I was honored to be able to spend time talking one on one with one of my biggest idols and mentors this week, Robin Sharma. The author of countless books on achievement and success, such as the bestselling The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The Leader Who Had No Title, Robin Sharma is recognized as one of the world's leading authors, speakers and leadership coaches. Personally, his work has had an enormous impact on my own life. Without his mentoring through his books, videos, audio programs and webinars, I would not have been able to build my own company as successfully as I have. In particular, his books The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Who Will Cry When You Die and The Greatness Guide have been a huge asset in my personal development.
This week Robin was kind enough to take time out of his intensely demanding speaking and travel schedule to talk to me about personal development, goals and success. Not only did Robin provide immense value to me (and hopefully, you) in our conversation, but I also had the privilege of asking him many questions that have been on my mind since reading his books. Here is our discussion.
RL: You teach often about having a 1 page plan. Can you talk a little about what this is and what it comprises?
RS: Clarity is the mother of mastery. The one page plan shows what your top 5 priorities are for the year, 5 years, 10 years and lifetime. These are your Big 5s. They give your brain something to focus on in order to see opportunities that you would otherwise miss. It allows you to focus on what is most important to create your life.
RL: How often do you review your one page plan? Is it better to re-read your goals every morning or rewrite them?
RS: I review it every morning. Rewriting goals is very powerful. Research has found that the part of brain connected to writing is also connected to motor activity. So by writing your goals, you are setting up the motor part of your brain to execute what is important to your life.
RL: One of the habits you write about is journaling. What's the best way to keep a journal? What should we be writing in our journals?
RS: I've tried journaling apps on iPhone, but I always come back to a leather bound journal with 200 pages. I journal during my holy hour every morning which is 5-6 a.m. I write about where I'm at, what i want this year to look like, what's most important in my life, my values, what I'm feeling and thinking, and where I want to go. Everyday is something different.
RL: Another habit you feel strongly about is exercise. Is it more effective to exercise in the morning or at night for maximum energy?
RS: 5-6 a.m. is all about practicing so that you perform at world class all day long. I use a 20-20-20 system. The first 20 minutes of my morning I exercise, the next 20 minutes I am working on my one page plan and the next 20 minutes I am reading and listening to great audio programs. When you exercise you are releasing dopamine and serotonin, so by doing it in morning, you are kickstarting your brain to give yourself more focus, more stamina and to help you stay relaxed and motivated throughout the day.
RL: Do you meditate often and what is the best way to meditate?
RS: Not everyday, but this morning I meditated for 45 minutes. You need to train your brain to be focused and more creative.
RL: What is your own most important habit that you do every single day without fail?
RS: Journaling. It builds gratitude, which releases dopamine and gives energy. Also, having a schedule is an important habit. What gets scheduled gets done. It's also critical to have some form of learning every single day.
RL: How do you stay focused on a mindset of gratitude and abundance even when the pressure is on and you are under duress?
RS: That's a good question. It's all practice. The calmest and highest performers are not naturally blessed. It takes endless practice and discipline daily when no one is watching. This is what your holy hour is for 5-6 a.m. everyday. It builds a quiet, strong, grateful center during stress.
RL: How many books do you read per month?
RS: 5 at any one time, I love audio books.
RL: What is your favorite book of all time?
RS: The Prophet, As A Man Thinketh, Think and Grow Rich, The Optimist. Reading is so important because it's how you condition your inside story and everything in your world reflects your inside story.
RL: What is your favorite book that you have written?
RS: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The Leader Who Had No Title.
RL: What is your favorite audio program that you have made?
RS: The Greatness Guide
RL: What is a day in the life of Robin Sharma like?
RS: There is no typical day. In July I was on a speaking tour through Africa so I was on the platform a lot of the time. Today I got up, did my routine, my kids and wife were busy, I spent the whole morning writing and working on my upcoming Titan Summit. To generalize, Mondays and Wednesdays are my administrative days, Tuesdays and Thursdays are my creative days for writing and creating content, and Fridays are my learning days. I spend a lot of time with my family.
RL: At the end of the day when you are reflecting on the impact you made that day, what are the best questions you can ask yourself to reflect?
RS: What were 3 micro wins today?
What am I grateful for this day?
What 3 things can I do tomorrow to be better than today?
RL: What do you want your legacy to be?
RS: When I wrote Who Will Cry When You Die, I wrote a lot about making your mark on the world. I don't care so much about legacy anymore because in a way, legacy smacks of ego. Who really cares how people remember you. Focus on using your time while you're alive to make things happen and to be of service. I want my kids to remember me as a big dreamer, someone who was devoted and encouraging.
RL: What is the one piece of advice you would give to entrepreneurs with big dreams?
RS: Have faith in your dream and yourself when no one else in the world does. The #1 defining factor in success is grit. Protect your belief in that idea when everyone laughs at it.