Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up knowing it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up knowing it must outwit and outrun (at least) the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you'd better start running.
It's not a pretty vision, but that little saying pretty much sums up the world of business, doesn't it? Thousands of businesses in Australia die every year. And with the state of the current economy, the bloodbath is sure to continue.
But in my experience most people don't start the day running. They get up... shower... shave and prepare for their day which is fine. But the first thing they do when they get to work is CHECK THEIR EMAIL. And that's a big no-no in my books. Why? Simply because you start the day by answering to everyone else's demands rather than focusing on what you need to do to grow your business.
Checking your email is not really important. And in 9 cases out of 10 it's not urgent. Truth is, in the first 15 minutes you start work, it's critical you take control of your day. Otherwise you end up getting caught up and letting the day run you. Other people's needs become more important than your own.
Here's what I try to do every morning. I am by no means perfect, but I am getting closer to living by these rules:
1. A quick meditation and visualisation of my goals.
2. Plan out my day, prioritising the top 6 things in order.
3. Get to work
And only after I've done a couple of hours of work do I resort to clicking that send/receive button on my email to see what the rest of the world wants. In short, I start my day running. I start my day focusing on the most important priorities which will get me from where I am to where I want to go. That's how you become the metaphorical lion who catches the gazelle (goals).
I remember back when I was an employee (before I used to affirm to myself on a daily basis "I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever work for somebody else again - and I never have since") I knew these sales guys who used to get to work half an hour late, have a coffee and a chat for half an hour and then get to work.
I didn't dislike them, but if I were their boss I would have fired them. Because at the end of the day, they were lazy gazelles who the lion would eventually eat for lunch. That's one way of starting the day slow and it requires enforcing the habit of discipline.
But there's another way of losing the game... even if you wake up at 4:30am and don't start running until 8pm. I know a guy who does this. Works three jobs. Doesn't see his kids all that much. And doesn't earn a heck of a lot of money.
Why? Because he doesn't have the right tools. He hasn't taken the time to fill his mind with the sort of education which turns to gold. You see, a doctor can earn far more than a tradesperson because he has filled his mind with the right information.
And the same applies to the world of business - a business person with the right tools can get twelve hours out of an eight hour day and make more money than someone who works from dawn to dusk, by simply furnishing himself with the right education and tools. "Survival of the fittest" used to be based on physical strength. Today it is based on personal discipline combined with getting the leverage you require through specialised knowledge. And you can get that specialised knowledge you need to get more customers and be the gazelle that outruns the lion (recession).