[JARED: I wrote this on October 30th, and while this outlook describes one of my days during The Gap Year Experiment, my lifestyle design mega-experiment during a year away from higher education, the overlooked aspects of a successful day listed here apply to any day you should be looking to live, not just ones during gap years from school or elsewhere in life! Now, on to the article!]
It’s 1:52 AM right now as I write this article.
I’m not going to sleep tonight. In about three hours, I’ll be leaving my Brooklyn apartment for a Daybreaker party in the city (Daybreaker being a morning dance party on a boat where hundreds of people come together to start their day on an epic note!). After docking, I’ll make my way over to the FunnyBizz Conference, where I was gifted a VIP ticket to hear comedians and marketers talk about adding humor to business to create better content. I’ll probably see some friends there for dinner, and then head to the airport to catch a late flight to Orlando, where I’ll be picked up by my brother and catch a few hours of sleep before speaking to a couple hundred college entrepreneurs at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s National Conference. Full day, you could say.
However, thinking about the day ahead, there’s so many aspects of the day’s agenda that most people would overlook, and it’s because of these things most would overlook that I’m becoming more and more successful (as are many of my friends and acquaintances who embody these ideas) with each passing day.
Since I’m still awake, let me break this day down to show you what I mean…
1) Early Mornings
Most successful people I’ve met start their days pretty early. They get things done while others sleep, and while they can’t be bothered by anything besides their own thoughts. Assuming I were to go to sleep tonight at some point (which is probably not going to happen), I’d be up at 4:45 AM or so to get ready to go to Daybreaker NYC. Although, admittedly, I haven’t been too good about waking up early as of late (despite writing multiple articles for Addicted2Success about how important it is to do so), I know the months I lost the most weight, completed the most editing for my forthcoming book 2 Billion Under 20, and just felt the best overall were days where my alarm went off at 5:30 AM. By 8, I’d be working, and would have already crushed a workout, meditated, eaten a healthy breakfast, and gotten comfortable in my working environment for the next few hours, so before most people arose, I’d feel as if I’d conquered the day. On days I wake up late, I feel guilty, don’t make the gym usually, and miss out on my most productive hours. So, no sleep or little sleep tonight, today should be a good day!
2) Having Fun
The “grind” is hard! While, over time, you come to appreciate, and even enjoy, all the effort, sacrifices, and mistakes it takes to become successful, it’s also important to have fun on your way up! Sure, if I’m going to Daybreaker to start my day, I may be missing out on an hour or two of work, but the longer term benefits of having this morning dance party, being with a few friends who are joining, and letting loose in a new city will lead to more productive hours for the rest of the day, prevent burnout, and keep me sane. You could say the same for the FunnyBizz conference. While I’ll certainly be learning and connecting with lots of new people who can push my various projects forward, given the nature of the conference and the various comedians speaking, I’m sure I’ll have a great time as well. In fact, most days I have a lot of fun because I love what I do. It’s so cliche, but if you are “doing what you love” on a daily basis, and you’re getting paid for it (or creating a business out of it hopefully), then you’re already successful.
[JARED: Update!!! Here’s some pictures from the Daybreaker party…Email me for crazier videos!]
3) Being Well-Rounded
Personally, I view success as being multi-faceted. In fact, experimenting with what it takes to be successful in various aspects of my life (from business to health, lifestyle design, relationship-building, and community) is the cornerstone of my new blog, The Gap Year Experiment, and the day I’m about to embark on is proof of that. Not only do I want to have a ton of fun and have the freedom of location and time (all part of lifestyle design) to attend things like a Daybreaker party, but I also want to meet great people (file this under relationship-building) both personally (maybe I’ll find the love of my life at this dance party…or at least make a few new friends) and professionally (I’m sure I’ll meet some awesome people with a VIP ticket at a major conference), push my business forward (who knows what doors will open with all of the day’s activities, and flying to Orlando to speak at tomorrow’s conference can’t hurt my career), and grow my inner circle by hanging out with close friends and seeing family. Throw in some calorie-crunching and (not-so) impressive dance moves, and I’m improving my health too…and laughs will only boost my mood too. Cool thing is, most of my days are similarly well-rounded, which I consider a life well-lived now and in the future should the trend continue.
4) Surrounding Yourself With Top-Notch People
This is so crucial to being successful in your personal and professional life. Most people overlook relationship-building in both worlds unfortunately, and choose to binge out on Netflix over going to a networking event, taking a pretty girl out of a date, or calling up some old friends to catch up, but after years of working with David Hassell, “The Most Connected Man You Don’t Know In Silicon Valley”, and Keith Ferrazzi, who literally wrote THE book on professional relationship-building (“Never Eat Alone”…I’m biased, but I highly, highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already) I simply can’t pass up on daily opportunities to meet fascinating people. While I’m sure I’ll make some personal friends at the morning dance party, and maybe even get a few phone numbers of some cute girls I’d love to take out on dates when I return from Orlando, I know at very least I’ll strengthen pre-existing relationships with others I’ve invited to join me at both of today’s events. At the conference, I’ll look to make genuine connections with a handful of interesting people who I can provide value to, and vice-versa, rather than push business cards in everyone’s face I come across. These relationships can become important, and should be treated as such. By paying close attention to this point I’m trying to make, I’ve built an entire community of some of the world’s smartest and most talented Millennials. Please, do NOT overlook the people in your life. You’ll be happier and more successful if you make surrounding yourself with top-notch people your #1 priority personally (dating, friends, etc) and professionally.
I’m not kidding. If there’s one thing in this article that most people actually overlook about being successful, it’s showering. I don’t know about you, but I’ve started two companies because of ideas I’ve had in the shower. In fact, I got the idea for a new online challenge I just launched, 2 Billion Under 20, and even this article all from spending extra time under a shower head. Perhaps it has something to do with the tranquility of water, or the absence of distracting devices that we seem to rely on way too much, but I do my best thinking in the shower. Oh, and being clean is important too. You won’t score many dates, sales, or really anything without decent hygiene. Lather up, ladies and gents!
6) Doing The Little Things
Last week I was at the Forbes Under 30 Summit, and world-famous DJ, Afrojack, had a few thoughts to share with the crowd. When speaking about his travel schedule (the dude flies over 250 times a year, and all over the world), he sort of shrugged it off and said, “It’s just part of what you have to do.” If flying late at night to Orlando is what I need to in order to become more successful, than so be it. Although not impressive when compared to Afrojack or plenty of other entrepreneurs I know, I’ve been on around 50 flights myself this year, and while plane tickets cost a lot of money and navigating airports can suck up quite a lot of time, successful people just suck it up and, again, embrace it. If “doing the little things” means staying at the office an extra hour to send a few more sales emails, not having drinks at dinner so you can stay slim, writing a few more “thank you” notes to repeat customers, or whatever, successful people always do the little things while those who wish for more generally overlook these same tasks. With so many people out there seemingly oblivious to “doing the little things”, it just means there are a lot more opportunities for us hustlers to “wow”, and I certainly don’t mind missing a couple hours of sleep taking a late-night flight so I can help inspire college entrepreneurs tomorrow.
7) Employing Others To Work For You
When I say this, I don’t always mean paying someone for their help, but if you have co-founders or business/life partners, sometimes it is beneficial to delegate certain tasks to multiply your outputs in the same amount of time (after all, you and Beyonce each have 24 hours today, and every day afterwards). While I am dancing my butt off later and learning about how to incorporate more humor into my writing and marketing, a freelancer hired off of Elance will be helping me implement a WordPress plug-in for the 90 Day Millennial Entrepreneurship course I just launched, meaning that, even when I’m not working, I am still being productive because I delegated minimal tasks I’m not very good at to someone else for a cheaper price than my hourly rate. With co-founders, you can divvy up work to get more done, and partnerships/collaboration always gets you ahead more than working alone if you are working with top-notch talent. I’m still learning this one myself, but I’ve seen results at a small scale already; learn how to delegate and see your success skyrocket.
8) Being Able To “Receive”
Today wouldn’t be as awesome if I wasn’t “gifted” a VIP ticket to the FunnyBizz conference. I certainly didn’t ask for one, but it was offered, and I had to be okay with simply “receiving” this generous gesture. Of course, I made a concerted effort to “pay it forward” afterward by inviting more people to the conference, thus helping the organizers sell an extra few tickets, or by offering to make high-level introductions to people they should know, but on your road to becoming more successful, being able to simply “receive” help from a mentor, good fortune, a free ticket here and there, etc is almost as important as being able to “give” and provide value to others upfront as I talk about often. I also have to be cool with having my brother go out of his way to pick me up at midnight at the airport, an equally generous offering I can simply accept and be grateful for. If you do not overlook #4, then you’ll have great people in your life who want to help you and want to see you succeed, and sometimes, you just have to let them help. In fact, if you turn down their mentorship, help, etc, you may lose a valuable connection and friendship because of your stubbornness.
I’m sure I could continue to break down my upcoming day and point to aspects of it that most people would overlook in being successful, but I’ve certainly given you a lot to think about, and I’m starting to get a bit tired (time to do some push-ups or something!).
Think about these 8 things as you tackle your day, and you’ll be well on your way to building upon the success you already have…
If you have any other ideas that should have been added to this list, want to chat with me about your version of epic days like this one, or just have an affinity for dance parties, please comment below or email me…I’d love to hear from you either way!