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What's the one ritual you practice/follow every day?
Every morning, I set 1-3 goals for the day. These goals could be work-related or something personal, such as taking my family out for dinner or calling a friend. Narrowing my focus on what “winning the day” looks like makes it very easy to ensure priorities, simplify what I need to accomplish, and not let the inevitable, unpredictable nature of life deter what I want to achieve. It’s a great lift to start each day knowing that the success of the day is in my hands because I’ve chosen to make it that way.
What ritual brings you the most happiness?
My nighttime routine with my two sons. I follow the same ritual for each: changing, reading, listening to music, and then right before I put them down I tell them, “I want you to be happy every day, smile every day, and always be proud of who you are — because your dad is proud of you.” Even if I’m on the road, I’ll always tell them the same thing, and every time I say goodnight to them I feel a little better about my day.
Do you use rituals to help you achieve your goals?
I see rituals as a way to keep control of your day and have a calming effect. Life moves fast, has stressors, and most variables are completely out of your control. So, rather than be at the whim of life, I’d rather know that I can time rituals around guaranteed moments in the day, do the things I need to do, and then be able to build on that momentum — no matter what is going on in the day. I have morning, midday, and nighttime rituals, and even rituals if things are going sideways and I need to take a pause and reset.
What was a big setback in your life? What did you do to come back from it?
I used to view injuries from sports as my enemy. I’ve broken my back twice and shredded every ligament (ACL, MCL, lateral & medial meniscus) in my left knee — but those are nothing like battling an autoimmune disease. It’s been hard because the symptoms hit the hardest when I overwork, try to do too much, and sleep too little — all bad habits I’ve had trouble breaking. I had to recognize that while I didn’t create the illness, I was the trigger. And, I only came to realize I had to change my ways when I saw how much my illness affected my wife and kids. That was enough for me to change how I live every day, so I have a higher likelihood of not having my illness attack.
Do you have any meal-time rituals?
When I eat at a restaurant, I always have to look at the dessert menu - no matter what or even if I’m full. Life lesson: you always miss out on the good stuff if you’re not at least open to it.
What advice would you give to anyone that feels unable to reach the next level of success?
The funny thing about success is you only see the end result, never the struggle. I remember when one of my books became a New York Times bestseller and people wanted to know, “what was your secret?” or “what was your big break?” My break was starting over at 26, going back to school after getting rejected by 27 different journalism jobs (no joke), applying for internships to work my way up, making no money, having 5 books proposals rejected, writing 2 books that I was never paid for, and then writing another one that hit it big. And you know what? I wouldn’t change the journey for anything. Every obstacle, every setback, every bruise, is not really a roadblock — it’s a springboard forward if you’re able to learn from it and use those obstacles as a competitive advantage for the next opportunity. I don’t believe in right or wrong decisions; the only wrong decision is indecision. Act, live, grow, and move forward.
What's your favorite quote of all time?
“Get busy living or get busy dying.”