Do you have good time management skills? How can maintaining good daily habits help your morning and evening routines stick? Are you living intentionally and purposefully?
In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks to Alex Sanfilippo about good time management in your business and with yourself.
Meet Alex Sanfilippo
Alex Sanfilippo started his first business at the age of twelve; selling used golf balls. From there, he went on to real estate investing and a technology start-up which he sold years later.
For the past decade, Alex has been an executive in the aerospace industry. During his time in corporate America, he stayed active with his side hustles; which mainly consisted of conference speaking and business coaching.
Listen to his podcast here.
In This Podcast
- Good time management in your business and with yourself
- Keeping your energy up
- Daily 3×7
- Daily habits
- Creating a Brand
Good time management in your business and with yourself
So, when you want to gain control of your time, it starts with taking that inventory and realizing that, you know what, you have more time than you’re willing to admit.
Alex is an executive at an aerospace company and found that it was taking up a lot of his time so he wasn’t getting to the ambitions and ideas of things he wanted to do on the side. He came home from work feeling exhausted and worn out and just feeling like he didn’t have the time to do more. He had an idea for a side hustle that he wanted to start but couldn’t do it and his full-time job so would have to find a way to quit his job but still needed the income. He was stuck so needed to think if there was any way that he could do both. Finally, something clicked and he thought maybe he actually had more time than he thought.
Alex took inventory (which is the first thing he recommends for everyone to do) and wrote down everything he did in a day, and this is something that he still practices:
- Start with sleep – This is very important, if you’re not sleeping right then you really can’t manage the rest of your time very well.
- How long does it take to make breakfast? Are you making breakfast every day?
- Are you working out every day? For how long?
- Work = 8 hours a day
It comes down to intention if you don’t have the intention, then just what happens, happens.
Keeping your energy up
Alex makes sure that when he goes to bed, he is actually tired. People think that they’re tired but they’re really just mentally exhausted and when you’re mentally exhausted, you will go to sleep but you won’t get a deep sleep if you haven’t physically exhausted yourself.
- Alex realized that the things that make him sleep really well are eating well and really taking care of himself.
- He works out every day, not extremely hard but hard enough that when he goes to bed he is exhausted.
- He is careful with how much time he spends in front of screens
Alex has broken every day into three different categories with seven different things in each of those categories:
- Daily habits
- Evening Routine
- Morning Routine
It’s not super important what those seven signs are, it’s just important that they work for you and you can only find that out by testing. Alex doesn’t start the day with his morning routine, it starts the night before. What you do the night before is the most important thing and it’s what’s really going to make an impact.
- Starts fasting two hours before bed.
- One hour before bed, disconnect completely.
- Morning prep work – get clothes out the night before and get breakfast ready.
- Do stretching/yoga.
- Hygiene before bed – brush and floss teeth.
- Daily journal – “The day is done, I’m letting it go, I’m releasing any stress from this day, and tomorrow’s a new day. I’ll pick it back up and I’ll continue moving forward.”
- Thank God for the day – Alex and his wife usually do this one together, they say a few things that they’re thankful for from that day.
- No snooze button – Alex keeps his phone away from him so he has to get up to switch off his alarm.
- Goes into the home office and switches on the lights.
- Drinks a glass of water – gets your brain fired up and ready to go.
- Stands in front of the mirror and smiles a ridiculous smile for 30 seconds.
- Light stretching.
- Hygiene – brushes teeth, etc.
- 10 minutes of meditation to just be silent and try to remove anything that comes to mind. It gives Alex an immense, extreme clarity for his entire day.
This is so important. Your daily habits are what will make the morning and evening routines stick.
- Spend time with God – An hour at least spent intentionally. “I am a person of value and not profit.”
- Prioritize creativity – Focused on a predetermined project. In this one hour, Alex can get done what most people can get done in four hours because he has killed all of the distractions around him.
- Daily education – if you’re not learning, you’re dying.
- Working out – optimize health through fitness and eating healthily. Alex is very mindful of what he eats and makes sure that he works out every single day.
- Invest in relationships – Alex has about 50 people in his life who he calls close friends. He makes sure that he reaches out to a different friend every day.
- Daily checklist – Makes sure that what he does in the day follows the purpose of living an intentional life.
- Asks himself if he fulfilled his purpose today. He doesn’t check this one off every day and that’s ok. Tomorrow you can wake up and give it another shot and do even better.
Creating a Brand
Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much – Helen Keller
Alex’s Creating a Brand Podcast is a top 20 entrepreneurship podcast that has done extremely well. It is more of a masterclass style podcast for people that are trying to take that first or next step in their entrepreneurship journey. It is very focused and practical, usually giving steps that can be implemented after listening to the 20-30 minute episode.
Alex is a firm believer that we all go further together so in addition to the podcast he launched what he calls the Creating a Brand Community. This is Alex’s flagship product that is basically for anybody trying to take their business a little bit further or just want some extra help.
You can join Creating a Brand: www.creatingabrand.com/join
Join for free by texting “connect” to 1-904-299-8992
Click here to access 6 free courses that Alex has gifted our listeners!
- Laura Dugger on Creating a Faith-based Podcast | FP 39
- Register for the Pivot Your Group Practice Intensive 2020
- Daily PS
- The Good Christian Podcast
- Email Whitney: email@example.com
- Email Alison: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Faith In Practice Facebook Group
- Free resources to help you start, grow and scale
- Apply to work with Whitney
- Consult With Whitney
Meet Whitney Owens
Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.
Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.
Thanks For Listening!
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Faith in Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts that are changing the world. To hear other podcasts like Empowered and Unapologetic, Bomb Mom, Imperfect Thriving, Marketing a Practice or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
The Faith in Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network. A network of podcasts seeking to help you start, grow, and scale your practice. To hear other episodes like the Imperfect Thriving podcast, Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host, Whitney Owens, recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner and private practice consultant. In each week, through a personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow, and scale your private practice from a faith-based perspective. I’m going to show you how to have an awesome, faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.
I want to take a few minutes at the beginning of this episode to talk about an awesome event Alison Pidgeon and I are doing, and that I’ve been promoting the past few weeks on the podcast. So today, August 5, is the last day to sign up for a group intensive. And so, this intensive is going to be held next Friday, August 14, 2020, and it’s to help group practice owners know how to pivot their practice to meet the goals that they set for 2020. Alison and I were finding, talking to group practice owners but also even looking at my own goals for 2020, so many of them I have hit, some of them I’ve had to change the way I’m hitting those, and some of them I had to give up on honestly and focus my efforts on other goals. And so private practice owners have had those goals and they’re looking back and kind of wondering, how am I going to do that? And so, Alison and I got together and said, let’s create an intensive program to help you complete those goals. Because we don’t want you to walk away from 2020 saying it was a wash or being really discouraged about it, but being able to say, you know what? Even in the midst of all the trials that came up, I still had a successful practice, still met my goals, still met the needs of my family, and still cared for the community around me. And so, if you’re interested in how I take it into high gear and finish 2020 strong, please go to practiceofthepractice.com/pivot, so that you can learn more about the intensive that we’re doing. Like I said, today’s the last day to sign up; we’re only taking the first 20 people that sign up, because we want it to be a small enough group that we can really help you work on your business. So it’ll be a six hour intensive – not just us talking, but us working together and us giving you things to do during that time that you come back and show us the work that was done because as practice owners we’re super busy. And so, we go to a seminar, or we go to a webinar, and we walk away without time to actually do the work. And so, we’re going to give you some time to do the work during the day and come back and actually talk about it.
And then after the intensive, one time in September and one time in October, we’re going to get together as a group and talk about the way you’re meeting those goals. Because again, a lot of times we walk away from something and we have these goals but then hiccups come up along the way, and then we don’t know how to meet those, and we need someone to talk those through. So, Allison and I are going to be there to help you with that. So, if you’re interested in that, head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/pivot.
Today on the Practice of the Practice, I have interviewed Alex Sanfilippo. I actually met him at Podfest back in March, which I’ve had several people on the show that I met back at Podfest. It’s funny to think back on it, that was like my last hurrah before COVID started. So, I’m really glad I got outside, and sat at a pool for a few minutes, and enjoyed meeting some really cool people while I was there. So, Alex does really cool work – well, he does a lot of stuff, but specifically on this episode, he talks about time management and he has a really cool way of talking about that. And as business owners, time management is something we really need to work on and we’re constantly reevaluating. So, he’s got some really good tips here for you today, so I think you’re really going to benefit from the show. And so, this is episode number 40; Alex is talking about time management in your business.
Today on the Faith in Practice podcast, I have Alex Sanfilippo. He started his first business at the age of 12, selling used golf balls. From there he went on to real estate investing and a technology startup, which he sold years later. For the past decade, Alex has been an executive in the aerospace industry and during his time in corporate America, he stayed active with his side hustles, which mainly consisted of conference speaking and business coaching. Hey, Alex, thanks for coming on the show.[ALEX]:
Whitney, thank you so much for having me and also, great job in my last name. I have to give you kudos for that. They don’t get it right very often. [WHITNEY]:
Well, you know when you practice a few times before you say it, that helps. Yeah, well, I’d love to kind of have you introduce yourself to our community and talk a little bit about maybe your business but also kind of you personally, family, where you’re located, stuff like that. [ALEX]:
Sure, absolutely. First off, thank you again for having me; it’s seriously an honor to be on this podcast, you do a fantastic job. I’ve listened to it and I really like the quality that you’re bringing. So, thank you for that, everything you’re doing here. So, my name is Alex Sanfilippo, as Whitney said, and I’ve been in business for a long time, doing a lot of different things, as she mentioned, started selling used golf balls as a kid. It’s a funny story for another time, maybe. But uh, basically, we lived on a golf course and I just got them out of the lakes and resold them to golfers. But it was at that age, when I was 10, or between the ages of 10 and 12, I think is what it probably was – it’s been a little while now – is when I discovered that I love business. And ever since then I’ve done something related to business. And it’s been different throughout the years. It’s been in tech startups, it’s been in aerospace, it’s been in in real estate, and now back into the podcasting space and online community building. And the thing is, I’m very passionate, I’m a passionate individual, just the way I live my life. So, a lot of what I do for business is also what I love doing for myself, for fun, the things that I just enjoy. So, I’ve been able to connect those two things together, which has been really important for me. So, I live in Jacksonville, Florida. I have a lot of friends here, some family here as well, my wife, and I just enjoy everything that I do. And when I’m not doing something business related, I’m spending time at the beach, or working out, or playing soccer. Those are the things that I love. [WHITNEY]:
I love soccer. So awesome. Yeah, and we were talking just before the show, you know, Savannah and Jacksonville are not too far apart. And I spent my childhood going down to Amelia Island. And so, I spent a lot of time in Jacksonville, plus the Georgia-Florida game. [ALEX]:
You know, I’ve never been to it. [WHITNEY]:
Well, you need to put it on your list. They call it the biggest cocktail party in the nation. And actually, it is that, so you got to be really careful with everyone there. [ALEX]:
[Unclear] too crazy for me. I think I’ve never wanted to go actually. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, it is kind of a weird thing. But I can’t be a Georgia fan without eventually going down there. [ALEX]:
True, okay. [WHITNEY]:
But yeah, yeah, wonderful. Well, when Alex and I were kind of talking about him coming on the show, he had a lot of different ideas for things to offer. But of course, I jumped on the one that I thought would help me the most, which is time management. So, Alex is going to kind of talk to us today about the ability to do some good time management in your business with yourself. So, could you kind of talk about that with us? [ALEX]:
Yes, absolutely. I love this topic. So, if I get talking for too long, just cut me off and that is perfectly fine. So, a couple of years ago, I was an executive in an aerospace company, and it was taking a lot of my time. But I also had ambitions and ideas of things I wanted to do on the side, so a side hustle, if you will, which is what this is commonly known as today. I was really desiring to do more. And I realized I just didn’t have the time, or at least I felt like I didn’t have the time so I can remember coming home from work exhausted, just worn out. But I was like, I really want… I have an idea for a side hustle. I want to start it but I just, I can’t do both. I have to find a way to quit this job. If [unclear] start my next project. But I also need the income, right? Whitney, like, we’ve all been there, like, when you have an idea, but you also need money. So that’s kind of where I was stuck. And I was like, you know what, I need to think if there’s any way I can do this. So, of course, you know, I sat on the couch, probably opened a beer or something like that, was watching TV, went to bed, woke up the next day, did it again. Repeat that 100 days in a row. And then finally, something clicked. I was like, if I’m watching TV every day, staying up really late, sleeping in almost every day, because I don’t have to get to work too early, maybe I have more time than I think. This is the first time I had that revelation one day, when I was like, oh, maybe there’s more time in a day. So, I did some math. And I found out that there’s 24 hours in every single day. [WHITNEY]:
Oh, that’s good. [ALEX]:
24 hours, and I found out that everyone has 24 hours in a day. It’s not just me. So, I’m looking at these people. I’m like, man, they can do so much every day. They must have way more time than I do. And the truth is, they still have 24 hours just like I did. So, this was that moment. It was like the aha moment. I was like, okay, there’s got to be something I can do to actually leverage my time and use it more wisely. So, I just took inventory and that’s the first thing I’d recommend for anyone to do. If you’re trying to gain control of your time, the first thing you have to do is sit back and take inventory. Actually, it’s funny, I do this practice regularly; directly behind me, where I’m speaking right now, in my home office, I’ve got three whiteboards, and one of them right now looks – it’s got chicken scratch all over it, it looks terrible – but it’s me taking inventory of my time. I literally wrote down everything I do, including sleep. But when you do this, you sit back and you take that inventory, which again, you’re doing literally everything. So, I start with sleep because that’s very important. If you’re not sleeping right, you really can’t manage the rest of your time very well. If you’re exhausted and you feel like you’re not getting you know, good quality sleep. So, that’s the first thing I write down. After that, just do everything. Okay. How long does it take me to eat breakfast? Am I making breakfast every day? Am I having something that’s already prepared? Am I working out every day? Okay, how long am I working out every day? Okay, I’m working for eight hours a day. So, I’ve got that. So, you know, that list could go on forever, but I’m basically writing down everything that I possibly can and taking inventory of time. And when a couple years ago I did this, guess what? I found out that I was not using my time very wisely. [WHITNEY]:
It comes down to the idea of intention. If you don’t have intention, then just what happens, happens. And I found that to be so true in my life. And so, when you want to gain control of your time, it starts with taking that inventory and realizing that you have more time than you’re willing to admit. So, let’s just do the real simple math here. If I said I had zero time, which is what I was saying, for years, when I wanted to start the side hustle. When I did that inventory, I took out eight hours for work. And I took out eight hours for sleep that left me eight hours in the day. Now, of course, there’s chores and some of us have kids, and we have maybe a second job even, but in the day there still are a few hours every single day. And when I did that math, I’m like, you know what, if I just devoted one hour a day to this side hustle, it would be seven hours a week, and around 30 hours a month, I’m like, I can actually do some damage with 30 hours a month. So, I really started going after this. And then when I mastered that one hour, I went after more and more and more. So over the years, I’ve actually been able to manage my time very well and it’s funny, to this day I still have a full time job, a nine to five job – I’m a senior director in an aerospace company that I absolutely love, it’s a blast. And then I’ve got Creating a Brand, which is actually my side hustle, believe it or not. And I’m very passionate of both. I’m happy to be doing both. And people are always like, how on earth do you do both? Like, I don’t even think I could do one of those things that you’re doing. I’m not saying… it’s not like I’m something special. I’ve just figured out how to actually manage my time well, so I’d love to kind of dive into that a little bit with you and the audience today, Whitney, if you’re okay with that. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, that’d be great. Can I ask you a question though? [ALEX]:
Please do. [WHITNEY]:
So, when you’re talking about… you’re what? A senior… what’s your job? [ALEX]:
I’m a senior director. So, my title is actually Director of Commercial Operations. And I say aerospace – I’m not an astronaut or anything like that. Nothing fun. I just basically watch the company’s profit margins and make sure that we’re being profitable in the process. [WHITNEY]:
That’s important. [ALEX]:
Yes, it is. [WHITNEY]:
So, you’re working hard at your full-time gig; you probably have a good bit of responsibility there. And now you’re spending time doing a side hustle. Do you get so tired? [ALEX]:
Actually, I really don’t. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, cos when you were describing it earlier like, I got home, had a beer, watched TV, like, that sounds almost like depressed, exhausted every day, blah, right? So how do you like keep your energy up through all that? [ALEX]:
Yeah, it’s part of the way that I actually manage my time now. It’s very important to make sure that when I go to bed, I’m tired. And a lot of people, although they feel like they’re tired, they don’t realize that they’re actually not, they’re just mentally exhausted. And when you’re mentally exhausted, yeah, you’ll go to sleep, but you won’t get as deep sleep if you haven’t actually exhausted yourself. So what I mean by that, something that actually will make you feel tired, like, when you watch TV, or you play on your phone, not that those things are bad, but it’s actually it’s producing dopamine, and that’s making you over time feel like okay, I’m fatigued, I’m tired, and it gets you in a relaxed state, but it doesn’t ever cause you to sleep really well. So, for me, I realized things that make me sleep really well are eating really good and taking care of myself. So, I work out every day, I don’t work out extremely hard, but hard enough to say that when I go to bed, I am exhausted. And I also make sure to really be careful with my time that I’m spending in front of screens. So, I work in front of a screen just Like everybody in today’s world, right? But after work, it’s very rare they actually turn on the TV. So basically, Sunday evening… I should say, Sunday through Thursday, I don’t watch TV at all, I won’t sit in front of a screen more than I have to. There’s no social media scrolling, nothing like that. On the weekend, I’ll give myself a break. My wife actually loves to watch movies. That’s one of her like, one of her things that she likes to do with me, so I make sure that we sit down and watch a movie together. But during the week, she knows that I’m not going to sit in front of a TV because I want to make sure that I can perform at an optimal level when it comes to the different things that I’m committed to. So the big thing for me is how do I get good quality sleep and not feel tired, you know, not feel tired all the time, it starts with that really good quality sleep and make sure I’m getting enough of it. [WHITNEY]:
Thank you for answering that. I love it. Alright, so time management. [ALEX]:
Time management. This is again, my favorite topic here. So, I’ve actually broken this down really simple. So, I’m just gonna give it to you guys right now. I call it my ‘Daily 3×7’. And you can actually see, you know, I’ll explain all that here but if you’re interested in seeing more of how it works, you can go to daily3x7.com, and it’ll take you to my creating a brand website, the specific page where I talk more about it. But basically, I’ve broken everyday down into three different categories. And so that’s where the three comes into play. So daily 3, which is daily habits, evening routine, and morning routine. And then the 3×7, the others are seven different things in each of those categories, which I can get into but it’s not super important what they are, it’s just important that they are what works for you. And you can only find that by testing, by actually giving it a true shot, everything that you’re doing. So, I start with daily habits and I look at evening routine, morning routine, because, Whitney, you’ve probably heard this – everyone wants to know the morning routine, right? You’ve probably said that, and you’ve heard it yourself, right? [WHITNEY]:
Mm hmm. [ALEX]:
Yeah, everyone’s interested in like, what is the morning routine? Actually, I happened to be in the room with a billionaire who was talking not long ago, which is always an interesting place to be, I guess. And the first thing that somebody asked him is like, what’s your morning routine? This guy immediately said, everyone, stop asking me about my morning routine because it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do the night before, and then just kept on talking. But you know, it kind of reinforced the fact that I don’t start my day with my morning routine; I start the night before. [WHITNEY]:
And that’s the most important thing. It’s what you do the night before that’s going to really make an impact. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, so I want to know about that. [ALEX]:
Yeah, I mean, so here’s the deal. If we’re like, okay, I want to have a really good morning routine, but the night before, you’re drinking too much, you’re staying up way too late, and maybe you’re having sweets late at night, you’re watching TV that’s really stimulating your mind, something like really intense. Or you’re watching TV when you’re going to bed. It doesn’t matter what you say your morning routine is, it’s not going to go well. It always is going to matter how you prepare for it. So for me, how I actually have a good evening routine is the first thing I do, and I’ll run through the seven things I do my evening routine, is I start fasting two hours before bed, it’s the first thing I do. So, two hours before I go to bed, I’m not going to eat anything else. I’ve actually found that that’s like my sweet spot. I tried three for a while, I go to bed starving, and I can’t sleep very well. I tried an hour before; I’ve realized my sleep is not as deep. Two hours for me was that sweet spot, and everyone, I encourage you, find that spot for yourself. But for me, two hours before gives my body the rest that it needs so when I’m sleeping, I’m actually not just trying to digest food, I don’t know the technical side of things, but you know, I’m actually able to get good quality sleep, that’s restorative sleep.
And then one hour before bed, I am disconnecting completely. So, no more screens, no more projects. That is when I’m just relaxing. So I’ll maybe pick up a book, I’ll hang out with my wife, we’ll just spend some time talking and things like that, decompressing from the day, anything like that, but at the end, at that last hour before going to bed, I’m not spending it working or checking my phone or anything like that, I’ve plugged it in for the day. And after that I do my morning prep work, so preparing myself for the morning, so I actually get my clothes out the night before, Whitney. Some people think this is crazy, but I get my clothes out the night before, I go as far as actually making sure my food is ready, like, I got my breakfast already made, I make it all the night before. And it works really well for me. It gives me that mindset of okay, tomorrow is another day, I’m prepared for it. And then from there, I do some yoga/stretching, I call it yoga, but wife says it’s not yoga. Apparently I just know how to stretch, so that’s what I’m doing.
And then the last thing I do, the last three things basically really go together. I’m just getting ready, you know, hygiene, brushing my teeth, flossing, what we’re all supposed to do every day, right? So, doing those things. And then I pick up my daily journal, and I look at it, I look at what I did that day, and I look what I’m doing the next day. So again, I’m getting myself in that mindset of okay, the day is done. And I actually say these words myself, the day is done, I’m letting it go, I’m releasing any stress from this day, and tomorrow’s a new day, I’ll pick it back up, and I’ll continue moving forward. And that’ll bring my vision of myself. My vision is to be a person of value, not a person of profit, and remind myself that Alex, no matter what you made today, or did today, what matters is adding value to someone’s life tomorrow, and remind myself that, and the very last thing I do – my wife and I do this together – is when we’re going to bed we just say a few things we’re thankful for from that day. If we’re going to bed separately or anything like that, if that ever happens, it’s just one of us, then just hey, for me, I thank God for the day, for giving me breath to breathe that day, it’s another day, it’s a blessing. And then also just the little things that happened throughout the day. And then that’s it. Turn off the lights. I’m done. And I sleep fantastic every day, thankfully.[WHITNEY]:
Now, does your wife do the same thing? [ALEX]:
Not exactly. She has modified versions of this. So, she sleeps very well, too. But she is a night person. And we work different schedules. So usually she’s up a little bit later than I am, so she’ll go back out in the living room and stuff like that. So, we’re a little bit different when it comes to this. But I actually kind of like that because it gives us both our different things we do. And also, it’s motivation, other people, that you don’t have to do it with a spouse, you can actually… this can be done by yourself, you know, you can actually have your own evening routine. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, I actually like that. Funny, when I think about when I first got married, I wanted to have my routine at night with my husband, like, doing the same thing. So now as I’ve gotten older, I’m like, get away, this is my only alone time. And I love that I go to sleep by myself and then he does what your wife does, he goes out and he reads – that’s how he decompresses – and then he comes in. But I like to have that alone time and that’s when I pray, like, exactly what you’re talking about. I’m curious, what do you make for breakfast? How do you prep your breakfast in advance? [ALEX]:
So, I eat a lot, I’ll say that… actually, I don’t eat a lot. I eat consistently, let’s put it that way. So, the first thing that I do actually, I don’t stop my intermittent fasting until 9am. So, I’m up at 5:30 every day, but I don’t eat until 9, is the first time I’m gonna eat. But I make a smoothie the night before is what I’m actually making. And it’s extremely healthy, it doesn’t taste great, but basically anything that your body is going to need that day, it has it in there, including apple cider vinegar. My wife’s taken a sip of it and she said, I don’t how you drink this, it’s disgusting, but I drink the same thing every day. And that’s kind of how I get started. So, I make that the night before and I just kind of shake it up in the morning and go for it. And then at 11 I’m having eggs, and then at 12:30 I’m doing a protein shake after a workout. And then in the afternoon I start eating regular people food, I guess you could say. But that’s how it goes every day. I’m very consistent with it. It’s very rare that I ever miss a day and it’s almost to the minute on most of these things. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah. That is very consistent Alright, so I want to hear more about the morning routine and kind of daily habits. [ALEX]:
Yeah. So again, daily habits would have been the first thing, but it’s a good place to actually end when you’re having a conversation about it. The morning routine, because my evening routine is so intense – I bet everyone’s expecting my morning routine now to be, like, equally as crazy – it is so simple. So, the seven things in my morning routine is, I don’t snooze, first off; there’s no snooze button being hit, which I… I’m sorry, Whitney, I just lost half your audience. They’re gone. So, I actually keep my phone away from the bed. So, I actually have to physically get up to turn off the alarm. That kills my temptation there. So, no alarm. I’ll walk straight out of the room because my wife’s in there, so I’ll quietly walk out, close the door. I walk into my home office and I turn the lights on right away, it’s what I do. It’s the last thing I want to do cos it’s 5:30, and there’s never light on at 5:30 here in Jacksonville, Florida at least. And the last thing… my mind’s always like, don’t turn on those lights. Please don’t turn on those lights. I turn them on, it’s always like, oh my gosh, I can’t see, you know, it hurts and stuff like that. The way I’ve kind of countered that is I immediately pick up a glass of water that I have sitting there for me, I’ll drink eight ounces of water, which actually really gets your brain fired up and ready to go. It’ll wake you up.
Now this next part here, this is the one that always freaks people out. Because here’s the deal, I’ve literally tried everything because naturally, I don’t like to wake up early. I like to stay up late. Waking up early is not easy for me. I’ve never enjoyed it. And I had to find a way to do it. So, I’ve tried everything from like ice cold showers, like, this next part, it used to be a cold shower, like literally freezing. Don’t even warm it up. I tried like doing what I call hot yoga – my wife calls it stretching when I’m doing it, but anyway, I’ve tried like all these different things, all these different tricks, and I figured out what works the best and it’s super strange. I literally stand in front of the mirror and I smile. Just ridiculously smile. And I know that it sounds so weird. But you know, I started reading about joy, and how strength comes from joy when you’re happy. I was like, well what… how do you make yourself feel happy? And I’m like, well people always start with a smile, right? So I decided to give this a shot, and I actually ended up looking into the research of it, which I know all the research, but I actually don’t want to get into it because I want to challenge people – if you’re having trouble waking up in the morning, try it. You don’t even need to know the science; you’ll realize that, shockingly, it works. And after about 30 seconds of smiling ridiculously in front of the mirror I’m actually wide awake and it sounds really weird, really funny, but it turned me into what I consider to be a morning person, and it’s just that one tactic. And almost every single day, it makes me feel wide awake. There’s always those occasional days where you’re like, this isn’t helping. But the majority of the time it makes me feel great.
So that’s kind of like the middle of it there and then I just jump into some light stretching, and then hygiene, brush my teeth, I get ready to go. And then I end my morning routine with 10 minutes of meditation, which I’ll just stand there quietly and just do my best to kill my thoughts and just listen, just be silent and try to remove anything comes to my mind. I find it gives me immense, like, extreme clarity for my entire day. And that right there, that is my whole morning routine. Whole thing takes me about 30 minutes.[WHITNEY]:
So, you definitely said something I’ve never heard before – smiling in the mirror. I’m gonna try that. I’m actually a morning person and I fall asleep at night, like, really early, but I’m gonna be getting up, especially when my kids wake me up earlier than I want to get up, I’ll be looking at the mirror and smiling and getting awake in that. [ALEX]:
Yeah, give it a shot. I’d actually love to hear how that works for you. I’ve known a handful of people to try it and they’re like, man, it sounded so dumb when you said it, Alex, but I tried it and it worked for me. So, I’d love to hear how it works for a morning person. [WHITNEY]:
All right. All right. I’ll let you know. [WHITNEY]:
Hey, Alison. This sure has been a crazy year. [ALISON]:
It sure has, Whitney. [WHITNEY]:
So, what were your goals for your practice going into 2020? [ALISON]:
Well, I had a lot of them and then I threw them all out the window back in March when COVID started, but then I realized that we might be in this for the long haul. So, I got back on track with accomplishing my goals in a different way. But wouldn’t it be nice if someone created an event to help group practice owners meet their goals? [WHITNEY]:
Yes, it would. You mean if they did an event like Pivot Your Group Practice Intensive 2020? [ALISON]:
Yes, I like the sound of that. [WHITNEY]:
So, do I. Let’s do it. [ALISON]:
Yeah, so Whitney Owens and I have put together this awesome, one day, virtual workshop to help you figure out how to continue growing your practice, even among COVID-19 happening, and still meet your goals for the year 2020. We will be doing a deep dive into fixing all the problems in your practice, and also helping you come up with creative ideas to continue to scale, make more money, and work less hours. [WHITNEY]:
So, the registration will be closing on August 5, so make sure you register by then. We’re going to keep this limited to only 20 spots so that you can get the most out of this group and the most out of working with the two of us as your consultants. So, the link to register is in the show notes. If you have any questions, please follow up with us by email, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, and we look forward to working with you on August 14. [WHITNEY]:
Cool. All right. So, daily habits. [ALEX]:
Daily habits, this is my absolute favorite part. My daily habits… again, your evening routine, your morning routine, they’re going to be built around what you do every single day. If there’s a starting point, it’s always get your daily habits right. At some point, if you’re deciding, okay, I need to start waking up earlier and doing this, you’re gonna have to bite the bullet one day just be like, even though I went to bed at 3 last night, I’m waking up at 5 or 6, or whatever time I decide I’m waking up. But then what’s going to make it stick is the daily habits. This is so important. That’s why I kind of put it first. I definitely like to talk about it last. The very first thing I do, this starts right after my morning routine, so after that meditation time, I jump straight into spending time with God. I’m a follower of Jesus, it’s what I believe. And I make sure that I spent that time intentionally – it’s an hour, at least, and it’s just really important to me to start my day off that way. It puts me in the right mindset, the right mood to remember that I’m a person of value, not a person of profit. I seek to serve others, and this is my daily reminder of that. So, I start every single day that same exact way. And that’s the first habit that I’ve built. So important for me.
The next thing is I jump straight into prioritizing creativity. And I do this by making this my focus time. So, in the morning, again, if I’m waking up at 5:30, it’s usually about 7am that I’m actually starting what I consider my prioritized creativity time, it’s time of focus. So, I’m not using social media, I’m not on my phone, I’m not scrolling through looking for music to listen to, I am focused on a predetermined project that I’m going to do at that time. And in this one hour I can get done what most people can get done in probably four hours. And it’s not that I’m anything special, it’s because I’ve literally killed every single distraction. There’s no distractions around me. And this is one of the daily habits I’ve built. So, in that one hour I can do what a lot of people, again, it takes them four hours, sometimes even a day, to be able to accomplish just because I’m so focused. There’s something to be said for deep work, and that’s another topic, but it’s really important to make sure that you’re prioritizing a time when you can be creative. Because when you can be creative, all the administrative stuff happens a lot easier, I find. Sorry, Whitney, I know I’m talking a ton here.[WHITNEY]:
No, no, you’re doing good. I’m actually thinking about oh, how can I do that? What’s that gonna look like? I’m actually curious on this one, when you talk about prioritizing creativity is this, what kind of things are you thinking about? Are these your big ideas, like your side hustle that you’re thinking about? Or your job? Or what kind of things? [ALEX]:
Yeah, so for me, it’s gonna be different for everybody, but for me, the aerospace job is very analytical. It’s very administrative. There’s not a lot of creativity that goes into it, which isn’t a bad thing. I’m very thankful to have that job. I enjoy it immensely. But it’s very important that each and every one of us has the opportunity to exercise our unique creativity. Now, when I say creativity, a lot of people think okay, like maybe he’s an artist or a graphic designer, or can build things really well. For me, building something like a really creative spreadsheet that does something, that’s my version of creativity. So, it’s different for everybody. So, I just happen to find that most of my creative elements happen for creating a brand. It just makes sense. It’s one of the reasons I started a side hustle; I’ve actually found since I’ve started doing this, I performed better in my aerospace job, because it’s given me an outlet for my unique creativity. And no one can define that for you. You have to decide for yourself, what is my creative outlet? Like, what am I made to be creative in? I firmly believe, because we’re all creative beings, we’re all made to create something, and it’s gonna be unique for each of us. So, for me, it’s usually something involving creating a brand. And sometimes it’s as simple as a new strategy for helping somebody launch a business. Other times it’s a blog post that I’ve been wanting to work on. So, it can be almost anything but it’s always around that element of creating a brand. [WHITNEY]:
And I just love the way that you integrate faith principles, like that… I’m like, typing out your quotes here. We’re all created to make something, like, whoo, that’s God right there. You know, he creates us to do big things and to be creative, and God is a creative God, and we are creative people. Anyway, really good stuff. [ALEX]:
Oh, absolutely. I love that. [WHITNEY]:
All right, number three. [ALEX]:
Number three, daily education is the next one. So, very important that you educate yourself every day. If you’re not learning, you’re dying. I know that’s a really harsh word to say. But the truth is we have to be learning and growing every single day, you have to be stimulating your mind. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be something in your craft, if you’re just learning something, it’s helpful. And so, for me, I actually try to stay very focused on this. So, for me, it’s always around the topic of aerospace or creating a brand. Those two different things, like, how can I learn to increase profit margins for an aerospace company? Or how can I help people further develop their brand without spending extra money or time? I’m really big on making sure that people actually can find free tools and things like that. So, I’m always just devoting my time to that daily education. And it’s very quick. It’s usually less than 30 minutes a time, but I make sure that every day I learn something new, and then I share it. So, it’s not just I learn, it’s I learn it and share it somehow. Sometimes it’s as simple as posting on social media. Or sometimes it’s like, hey, Whitney, I learned this, and I think that it would really apply to what you’re doing, and coaching and things like that, and then I’ll send it your way. That to me is really important to prioritize that daily education as well.
And the next thing I already talked about, working out, but I optimize my health and fitness. So, I’m very mindful of what I’m eating. Extremely important. And then I make sure that I work out every single day. And I do that by working out different muscle groups, because some people are like, oh, you need some rest days. I take rest days, but that’s the day that I’ll go for a run. Or I’ll go for a walk even, or I’ll go swimming, or play soccer, or something like that. And then other days, I’m actually using weights and things like that. But it’s really important every day, I’m optimizing my health through actually, you know, fitness and eating healthy. And I put this to the test. There’s days where I purposely didn’t eat healthy. And there’s days where I purposely didn’t work out to see the effects it would have on me, and I wake up feeling a lot foggier, and I wake up really not feeling well the next day. So, I’ve just made it a point to every single day I’m going to do this, and it’s never extreme. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m like some bodybuilder, or like, athlete or anything like that. Like, I’m an average size, average guy. And I don’t eat extremely healthy – I’m not only eating grass or anything like that. And yeah, I have pizza every once in a while, you know, like, so I’m not being too extreme. It’s what you do 80% of the time that matters, we have to remember that – the 80/20 rule applies to almost anything. 80% of time, if you can get this right, then it’s really gonna help you and serve you long term.[WHITNEY]:
Yes, I totally agree. Have you said all the daily habits or…? [ALEX]:
Oh, no. I got a couple more for you, three more. [WHITNEY]:
Okay. Great. [ALEX]:
These are pretty quick here. The next one is just to invest in relationships. At the end of day, your work is not as important as the relationships and the people you surround yourself with. I recently had somebody that lived beside me for a long time – he’s a much older guy – he just recently passed away. And right before he passed away, one of my other friends who lives in the same neighborhood was having a conversation with me, he was talking about how it’s like, you know, I’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars. He’s like, I am so successful. He goes, but if I could give all this away and just have a few more healthy years, he goes, I would do it. He goes, I never invested in the relationships that mattered to me. And that’s the way that he put it. To me it was like, it was sad and also really eye opening. We have to remember that the relationships, the people that have been placed in our lives, are so important. There will always be more work to do, but the people around you will always be there. It’s important to remember that they’re going to be the ones that ultimately help you succeed in life. And so, I invest in relations every single day. I keep a log of this, kind of analytical. So I actually keep a log of this, I make sure that I’m reaching out to a different friend every single day and I have about 50 people in mind that I’m just blessed with to call close friends of mine, and I make sure that I’m reaching out to those people as often as I possibly can. So, invest in relationships is so important. That’s so key for everyone’s life.
And then the next thing is I have a daily checklist, and I just complete that checklist every day. And the checklist is not unrealistic. I don’t like shoot for this… I’m not like, build a million-dollar company today, and go for a 30-mile run, you know, they’re things that I can actually do. But there are things on my calendar as well, it kind of doubles over. So, like example, this podcast today. I will check this off my checklist when we’re done. I have a handful of other things I’m gonna be doing today. I make sure at the end of the day that I actually got through it. Did I actually live an intentional life on purpose? Did I actually follow the purpose. And that’s the last thing that I talk about, is Alex, did you fulfill your purpose today? I believe, with each and every one of us, when we wake up in the morning, there has been a purpose placed on our lives. And if we’re fulfilling that purpose then that is absolutely a win. And you know, that purpose every day doesn’t mean like, again, anything huge. Sometimes it can just mean be diligent with your day. Do the right things, treat your wife with respect, your husband with respect, treat your kids well, be faithful at your job, you know, if someone’s telling you, hey, we got eight hours of your time, you’re working for them, work that eight hours. Don’t make it seven and a half and spend the rest scrolling on social media. Those different things can all play a part in your purpose. So, for me, I really ask myself that serious, deep question, if you will. Alex, did you really fulfill your purpose today? And I don’t always check that one off if I’m honest. Some days I realize, you know what, I really just… I didn’t do well today. And I have to be honest, it’s not to beat myself up, it’s a way of saying you know what, tomorrow I can… I can go to bed now, and tomorrow I can wake up and give this another shot. I can do even better tomorrow. So, I end my daily habits with fulfilling my purpose and making sure that I actually did that.[WHITNEY]:
Yes, super helpful. I actually have little kiddos. I’m like, this sounds so wonderful. But I also think we can use kids as an excuse, right? Well, I can’t do these things because my kids need me, or my kids, this, that and the other, when really, we probably could do at least some of these habits. And we make reasons not to. [ALEX]:
Yeah, I’ve actually seen some parents that do a really good job of incorporating their kids. I mean, I think the purpose of any parent is to raise great kids that go on to be the future. That is the future of us all, right? It’s a huge task. I don’t mean to put the weight on your shoulders there, Whitney, I mean you know this. But some people do a really good job incorporating their kids into what they’re doing. Like, it’s something that their kids can help with. If they’re trying to stay healthy, they can get their kids to do the same. It’s never too young to start doing something like eating right, or even fitness, and they incorporate their kids into it, which I think, again, really interesting to see. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, definitely. Well, talk a little bit about what Creating a Brand is and your podcast. [ALEX]:
Sure. Yeah. So, the Creating a Brand podcast and creatingabrand.com. As you can tell, again, really literal here, like, I couldn’t come up with a creative name. So, I was like, I’m gonna buy the domain creatingabrand.com and call it all that. So that’s what I did. Basically, the podcast is called Creating a Brand and it’s a top 20 entrepreneurship podcast. I’m very thankful that it’s done extremely well. And it’s more of a masterclass style podcast. So basically, it’s for people that are trying to take that first or next step in their entrepreneurship journey. And it’s done in a way that it’s more of a, hey, here are five steps for getting booked to speak at conferences, or here are five steps for actually integrating video into your website and into your marketing. So, it’s very focused, very practical. The idea is, hey, could we actually take this and do something with it after listening to it? The episodes seem to be about between 20 and 30 minutes, but the idea is just very action packed, you have to be taking notes to listen to it. I’m very thankful it’s done well.
So, in addition to that, I’m a firm believer that we all go further together. There’s actually a Helen Keller quote that I love: “Alone we can do so little but together, we can do so much”. It’s one of my favorite quotes. And because of that quote, and just the way that community has had an impact on my life, I launched what I call the creating a brand community with the podcast, which, for your audience, Whitney, I’m actually going to give them a free membership, if they’re interested. It’s usually like my flagship product. But I’ll give you a way to do that in a little bit here. But basically, it’s for anybody who’s trying to take their business a little bit further, that just wants that extra help. And the reason that I love it so much is it’s not just me giving you advice or coaching or stuff; it is a group of a few hundred people that are there helping each other find the solutions to the problems that they have. And I’m just passionate helping people. So, doing so in community forum has just been a real blessing to my life. I’ve really enjoyed it.[WHITNEY]:
Well, I really appreciate you doing that. It’s really kind of you. And I do think there’s an element of course within our private practice world that, yeah, having community with other private practice builders, that’s great. But I also think there’s some real benefit from being with entrepreneurs in different fields and like being able to grow with each other. [ALEX]:
Here’s something I’m not good at – Facebook advertising. It bothers the mess out of me. I’m like trying to do it. I’m like, I don’t understand this stuff at all. I’m usually pretty good, but I just didn’t get it. So, in the Creating a Brand community, I went to the help section. I just, like, hey, can somebody please show me somebody who’s not going to rip me off, that’s actually good at making ads on Facebook. And I had three really, really good suggestions. And now like, my problem is trying to narrow it down to the one. But I’ve been searching for myself for a while and it’s funny. I was like, Alex, why don’t you use what you’ve created? Everyone else is doing it, you know. So actually, when I posted I found what I was looking for but it’s people that are actually, again, like you’re saying, they’re in different professions. It’s so cool to just see how someone else’s journey can relate to yours and help and collaborate. Again, I could talk about this all day because I’m so passionate about it, but that Helen Keller quote is so true. Alone we can do so little but together, we can do so much. [WHITNEY]:
Yes, definitely. While we’re sitting here talking, you’re gonna love this, I’m like scrolling and looking at your podcasts. So, this other podcast, I’m like, wow, this is so cool. The Good Christian podcast – could you talk about that and kind of what you share on there? [ALEX]:
Yeah, sure. First off, it’s called Good Christian podcast and immediately people were like, wow, you’re calling yourself a good Christian now. In the intro, I literally say, I’m not saying that we’re always good Christians, but this is always a good podcast for Christians to listen to. So, for that disclaimer there, basically, I started a website called Daily PS, the PS stands for paradigm shift. So dailyps.com, which is just a multi author, Christian blog. And there’s about 130 of us writing on there right now. I started it years ago, but I’m not even running it anymore. It’s got a team and everything like that. I’m still the host of the podcast and I write once a month, and it’s just a blessing. It’s something that, again, for me, a way to give back. So, anything I’m learning, or however I’m growing, I do my best to share it. So, I’ve talked about the Coronavirus recently, but before that I was talking about how to get more out of life, how to get the most out of a new year. And coming up pretty soon, now that people are reconnecting with the world, this next month I’m hoping to talk about actually building friendships. So, I have like a couple tips for how people can build stronger friendships in their lives. Again, that’s just because I’ve just been blessed to have some great people in my life that have taught me how to be a good friend. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, I think it’s so great that you’re kind of teaching through your podcasts. I do that sometimes. Like I found myself, when I do my solo episodes, it’s like, okay, this is the very thing I’m thinking about in my practice. Stuff that God is sharing with me, I’m just gonna share it with you and that’s how we all grow together. [ALEX]:
Yeah, I actually listened to some of your solo episodes. You do a good job with it. Solo cast is hard. It’s tough. [WHITNEY]:
Oh, thank you. Yeah, I’m getting more used to it. When it first started, I was like, oh, this is weird. But then when you finally get some passion in your heart, and you get more used to getting on the mic, I think you just kind of go with it. And, honestly, you pray, and you let the Lord help you get through the podcast, you know, then good things happen. [ALEX]:
That’s it. That’s key right there. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, well, why don’t you share about your freebies, you said you had some courses for us. [ALEX]:
Yeah. So, in addition to the Creating a Brand Community, I also wanted to offer just six free courses to your audience today. And if you’re interested in those you can go to creatingabrand.com/courses. And to quickly just give you like an idea of what they are, I’m a content creator by nature. It’s kind of what I do with creating a brand. So, there’s a launching a podcast checklist. There’s a how to blog like a professional step by step guide, how to get the most out of conferences, which hopefully we’ll be going back to soon, kind of like how to really maximize what you do with them. It actually works for online ones as well. How to start a blog, that was like one of the main things, and then I’ve got like two ongoing series, I got a personal leadership one and a succeed at work one, where I just talk about how to get more out of life and how to get more out of work. Both really fun, but those six things are free. And again, they’re at creatingabrand.com/courses. And Whitney, if you’re fine, I’ll just give them the way they actually get the free membership to the community as well. [WHITNEY]:
Yes, that’d be great. [ALEX]:
Yeah, so if you just go… if you actually just text me, this is the best way to do it. Text the word ‘connect’ to 1904 299 8992. So again, text the word ‘connect’ to 1904 299 8992, it’ll automatically respond with a free invitation link. So, you’re not getting charged for anything. I’d love to have anyone there who’s interested in going further. And for me, I’m not trying to sell anything there. It’s just literally a place for us to help each other. If you have that entrepreneurship mind and you’re just looking to go further, that’s what it’s all about. [WHITNEY]:
Wow, that’s great. Well, that’s really kind of you. Great, awesome, just getting this all written down so that everyone will have it. Well, you’ve given such great content today. I’ve like really been taking notes. Obviously, this will be in the show notes for everyone else, so they don’t have to take the notes. That’ll be there for them. And can you answer this last question that we propose to everyone that comes on the podcast – what do you believe every Christian counselor needs to know? [ALEX]:
Okay, so I think that a lot of Christian counselors are gonna know this. I’m not like claiming that you don’t already know this. But I think that something important to remember that what gives a relationship meaning is the experiences you have with another person. So, it’s actually the experiences; I think that a lot of people that are coming in and getting counseling and things like that, they might not really feel like they have a story to share. When people can’t find their own story, it’s tough for them to really grow. And they’re going to be able to build that story based off an experience they have with other individuals or another individual. So finding a way to actually have an experience with them or to push them to go have an experience of some sort, whether it’s something simple, going camping, doing some little trip together, anything like that, whatever you can do to get out of the normal element, to break that mold, I find helps people so much more to develop that internal story. And when they can build that story for themselves, I find that they experience a lot more breakthrough in their lives. [WHITNEY]:
Really good advice. We find that relationship brings healing, you know, in therapy, and so when I think about the experience, I’m thinking about the clients experience of therapy, you know, and that when they experience relationship through us, they find healing. It’s like a really beautiful thing. So, it’s so good that you’re reminding us it’s not about all this other stuff. It’s about the relationship and about an experience usually with somebody else that brings healing in someone’s life. [ALEX]:
Yeah. Well that is so great. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It’s been helpful for me personally and then you gave a lot of good free information and I want to encourage everybody to take advantage of joining; the texting ‘connect’ to 1904 299 8992 to join the Creating a Brand group. Well, thank you, Alex, for coming on the show. [ALEX]:
Whitney, thank you so much. This was an honor. [WHITNEY]:
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