So many articles on successful leaders talk about their morning routine:
They get up at 5 a.m. and run six miles.
They have a bowl of quinoa cereal and practice yoga.
They meditate and set intentions for the day.
They write for an hour, because they’re most creative in the morning.
They heat a mug of filtered water and squeeze in the juice of a lemon wedge.
Some of these examples I took from a Forbes article titled “The Morning Routines of 12 Women Leaders” which leads off with this energizing intro: We thrive from the consistency and efficiency of routines…so it is no wonder that these 12 extraordinary women adhere to strict ones…These successful women all view their daily routines in small increments to keep them on track and thriving. Whether it’s the designer, the doctor, the CFO or the media mogul, their morning rituals are a vital ingredient in their secret sauce.
The implication here, of course, is that successful people are 1) effortlessly morning people and 2) married to a virtuous (if pretentious) routine that keeps them flourishing.
This is mirrored in running articles. The successful runner should embrace the early morning run. You’ll avoid scheduling conflicts, you’ll boost your metabolism for the day, you’ll do better at making it a habit. Just go to bed earlier, lay out your running clothes, warm up a little longer, be consistent and it will get easier over time. No big deal.
For a while I was obsessed with this blog called My Morning Routine, an entire site dedicated to pushing this idea of success = consistently having your ish together in the morning, feeling in awe of these artists, CEOs, entrepreneurs, writers, parents (!!), who had inspiring and productive morning rituals.
But I stopped reading, because I just started feeling offended.
My life is the anti-routine. Sometimes I get up early to run and sometimes I leave it to the end of the work day to clear my head. One day I’ll collapse into bed at 9:30 p.m. and another I’ll stay up until 1 a.m. because I can’t put a book down. Some mornings my three-year-old willingly gets dressed and other days we have a 20-minute standoff complete with big ole’ crocodile tears because his favorite shorts aren’t clean. Life with a toddler is pretty much never consistent or efficient, for heaven’s sake.
I really hate mornings. I’ve given it my best effort, but I will never be a consistent morning person or a consistent morning runner. I don’t have the right secret sauce for running or for life.
But I’m a good mom, a dedicated wife, a professional who gives a lot of herself to her job and a runner who is not a “morning runner” or an “evening runner,” just someone who tries to fit it in when life allows. I swim in chaos and I like it. Squeezing myself into a regimented morning routine would leave me burning the candle at both ends many days, and most definitely wouldn’t result in me staying on track and thriving. So I don’t do it.
If you’re a die-hard morning routiner, I commend you. That’s awesome and enviable.
But it’s not the only path to success. You can be a hot mess and still do all right in spite of yourself.
My secret sauce is made of flexibility, free-spirtedness, and an uncanny ability to roll with the crazy, and I like it that way.