’s the same with morning routine. … And so what I would say to a night owl … I would say — give it a try … for three weeks, four weeks, or the 66-day minimum, and then judge by your results.” – Robin Sharma
I get it, guys — sometimes we just want to stay up late or sleep in. Sometimes work takes over, and we end up working later than we wanted to. Sometimes we just don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning. But if you give your 5 AM alarm a real try — at least for a few weeks — you might find that your life dramatically changes for the better!
So, number one takeaway from today’s episode: getting up early and giving yourself a structured “victory hour” sets you up for success. And it’s important to maintain that routine — first so your body can adjust to it, and then so that you can be sure you’re setting yourself up for success every day.
But sometimes, we all need a break.
And Robin agrees! He knows that sometimes, it’s essential for all of us to cut ourselves some slack and take a break from our usual hustling. And that’s especially true right now, while we’re dealing with stress from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic troubles a lot of us are facing.
“Self-love — personally care — requires that you rest, recover, and do what you need to do. And I think that’s one of the things — and I say this with great respect — but when I read the books or see people saying, ‘You must be like a robot and follow a morning routine or a nightly ritual or whatever,’ … I believe there must be room for the hard seasons of life.” – Robin Sharma
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is just to give yourself some grace. You’re going to go through seasons in your life where — for whatever reason — getting up every morning is just not realistic. And that’s okay.
You guys know I love to think of things in terms of sports metaphors, so let’s think about a football team. A football team has different seasons, right? There’s the pre-season when they’re training and preparing. Then there’s the playoff season when everybody is really hustling and working their hardest to be successful. And then there’s the postseason, where the players take time to reflect on what they did well, what they need to improve, and give their bodies a chance to rest before jumping back into training.
Our lives work in that cyclical pattern too. We have playoff seasons in life where it’s essential to be running at the top of our game and hustling as hard as we can toward our goals. But there are also postseasons where it’s necessary to take a step back, rest, and allow ourselves to take a break before preparing for the next season of hard work.
For some of you, this time of quarantine has been an excellent opportunity to hit the ground running and level-up in your relationships, businesses, and lives. But for some, it’s been a time of struggle and pain. If that sounds like you — take some time to rest. Your body and mind need it.
And don’t worry — you’ll eventually be ready for your next playoff season.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — Robin Sharma is an icon. This guy has so much wisdom to share with the world, and I’m grateful for every opportunity I get to talk to him and learn from his message.
Now, I’ve already asked Robin for his definition of greatness back on Episode 754, so today, I decided to change up my final question a little. I asked Robin if he thinks that happiness should be our goal or if it’s the natural outcome of following a routine like his 20/20/20 formula. Here’s what he said:
“I think it’s a byproduct. I believe the goal is truth. Now, truth is not some kind of philosophical truth. I’d say the goal is truth. Live your truth. That could be [doing] work that’s meaningful for you. … Live your values, even if no one believes in you. … I think the goal is to be truthful to yourself. I think if you do that, you’re going to be happy because then you’re not becoming who the world wants you to be. You’re authentic and honorable to yourself. And that’s when you fall in love with yourself.” – Robin Sharma
Wow. Those are inspiring words. Happiness isn’t the goal, guys. The goal is to be honest and authentic to who you are. You have to take care of yourself, reflect on who you are, and honor that person. When you do those things, you’ll automatically be happy.
And there you have it, guys! I hope you loved this episode, make sure to screenshot it and tag me, @lewishowes, and Robin, @robinsharma. If you want to learn more from Robin, make sure to check to pick up his new book, The 5 AM Club!
And by the way, Robin’s included some great FREE resources on his website for all you School of Greatness listeners! If you visit robinsharma.com/greatness, you’ll find three incredible resources Robin calls the “Victory Over Difficulty Toolkit.” These resources are fantastic, and they’ll give you plenty of wisdom and helpful advice for surviving and thriving no matter what you’re going through, so make sure to grab those FREE downloads here!
Thanks so much for joining me today, guys. I’ll catch you later!