“Success leaves clues” is a familiar bromide that may be true, but I think it is more accurate to say that true success leaves patterns. As you interact with and observe successful people, you learn more from the patterns they share. A clue isn’t conclusive proof. Patterns are more instructive as they are habits, attitudes and practices consistently practiced.
My conclusion is that many of the most successful people I know or observe rise early and play fast.
When George W. Bush gave the eulogy for Herbert Walker Bush, he said of his father, “He taught us that a day was not meant to be wasted. He played golf at a legendary pace. I always wonder why he insisted on speed golf; he’s a good golfer. Here’s my conclusion. He played fast so he could move on to the next event, to enjoy the rest of the day, to expend his enormous energy, to live it all. He was born with just two settings, full throttle, then sleep.”
My friend Harvey Mackay, bestselling author of Swim with the Sharks, is in his 80’s but he continues to create and contribute. At lunch he once shared with me and a few friends, “I can’t sleep fast enough!” He gets up each morning with so many exciting things to do he that he sees sleep as a necessary evil.
Dr. Nido Qubein, another long time friend and president of High Point University rises at 4 a.m. each morning and spends two hours going over reports, catching up on trade journals and responding to overnight emails. He walks at 6 and is at the office by 8.
When I interviewed Fred Shea, the real life postal carrier in my book, The Fred Factor, I asked him what motivated him. His response: “I lay in bed at the end of the day and only worry about one thing, and that is did I waste any of the day I just finished.”
High achievers play fast and rise early. They don’t play recklessly, or indiscriminately, but they bring a passion for getting the most out of each day. They don’t rise early because they have to but because they want to. Life is so full opportunities that they can’t wait to get started.
Mark Sanborn is a bestselling author and acclaimed leadership keynote speaker. For more information about his services, visit www.marksanborn.com.