"Focus your energy on what you can control right now. With so much uncertainty in the world, the only place where true certainty can exist is inside of you."
What are you choosing to focus on right now? In this unique moment in time, there’s more competing for our attention than ever before. It’s an unprecedented feeling, and even “How are you doing?” can now feel like a loaded question.
It is human nature to allow what’s outside of us to dictate and determine our inner state. That is why now, more than ever, we have to be intentional about what we choose to think about, act on, and how we invest our time, energy, and attention.
In today’s episode, I want to talk about two simple things you can focus on right now:
- Focus on becoming the “best” you’ve ever been.
- Focus on making your relationships the best they have ever been.
Now, more than ever, we need to be at our best, for ourselves as well as those we love, and those we lead.
- Why external forces have so much influence on us as humans.
- How to adapt your routines if you’re feeling frazzled by this moment in time – and why it’s never been more important to make time for self care.
- How to find the resources you need to focus on being your best self.
- What you can do to work through feelings of overwhelm or excessive worry without letting it consume your entire day.
- How to prepare for the worst without being ruled by hopelessness or negativity.
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Hal Elrod: Hello, all of my friends and members of the Miracle Morning Community, Miracle Morning practitioners, goal achievers all around the world. Hey, this is Hal Elrod and I’m recording today’s episode a couple days before you shall hear it and just really thinking what’s timely right now in terms of what’s been helping me and what might help you. And I want to share two simple things to focus on right now. We have so much in the world right now that is pulling at our attention, and maybe more than ever before. So, it’s so crucial that we’re intentional about our focus and about what we think about and what we act on and really just how we invest our time, energy, and attention right now.
And if you’re listening to this and you’re going through some major challenges right now, which let’s face it, this time really is unprecedented. I think that is a word that’s being used a lot right now because it’s very accurate. I said this jokingly the other day, but it’s kind of it’s really a serious statement I think and that the question, “How are you doing?” is probably the most loaded it’s ever been right now. When I’m asked, “How are you doing?” it’s like my mind just starts going through the inventory of, well, earlier today, I was doing this way. I was overwhelmed but then after that, I was hanging out with my family. It was great. And then I had a financial issue. I lost some clients and now I’m stressed about money, and then I went on a walk and I was feeling good again. And then my wife and I got in an argument. It’s this roller coaster right now.
And so, I want to share with you two things that I think are crucial or at least can be uber beneficial for us to focus on right now and this for me was a realization a few days ago, that these two things were going to be my main focus during the month of April and really until further notice. I mean, these are important as long as we’re going through this and beyond. And here’s what they are. Number one, the first thing that I encourage you to consider investing your time focusing on right now is to simply focus on being the best you’ve ever been. Focus on being the best you’ve ever been. And what do I mean by that? Well, when I say best, that’s a very vague term. I’m talking about right now deciding that you know what, there are so many things I can’t control in my outer world. I mean, there are issues in your household that you can’t control. You can’t control other people.
But what you can control is you. And so, when I say focus right now on being the best you’ve ever been, I’m talking about focus on how can you be the happiest you’ve ever been even in the midst of challenging times? How can you be the healthiest you’ve ever been? Now maybe is a time more than ever to strengthen our immune system and focus on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. How can you be the most grateful that you’ve ever been? We just did this morning, you may have been on this, we did our first global Miracle Morning meetup and we had over 400 people on the meetup and the next one will probably I’m not sure how many. We’re trying to figure out the technology. We actually broke Zoom and we couldn’t get it to put us into breakout rooms. That’s another story.
Anyway, the point is this. We did a Thanksgiving address on that Zoom where we had everyone think of what they were grateful for and then as many people as we could allow to share what they were grateful for. And something that they were deeply grateful for, I always say there’s a big difference between intellectual gratitude which is with your head. It’s usually based on a program response by asking if you’re grateful for something that everyone’s grateful for. You’re grateful for your family, you’re grateful for a roof over your head. Most people are going to say, “Yeah, of course,” without thinking much or feeling much about it. Therefore, the impact of that intellectual, that surface level gratitude is pretty minimal. On the other hand, there is what I would call soulful gratitude, which is gratitude that really, you close your eyes and you imagine that thing or that person, that experience, that circumstance, that feeling that you’re grateful for, and you really get present to it.
My eyes are closed right now, I’m doing it myself, but you get present. In fact, I’m going to invite you in a few minutes or a second here to do an exercise with me to actually get present to that gratitude for you. But soulful gratitude is the kind that makes you, you just smile like I’m smiling right now. Either you smile or maybe you cry. One of the two, tears of joy, tears of just deep emotional meaning. And the experience today with the Miracle Morning Community which by the way, we’re really working on ramping up technology to make it so you can join us for these meetups. They’re free. It’s just an opportunity for our community to connect and then response from people that have done them. We’ve done a small one and then the big one today has been just absolutely incredible from people saying it. You know, they were brought to tears and it gave them hope and joy and it made them feel grateful to hear what other people were grateful for, so on and so forth.
But the idea that focusing on being the best you’ve ever been is right now what can you do every day, some self-care practices, which we’ll talk more about in a minute, but to be the happiest, the healthiest, the most grateful, the most knowledgeable, the most prepared, the most confident, the most optimistic. How can you be at your best right now? And most people, what’s normal for people is to allow circumstances outside of themselves. It’s human nature for us to allow events, conversations, things that are outside of ourselves to dictate or determine our inner world, our emotional state. Something goes wrong, you turn on the news, and your mood changes, the way you feel changes. And I’m inviting you to consider that you, you’re responsible for choosing how you feel. You’re responsible for choosing what you focus on, what you think about and therefore how you feel. You’re responsible for choosing your responses to what’s going on around you.
And it’s a theme that we’ve come back to the last few weeks in the podcast is focusing on your inner world. That’s what you can control. So, the first thing I’m inviting you to focus on, encouraging to focus on or consider focusing on is, you know what, how can I be at my best? How can you be at your best, the best you’ve ever been in every single way right now? And as we are in such uncertain times, it really is more important now than ever to take care of ourselves every day and having a self-care practice or practices, like the Miracle Morning, are arguably more important and beneficial now than ever before. And most of you listening to this, I know came through the Miracle Morning book. Many of you, most of you I would say practice the Miracle Morning, whether that’s your practice or you have a different self-care practice, keep in mind, the Miracle Morning is made up of six of the most proven practices to optimize your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
And I’ve seen a lot of people in the Miracle Morning Community, the Facebook group that have said that they had fallen off their Miracle Morning because they were so frazzled by like just the chaos in the world right now. And then many of our Miracle Morning members in the community were commenting, “Oh my gosh, the Miracle Morning is my rock right now. It’s what keeps me sane and clear and thriving.” So, again, whether it’s the Miracle Morning or you have your own self-care practice or you just pick one of the SAVERS that make up the Miracle Morning, just exercising every day, that alone is a game-changer for your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. So, making sure that you’ve got some form of self-care every day because we need to be at our best, and our loved ones need us to be at our best and humanity needs us to be at our best.
So, that’s the first thing. I would invite you and encourage you to invest your time and mental and emotional energy right now into is focus on being the best you’ve ever been. And you can form it as a question. How can I be the best? How can I be the healthiest? How can I be the happiest? How can I be the most grateful? In fact, this morning, as I was preparing for the Miracle Morning meetup and gratitude was really the focus today, I went to my shelf and I pulled off a book written by a friend of mine, Kevin Clayson, called FLIP The Gratitude Switch. So, I decided that I wanted to be the most grateful that I could possibly be as I went into today’s Miracle Morning meetup. So, I pulled a book off the shelf that I’ve read before, that reminded me, that inspired me to be more grateful and gave me real tools and steps and strategies to be more grateful.
So again, if you want to be healthier, or happier, or a better husband or parent or wife or whatever it is, spouse or parent, and if you don’t have the wisdom coming to you as you look for how can I be better in this area, there’s a Google article for that. There’s a book for that. You search and you shall find what you need to be your best in any area. The second thing that I would encourage you to focus on, invite you to focus on, is focus on making your relationships the best they’ve ever been, focus on making your relationships the best they’ve ever been. And by the way, that starts with focusing on being the best you’ve ever been. Because if you’re grumpy and you’re stressed out and you’re fearful, the odds are you’re probably not going to bring your best self to the people that you engage with. You’re going to bring you’re fearful and you’re stressed out and you’re overwhelmed self which, by the way, I’ve got my hand raised, like I’ve been that guy. I’ve been that person.
Everything I’m sharing with you, by the way, this isn’t like I’ve got it all figured out and perfected and I’m flawless in my execution right now. Absolutely not. It’s I’ve been going through this COVID-19 worldwide pandemic with you and I’ve been facing many of the same struggles both personally, internally, and relationally that you have as well. And so, I’m trying to figure it out as I go through how do I be at my best? How do I show up for my kids and my wife and my parents and my sister and my friends and my family in the Miracle Morning community? How can I be my best person foremost? And then how can I bring my best to the people that I love and the people that I lead? And so, that’s the question kind of that, hopefully, you’ll really take from today or start asking yourself right now. And as you leave today’s podcast is how can you be at your best and how can you bring your best to those you love and those you lead?
And so, where I would start, of course, is if you live with people and some people you might live alone but if you live with people, such as your family or some roommates, I would start there but also ask yourself beyond just the people that you live with, who needs you now more than ever right now? Who needs you now more than ever? Personally, I’ve started with people I live with, my family, my marriage, and I’ll be honest, quarantine has added a significant amount of stress for all of us. In my marriage with my kids like, yeah, it hasn’t been easy. So, I’ve asked myself what’s the most important relationship for me to focus on? And I think the answer is probably always this if you’re married, but it’s my marriage because that affects my emotional well-being, my wife’s emotional well-being, and then of course, that trickles down to our children.
So, I’m reading a book right now called Conscious Loving and I’m working to improve my communication, my conscious communication with my wife, Ursula. So, that’s my main focus in the house is my relationship with my wife and then a very close second to that is my relationship with my kids. And that’s not just about reading. It is also about engaging. Yesterday, I built a fort with my kids first thing in the morning and then I made waffles for the kids and then I made my wife a smoothie and then I did a little bit of work. I had some work I needed to do which I don’t normally do on a Sunday, but we had to prep for this Miracle Morning meetup yesterday, or today, and then I watched a TV show with my wife. So, then we engage last night and we watched America’s Funniest Home Videos. So, bringing your best your relationship is also about meeting them where they are, asking them what they need, figuring out what their love language is.
If you don’t know that, the book, The 5 Love Languages, understanding how the people in your life, how do you engage with them in a way that they feel loved. Is it through quality time? Is it through acts of service? Is it through giving them gifts? I can’t remember the other two but those are some of the five love languages. So, focus on bringing your best, your family or the people you live with but beyond that, I’ve been Facetiming with my mom and my dad and my sister either calling or Facetiming with them more than I ever have before. So, ask yourself who in your life needs to hear from you right now? Or who do you need to connect with? Who do you feel like you need to strengthen your relationship with? But my personal approach to what we’re going through right now in terms of what I feel like are the two foundational things to focus on, and by the way, I just thought of a third I’ll give you a little bonus tip here in a second, but it’s how can I be the best that I’ve ever been in the areas of my life that matter most in my mental and emotional well-being, in my physical health, even in my business, but how can I be the best that I’ve ever been right now?
And then I have daily self-care practices. You know, the Miracle Morning is the primary practice that enables me to optimize myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And then the secondary focus is my relationships, how can I bring my best to my relationships? My relationships can be the best that they’ve ever been. And I want to bring you a third bonus tip that I just thought about. This strategy that’s been a game-changer for me. Now, because you might be listening to this and going, “Okay. Hal, that’s great. I’m going to focus on being the best I’ve ever been. Okay, that’s important. I see that. That’s the one thing I can control. All right, I’ll do that. I’ll invest an hour every day doing a Miracle Morning or whatever self-care that will enable me to be my best. Okay, great. I’m going to focus on being the best I can be for my relationships. I’m going to read that book, Conscious Loving. I’m going to focus on spending more time with my family and being engaged with them and meeting their needs and serving them and connecting with them and maybe even learning how to be better for them. Great.”
“However, Hal, you might be thinking, I’ve got some real problems in my life like some issues with finances. I lost my job. I have a relative who has COVID-19 or I have COVID.” There may be a lot of things you’re going through. There are a lot of things that you might need to really invest your time into being concerned with or strategizing around or being prepared. If you run a business and you’ve closed down and my heart breaks for all these businesses, these people that they put their life into their business and by no fault of their own they’re suffering. I’ve been getting emails from business owners like just asking, “Can you just donate money like we don’t know what to do?” Anyway, so sorry, that’s a tangent, but my heart breaks for these. For so many people, for all of you that everyone that everyone’s suffering, everyone’s in some way, there’s some struggle. But anyway, sorry, I got off on a tangent.
The point is this, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or worrying excessively about things in your life that are real issues or for many of you, you maybe find your income might not be affected, your health might be fine but you might just find yourself worried, excessively worrying about things that are out of your control. I think that’s probably true for a large majority of society. There’s this collective consciousness, this collective fear around the unknown, around the things and if you’re watching the news, that just amplifies that fear because they, by default, the news shows you things that grab your attention, headlines that get you to tune in. If you don’t watch this, you’re in trouble. And we watch it. So, here’s what I would recommend. This is what I did because I found myself in that trap of feeling overwhelmed thinking. Just all day long, my thoughts were just being pulled in all these different directions.
And the one strategy that’s been a game-changer for me so that I don’t worry all the time all day long, stress out all day long, is I’m scheduling. I’ve scheduled an hour a day to be prepared for the worst. You can call it that. Be prepared for the worst or you can call your hour whatever you want. It could be your hour to worry like there’s a value in worrying if it’s inside of you. You can’t deny it. It’s one thing I’ve learned this last year with experiencing anxiety and depression this past year is that I worked with therapists and coaches. They go, “Yeah, Hal.” I would always try to just go, “No, no, I’m positive. I’m happy,” like that was my MO for my whole life is just I bottled the emotions. up, I just moved them to the side, I pushed them down. And I learned that’s unhealthy that they are stored in your body. And they might manifest as nightmares or as cancer or something else.
So, if you have fear inside, don’t deny it. If you’re worried, don’t deny it but don’t live there. And so, what I’ve done is I’ve scheduled an hour a day to focus on investing time to prepare for the worst-case scenario like what do we do if one – and here’s what I mean by this by being prepared, by the way. So, this is my time, my schedule every day to be prepared. It’s what if someone in my family, my immediate family that I live with, what if one of us gets COVID-19? What are we going to do? Because if you don’t have a plan, you’re in trouble. If you don’t know which hospital you’re going to go to, that’s important to be prepared. You can’t just be delusionally optimistic and go, “I’m probably fine. Nothing bad is going to happen to me.” And then if it doesn’t, that’s great. If you’re prepared and nothing bad happens, that’s fine. But if you’re not prepared, and the worst comes to pass, you’re in trouble. It could be devastating.
So, I think it’s important for us not to prepare from a place of like deep fear and anxiety and chaos, but really just calm, clarity, certainty, responsibility going, “You know what, like, I could get laid off.” If you work for a company, “I could get laid off.” That’s a real possibility right now. What will I do if that happens? And calmly think of that. And here’s the thing, if you schedule time, in fact, I think what was the phrase I gave you earlier? Be prepared for the worst. That’s probably not the best thing to call it. You call that time. Unless maybe it’s calmly prepare for the worst-case scenario. Calmly prepare. Don’t be frantic. Don’t be in a state of fear. Just calmly prepare for what could go sideways. Use the language that just don’t be freaked out. The point is, when I scheduled this time, it’s to prepare calmly. And so, I asked myself, okay, if my income drops, what will I do? For me, it’s book sales.
Well, my speaking engagements have completely dried up, by the way. That’s a large source of my income. So, I’m already experiencing some major impact from the economic fallout. And so, I’m having to figure out, “Okay, how am I going to make up this income for my family? How am I going to put food on the table?” And luckily, I’ve got some savings and so we have a buffer to kind of figure that out. Anyway, the point is you do want to be mindful and prepare in case something for potential consequences of what’s happening in the world right now. So, anyway, I didn’t mean to go in as much depth on this but here’s the benefit of this. Having this time scheduled allows me to free up my mental and emotional space the rest of the day. That’s what it’ll allow you to do is free up. When you have time scheduled to prepare for the worst-case scenario, the rest of the day is giving me the space to free up my mental and emotional space, so that I don’t have to constantly be thinking, worrying, and stressing about everything that’s going wrong in the world or that could go wrong in my life or in the future.
And by the way, having this time scheduled every day also allows me to sleep at night knowing that I have time the next day to think about and prepare for what may or may not be coming in the future. So, I can let every night as I’m falling asleep, by the way, I was having trouble in the first few nights and I know a lot of Americans are having trouble sleeping right now because their mind is racing at the end of the day. And what I’ve done is by scheduling this time to prepare for what may or may not come in the future, by the way, I like that phrase better. Calmly prepare for what may or may not come in the future versus prepare for the worst-case scenario. That naturally has a stressful connotation. So, what I would say is, again, calmly prepare for what may or may not happen in the future. But by doing that, as I’m falling asleep at night, I can let go of all my concerns, all my worries, and go, “You know what, I’m going to let…” and I literally will tell myself before bed sometimes it’ll start to pop in my head, I go, “No, no, no, I’m letting all those go. I’ll think about them in the morning.”
Sometimes I have to turn my light on and write down a note, oh, yeah, add this too. I got to think about this tomorrow. But as soon as I write it down, I do keep a pad of paper right next to my bed, as soon as I write it down, I take a deep breath and now I have that space again to just be at peace and go to sleep with nothing to worry about because my objective is not to worry all day. My objective at bedtime, the only objective I have and I would think it would be the same for you or should be is to fall asleep. At night, your only objective is to fall asleep. So, worrying incessantly about things that are out of your control doesn’t serve that objective. It’s counterproductive to that objective. And by the way, I was talking to Brotha James the other day and he said something, I think it was Brotha James that shared this with me, he said that when you’re thinking about what you can or can’t control, he said – oh, no, this was Tim Nicholi, my good friend and neighbor, Tim.
He said that he was on a call with the author of the book, The 15 Conscious Commitments of Leadership. I believe that’s the name of the book or Commitments of Conscious Leadership, one of the two. But he said that on the call, he talked that the author of that book, I think it’s Jim Dethmer, he said that, ultimately, you ask yourself what can I control? It’s what can I control right now? What can I control right now? Anything else should be written down for later. Think about that. How often are we thinking of things that we can’t control right now? And if you’re laying in bed at night and you’re thinking of anything other than falling asleep, other than breathing, other than being at peace, you’re focused on something you can’t control right now, because your only objective at that moment is to fall asleep. And so, having this time scheduled for me to calmly prepare for what may or may not happen in the future, having that time scheduled every day, allows me to go to sleep. And during the day, it allows me to focus on the task at hand.
If I’m with my family, I don’t need to worry about other things. I seem to be totally present with my family. If I’m at work, if I’m having a podcast, I’m talking to you, if I’m exercising, if I’m just thinking. Typically, when I’m thinking, I don’t want to think of things that cause me excess stress. Now, there is a time and a place. And by the way, do I feel stress during that hour when I’m preparing, I’m doing air quotes right now, “calmly preparing” for what may or may not happen in my business with my health, so on and so forth? Do I feel stressed during that hour? Yeah, sometimes, but more importantly, I feel a lot more in control and thus a lot less fearful and a lot less stressed out by acknowledging all the possibilities and being proactive in my preparation. So, having that hour scheduled to calmly prepare for what may or may not happen in the future, that hour is a sacred time that more importantly gives me freedom the other 23 hours of the day to enjoying my life, the first two focuses that we talked about today on being the best I’ve ever been right now, being the best I’ve ever been developing myself in growing, evolving in any way that I can.
And then also, that space to focus and be prepared during that hour allows me to focus on making my relationships the best they’ve ever been. And again, am I nailing this? No, I’d give myself probably on the self-care thing, I’d say I give myself a B. On the best relationships I’ve ever been, I probably give myself a C like that’s still a struggle but I’m working on it. I’m working on it. And I invite you to work on it too.
Hal Elrod: Men, women, everybody, thank you for listening today. In conclusion, well, let me go through those three. I came to today’s podcast to share two things to focus on and I ended up bringing that third and I hope that was valuable. But, number one, focus on being the best you’ve ever been, best being the happiest, the healthiest, the most grateful, the most knowledgeable, the most prepared. Focus on being the best you’ve ever been. That’s number one right now. That’s one thing that’s in your control. And number two, focus on making your relationships the best they’ve ever been and that begins with you being the best you’ve ever been. So, you can bring that version of you into everything you do, into everyone you connect with, all those you love, all those you lead. And then the bonus tip is to have time scheduled to calmly prepare for what may or may not happen in the future. So, that that hour gives you freedom, the other 23 hours gives you the mental and emotional space the rest of the day so that you don’t have to constantly be thinking about this coronavirus and worrying and stressing about everything that’s going wrong or that could go wrong in the future, everything that’s out of your control.
Focus your energy on what you can control right now because, with so much uncertainty in the world, the only place where true certainty can exist is inside of you. And your Miracle Morning or whatever self-care practice that you’re engaging in every day that can enable you to generate feelings of peace and love, as well as mental states of clarity and confidence, and any other that you choose. So, let go of what’s out of your control, your outer world, and again, invest your time and energy into nurturing what you can control which is your inner world. And let’s use this time to become the best we have ever been for ourselves and for each other. Goal achievers, members of the Miracle Morning community, I love you, I appreciate you, and I love everybody. I’ll talk to you next week.
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