Ep 053

The Miracle Morning & Evening, & Overcoming Adversity with Hal Elrod

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Hal Elrod

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Inside This Episode

Today’s episode is a fun one. I’m talking with my good friend and one of the most inspiring human beings I’ve ever met, Hal Elrod.

In case you don’t know, Hal is the author of one of the highest rated books in the world, The Miracle Morning – which has over 6,000 five-star Amazon reviews and has sold over 2 million copies. But it’s much more than a book, it’s a movement that has inspired millions of people to unlock their full potential, one morning at a time.

Hal’s life is nothing short of miraculous…

  • At the age of 20 he was hit by a drunk driver, died for 6 minutes, and was told he’d never walk again.
  • At 28, he lost over half of his income, racked up $52,000 in credit card debt, and his home was foreclosed on by the bank.
  • At 37, he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer and was given a 30% chance of surviving.

Hal has defied seemingly insurmountable odds time and time again, and in this episode, you’re going to get the personal development systems and frameworks he’s used to achieve the business and life of his dreams.

3 of the biggest insights from Hal Elrod

  • #1 The power of The Miracle Morning and why your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development.

  • #2 The 5-Minute Rule and the “Can’t Change It” mantra that anyone can use to overcome life’s biggest (or smallest) challenges. 

  • #3 The Miracle Evening routine that turns anxiety and stress into blissful bedtime and better sleep. This inspiring framework is what Hal used to overcome his own challenges with sleep, depression, and suicidal thoughts at the darkest time of his life.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • Simple hack for parenting your teenager
  • What is The Miracle Morning?
  • 6 ancient practices that will transform your life
  • Why “I’m not a morning person” is B.S.
  • Do the right thing, not the easy thing
  • The 5-Minute Rule – a mental model to overcome failure
  • The Miracle Evening routine for better sleep

OPTIMIZE YOUR SLEEP WITH HAL ELROD’S MIRACLE EVENING ROUTINE

OVERCOME NEGATIVE THOUGHTS WITH HAL ELROD’S 5-MINUTE RULE

PARENTING TEENAGERS | HAL ELROD SHARES LIFE HACK

HAL ELROD EXPLAINS WHY THE KEY TO SUCCESS DEPENDS ON ONE THING

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE: 

PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE:

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED REVIEW

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MIC DROP MOMENTS WITH HAL ELROD

  • “Comparison is a thief of joy.” – Brad Johnson

  • “In life, we don’t get what we want. We get what we’re committed to.” – Hal Elrod

  • “Getting really clear on what are the whys that are so meaningful and important to you that when you are reminded of those, you’re like, it doesn’t matter if I don’t feel like it, I’m committed because these are such important benefits and reasons why.” – Hal Elrod

Brad Johnson: Welcome back to another episode of Do Business. Do Life. I promise, just buckle up right now, this is going to be a fun one. Hal Elrod, welcome to the show.

Hal Elrod: Brad, man, it is good to see you. And it’s like we see each other, whether it’s at Front Row Dads’ events we were just talking about. You and I were in Family Brand, right? So, I see you in a lot of different contexts, and all of them are growth oriented, including this one.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. It’s cool, like, as you get older, you have these circles of people and friends and people you admire that are doing big things, and they just all tend to crisscross. And Family Brand was the last one. You, your wife Ursula, Sarah, and myself were going through that with Chris and Melissa Smith, who were just doing some incredible work there. And actually, it’s funny, well, I don’t have my phone on me, but the Johnson family values is my screensaver on my phone, just to keep them in front of me and commit those to memory and live them. So, Hal, let’s just kick it off there because I know you and Ursula did that work with your family. How is the Family Brand stuff going for you guys? Have you started to integrate that into some of the stuff you’re doing as a family yet?

Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, we developed our family values and then, we were going to do them like once a week, the family meeting. And I write in my books about affirmations and they’ve got to be done really daily to be really effective. Once a week, it’s like you’re going to forget. By the time you get to the next week, you go, “Oh, yeah, I should have lived that the last six days.” So, for me, I decided to make our family values something that we read every night at dinner. And in that way, it was a daily affirmation. And so, yeah, that’s been really powerful for us. And I’m seeing the kids start to actually live into those values, which is cool.

Brad Johnson: Awesome. We were talking before we hit record here. Our kids are about the same age. So, I’ve got 13, 12, and 8 and you have 14 and 11. We were talking about this natural resistance that those watching or listening in that have teenagers will understand. There’s kind of this like starting to challenge authority stage as you hit those teenage years. I know, I went through it. I’m sure you did too. How has that been received from the kids as far as, “Oh, dad, another one of these”? Do you ever get that or how do you kind of frame that, so you’re like pouring into them with that and like getting through that resistance?

Hal Elrod: Yeah. It’s interesting, I get that a lot. It’s like I used to go snuggle with my daughter when she was up until probably 11 maybe. And then 14, she’s like, “Dad, get out of my room. And what do you? Get out of my bed. I don’t want you in my bed.” And so, dad’s not quite as cool, and it’s more challenging to connect. And what I found and what I’d mentioned to you is what’s been really effective is partnering with fellow like-minded dads who have kids that are either friends with my daughter or could become friends of my daughter. There’s two in mind.

Last weekend, we went on a double daddy/daughter date, or actually, he has a son, Jon Vroman, founder of Front Row Dads. He brought his son. I brought my daughter. We went and raced cars indoors and then went out to lunch together. And the dynamic of that, it’s like the one-on-one time. She’s not as interested. She wants friends, right? She’s like, “Dad, why would I want to go bowling with you? I want to hang out with my friends.” And so, while that breaks my heart, I also have to navigate her reality and her feelings and meet her where she is.

And so, when I combined the friend with me and the dad, now, not only is she having a great time with her friend, I’m creating that container so she associates that with dad and go, “Dad, thanks so much for setting this up. This is awesome.” And one thing that I realized until last weekend is she sees me not as dad. Now, I’m a buddy to another buddy. So, I’m interacting with her friend’s dad, and she’s like, “Well, my dad’s like fool and funny and lets his hair down.” And so, yeah, man, so that’s been one of the– and I have another dad this weekend with a different friend. And so, that to me has been the most effective way to parent teenagers is to co-parent them with their friends’ parents and getting on the same page and doing fun activities together.

Brad Johnson: I love that. I know, Jim Sheils is a mutual friend, the kind of a family board meeting concept that we’re kind of talking about here. But this is the first time, like we were talking about this before we hit record. You’re like, you’re kind of just combining a family board meeting with another dad, doing another family board meeting, and now, you’re the cool dad to the other kid. And I’m sure, like Jon Vroman’s the cool dad to your daughter. And I love that concept. So, I’m going to definitely borrow that one. So, thanks for sharing that.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. It’s really, really been effective.

Brad Johnson: So, I want to dive in our time short here. We did a couple interviews on the old show, The Elite Advisor Blueprint. This is obviously the new show, Do Business. Do Life. But your whole concept of the Miracle Morning really impacted me, I read that. It’s been almost a decade ago now, and I know you’ve impacted a massive community, all around the world at this point because you’re published– I mean, the book’s published in, how many different languages now?

Hal Elrod: 37 or 41, I don’t know the exact number, but it’s around 40-ish.

Brad Johnson: That is awesome. And so, for those unfamiliar, because I want to get to the new, updated, rereleased version 11 years later, but if somebody has never heard of The Miracle Morning and kind of you creating that out of your own personal need to create it, can you share the short version? And then we’ll get to the new Updated and Expanded version.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, I mean, the short version is how I created it, I was in a really bad spot in my life in 2008 when the US economy crashed. I kind of crashed with it and my house was foreclosed on by the bank. I was living on credit cards, I lost over half of my income, and then my health declined. I mean, it was spiraling downward spiral. And just one day, I’m like, I’m desperate. Like, I need to turn my life around. What am I going to do? And I heard this Jim Rohn quote, Jim Rohn said, “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development.”

And for whatever reason, you may have heard that quote before, I might’ve heard it before, but it hit me in a different way where I quantified it and I went, if my level of success in every area of my life, my health, my happiness, my marriage, my relationship, my finances, you name it, won’t exceed my level of personal development, then that begs the question, what level of success do I want on a scale of 1 to 10? And of course, it’s a 10. Nobody doesn’t want to be as happy as they can be or as healthy or financially secure. We all have this innate drive and desire to achieve the pinnacle, the happiest, healthiest life we can have.

So, then the question that I really had to be honest to myself is, what’s my level of personal development? If you’re listening to that, I would define that as what are your daily personal development ritual or rituals that enable you to become a better version of yourself who is capable of creating that success that you want in every area of your life. And so, I realized that I was like a 2 or 3. I didn’t have a really dialed in, really effective daily personal development ritual. And so, I decided I would create the ultimate daily ritual that involved meditation, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, journaling, six of the most timeless personal development practices of all time. And instead of just picking one of these life-changing practices, like my theory was, if I did all six of these first thing in the morning, even though I’m not a morning person, if I started my day with these and it didn’t have to take long. Some days were six minutes where I would do one minute each if I was pressed for time. Average was about 30 minutes.

But within two months of doing this practice, I more than doubled my income. I went from being in the worst shape of my life physically to committing to run a 52-mile ultramarathon because I hated running, and I thought, what better way to evolve as a human than commit to run 52 miles and then figure out how to do it? And my life changed so fast. I went to my wife and I said, “Sweetheart, it feels like a miracle. Ever since this morning routine, we’ve doubled our income. I’m running. I never thought I’d be a runner.” And she goes, “It’s your miracle morning,” without skipping a beat. And I go, “I like that, miracle morning.”

And then keep a long story short, I decided to, I was like, “I should share this with others. It’s changing my life.” I’d share it to my coaching clients. I was changing their life. And I wrote this book, self-published it, that was 11 years ago, and I just committed, I’m going to share this with millions of people. I don’t know how, I don’t know a million. I was an unknown author, but I just continued to share it. And now, what are we? A little over 11 years after the original book published, sold over 2 million copies, translated, you mentioned, in 40 languages. And it’s in over 100 countries. I don’t know the exact number. You can’t track how many, but probably, a million people are doing the miracle morning every day.

And so, last thing I’ll say is, you and I were talking before we started the recording, after 11 years, I finally rewrote the original book and added 70 pages of new content. So, December of this last year, the Miracle Morning Updated and Expanded edition was released. And it became a USA Today bestseller. And I guess, the best thing to say is, if you go read the reviews on Amazon, a lot of them are like, hey, I read the original Miracle Morning book three years ago, eight years ago, five years ago. It changed my life. And this new version reignited the fire. It’s even better. There’s more content, on and on and on. And so, yeah, that’s kind of– and we have a Miracle Morning movie, an app, like that’s where we’re at today is this Miracle Morning ritual, really, if you’re a morning person or not, it is designed to help anyone take themselves to the level they need to be, to take their success in every area to the level that they want it to be.

Brad Johnson: That’s cool. Well, there’s a lot of places I could go from here, but the first thing I just thought of it was literally just a few episodes ago, a guy named Wally that’s a mortgage broker.

Hal Elrod: I know Wally.

Brad Johnson: Yes. So, he literally, two or three episodes ago, commented on The Miracle Morning and how when he found that book and connected with you, I think he went to one of your live events and he said, literally, that changed his life. And the guy has an amazing track record of success that involves reading and mantras and a lot of what you’re just talking about. So, this stuff really does work. I would say, I haven’t been a religious disciple of the Miracle Morning, but just if you could real quick, SAVERS, I think, is the acronym that kind of runs through. And I didn’t say this before, but we’re going to buy a box of the new Updated and Expanded, we’re going to give those away to listeners. So, love to help you spread the word. So, those are like, what is this thing? Listen to the intro. We’ll have the details in there. But we’ll give away a box until they’re all gone of the new book and selfishly, I’m going to save one for myself because I want to hear the new stuff. But what is SAVERS if you can get through that real quick?

Hal Elrod: Yeah. I mentioned that The Miracle morning is made up of six practices, and when I was writing the book, I realized I needed a way to organize these in a way that was memorable. And so, what emerged was this acronym SAVERS, and I called these originally the Life SAVERS because I’m like, these saved my life. I was on a decline, I was a mess. And they have now for millions of people, but the first S is for silence. So, the first practice of the Miracle Morning is silence. It’s your meditation and/or your prayer time. It’s getting centered. It’s listening for that wisdom that we only hear in periods of peaceful, purposeful silence. We don’t get it when we’re checking our email and scrolling our phone. It’s in the shower, it’s falling asleep at night. And so, this is engineering your day so that your day starts with that purposeful silence so you have space to get that clarity that will transform your life. That’s when our best ideas come, where we make breakthroughs.

The A is for affirmations. And I think affirmations are the most misunderstood, yet most effective form of personal development because we’ve been taught these cheesy, like, if you’re struggling financially, just say, I am wealthy, I am wealthy, right? Like, the truth will always prevail. Or we’re taught, like, I’m a money magnet, like this goofy, flowery affirmation. The way that I teach it in the book is, step one, affirm what you’re committed to. I am committed to doubling my income this year. I’m committed to transforming my marriage. I’m committed to losing 20 pounds. In life, we don’t get what we want. We get what we’re committed to.

Step two is affirming why it’s a must for you. And for me, that’s usually like two, three, four, or five bullet points of I’m doing this for me because of this reason. I’m doing it, this will benefit my wife in this way. It’ll benefit my kids in this way, right? So, getting really clear on what are the whys that are so meaningful and important to you that when you are reminded of those, you’re like, it doesn’t matter if I don’t feel like it, I’m committed because these are such important benefits and reasons why.

And then step three in the affirmations is which actions will you take and when, just get really clear, affirm. Okay, in order to follow through that commitment, here’s what I’m going to do on these days, at these times, to ensure that I make progress to the end. The V is for visualization. The world’s greatest athletes visualize. And we should mentally rehearse showing up at our best before we actually have to show up. In the same way, an athlete visualizes performing at their best before they step onto the court or the field, so that when they do, it’s like, “Oh, this isn’t scary. I was here this morning.”

And I use that in my marriage, like, Brad, if you go to bed and you have a fight with your spouse, I know the rule is, no, you never go to bed angry. Hey, sometimes it happens, right? So, here’s what ends up happening is when my wife wakes up, she might still be angry because she just woke up and the last thought she had was, “Oh, my husband was a jerk last night.” I’ve already applied my visualization to mentally rehearsing, seeing her that morning in a state of empathy and love and forgiveness. So, when I go in there, I’m like, “Hey sweetie, good morning.” And she, like, scowls at me and I’m like, “Oh, you didn’t do your miracle morning. That’s why you’re still in a bad mood. I’m fine. I work through this like 30 minutes ago.” So, that’s how visualization in a practical sense, and we can apply it to every area of life.

The E in SAVERS is for exercise. No rocket science here. You don’t have to go to the gym. This is about getting the blood and oxygen flowing to your brain and waking up your nervous system so you have heightened mental clarity. And that can be done in as little as 60 seconds of moving your body, 60 seconds of jumping jacks. You’re breathing deeper, right? And now, you’re awake and you’re alert and you’re going to get more done to be more effective throughout the day.

The R in SAVERS is for reading, and I always say we’re one book away from transforming any area of our life. It just takes one idea to transform your life. You want to transform your marriage? You got a variety of books to choose from. You want to transform your mornings? Of course, you got The Miracle Morning. You got 5AM Club, right? Any area of life you want to transform, there’s a book for that.

And the final S in SAVERS is for scribing, which is a fancy word for writing or journaling. And essentially, there’s magic that happens with the clarity you get when you get out of your head and you put it on paper. And one of my favorite things to journal, in fact, it’s the first thing I journal. I talk about it in the new book, like, I give my steps of how I do my scribing. Step one is, is there any inner turmoil that I’m experiencing that I need to resolve? And I’ll use my hand on my heart. I’ll get quiet, I’ll close my eyes, and I’ll go, “Oh yeah, man, I’m really afraid of the economy,” or “I’m upset at that thing that happened yesterday,” like, whatever it is. And then once I write it down, Brad, it’s amazing. Just the act of writing it down, now, it’s like you’ve given yourself permission to let it stop weighing on your subconscious mind because it’s on paper now. And if you want to read it and look at it and think about it and work on it, cool. But it’s there. It’s like you put it away in a safe and you can revisit it whenever you want, but you no longer have to harbor it. You don’t have to think. It creates that separation.

And the last thing I’ll say to tie a bow on all of this is Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. I spoke at an event that Robert was the headliner for, I was his warmup act. And I got to meet him after the event. This was years ago, and I gave him a copy of The Miracle Morning thinking he’s never going to read it. Guy is worth like $80 million. And three weeks later, I got an email from his assistant and she said, “Robert has read the Miracle Morning three times in the last three weeks.” And my jaw dropped right there. I was like, “What? He’s read my book three– okay, okay.” “And he wants to have you on Rich Dad Radio. The practice is changing his life.”

And so, I went on Rich Dad Radio and at the end of the interview, he said something that I will never forget because he summed it up, the SAVERS, better than I ever had. He said, “Hal, any one of the SAVERS is a life-changing practice.” He said, “But I think you named the book correctly, The Miracle Morning because,” he said, “my experience has been when I do all six of these ancient best practices every day, it’s creating miracles in my life.” He said, “It’s transforming my marriage, my health, my hap– everything.” And he said, “It is a miracle morning.” And so, I think that’s a great way to sum it up. Like, any one of the SAVERS will change your life, but when you do all six in a succinct, 30-minute ritual every morning, it changes your life in ways so profoundly that you ever could have predicted it.

Brad Johnson: I love that. And I’ve got many friends, many very successful friends that live by the Miracle Morning. So, one thing that I often hear, because anybody that’s heard those SAVERS, I think it’s impossible to argue, like I would be in a better space if I did that more frequently in the mornings. But then you hear and you already kind of nailed it, the affirmation piece, “Oh, but I’m just not a morning person.” That’s like the standard objection is, yeah, that sounds great. I’m just not a morning person. What’s crazy is that’s an affirmation right there kind of reaffirming. And so, what do you say to people? Because I know you’ve laid it out in the book the first time I read it of like how to hack the I’m not a morning person. What would you share with people telling themselves that right now?

Hal Elrod: Yeah. The first thing I would say is that’s a total normal response. And actually, I don’t always talk about this, but I think this is really worth understanding or worth considering. If you think about it, the reason that most people are not morning people is because of how we were conditioned growing up. We were forced to wake up at times that we as children did not want to wake up. You’re in the top 1% of kids if you’re like, “I jumped out of bed every morning before my parents came in to wake me up,” like, all right, weirdo. But if you’re like 99% of humans, it was like, “Hey, time for school.” “No, mom, I don’t want to get out of bed.” And whenever we were given the opportunity to keep sleeping, that was our choice.

Then we turn 18 and you go off to college. I would set up my classes every day so that I could sleep in, like I was not a morning person at all. So, if you’re conditioned as a child, what your brain is developing to be forced to do something that you don’t want to do, then you naturally develop a deep resentment and resistance for the act of waking up when you don’t have to wake up. And so, that’s why I believe most are morning people. Now, when I wrote The Miracle Morning, the original edition, and I think it’s even better with the new edition because I was thinking the same thing, how am I going to not just convince somebody to beat the snooze button and wake up before they have to? And I think you said it, like, how do I make it really easy for them to do it? It’s one thing to be convinced, like, yeah, I should do that or I should eat healthier, but I don’t have a habit of eating healthier. I should wake up earlier.

So, there’s a chapter in the book called The 5 Steps Snooze Proof Wake-Up Strategy that walks you through what to do the night before, what to do with the affirmations before bed, how to set your alarm. There’s all these really simple steps that make waking up easier than ever. And the last thing I’ll say on this, Brad, is I was once asked during an interview, Hal, what percentage of Miracle Morning practitioners already considered themselves morning people? So, this was easy for them. They’re like, oh, cool. Instead of like getting on email first thing in the morning, I’ll do The SAVERS. And they said, but what percentage were like, I’m not a morning person, I don’t want, I can’t be one. I’ve tried, didn’t work. And I didn’t know the answer.

And so, we’ve surveyed hundreds of thousands of people, probably over a million people now in the last five years, and kind of pleasantly surprised. Seventy-two percent say they never thought they could be a morning person before they read The Miracle Morning. And now, those people became morning people after reading the book. So, only 28% were like, yeah, I was already a morning person. Now, the majority of people this book has transformed their life were those that said, “I am not a morning person and I don’t know if I can become one.”

Brad Johnson: I love that, Hal. I’m glad you hit that. I remember one thing in the first book, which I’m excited to read the new version, you basically said, it’s not that you’re getting up early. It’s like most humans need seven to eight hours of sleep, so you just need to retrofit that sleep to match when you want to get up. So, it does take discipline, right? It does take, like, not stay up till midnight scrolling on your phone or whatever. But that’s the thing I’ve told a lot of people. I’m like, it’s not that you’re not a morning person, it’s just you don’t get enough sleep person. That’s the problem.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. Yeah, that’s it.

Brad Johnson: And so, I love how you do that. And then, it’d be interesting if this mantra made it into the new one. It’s one that’s personally worked for me. I think, setting the alarm clock across the room so it’s not easy to hit snooze, all that. People heard that before. But you had a mantra in the first book that said, like, in that moment, when you hear the alarm and you’re like, oh, I could just go back to sleep, I believe it was, am I going to do what’s easy or am I going to do what’s right? And I have in those moments, literally when I’m like, okay, I want to go back to bed here. I just tell myself, am I going to do what’s easy or am I going to do what’s right? No, I’m going to do what’s right. I’m getting up. And then, splash a little water in your face, you’re good to go from that point. It’s just that really small moment of do I go right or left? Did you update that mantra at all? Or did that make it into the new book?

Hal Elrod: So, there’s a slight– I’ll tell you what the mantra is, but I actually like the way that you framed it as a question because that is interesting. Like, you’re asking yourself and now, you have to answer it. The mantra is do the right thing, not the easy thing, right? And so, I learned when I was 19 and in the way that it was taught to me is my mentor at the time said, I was in sales, and he said, the secret to success is really, really, really simple. Every moment of your day, you’ve got a choice, right? When you’re ordering from a menu or choosing what you’re going to eat, it’s like, should I do the right thing, which is eat the food that fuels my body and helps me have more energy and longevity, or the easy thing, which is like, that pizza looks really good, right?

And so, that was it. He’s like, if you can develop a guidance system where you do the right thing as opposed to the easy thing, he said, “Number one, you’ll be successful. But number two is at first, it’ll be tough, but it’ll become who you are and it’ll become easy and second nature.” And that, for me, it’s like I’ve been doing that for, I mean, I learned that 24 years ago, 25 years ago. So, it’s like, for me, I’m not perfect. I mean, occasionally, I’m gonna do the easy thing, I don’t care. Screw it. But it’s rare. It’s much more often than not because it’s such a big part of me that I’m like, damn it, I want to do the easy thing, but that’s not who I am. I’m someone that does the right thing, not the easy thing.

Brad Johnson: I love that. It’s crazy how those little simple mental models and hacks can make such a massive difference. So, thanks for going back through that. Okay, before we get– because I want to save a little time here at the end to get into the couple new chapters we hit in the new and expanded but selfishly, I want to hear about them. But you have one other little mental model hack that I heard when you spoke live one time, and I just saw the whole room when you shared this, like, oh, wow, that’s a game changer right there. I believe you called it The 5-Minute Rule. Can you share that?

Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, it’s called The 5-Minute Rule. And then there’s also the “can’t change it” mantra that kind of piggybacks on it. And first, let me explain what this is for, right? Like, setting the stage here. Human beings, we experience emotional pain, right? Whether it’s the form of anger or upset or sad or scared or frustrated or whatever, we experience emotional turmoil that can either make us just unhappy and not enjoy life or just it throws us off and we’re not able to be at our best.

And so, when I was in sales, my mentor taught us that, it was like day two of training. I was at Cutco Cutlery, I was 19, and he said, and to this day, this is maybe the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned. So, I appreciate you asking about it. But he said, “Sales is a microcosm for life’s adversity at an accelerated rate,” meaning the average person faces rejection occasionally, the salesperson faces it multiple times a day. He said the average person fails occasionally. Like, maybe once a year, they fail to reach a goal. The salesperson fails regularly all the time. You know, you fail. You don’t hit your goal for the day. You don’t hit your quota for the week, for the month, for the quarter, right? He said, so you need a strategy to quickly move through the emotional turmoil, the icky feelings that caused you to doubt yourself or want to quit sales because you’re like, I hate the way I feel. I got rejected six times today, I hate this, I don’t want to do it anymore. He said, you need a, you call it a mental model or strategy to move through it.

And so, he taught us The 5-Minute Rule. And he said, as anytime you experience a setback, rejection, failure, disappointment, he said, set your timer on your phone for five minutes and literally give yourself five minutes to fully experience and express the emotions that are coming up for you. He said, we often suppress them because you’re like, I don’t have time for that. I got to get on the phone, or I don’t want to look weak in front of my peers, so I’m just going to act like it’s no big deal, right? And he said, “That’s not healthy.” That sh*t comes out sideways, pardon my French. So, he said, give yourself five minutes to bitch, moan, complain, cry, vent, punch a wall, like whatever you got to do to fully– this sucks. I can’t believe that he did that to me. This is BS. I needed that goal, da, da, da, da, da, whatever. And he said, get it out. And when the timer goes off after five minutes, you say three very powerful, liberating words which are “can’t change it.” And it’s a simple acknowledgment that, okay, I can’t change whatever happened five minutes ago. So, right now, I got a choice. I can continue to dwell on it, be upset about it, although that doesn’t change it. So, I’m not actually doing anything productive. I’m just causing my– I’m perpetuating that inner turmoil. Or I can choose to accept what happened exactly as it is. I might not be happy about it, but the choice is about being at peace with it. I can’t change it. So, my only logical, intelligent option is to accept it and be at peace so that I can take a deep breath. Ah, that sucks, but it’s over. It’s in the past. I cannot change it. I didn’t hit my goal. I lost some money, whatever. All I can do is focus on what’s in my control now to move forward.

And so, I started applying it right away. I remember the first time I set the timer for five minutes and it went off and I was like, “I’m still pissed. Five minutes is not long enough,” right? And I snoozed a few times. But after a couple of weeks, Brad, here’s what happens for people, because if you’re listening and you’re like, I get this kind of, but I don’t get how setting a timer and it going off is going to make me not upset. That was how I felt. Here’s what happened. Those five minutes are an opportunity to elevate your consciousness. So, you’re now experiencing emotion, but you’re aware that there’s a countdown. You’re aware that you’re working on getting to a place of acceptance, where you acknowledge that you can’t change the thing that happened. So, you’re going to choose to be at peace. And the first few times, it might take you 15 or 20 minutes to get there, but you do eventually get there, right? Because emotions are energy in your body and they do eventually die down. And it might take you all, like five minutes, not enough time, great, so 15, 20.

But here’s what happened. I remember it, it was like two weeks into my Cutco career, and this woman called and canceled the biggest order I had ever had. And it made me– I was number one rep in the office. I was about to get recognized that week and I didn’t hit my goal now. I wasn’t going to get recognized. I wasn’t number one. It was a huge loss. And I set my timer. It was 9 o’clock at night that she called and canceled her order. And I remember, I can picture my apartment. I set the timer, and I’m like, “Ah, I can’t believe she did this. God, I needed that order. I was number one. Ah! What am I going to do?” I mean, all I can do is get on the phone tomorrow and make more calls.

And I had this sense of like the emotion started to leave me and I picked up my phone and there was four minutes and 32 seconds left on my timer. And that was a life-changing moment, Brad, because I was like, “Wait a minute, if I’m going to get to the point where I say, can’t change it and I accept it, what’s the point in feeling upset for the next 4 and a half minutes when I could just say, can’t change it now?” And it was like this radical, like my brain was like– I’m like, “Is this okay? Should I stay upset?” I was trying to like, and I was like, no, wait a minute. Not only is five minutes long enough, dude, I think I just need five seconds now. I just need to, like, ahhh, let me scream or curse or whatever. And I’m going to then say, can’t change it and move on.

And I’ve since applied that to traffic. I’m like, I’m in traffic either way, why get upset? I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and given a 20% chance of living. I’m like, I can’t change it. I might as well be at peace and focus on how I’m going to survive for my family. Like, from the mundane like traffic to losing a loved one to being told you’re going to die, I’ve applied this strategy to choose to accept the things I can’t change and be at peace with my reality exactly as it is. And there is a new chapter in the new book called The Miracle Life, where I go really deep into unpacking this because I call, this is the key to inner freedom, where you can be completely free to choose the optimal state that would best serve you, even in the midst of the most difficult time in your life. So, that’s The 5-Minute Rule.

Brad Johnson: That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that. And just if we clip that section and people take that idea and run with it, that is a life changer. It really is. And where my head went as you’re walking through that, there’s a level of stoicism in there of, and then I know, like the Serenity Prayer that people practice in Alcoholics Anonymous, but it’s basically like the only true thing you can control in your life are your actions. You can’t– a lot of people, it’s raining outside, it’s the weather, something completely out of their control, and it ruins their whole day. They’re wasting all this energy against this immovable force. And I saw it happen.

You mentioned your cancer scare. We literally were scheduled to record our first ever podcast, and it was right at that time, you hit me up, you’re like, “Dude, I’m so sorry, but I’ve got a massive health scare.” And I don’t remember if you told me it was cancer right at that point or not, but I found out later. And we delayed our first interview for over a year as you were going through that. And as a friend that had connected with you at Front Row Dads, obviously, wanted to support you, but what was so powerful for me as a human was seeing you weren’t just the guy that talked about this stuff because unfortunately, there are some authors and thought leaders or gurus or whatever you want to label them and it’s kind of like, here’s what happens on stage. And then here’s like their real life and they’re not really congruent.

And the powerful thing that I saw as I saw it, probably the most difficult time in your life, you actually taking your work, applying it and how it impacted how you showed up for your family or your wife, your kids, and how you took a really horrible situation you wouldn’t wish on anybody. And you actually showed up like a leader in your home. So, I don’t know that I’ve ever shared that with you, but that personally impacted me because I saw you actually put your work into action. So, I love that about you, man. I love that you’re living.

Hal Elrod: I appreciate that very much.

Brad Johnson: Well, let’s go into, you kind of hit one of the chapters, which was The Miracle Life and The 5-Minute Rule. The other thing that’s a new chapter that I want to make sure we dive into a little bit is The Miracle Evening, which we kind of touched on, like setting yourself up for success the next day. And I know there’s a lot of studies that have come out here recently with just the power of how important sleep is in general. But give us the download on The Miracle Evening. Why does that matter? How do you do it? What does it look like?

Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, first of all, it’s a book that I’ve been asked to write for years, like, “Hal, you wrote The Miracle Morning, are you going to write The Miracle Evening?” And I’m like, “Yeah, maybe someday.” But I didn’t have an evening routine for years. And so, people go, “What’s your evening routine?” I was kind of embarrassed and would be like, “I just kiss my kids goodnight and I go to bed and I don’t do much.” And I usually even joke, miracle morning, mediocre evening. That was always my joke because my friends were like, “Dude, you always go to bed early and you never hang out with us at night.” And I’m like, whatever.

But where this was really born out of, in 2020, I have been on chemotherapy for three years at that point. And it had taken a horrific toll. Now, my cancer is so aggressive and so fast acting that basically, the protocol, the chemo protocol is 100 times what some protocols are. Like, instead of like one hour of chemo a week, I would get 100 hours a month. And they call it chemo brain, which is kind of that phrase bothers me because it kind of dismisses the poisoning that’s being done to your brain and I’ve talked to other cancer patients. There’s books written on, I mean, it messes you up, dude. Like, I didn’t recognize myself.

I went from being one of the happiest, most at peace, grateful, even confident human beings to a mental wreck. And a part of it, I think, where it really happened was one night, I fell asleep and three hours later, I woke up with like adrenaline or cortisol, something where I was just wired. I was like, “What the heck happened?” And then that went on for five or six months. So, I averaged two to four hours of sleep per night for almost half of a year. And if you’ve ever slept two hours a night in one night, you’re a wreck the next day. When you compound that over months and months, I was hallucinating. I thought people were trying to kill me. I developed extreme anxiety, extreme depression. I was suicidal. My guiding question most days was, how could I take my own life and not have it negatively affect my family? Is there a way?

I’ve been told, Tony Robbins taught me that the power of questions, I was literally like, there’s got to be a way where I can end this pain and not have my family suffer. And thank God, there was no way, right? There was no good answer to that question. I wrestled with it. I thought, what if I recorded a video series of every lesson I want to teach my– there was no answer. But I was in such a dark place that that’s where my head was at. And so, I was desperate, man. I was so desperate.

And I started reaching out to sleep experts and reading everything that I could and trying to figure it out. And through supplementation, through my Miracle Morning, through an evening practice that I call the Miracle Evening, of course, in the new book, I was able to solve my sleep issues. And now, I sleep like a baby, seven hours a night, every night. And then I started asking, during my speeches, I would say, “Hey, how many of you struggle with sleep, either falling or staying asleep?” And it’s like minimum 50% of the hands, they go, sometimes, it’s like 60 or 70. And I realize this is a huge issue, man. I’ve got to share what I learned. And so, that’s where the Miracle Evening came into play.

And similar to the SAVERS, there’s an acronym in that chapter called SLUMBERS. And it’s seven steps. And it walks you through, like just mental shifts to supplementation, to some logistical actions, to bedtime affirmations, to– you name it. And so, yeah, that’s the Miracle Evening. And it worked for me. And whenever someone tells me they’re not sleeping, I’m like, oh, my God, I’m so sorry. I know what the– like, I feel more pain over that than if someone says they have cancer, I think, because there was no time in my life where I was at a lower point than when I wasn’t sleeping well.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, on that note, I’m so glad you put the new chapter in the new book. Because being a guy that’s coached entrepreneurs essentially my whole career, independent financial advisors, one of the things I’ve learned the last three years on my own entrepreneurial journey here at Triad is, and I know you’ve got a lot of entrepreneurs in your audience, which makes sense when everybody raises their hand having a tough time sleeping. I was the guy similar to you that my head hit the pillow, I’m out. Seven, eight hours, no problem. Not waking up in the middle of the night.

And in these last three years, just the stress of leave something really certain, to build something really uncertain, the stress of cash flow, the stress of team members, employees and personnel conflict, and all the stuff that happens in just real world when you’re building a business, I would wake up at two in the morning, one in the morning, just heart beating out of my chest, like I just run up a mile as fast as I could. And I know many entrepreneurs struggle with these anxiety issues, sleep issues. And so, that has to be a huge thing, I’m assuming. I mean, the book’s been out a little while. Do you have some entrepreneurs that have read that, like, “Dude, thank you so much”? And is there one of those, maybe of those steps in the SLUMBERS that might help with that kind of anxiety that people carry with them sometimes into sleep that creates some of those sleep issues?

Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, actually, I’ll go through with you. So the S is for stop eating three to four hours before bedtime. And what ends up happening, most people, we’re not taught this, but it takes three to four hours to fully digest a meal. It can be as little as two hours if it’s a small amount of fruit or something. But if you eat a meal, it’s three to four hours. And so, what happens is if you eat, and that’s not even taking into consideration, I mean, the blood sugar spike, which is going to affect your sleep as well. But I think most of us know that, like if we go have a big dinner and we’re like, oh my gosh, I’m so full, I’m ready for bed. I eat fried food or a big steak or whatever. You wake up at two in the morning, right? Because your body is, you’ve taxed it with digesting food when it’s supposed to be repairing and rejuvenating itself, right? And so, eating late at night is a huge detriment to the quality of our sleep. So, that’s the S.

The L is probably the most important and it’s probably the hardest to grasp. That’s why in the book, I mean, it’s walking you through it, but it’s let go of stressful thoughts and emotions. And I think, on the surface, everybody’s like, “Well, duh. Yeah, easier said than done. Of course, I got to let go of stressful thoughts and emotions.” But here’s what I realized. And I would encourage anybody listening to just do the same evaluation. When your head hits the pillow at night, when you go to bed, are you thinking thoughts that support restfulness, that support feelings of bliss and calm and even gratitude? Or are you thinking about, is your mind racing with all the things that you didn’t get done or you’ve got to do, or the team members or this or the conflict or the fight or that? And it’s human nature at night to actually run through your day and think about it and go through all of that. And what I realized is that’s not serving me.

And let me say it in a different way. When it’s bedtime, so not just when the head hits the pillow, but like, 30 to 60 minutes before, we have one objective, and it is to prepare our mind and our emotional state for peaceful, restful sleep. That is our singular objective. There is none other. And if you can recognize that and go, “Okay, that makes sense. My only objective is to prepare myself for sleep. It’s not to replay the events of the day. It’s not to relive the emotions that were stressing me out earlier. It’s not to worry about the things that are stressing me out for tomorrow. It’s not to think about anything that’s out of my control.” And if you’re laying down the pillow, everything’s out of your control because you’re not answering emails in that moment. You’re not having the conversation in that moment, right? The only thing you are supposed to be doing is going to sleep. So, I’m really belaboring this point because you really have to– when you understand that, you’re like, “Oh, okay. I can’t argue that.” So, then it’s okay, well, how do I do that?

And what I talk about is it’s a lot easier to replace thoughts with other thoughts than to completely eliminate thoughts. And anyone that’s ever tried to meditate and you’re new to it can attest to that. Like, okay, so what do I do, I clear my mind? I suck at this. I can’t clear my mind. But in the case of, when you lay down to bed, what I’ve done is, oh, I’m thinking of this or that, I go, wait a minute. Not serving me. And sometimes, I think it’s Tony Robbins that cancel, cancel, right? Like, just remind myself, stop. Or I think of the analogy of flipping the switch, and sometimes I’ll even do that. I’ll flip a switch up with my finger, an imaginary switch. I’ll go, no, no, no, I’m flipping the switch. And that means I’m only allowed to think of thoughts that make me feel good, that make me feel happy, that make me feel loved, that make me feel safe.

And I want to underline the word safe because that may be the single most important state for us to be in as we fall asleep. Because when you think stressful thoughts, your body goes into fight or flight and you do not feel safe. Even if you’re thinking of your finances, you do not feel safe financially. If you’re thinking of your spouse and an argument you had, you do not feel safe in your marriage, right? So, it’s actually, safety is a crucial piece. And so, a lot of times, I’ll just go, I’ll hug my pillow, I’ll go, thank you, God, for this moment, for this bed, for these covers, for this pillow, and the fact that I am safe. And right now, I’m going to go to sleep thinking of how grateful I am for my wife, and if you fought with your wife, don’t think your wife, like whatever I have to be grateful for.

And here’s the beauty of that, Brad, the last thing I’ll say, I talk about this in The Miracle Morning, the first book, our first thought in the morning is almost always the same as the last thought we had before bed. And the same goes with the first emotional state we feel in the morning is the one that we dwelled on before bed. So, in this chapter, the Miracle Evening, the subtitle is Your Strategy for Blissful Bedtime and Better Sleep. Bliss is the state that I dwell in as I fall asleep, and that’s achieved through love, safety, and gratitude. And the beauty of that is not only do I drift off to sleep with a little slight smile on my face, when I wake up in the morning, I wake up in a state of bliss 9 times out of 10, 9.5 times out of 10 because that’s what I fell asleep in and that’s how I wake up.

Brad Johnson: I found that to be so true on both sides of how you tend to go to sleep is how you tend to wake up because if you’re processing a business problem that’s just eating you alive, like, I’ve literally had dreams. It’s like your brain is just a computer working through the night, right? And on the flip side, people have asked me, like, “Dude, you’re a pretty positive person, are you?” I’m like, at the end of the day, if my family is healthy and we’re in a home, like, it was crazy cold here in Kansas just a few weeks back. And I’m like, man, we’ve got a roof over our heads, a warm home, family is healthy, life is good. The rest is bonus, right? And so, I love– oftentimes, it’s just looking at what you need to be grateful for versus what is missing. Comparison is a thief of joy is one of my favorite quotes that I found to be very true.

Well, I know we’re right at the end here. We hit S and L out of SLUMBERS. Do we want to rapid fire the rest? I know we don’t have time to get into all of them. And those listening in, we’ll get you a book, so you can read about the rest. But do you want to rapid fire those real quick?

Hal Elrod: Yeah. So, stop eating three to four hours before bedtime. Let go of stressful thoughts and emotions. The U is for use sleep supplements as needed because that still is a part of my solution. I was like, I can’t leave that out because I was like, oh, should I share the supplements that I use? I’ll put them in there and just say, I’m no doctor. Like, take these, don’t take these, I don’t know, right? But use supplements as needed.

What are we at? M is map out the next day. And that way you don’t have to think about and go, oh, wait, I should do that tomorrow. Oh, wait, I should do that tomorrow, right? The day is mapped out before you go to bed. And for me, I use a digital calendar, so I actually don’t have to do that before I go to bed. It’s almost always already done. What are we at? The B is for boycott blue light. And that’s just not looking at your phone or the TV or any blue light at least 30 minutes before bed. And then, the E is for empower yourself with bedtime affirmations. And I give you the affirmation that I read before bed to get myself into that state and let go of those stressful thoughts and replace them with the peaceful thoughts.

And then the R is read something that makes you feel good. And the caveat to that is, I only read books that I’ve already read before, and they’re already underlined and highlighted so that I don’t have to invest any mental energy in remembering anything that I read. Because if you’re reading it on bed and you have a pen, you’re like, oh crap, I need to really remember that. So, for me, it’s like, no, these are the books, these are my pre-approved books in my bedside table that make me feel happy. Some examples are Loving What Is by Byron Katie, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, Awareness by Anthony De Mello. So, these are some books that I’ve already read them and they remind me that life is wonderful as it is. Even when life’s difficult, it still is a miracle, so on and so forth. And then the final, we only got one more S. The final S, I can’t remember it, I literally can’t remember it.

Brad Johnson: Hey, well, it sounds like they need to get the book.

Hal Elrod: There you go. And that was not intentional. Genuinely, I’m blanking on. In fact, now, I’m like, it’s bothering me. I’m like, what the hell is the final S? Oh, sleep like a baby, sleep like a baby. I open right to that page. But I talk about that in a metaphorical sense, where it kind of brings back in the beginning of letting go of stressful thoughts. Babies don’t go to bed worried about anything. They are in a pure state of consciousness of just being in the moment, right? Just sleeping. And so, I talk about that from like a spiritual perspective and a literal perspective.

Brad Johnson: Love it. Okay. Well, last question, because I know you’ve got another conversation coming right up. So, I want to respect that. This is the Do Business. Do Life podcast. I know, like just from our time where we’ve shared together, whether a Dads’ retreat or doing the Family Brand stuff, you don’t just look at this from a business perspective. I think that’s easy to understand after listening to the last close to an hour, but I would love to hear Hal Elrod’s definition of what does Do Business. Do life mean to you.

Hal Elrod: Yeah. When I created the Miracle Morning, it was a very selfish pursuit. It was, I’m struggling financially. I need to become the person that I need to be to create the life that I want financially and turn it around. And it worked for me. I didn’t have kids back then. Now, I’ve got two kids and a wife. And now, the way that I look at this is the Miracle Morning, it enables me to thrive in business. But more importantly, I’m doing it for the people that I love and the people that I lead, the people that I love. So, the Miracle Morning enables me to be the husband that my wife deserves, and the father that my kids deserve, and enables me to optimize my mental and emotional well-being every morning so that even if I have a difficult day, I bookend my days with two rituals, The Miracle Morning and The Miracle Evening. So, even if the middle of the day is stressful and sometimes, you have business dealings or stressful things go on, I wake up in a state of bliss and I start the day in a peak physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state. And then I go to bed in a state of bliss and at peace and grateful and joyful.

So, I bookend both my days with this optimal way of being. And to me, there is nothing in my 24 years of personal development and going to conferences and this reading books, literally, nothing that I’ve learned. Because if there was, I’d be sharing that, right? This is the two most, well, the Miracle Morning is the most impactful thing you’d ever learn. And for me, again, it really crosses over where it enables me to show up at my best in work, in life, in marriage, in parenting, in every area.

Brad Johnson: Love it, my man. Well, as always, super grateful for our time together. It’s always a fun conversation with lots of energy. And so, thanks for just who you are, how you show up, all the people you’ve impacted, and for sharing that with our audience. So, till next time.

Hal Elrod: Ditto, Brad. I appreciate it, brother.

Brad Johnson: All right. See you, Hal.

Disclosure

These conversations are intended to provide financial advisors with ideas, strategies, concepts and tools that could be incorporated into the advisory practice, advisors are responsible for ensuring implementation of anything discussed is in accordance with any and all regulatory and compliance responsibilities and obligations.
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