The dreaded question at the end of the podcast: what’s your superpower? It seems like every host has asked me that question and for a long time, I had no idea. Finally, I recognized my superpower. It’s been there all along for decades. You can have it, too.
My superpower was born of necessity. As my children were growing up, my mornings were complete chaos. As a dual-career couple, we both had some place to be and at several points, all three of our sons were in different schools. Each morning, I had to awaken and get myself ready for work, in dress clothes complete with hose and heels, because nothing was business casual at that time. Additionally, we awakened and dressed three boys, gathered all their belongings and tried to feed them something with protein in it. By 7:00 a.m., they had to be loaded into car seats and headed out of the driveway if I was going to make it to work by 8:30 a.m.
One evening, the owner of the company where I worked, called and asked for a ride to work the next morning. He lived down street and since his car was in the shop, he asked if I could pick him up and take him to the office. I agreed, but explained to him that I would need to pick him up, drop off the oldest son at his elementary school, drop off the middle son at pre-school and the baby at childcare. He thanked me but let me know he would find another way!
Can you even imagine being on the other side of me when I arrived at work after jumping through all of those hurdles and making three drop-offs at three different locations? I don’t think it was very pretty and something had to change. Since, I was quite certain I wanted to keep both the husband and the kids, I had to change my approach to my day. Not only would I be a better leader, more importantly, it would help me become a better wife and mother.
Fifteen years into my career and 10 years into my leadership responsibilities, I developed a daily habit that I continue to implement, even today. I simply rise one hour before anyone else in my household and at least one hour before I need to shower and dress for the day. That one hour allows me to gain clarity about my day and spend valuable time alone.
So, what do I do with my hour?
Rising one hour earlier has given me my superpower: clarity for the day. It helps me prepare to show up well, be intentional and give of myself to those I serve. Click To Tweet
First, I pray. I give thanks for my many blessings and ask for guidance for myself and others. I spend time listening to the small, still voice within for promptings. It’s a sacred time for me to connect with my Creator. Some people choose to start their day with meditation, instead. A cup of coffee or tea allows me to savor this time. These few minutes engage my spirit.
Secondly, I read. During reading time, I read something uplifting, such as a daily devotional. I also take time to read for learning and skill development. This quiet time is a great time to focus on learning something new. These minutes engage my mind.
Thirdly, I review my day and the plan I created at the beginning of the week. I focus on the activities that are ahead and remind myself of the schedule. I review goals and prioritize tasks. This engages the leader within me.
Next, I exercise. When the weather is nice, I love to walk, run or cycle outside. If it’s dark, cold or rainy, I jump on my stationary bike and lift weights. This time is extremely important to what I do next. It revs up my body and causes all the endorphins to start firing for the next part of my morning. This half hour engages my energy.
Lastly, I create. As a developer of content, I have learned that once I have engaged my spirit, mind and energy, I do my best thinking and have my most productive ideas. I spend a few minutes each morning writing, whether it’s for a book, a blog or a presentation. This time engages my talent.
Let me be clear. I did not do this perfectly for the past 25 years. Some days I needed to pray longer and exercise less. Some mornings I was doing well to read the note from the school, much less read to learn something new. There were days I just needed to be quiet longer and did not produce much content. Starting with this plan to do these five things, I did the best I could and gave myself grace when I missed my mark.
As this habit developed, I found myself enjoying the time more and more and would get up even earlier to accommodate each of the steps. As the boys grew older, it was much easier to spend that time on me. Even now, as an empty nester owning my own business, I still protect my mornings and practice these habits every day.
Before podcasts were even invented, I had a superpower. I don’t dread the question anymore and I look forward to sharing about how I adopted the early morning hour habit to give me the superpower of daily clarity. It made me far more effective in every role in my life and I think it can help you crush your career, too!
If you want to learn more about how to Crush Your Career, pre-order my newest book, Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job and Launch Your Future here: