You may not think of rituals when you celebrate this time of the year, but think about your holidays for a minute. I don't mean traditions, or yearly parties, I mean the rituals you do to get into the "spirit" behind the holidays. Maybe you hang lights up in your front yard, or light some pine-scented candles. Maybe you listen to Michael Bublé's Christmas album on your drive home from work. Maybe you sit by a fire, admiring your tree sipping on some hot chocolate. These are your rituals, and the purpose of them is to sync your mind and spirit with your reality.
I want you to think of your success like a bank account. You don’t fill up your bank account accidentally. You make continual deposits you earned through hard work. What happens when you ignore your bank account? It depletes. That’s when you start to feel anxious, uncertain, and everything begins to unravel at the seams.
Think of your bank deposits as your rituals, and each deposit is adding to your success. If you don’t make those ritual deposits into your bank, you’re rapidly draining your mental account until it gets down to nothing. If your deposits are irregular – a big payday one month with nothing the next – you’ll heap unnecessary amounts of stress onto your life as you try to figure out how to pay the bills.
Your rituals actually rewire your brain to focus on achieving a desired goal. A ritual is a way to refocus your attention on your goal, and then reinforce every action to align with your goals.
This, above everything else, is why your rituals shape your life.
Goal-seeking inevitably results in stress, and rituals are a way for sales warriors to clean out all the mental leashes holding you in check. your goal is to make your company’s top performers club, for example, then incorporating a morning ritual around visualizing that reality is a great way to bring that goal to life.
It’s just a fact of life that uncertainty brings out a stress response from your brain. I’m sure you can remember times in your life when you had a huge goal but became too overwhelmed to see it through. This is because your brain was more focused on the outside noise than the goal itself. When we give more power to the circumstances around our goals than our goals themselves, we burn out and give up.
In Brazil, researchers studied people who perform something called “simpatias.” These are rituals the locals used for achieving goals like quitting smoking and curing asthma. Whenever they faced a hardship, the locals would do things like burn leaves, put leaves in a bag, put the bag on a crossroads, and repeat it for seven days. What they found was game-changing. The study revealed that the people who used these rituals were able to successfully reach their goals when they consciously performed them for a goal-setting purpose.
So even if burning leaves didn’t physically change anything, it did in the minds of the people who undertook the ritual. They used the repetition to reframe their mindset for the better, no matter how trivial the actual action was. It wasn’t about the actual activities themselves; it was the importance of the broader ritual and what those people wanted to see, hear and feel. They didn’t just have a ritual like a lucky dollar and hope for the best. They used their ritual to refocus their energy on a mental goal. And it worked.
In other words, rituals rewire your brain for the better.
Just the same, my rituals form the basis of my day, and they’re always pointing me toward goal achievement. Every morning and evening I have a carefully laid out multi-step process that allows me to start every day with maximum energy and gratitude and end each day with the techniques that give me the best chance for success the next day.
Your day either owns you, or you own your day. I couldn’t own my day without my rituals. Here's what my mornings look like from Monday-Friday.
What I do: Wake up, meditate, journal.
Why I do it: I need to center myself at the start of every day. Clearing my mind allows me to visualize the success I want to have.
What I do: Plan the day, look at my calendar, listen to my customized Amazon 15-minute audible flash news briefing, use my halo neural stimulator, listen to a podcast or audiobook, drink my morning shake.
Why I do it: I’m constantly looking for the minimum effective dose to get me going. This 45-minute period gives me the energy to get started.
What I do: High intensity 45-minute workout.
Why I do it: Health is everything. My morning workout is an energizer, allowing me to walk into my office with confidence.
What I do: Second breakfast (protein drink, eggs, bacon, cheese, avocado and beans).
Why I do it: Adding protein to support my workout rounds out my pre-work routine.
What I do: Morning huddle with my team.
Why I do it: My company runs on daily 15-minute stand-up huddles. It gives us clarity, purpose, and motivation to charge into every day.
What I do: Initiate contact with at least one new or existing prospect.
Why I do it: Getting myself in the sales flow with an actual prospect as quickly as possible programs me to sell fast.
The bigger question you may be asking yourself is, do rituals like these actually improve performance? In a word: yes. Think about different cultures around the world. Culture is manifested in each society, and it shows in the external world through ritual. People use narratives and artistic production to encode people to live by their culture’s beliefs.
In other words, every ritual has a purpose. Find yours and create more space for your conscious mind to do the incredible.