A specific morning ritual is a VITAL part of any business leader’s recipe for success. The ONE thing successful people have in common is the fact that they HAVE a morning ritual. And today we’re going through a day in the life of one of our hosts, Ken Ott. One of the keys to Ken’s day is everything that happens before the work-day starts. We talk: rituals, nutrition, intermittent fasting, bulletproof coffee, morning exercise vs afternoon exercise, weights vs cardio, meeting schedules, balancing various roles, the struggle of staying on track throughout the day, and how he ends his day. Hopefully you find it insightful and inspiring in some small way. Stay tuned!
Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode:
- Focus on Fitness and Nutrition: Everything you do flows from your physical body, so this is VITAL to daily success - how you think, your attitude, your energy and so much more. Begin your morning with nutrition and movement. Make exercise and weight training a part of your daily schedule… a part of your JOB.
- Schedule Your Tasks! As any business leader knows, if it doesn’t get scheduled, it won’t get done. Instead of beginning your day with a task list to check off, schedule blocks of time to complete those tasks and stick with it. This also helps your team understand the value of your time- and allows them to book time with you instead of last-minute meetings that you’re not prepared for.
- Have a Daily Team Stand Up Meeting Especially in a time when more and more of us are working from home, having a daily meeting to connect your entire team together is deeply valuable. Ken’s days begin with a team standup meeting to make sure everyone is in sync- not only does this provide support for everyone but also helps to hold one another accountable.
For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:
About The Guys:
Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000-2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob:
Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:
Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken:
[1:41] Bob introduces today’s topic- what a day in the life of an agency leader looks like from the inside.
[3:19] Ken shares his workspace- a 1920’s home in downtown Franklin, TN. The home is between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet, and is located in a historic area. The physical office serves more as a flex space and home base for the team. Metacake has around 20 employees, with a core group in Nashville.
[5:48] Ken says that he’s worked with a business coach for several years, and one of the first things they worked on together was his morning ritual. Especially in the service industry, having a jumpstart on your day and being ahead of the game wherever possible is enormously beneficial.
[8:07] Ken’s days start between 5 and 5:30 typically, which means he’s ready for bed by 9:30pm. He starts with nutritional supplements and green juice with bulletproof coffee first thing. “That nutrition in the mornings for me changes the trajectory of my day…”
[10:37] Ken continues, talking about the home gym that he’s built in his garage and how helpful that is to making fitness a priority. Weights aren’t for mornings though! Brisk walks take the place of a heavier workout in the morning, just to wake up fully.
[12:35] Brad reflects on Ken’s discipline and workout structure. He has a constant battle going on between his mind and body- and this keeps him on task and incredibly disciplined.
[14:20] Ken talks about how our bodies were designed to live very different lives than we live now. Even with the best medicine in human history, all the critical illnesses are progressing at higher rates- which clearly points to a lack of understanding of how we were meant to live. Our daily routines and how we live do not properly reflect the healthiest lifestyles for our bodies.
[16:19] Ken talks about metabolic flexibility. For those who practice fasting and diets like keto for a limited time, your metabolism is rewiring itself and your body is being conditioned to burn those calories more efficiently.
[18:23] Ken “I believe it’s my job to be at peak physical fitness so that I can mentally and spiritually also be at my peak… in order to be at the top, you have to train like it. Training can mean different things to different people, although my personal belief is that physical training, mental training, spiritual training are kind of critical.”
- He shares a story about after his first child was born. There was a period of about 6 months when he stopped working out and noticed the negative impacts immediately. The spiritual and mental clarity declined as well.
[20:56] Brad says that he uses his Google calendar to block off time for tasks, that way his team members don’t schedule things during times when he isn’t available. It can be easy for your schedule to get booked up quickly otherwise.
[23:05] Ken says this is especially important when you’re a leader. The intentionality behind your scheduling is so valuable. “You’ve got to figure out what is best for my role? What does success mean? And then what are my business goals and how does that translate into actions that I work on?
[24:52] Ken talks about his spiritual foundation and how it impacts his leadership abilities. Centering yourself before the day gets going is vital to grounding yourself in truth that feeds you and allows you to release your frustration.
[26:07] Brad “You’ve got to be intentional otherwise your business will run you, your clients will run you, then you’re just reactive.”
[26:27] Ken says that one of his biggest fears is entering old age and realizing that he’s purely been reactive for his whole life. “You don't want to look back at the end of your life… it would be horrible to feel like I had this talent but never did it because I just reacted the whole time.”
- Living in a state of reactivity is kind of like a drug that we actually crave- it allows us to procrastinate. The Eisenhower Matrix helps us define what is important vs urgent, and decide the best use of our time on any given task.
- By waking up each day and grounding ourselves in what’s important, what’s within our control, how we bring value into our lives- we allow ourselves to live in a state of proactivity instead of reactivity.
[28:51] Bob talks about the mind-body connection that is a key part of Ken’s daily routine. We live in a post-modern society here in America, where the importance of that connection canNOT be emphasized enough. He shares a story about a relative who was feeling overwhelmed in their role at work and was considering quitting. Bob encouraged him to step outside, walk around the block several times, do some body weight exercises and call back in an hour. And that made all the difference in the world for this individual’s mindset that day.
[30:57] Ken further drives this point home “When you feel down and you feel low energy and you feel not enough and not worth it and depressed or stressed, that can be a result of and be influenced by activity… it’s all biology.” He talks about how our culture has separated that assumed connection, and says the way we live our lives reflects that.
[32:13] Bob talks about fear and anxiety, saying that many of us stare fear in teh face every day but don’t take action. “We never react, we just keep compounding it,” and our bodies don’t know what to do with that kind of pent-up energy. He talks about how animals on the plains of Africa will shake and run in place after a narrow escape from a predator- they’re essentially working out that energy that their hormones kicked up, and then they go about their day. We as humans have lost that connection- so taking steps to be proactive about this is the focus of today’s episode.
[34:30] Ken talks the importance of having awareness of that mind-body connection. He says that lifting weights and building muscle is a priority for him, as it changes your biology in a really good way. Try doing these things as early in the day as you can, “Because everything after that point… you will think more clearly, you’ll have more ideas, you’ll be more creative, you’ll be lower stress, you’ll have a higher ability to make quick decisions…”
[35:47] Brad echoes this point, “My brain works so much better when I’m active!” He asks Ken what time his days start, work-wise.
[36:45] Ken’s work day begins with an 8:45 daily stand up meeting, with the goal being everyone doing a version of planning before that meeting and then sharing their top 3 goals for the day. There is open discussion as everyone shares their list, and team members can help one another focus on priorities and clearing up any confusion. They discuss any meetings that day, and the result is everyone being aligned on their tasks and goals for the day. This helps hold people accountable for moving projects along and completing tasks.
- “If people aren’t moving forward in what they’re doing, if they’re not accomplishing things, ultimately, they’re going to burn out, and they’re not going to be motivated. So you need to have that movement, human beings need that movement.”
[38:58] Ken’s days typically flow into creative tasks from there. Mornings are creative times, so he focuses on content creation, podcasting, writing, and those kinds of things in the morning. Afternoons are for meetings and things that take less creative brain power. He tries to fit his workout into lunch time.
- In the past he’s struggled with feeling guilty for working out midday- but considers that an ignorant mindset on his part.
- Early afternoon is where he aims for his days to slow down. His kids are young and he tries to get finished up with work as early as possible so he can spend that valuable time with his kids.
[40:39] Bob talks about how he learned this lesson later in life than he would have liked. “It was definitely detrimental to my family, my relationships, but ultimately at the end of the day my performance in my business” suffered as well.
[42:23] Ken clarifies that his goal isn’t to do these things perfectly, but rather being strategic and intentional about his time to maximize his energy and allow himself to truly enjoy the rest of his life.
[43:11] Ken talks about the end of his days, saying that the way you end your day is a bookend to your morning routine. The last thing you’re doing before bed is what you’ll carry into sleep, and it will impact the next day somehow. There is a deep advantage to ending your day in a positive way, and easing yourself into sleep that is truly restful and regenerative.
[45:07] Ken says that he tries to end his day thinking about what his next day will look like. He tries to be intentional how the next day will begin, jotting down notes before bed to give his brain a jumpstart on solving those problems. Your brain can do a lot of work while you sleep!