People often ask me questions such as, “How do you do it all?” Then, on a more practical level, they want me to break it down. I’ve been asked, “What does your daily schedule look like?” These questions are important because for any person (not just a leader) the secret to success is actually not a big secret.
The secret to success is found in your daily routine.
I believe nothing is more important than your morning routine, because it sets the foundation for the entire day.
I’m going to be extremely detailed in this post because I think that’s what most people need on this subject, and what many leaders fail to deliver. I can’t count the number of leaders I have asked, “How do you do it all?” and they just answer something like, “God’s grace.” Well, God’s grace helps me too, but I actually have to do other things throughout the day. People who want to learn and grow want to know…what exactly does a leader’s daily life look like as they are leaning into God’s grace and empowerment?” Here you go….
This is where I begin every day, and as crazy as it may sound, I start with a bath vs. a shower. That choice is strategic. I don’t start my day in a rush, and I begin every day in this bathtub that you see here, and here’s why.
At a former church we pastored, I became close friends with a highly successful broker who made millions in sales every year. It was difficult to get meet-ups on our calendars and even when we did, she usually received anywhere from 5-10 calls during our time together. She told me her phone rang constantly from about 9 AM to 11 PM. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a friend with a more high-pressure job.
One day we met up at her home and when she gave me the grand tour, I was in awe of the luxurious master bath with a garden tub. I’ve been in a lot of people’s homes who tell me they’ve lived in their homes many years and never even used their tub. One of my friends stores her clothes she can’t fit in her closet in the tub. So out of curiosity, I asked my broker-friend, “Do you ever actually use this tub?” She replied, “Oh yes! I get in there every morning! My job is very high-pressure,and before my day takes off, it’s essential that I begin in peace and quiet, to prepare for what’s ahead of me. Having that time in the morning prepares me for success the rest of the day.”
As insignificant as it may sound, this inspired me, I was already more of a bath than a shower person, but after that conversation, it became more than a preference. I started to begin every day by running the bath water, making a making a cup of coffee and putting it on the edge of the tub, bathing in silence, or soaking worship music, or listening to scripture. It takes longer to do this than starting every day with a quick shower, but it’s worth it to wake up earlier to allow for the time.
This may not be restorative for everyone but it is for me, as it was for my friend. Once I start to work, things can get craaaaaazy. But that time of peace in the morning is essential to get me centered for the day.
It’s important to start your day in peace.
You may not prefer baths, and in fact you may think this is silly, but let me assure you — it’s not about a bath. It’s about starting each day in a place of peace and not a frenzy. What can you do, to do that?
It’s important to start your day with reverence for God.
After I get out of the tub, if I have not already done so while I am bathing, I listen to Mary DeMuth’s Pray Everyday podcast.
She reads a portion of scripture each day and then prays for you based upon the scripture of the day. This is an extremely short podcast but well worth it. It has over a million downloads, so I’m not the only one who feels that way about it. Trust me, you’ll love it! After I listen to Mary’s podcast I listen to The Daily Liturgy Podcast by Coram Deo Church.
I know that most Pentecostals do not listen or follow anything liturgical, but I’m telling you this is a great podcast. To be specific, it gives me an incredible dose of God’s Word daily as well as targeted prayers that never fail to convict and challenge me on a daily basis. I listen to both of these podcasts as I am getting myself dressed and putting make up on each morning.
Following this I have a one hour and fifteen minute commute to work. (It used to be an hour before all the people from New York and New Jersey descended upon my town after Covid. No, I am not kidding. That’s okay, we love our hundreds of thousands of new neighbors even if the roads are a lot more crowded.) I utilize my commute for many things, but one of my priorities is worship and prayer. On my drive to work I begin with a playlist of few praise songs, and then I switch over to a worship set and begin to pray. I typically pray through the Lord’s prayer, not just reciting the Lord’s prayer, but using it as a guide for how I structure my prayer time. This is super easy for me to do because, like many people, I have the Lord’s Prayer memorized so it’s easy to remember how to use it as a guide. Here’s how I do it:
I begin my prayer time with, “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…” and I praise God for who He is, not asking for anything, I just focus on His greatness. After a time of praising and thanking him, I move into “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” and I begin to declare His will over every situation represented in my life. Family, friends, work, church, literally everything I can think of, I pray that His will be done in each person and circumstance. Then I move on to, “give us this day our daily bread” and in this time of prayer I bring my requests to God about provision that is needed in my life and the lives of others. After this portion of prayer I move on to, “forgive us our trespasses…” and I ask forgiveness for anything I can think of that I need to repent of. (Sometimes during this time God reveals to me someone I need to apologize to.) Following this I focus on, “as we forgive those who trespass against us…” and I ask God to help me forgive and love those who have hurt me in any way. Following this is, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” and I ask the Lord to help me stay away from things I know are not good for me, stop doing the things I know I need to stop doing, and keep me pure in heart, body, mind and life in general. “For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever,” brings it all together and Igive thanks and praise to God and rejoice in advance that He has all of this covered.
With any time that is left over until I get to work, I may return a phone call or take a phone call if a friend calls in. (My close friends know I’m on the road and open to take calls during this time.)
After following this routine each morning, I am generally in a good mindset to start my work day. I often counsel people that it is difficult to impossible to be successful if you just let your day unfold with no direction. You have to set the direction for your day, or it will not only get away from you, it may very well unravel.
Start your day in peace and reverence, and watch God move. Not only will you see breakthroughs in your life but you will be in a better mindframe to address challenges that come your way on a daily basis.