Hal Elrod, Author, The Miracle Morning
When Hal Elrod was 19 he was involved in a car accident with a drunk driver that left him with brain damage, 11 broken bones, and doctors telling him that he’d never walk again. While many people would understandably give into grief or anger or any other whirlwind of emotions that come after such a traumatic event, Elrod instead made the conscious choice to be at peace with himself.
He knew there was nothing he could control about his situation, but he could control how the situation affected him. While he accepted the fact that he might never be able to use his legs again and was at peace with it, he was also determined to find a way to walk again.
“I’m going accept the worst-case scenario, while I focus on the best case scenario.”
Three weeks later, defying all odds and expectations, he began to walk again.
Since then, he’s called upon his life story and lessons he’s learned along the way to become a highly sought-after motivational speaker and bestselling author of the book The Miracle Morning. Through his book, Elrod has touched the lives of millions of people with his simple philosophy and has guided them to become more productive, happier, less stressed, and at peace with themselves.
- How you too can start becoming a better entrepreneur, and a better person overall, every single morning
- Why the most successful people in the world take their mornings very seriously
- When to accept the worst and how to turn that into a weapon
- What your potential is and how to reach it
- What it truly means to put mind over matter and how to do it
Full Transcript of Podcast with Hal Elrod
Nathan: Hey there, fellow founders and entrepreneurs. Welcome to another episode of the Foundr Podcast. I am Nathan Chan, I am your host, coming to you live from Melbourne, Australia. And you’re in for a treat with today’s episode. It’s one of my, you know, new friends, his name is Hal Elrod. And incredible guy, he has such an amazing story. I know you guys are going to love it. Pretty much Hal has, like, died for, like, a couple of minutes and actually come back to life.
You know, he’s got such an amazing story and the stuff that he’s doing with The Miracle Morning, the book, the movement, the empire that he’s building is just incredible. Just The Miracle Morning itself and how he teaches people to wake up early and all this kind of stuff around, you know, if you struggle to get up early, you want to be more productive, you want to, you know, have a morning routine and ritual that really kicks off the day, then this is an incredible episode and Hal really, really rocked it. So I know you guys are going to love it, you’re in for a treat.
But before we jump into today’s episode I just wanted to share with you something interesting that I’ve actually found recently. So I’ve just come back from the States, had an amazing game-changing trip, learnt heaps. And one realization I had was, you know, when I left, because the company is growing and this is just a learning that I had, was that because, you know, I wasn’t there, I actually felt that if the business was to keep growing, I would need to be there and I’d need to be managing things. And luckily enough we have David, who’s just an incredible leader part of our team and he really, you know, managed everything while I was gone. But I still felt inside of me that, you know, I’m the one that’s driving the ship, the guys can’t do it without me.
And so we didn’t have any projects going on while I was gone for five and a half weeks. And, you know, while I was gone that whole time the business ran like a dream. It’s still growing. And pretty much the business, you know, Foundr can actually operate without me, which is an incredible realization I had. And I think the biggest realization that I had was, you know, when you’re running a company and you’re growing at a reasonably, you know, fast rate, you have to keep working on other projects even if the CEO is not there. Even if I’m not there, we need to have projects moving, we need to be shipping.
And, you know, everyone has got their day-to-day tasks and things that they’ve got going on to keep, you know, fueling that engine and keeping that machine running. But at the end of the day, you know, even if I’m not there, we should have had projects running. So now we’ve got a shit-ton of work. Excuse my French, but we’ve got a massive amount of work ahead of us before December. But, you know, I’m really, really pumped with what’s to come, you guys are in for a treat. If you’re following along the Foundr journey, we’ve got a lot on the boil, it’s really, really exciting times.
One thing that I’m excited about, a particular project we’re working on, is a physical book. And it’s going to be the Best of Foundr, like going to be a coffee table style, beautiful book, and we’re going to do a Kickstarter campaign for it. I’m super, super pumped. So, yeah, guys. Yeah, you’ll hear more about that soon, but keep your eyes peeled.
All right, so, anyways, that’s it from me. If you are enjoying these episodes, please do take the time to leave us a review on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Spotify, you know it. It helps more than you can imagine. All right, now let’s jump into the show.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, Hal. The first question I ask everyone that comes on is how did you get your job?
Hal: How did I get my J-O-B. That’s a great question, man. So how do I run through this? When I was 19 years old I started selling Cutco cutlery. And I was real fortunate, I had a really great mentor, my manager, and he led me to break the all-time company record in my first 10 days, and then go on to break a bunch more records.
So that was my first kind of foray into, like, you know, business. And a year and a half into the career I was driving home after I gave a speech at a sales meeting and I was hit head-on by a drunk driver at 80 miles per hour on the freeway, which is 112 kilometers per hour, I believe. And it sent me into oncoming traffic, the second car hit me in the door of my car at 70 miles per hour and instantaneously I broke 11 bones and I bled to death. And I was dead on the side of the freeway for about six minutes without a heartbeat. And the rescue crew saved my life, rushed me to the hospital, I underwent emergency surgery to repair my 11 broken bones. I had permanent brain damage, came out of a coma six days later and they told me I would never walk again.
And, you know, I basically just…it’s like in life we always are, you know, are faced with adversity and this was a big one for me. But I decided, “You know what? If I never walk again, I’m going to accept that and be at peace with it. And if I… But I’m going to focus on walking again. Like I’m going to accept the worst case scenario while I focus on the best case scenario.” And three weeks later the doctors came in with X-rays and they said, “We don’t know how to explain this, but your body is healing so quickly we’re going to let you take your first step today.” And it was like, “What? Wow.” I was thinking…you know, I was optimistic, but maybe, like, a year or something, not three weeks. And took my first step and the rest of that is kind of history.
And that led me to go, “Okay, maybe there’s more to my purpose in life than selling knives.” And then that led me into this career of writing and speaking. And I wrote a book called The Miracle Morning a few years ago and that became such a worldwide phenomenon that that’s now kind of my life’s work. And we’re published in 21, you know, countries and just kind of spreading this. It started out as a book, and The Miracle Morning has become this worldwide movement that’s about elevating the consciousness of humanity kind of one morning at a time, and so that’s what I do now.
Nathan: Yeah, wow. You have such an amazing story, dude. So for everyone listening, I spoke at an event called Tropical Think Tank March 2016 and that’s where I met Hal, and I was so blown away by his story. And, dude, your talk at that conference was amazing. Like, I was just like, “Wow.” Like, man, I almost teared up a little bit. Like, you know how to tell a good story, dude. So I had to speak to you and get you on the podcast.
Hal: Thank you.
Nathan: You gave away so much gold, man, it was crazy. And one of the biggest things that I love the most about your talk, there was heaps of things, but one thing I just have to say is that piece on “can’t change that,” can you share that?
Hal: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And this is one of the most valuable lessons that I have, you know, learned and taught and embodied, if you will. And so here’s what happened. So the car accident happened, six days later I came out of the coma. And, you know, I mean it’s a pretty…you wake up in a hospital bed and you’re like, “Whoa, what? How did I get here?” And then they’re telling you, you know, my parents are telling me, “You were hit by a drunk driver, you might never walk again,” right? On and on. And it’s like…it’s a pretty difficult reality to accept. You know?
And after a few days I was kind of just really positive and optimistic and I was laughing and joking and kind of back to my old, you know, happy-go-lucky self. And the doctors called my parents in a week after I came out of the coma, so two weeks after the accident, and the doctor said, “We’re…you know, we want to give you an update on Hal’s condition. Physically he’s made it through the worst.” You know? Because actually I died, I flatlined twice more while I was in the coma.
So, I mean, I was in very critical condition. And they were just trying to keep me stable so that I would be alive. You know? And they said, “Physically we’ve gotten him through the worst. He is stable, you know, and we don’t know if he’s going to walk again, but, you know, he’s alive and he’s going to live.” And they said, “But mentally and emotionally we believe that Hal is denial.”
And, you know, my parents of course were kind of concerned and the doctor said, “Well”… My parents are asking, you know, “Well, why do you think he’s in denial?” And the doctors literally said, “Well, he’s always smiling and laughing and joking, and he’s always making us laugh.” And they said, “That’s not normal.” You know, that’s not normal for a 20-year-old young man who he’s been told he may never walk again to be like, “Oh, okay,” you know, and then just be all happy.
And they said, “We believe that, and we’ve seen this with accident victims, where his reality now is so unimaginable, so painful for him he can’t accept it. So he’s checked out and he’s just like, ‘Hey, yeah, I don’t want to face how difficult this is, so I’m going to pretend like everything is okay.” And they said, “But eventually he has to face it, and that can cause…you know, he could have a breakdown and it could turn to, you know, suicide or drugs or alcohol or whatever. So we would love for you to talk to him, find out how he’s really feeling, get him to admit that he’s…you know, the emotions he should be feeling are, you know, sad or scared or depressed or angry. And he needs to face those emotions so that we can help him work through them.”
And so my mom and dad, my dad actually, came in, you know, probably, I don’t know, 15 minutes later, I didn’t know the conversation was happening. And he sat me down and I was laying in my hospital bed. Keep in mind, this is a week after the crash, so I’m like, you know, my arm is broken, my leg is broken, my pelvis is broken in three places, my eye socket is broken, my ear is almost completely severed from my head, it’s like sewn on. The top of my skull was sliced… Like, I’m in bad shape. You know?
And I’m sitting in my hospital bed, I’m laying there, can’t really move, and my dad comes in and he says, “Hal, you know, can I talk to you for a minute?” And I look over and he’s like, you know, trying not to cry and his eyes are all red and swollen. And I’m thinking, “Oh gosh, he’s got some, you know, bad news for me.” And he explains the doctors’ concerns and he asks me, “Hal, you know, it’s okay to be sad or angry or depressed. I know you like to be positive, but, you know, gosh, look at what’s happened to you. Let’s go through these feelings and talk about them. It’s okay to feel this way.” He goes, “How are you really feeling? Come on.” And I really…you know, I could tell he was upset. And so I really thought about it, I’m like, “Am I in denial? Like, maybe I am. Am I sad, angry, depressed and I just don’t even realize it?”
And I really gave it thought, Nathan, and I looked at my dad and I said…I just kind of shook my head and smiled. I said, “Dad, I thought you knew me better than that.” I said, “Remember I live my life by the five-minute rule that I learned in my Cutco sales training?” And he says, “Remind me again what that is.” And I said, “It’s okay to be negative when things go wrong, but not for more than five minutes.” And I said, “Dad, we learned this in Cutco training that, you know, when something goes wrong, you can’t change it, you can’t”… Unless you’re Marty McFly with a time machine, right? You can’t go back in time and change it. So there’s no value in wishing that you could.
And I said, “What’s the point of me being depressed or sad or angry or all the things the doctor said I should be?” I said, “I can’t change it. So the only logical choice that I’ve decided that I have is to accept this fully and be the happiest, most grateful I’ve ever been even though I’m going through the most difficult time in my life.” And I said, “Dad, there’s only one of two possibilities.” And for anybody listening, I want you to consider how this applies to your life. I said, “Possibility number one is the doctors are right and I will never walk again.” And I said, “Dad, I’ve already thought that through. And I’ll call that the worst case scenario. I’m sure there’s probably worse, but I’m going to say that’s the worst case scenario.”
I said, “Dad, and I’ve decided if I’m stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, as the doctors are thinking I probably will be, I will be the happiest person you’ve ever seen in a wheelchair. Because I’m in a wheelchair either way. So I can either be miserable in the wheelchair and be like, ‘This shouldn’t happen and I was supposed to be da, da, da, da, da. And I don’t deserve this, I’m a good person.’ And this victim mentality, Dad, that doesn’t serve me, so I’ll be the happiest person you’ve ever seen in a wheelchair.”
And if you’re listening to this right now, my question for you is what’s your wheelchair? Like, what’s a circumstance in your life from your past, or maybe it’s your present, or maybe it’s you’re worried about if for the future, but something that’s out of your control? Like, you can’t go back in time and change it, but it causes you pain. And here’s the thing, is it doesn’t cause you pain, it’s you create pain because you’re not willing to accept it and be at peace with it. And that’s where I was able to override the pain and just remove myself from it because I thought, “I’m not going to create pain over something I can’t change.” If I can’t change it, I’m actually going to do the opposite and I’m going to be happy and grateful despite it.
I said, “Dad, that’s one possibility, in a wheelchair the rest of my life. The second possibility is I will walk again. I don’t even know if that’s possible. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, I don’t know. But, Dad, because I…until I’m proven that it’s not possible, I’m putting all of my energy into that. Instead of being upset about what I can’t change or what’s out of my control, I’m putting all my energy into walking again and visualizing it every day.” I’m thinking about it every day. I’m praying about it every day. I’m imagining it. Like, all my energy goes into what I want because I’ve already accepted what I don’t want, I’ve already accepted the worst case scenario and made peace with it.
And so, Nathan, that’s what I call the Can’t Change It philosophy, right? Is that when something goes wrong, something that… You know, and “wrong” is a relative term. A lot of times something that we think is wrong in the moment down the road we look back at and go, “Gosh, that was actually one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was difficult at the time, but it made me who I am today.”
So why need to wait, you know, for the future to realize that our adversity usually does make us stronger, right? Right, Nathan? If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you what?
Hal: And in my case even if it kills you but you come back, it still makes you stronger, right?
So that’s it. I mean for me now, you know, I implement this every day. If I’m in traffic, I go, you know, “Son of a…” I start to get frustrated. Then I go, “Wait a minute. Can’t change it. Can’t change that I’m in traffic, but I can choose to be happy and grateful, grateful while I’m stuck, you know, behind these cars in front of me.” And I found that it’s one of the most universal principles for happiness because when you accept all things you can’t change, you unlock the door to emotional freedom. You give yourself permission to be happy no matter what’s going on around you, because what really determines your happiness is what’s going on inside of you. And in order to perform at our best in business you’ve got to be able to accept what you can’t change, so all of your energy can then be focused into what you can change and what you can create for yourself, for your business, for your clients, etc., etc.
Nathan: Yeah, man, I love that. It’s so extremely powerful. And I think mindset is such a big part of what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. And I’m really curious, you know, because, you know, you mention, you know, you died. And it’s kind of like you’ve been given another shot at life. Like, how often do you think about that happening? I’m just curious. You know, every single day, yeah, you’re reminded of what happened to you and you just want to make the most of life? Like, is that…
Hal: Yeah. You know, that’s a great question. And, I mean, I’m reminded about it every day because I talk about it. Yeah, I mean, like, as a keynote speaker, I’m always telling my story, in interviews. Right? I mean it’s, like, kind of hard not to. But at the same time, you know, and I don’t know exactly why this is, but it’s not one of those… Like, I’ve heard people talk about, you know, that, like, you know, that had a, you know, I don’t know, like a near death experience or something, like, “I’ve been given a second chance at life and so every day, you know, I take full advantage.” Like, I don’t look at it that way.
And maybe it’s because, if anything, I try to look at it universally, like you don’t need a near death experience to decide that your mission in life is to fulfill your potential. Like, that to me, I believe, is the purpose of life, is for us to fulfill our potential, and then pay it forward and help other people do the same. And ever since the car accident that became kind of my purpose. I’m like, “Okay, I have to overcome this so that I can inspire other people to overcome what’s holding them back, and then I have to go create the most extraordinary, badass life, like the most amazing, extraordinary life I can imagine and achieve all of my goals and my dreams so that I can learn how to do that so that I can help other people do the same. Right?
And that, to me, is universal for all of us. And it’s my opinion, and I never think that I have it all figured out and people need to listen to me. But if it resonates with you, right? And that’s the purpose of The Miracle Morning, right? You know, my life’s work now is this Miracle Morning, the book, the movement. And it’s about waking up every day and dedicating the first 30 minutes or 60 minutes to becoming the person that you need to be to fulfill your potential and achieve everything that you want. And if you start the morning that way, then you tend to live the day that way and you tend to create an extraordinary life and extraordinary success.
But most people, on the other hand, right? They do the opposite. They hit the snooze button. Like, they wait until the last possible second to get out of bed. And by doing that, I call that a mediocre morning, right? They’re missing out on starting their day in an optimum way so they can put themself in a peak physical, mental, and emotional, and even spiritual, state so that they can execute and optimize their day, their business, etc. If you wait until the last minute to wake up, you know, and you say, “Oh, I’m not a morning person,” right? You’re missing out on winning the morning, which sets you up to win the day.
So I kind of went off on a tangent there, but I’ll turn it back over to you.
Nathan: Yeah. No, no. I love it, man. I love it. Please. Please go on as many tangents as you want, this is gold.
Nathan: So let’s talk about The Miracle Morning. Morning rituals is a thing I personally am not very good at. I know I said after I watched your talk I wanted to start it, I wanted to give it a crack. What time do you get up in the morning?
Hal: First, just a quick disclaimer. What I’m about to share with you is not The Miracle Morning. Like, you don’t have to wake up at any specific time. Because I get up at 3:30 a.m. almost every single day of the week, seven days a week typically. Unless I have, like, a date night with my wife, you know, I’m flexible. Like, if I’m up late, I’ll sleep in late. But, yeah, but my standard, everyday, seven-day-a-week wake-up time is 3:30 a.m.
Nathan: Yeah, wow. And what time do you go to bed?
Hal: 4:30 p.m. No, I’m kidding. No, I go to bed at 9:30 p.m., so typically I go for six hours of sleep.
Nathan: Oh, okay, that’s pretty short.
Hal: In terms of how much I sleep?
Hal: So, you know, I did a lot of research on this when I was, you know, doing The Miracle Morning for myself, and then especially when I started writing the book. Like, this was never supposed to be a book, it wasn’t a book idea. It was I hit kind of a low point in…it started in 2007 when the economy, the U.S. economy, started to crash. At that time I had started a business, I was, you know, a success coach, business coach, and life was great. I bought up my first house, kind of, you know, bought my dream car. And then when the economy crashed, it kind of felt like it was overnight.
You know, it was kind of a downward spiral, probably about a six-month downward spiral. But I started losing clients just because… Not because I was a bad coach, but just they just…they were affected by the economy. You know, they were in sales, most of them, or they were business owners. And all of a sudden their business started drying up. And then they’re like, “Hal, I can’t afford coaching anymore.” You know? And I was like, “Oh, okay. Well, I’m not going to hold you to it. Like, you know, you’ve got to pay your mortgage and put food on the table for your family,” you know? And then it was I lost over half of my clients and lost over half of my income.
And so then I, you know, canceled my gym membership, I stopped exercising, I lost my house, I couldn’t pay my mortgage. And I went deep, deep, deep in debt. Over $50,000 in credit card debt and over $300,000 in total debt. And I got really depressed. You know, as an entrepreneur so much of our self-worth is attached to our business, and just our identity, right? It’s like, you know, if you… Especially as a success coach, Nathan. Like, I was a mess because I’m like, “I’m a success coach and I can’t succeed. Like, I’m a mess,” you know?
And so after the sixth month I finally kind of drew a line in the sand and I went, “Wait a minute, I got to change something. Something has to change.” And I started just googling, like, “What do the world’s most successful people do every day that I’m not doing?” And I kept coming across “early rising,” “morning rituals,” right? And I wasn’t a morning person. Just like you Nathan, right? Like, I wasn’t a morning person. And so I would skip them. I’m like, “No, no, no. What else do they do? Like, yeah, yeah, a lot of them wake up early, but what else do they do that doesn’t require waking up early?” You know?
And finally, I don’t remember which article it was, but I just kept coming across it over and over and over to where I couldn’t deny it and I was like, “All right, look. If I want to be one of the world’s most, you know, successful people and make a big impact, I need to do what the world’s most successful people do. And if they’re waking up earlier than the have-to time of being…you know, getting to the office, I need to give it a try.”
And so I woke up the next morning and I started googling, like, “What do they do during the time when they wake up?” And I came up with a list of six practices that were, like, the world’s most proven, timeless, fundamental personal development practices. And I woke up the next morning and I did all six of them, 10 minutes each, for an hour and that was the morning my entire life changed. Because even though my outer world, you know, Nathan, it was a mess… Like, you know, I’m still in debt, I was still losing my house, I was still in the worst shape of my life physically. My body fat percentage had increased by 300% in six months. Like, I was a mess.
And that morning I went, by the end of my one-hour… You know, it wasn’t called The Miracle Morning back then, it didn’t have a name. But my one-hour morning ritual, if you will, that’s now known as The Miracle Morning. I felt inspired and empowered and motivated. And I thought, after six months of depression, that morning I went, “Dude, if I start every day like this, it’s only a matter of time. Like, I feel like I’m on fire and I’m unstoppable. And I didn’t feel this way the last, you know, 180 days. I’ve felt depressed and I’ve, you know, hated getting out of bed because it was, like, my only safe haven from my problems. And this is a game-changer, this could be the one thing that changes everything.
And I’ll wrap this part of the story up and turn it back over to you in a second after I tell you the results. Because this is why, by the way, Nathan, what I’m about to share with you, this is why it’s called The Miracle Morning. It’s called The Miracle Morning because less than two months after I did my very first one my results were so profound it felt like a miracle. So I started calling it my miracle morning and writing that in my schedule.
And here was the miracle, it was in less than two months I more than doubled my income from $5,000 a month to $12,000 a month in two months. And if you say, “Well, okay, how did you do that?” I didn’t get a new job or another stream of income. It was doing the exact same business that I had been doing, but it was simply the clarity and the confidence and the beliefs and the knowledge that I was gaining and acquiring and developing in the morning gave me what I needed to double my clients. Right? That was simple.
The second thing I did was I went from being in the worst shape of my life physically, having, you know, like I said, increased the body fat percentage by 300%. I went from that to deciding to run a 52-mile ultramarathon. I had never run more than a mile in my life, never more than one mile, because I hated running. But The Miracle Morning had me so fired up, I was like, “Well, how can I challenge myself physically?” And I decided to run a, you know, double marathon.
And then last but not least, my depression that had been worsening over six months, it was gone. I mean it was literally gone. And it didn’t take two months for that, that went away, like, within a matter of days. Because once you have a compelling future, and that’s what The Miracle Morning gave me, I saw how things were going to get better and better and better every day that I did The Miracle Morning. And once that happened, then I realized that it was only a matter of time. And so my depression went away because I knew that it was only a matter of time.
And that was…gosh, that was like seven years ago. And now, you know, I mean I wrote a book a few years ago and it is now one of the highest rated books on Amazon. I’m humbled to say that. You know, with over 1,500 five-star reviews and we’ve impacted over, you know, 200,000 lives in 46 countries around the world. And this is my life’s work now, my mission is to change…you know, elevate the consciousness of humanity one morning at a time. And it’s not just a fancy tag line, I mean it’s really what I wake up every day and ask myself, “How can I continue to change individual lives in a way that will change the world?”
So, yeah, I’ll turn it back over to you, Nathan.
Nathan: Yeah. Wow, man. This is really cool. And you’ve got the best story, dude. So I have to ask you, man, because a few people I have seen, they talk about The Miracle Morning and they do it and they talk about how life-changing it is. So for people that do want to get up early and create a morning ritual, what’s the best way to start?
Hal: Yeah, great question. And I always tell people that, like, whether I’m giving a speech or whatever, I go, “Look, don’t wait. Like, don’t use the book as an excuse.” You’re like, “Well, I’ll get the book, and then I’ll read it and I’ll…you know, I’ll wait until I finish the book,” right? Like, we tend to do that as human beings. Like, we do that every New Year, you know? You’re like, “Oh, I’m going to just overeat during the holidays, I’m going to overeat, I’m going to drink a lot, I’m going to oversleep.” Right? “And then I’ll have my best year ever, I’ll start it on January 1st,” right? Like, we wait for that.
And, you know, on a side note, one of those tangents, is that if you want to have your best year ever, you don’t start January 1st, you start, if anything, December 1st, right? Like, you go into the new year with momentum. Don’t go into the new year with all these bad habits of overeating, oversleeping. Well, in the same way, to start The Miracle Morning don’t wait until you finish reading the book to start, start today. And here’s how you start, here’s, like, the simplest way to start The Miracle Morning.
First and foremost, move your alarm clock back 30 minutes earlier. Okay? I don’t care who you are, we can all get up 30 minutes earlier. And if that means going to bed 30 minutes earlier, that’s fine, go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
Now before I continue, Nathan, let me just… For anybody who’s wondering, like, “Eh, I don’t know if I really…do I really… I’m a night owl.” Like a lot of people go, “I’m a night owl.” Well, you’re not born a night owl and you can switch that. And I’ll tell you one of the most successful night owls I’ve ever met is Pat Flynn. You know, Pat Flynn has a seven-figure business, he runs marathons. So when I say successful, not only is he successful in business, but he runs marathons, he’s a phenomenal dad and a phenomenal husband and a phenomenal friend and just, like, great human being. Like, he’s just a well-rounded successful person in every area of his life. And when Pat interviewed me on the Smart Passive Income, you know, his podcast, he told me, he’s like, “Hal, I’m a night owl. You know, I don’t”… He goes, “I wake up in the morning when my kids come and, you know, jump on me and say, “Dad, Dad, Dad.” You know? And he goes, “So, you know, I’m not sure if The Miracle Morning is for me, but I’ve heard good things about it so I wanted to have you on the show.”
So, Nathan, at that point I’m going, “How in the hell am I going to convince this…you know, Pat Flynn?” Who has, like, he’s crushing it in business. So it’s not broken, right? He doesn’t need to fix it, it’s not broken. He’s not like a new entrepreneur just looking for, you know, secrets to success. I go, “And how am I going to convince him that”… You know, “No, no, Pat. I know you think it’s cute and sweet and endearing how your kids wake you up in the morning, but I have a better way. Set your alarm clock in the morning before they come in.” Like, how are you going to convince him?
So it was an uphill battle, but I just shared with him all the things that I had been sharing with you. And I was kind of pleasantly surprised at the end of the interview, he said, “Hal, I’m going to try this. I’m going to give it one month, I’m actually going to wake up 30 minutes earlier, maybe even 60 minutes earlier.” He said, “I’m going to give it a try and I’m going to report back to my audience and to you how it goes. I give you my word I commit.” And I was like, “Oh, awesome.” You know? I don’t know if he’ll stick with it, but, hey, at least he’s going to give it a try.
And, Nathan, he…I mean you can see he posted on his blog about it. Within a matter of weeks he was, like, hashtagging MiracleMorning at the gym at 5:00 a.m. And here’s what Pat says, somebody that was already earning a seven-figure business, seven-figure entrepreneur, he said that, “Switching from a night owl to doing The Miracle Morning increased my productivity by at least 400%.”
Hal: So, Nathan, so I’m sharing that with you, buddy. This is my way of sharing with you. Because you’re a successful entrepreneur that could justify, “Hey, it’s not broken, I don’t need to fix it.” And Pat Flynn, right? Great example. It increased his productivity by 400%. So I just wanted to mention that for anybody that’s, like, still not sure if they should give this a try before I tell you how to give it a try.
So, all right, I’ll dive in now. Set your alarm clock back 30 minutes. And here’s what you need to realize, there’s a couple parts to Miracle Morning, like the key benefits. The first one is simply the discipline that you develop and the mindset that you begin every day with by waking up on purpose at the time that you don’t actually have to be up. Right?
Because, see, most of us wake up when we have to wake up. Like, we literally… Think about how you set your alarm, Nathan, or how must of us do it. We set our alarm, we look at our schedule, and you go, “Okay, I need to start the day at… You know, I got a call at this time, or an interview or I work,” or whatever. And we go, “What’s the last possible second that I can wake up to not, like, have a major negative consequence?” Like, you know, if you’re a parent, you’re like, “Get my kids kicked out of school or have them taken away from me or lose my house or my business,” or whatever, right? That’s how we wake up. And I call it a mediocre morning. You’re like, “What’s the minimum I can do to get by?” Like, that’s not a way to start your day.
So if you think about it, if you start your day by hitting the snooze button, you’re telling your subconscious, “I don’t have the discipline to get out of bed in the morning, you know, at a set time. Let alone the discipline to do everything else in my life I need to do.” So that’s the first part of The Miracle Morning, is set the alarm clock earlier and do it as a challenge to yourself. Be like, “Dude, am I a badass or not? Like, do I have the discipline to get out of bed 30 minutes earlier than I have to?” Like, “Yes or no?,” right?
So do that. And you need to commit the night before, that’s an important part. Because The Miracle Morning doesn’t start when the alarm clock goes off. If you’re depending your decision on whether or not you’re going to get up in the morning in that moment when you have, like, no discipline when the alarm goes off, you’re toast. You’ve got to decide before you go to bed, you got to think through it and visualize. Just take a minute to commit and say, “I am committed when the alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m., or 5:30, or 5:00,” or whatever it is, “I’m getting out of bed no matter what.”
And visualize the whole first few minutes. “I’m going to walk across the room, brush my teeth, wash my face, put on my workout clothes, and go downstairs and drink a full glass of water to rehydrate.” You know, that’s the first part of The Miracle Morning. And if you visualize and commit to that before you go to bed, then when the alarm goes off and you’re like, “I’m tired,” like, even if you’re tired it’s easy to walk over and brush your teeth and wash your face and drink a full glass of water. And here’s the secret. Every minute that you stay awake is that much easier to continue to stay awake. Right? I call it your wake-up motivation level. Like, when the alarm goes off, your wake-up motivation level is at, like, a one or a two. But every minute you stay up it goes up a notch or two, right?
And the first tip I’ll…or the first key to this, the logistical tip that is a game-changer. In fact, I was introduced by… I spoke at an entrepreneur organization, the leader entrepreneurs organization, their New York chapter, and the CEO of a company called Lawline that introduce me, David Schnurman, he said, “I know Hal is going to share this, so I want to make sure that I share this with you. This one tip in his book. I almost totally overlooked it because it seemed like just simple, I didn’t need to do it.” He said, “If it wasn’t for this, I would not be doing The Miracle Morning because I’d still be hitting the snooze button.”
And here’s the tip, you guys. Move your alarm clock across the room. Most of us keep our alarm clock on our bedside table, and that means that you’re making the decision on whether or not you’re going to get out of bed when the alarm goes off and you’re at your weakest level of willpower and discipline. If the alarm clock is across the room, ideally it’s in the bathroom or on the way to the bathroom so that when you turn it off you just, the momentum, you keep going to that pre-bed visualization that you saw yourself turning off the alarm and going into the bathroom to brush your teeth and wash your face and drink water. You’ve got to do that. Alarm clock across the room, that way you’re out of bed. And it’s much easier to stay out of bed when you’re out of bed versus when you’re under the covers. Right?
And then last but not least, Nathan, there are six practices of The Miracle Morning. I’ll rattle them off real quick. Meditation, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and journaling. If you study any of the world’s most successful people, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that didn’t swear by at least one of those practices. And none of them are really better than the other. Like, some millionaires and billionaire entrepreneurs swear by meditation. Some of them swear by visualization. Some of them swear by morning exercise, right? Or the books they read.
So any one of these practices is a game-changer. And what makes The Miracle Morning so powerful, and I’ll actually quote Robert Kiyosaki, who wrote the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. He e-mailed me, actually his assistant did, and said, “Robert has read your book three times.” This is Robert Kiyosaki, who sold 26 million copies of Rich Dad Poor Dad. Like, one of my mentors, you know, like, people that I’ve looked up to.
Nathan: Yeah, it’s a killer book, man. I love that book, yeah.
Hal: Yeah. And he read The Miracle Morning three times, and then he interviewed me on his show and this is what he said, he goes, “Hal, before The Miracle Morning, every single one of the…every successful person on the planet does at least one of the practices that you teach, those six practices. Some of them do two or maybe even three.” He said, “But I’ve never heard of anyone that does all six of them until The Miracle Morning.” And he said, “Now I do all six practices every single day and it’s been a game-changer for me.” And this is somebody that’s worth $80 million, you know? And so, I mean, I still get, like, you know, like, chills when I, like, talk about…you know, when I remember that conversation with Robert.
But, so, here’s the deal. You don’t need to do all six practices to start your Miracle Morning. Okay? Wake up 30 minutes earlier and do one of the six. I’ll name them off again. Meditation, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and journaling. And what I recommend, what most people do when they first start their Miracle Morning, if they haven’t read the book yet, is reading. Like, they’ll get the book and start reading it, and that’s their Miracle Morning. Like, for the first, you know, few weeks until they finish the book or get to the part where they learn the other practices and how to do them, they go, “Okay, I’m just going to wake up 30 minutes earlier and I’m going to read The Miracle Morning.” Right? Or maybe you exercise for 15 minutes, and then read for 15. Right? Or do the seven-minute workout app, you know? And then read for 23 minutes, or whatever. But that’s it.
So you’re starting your day with two things. Number one is discipline, by waking up a little earlier. And number two is personal development, and that’s what enables you to develop yourself into the person that you need to be to create anything that you want for your life. And that’s what The Miracle Morning is all about.
Nathan: Love it. Awesome. Well, dude, like, that’s a game-changer. I’m super, super keen and I’m going to try it tomorrow.
Nathan: Actually, what about weekends? Do you have to do Miracle Morning on a weekend?
Hal: Dude, I’m glad you asked that question. So that question, you know, we have… I would invite everybody to join the Facebook group, we have one of if not the most engaged online communities in the world. The Miracle Morning Community is the name of the Facebook group and there’s, like, 44,000 people in there from 46 countries. And that question gets asked a lot, Nathan.
And it’s funny. I mean the answer is consistently almost always the same, and it’s the same answer that I would give and people always give the same answer. Which is when they first started The Miracle Morning, they did it Monday through Friday and they took the weekends off. That’s what I did. And then what ends up happening is, you know, basically it’s usually the first weekend. Like, you start doing your Miracle Morning and you’re like, “Dude, this is amazing. Like, I have so much more energy and motivation and blah, blah, blah.” And then you sleep in on Saturday and you wake up, like, two hours, three hours later than your Miracle Morning time and you’re like, “I kind of just wasted the morning.” Like, “Yesterday I was on fire, and now I just laid unconscious for an extra couple hours. That didn’t really get me what I want.” You know?
So what most people do, this is the common answer and this is what I did, I went from five days a week to six days a week and took one day off, and then I ended up at seven days a week. But you don’t have to. So the answer is, “Can you do…you know, take the weekends off?” A one hundred percent. Most people just find that their days are better when they do The Miracle Morning and they end up doing…they actually enjoy it on the weekends in a different way that they enjoy it during the week, they get more value. Because there’s kind of like less pressure. You know, you don’t have, like, the normal… Because it’s like you’re doing it and, like, you don’t have to be up early, but you’re up early, and then you can just go about your day and enjoy it. You don’t have to go to work.
In fact, great quote from Oprah. And I think don’t listen to me on this, listen to Oprah. I’m going to paraphrase is, but she said, “I like waking up on the weekends early to do work because it gives me a sense of freedom because there’s not the time pressures that come during the workday, or the workweek.”
And so that, yeah, I feel the same way, right? But, yeah, you don’t have to do it on the weekends. And I would say try it just five days a week, and then you make your own decision. You might decide that you never want to do it on the weekends, or you might decide that you want to do it one day on the weekend, or both. You know, totally up to you.
Nathan: Okay, got you. Well, for me I need a good sleep-in this weekend.
Nathan: So I’m going to start Monday. And I usually get up about 6:30 to go to the gym most mornings to train.
Hal: Nice. So that’s a Miracle Morning. So get up at 6:00, do your meditation, your affirmations, your reading, and then go to the gym. You know, I mean, you’re good, you’re already halfway there.
Nathan: Okay, all right, awesome. Now I’m curious why do you only sleep for six hours? Like, I usually go to bed about 12:00. And I try to go to bed, if I can, earlier, but I don’t usually get enough sleep, I feel.
Hal: So, yeah, I started to go into that, and then I distracted myself with a tangent. But as far as sleep goes, so I started…when I was writing the book, I delved…you know, I started studying that. And what I found is there are so many different perspectives and scientific research on how much sleep that we need. Right?
So there’s science that says eight hours, that’s been the popular belief that’s been perpetuated. But if you google how many hours of sleep do we really need, you get a lot of different, you know, I mean, not just opinions, but scientific research that says, “No, seven hours is ideal,” “Six hours is ideal.” And then when I started studying I found some of the world’s most successful…like, the greatest minds, you know, in history slept four, five hours, six hours a night. Like, you know, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison and, you know, all of these. You know, Albert Einstein, all these world-renowned people that are brilliant that contributed to society in a big way.
So here is what I have found and what I recommend. You try it out for yourself. So that’s what I recommend, is trying it out for yourself. But here’s what I’ve found. Is that how many hours of sleep you believe that you need largely impacts how many hours of sleep you actually need. Think about this. The mind-body connection, and we influence our cells. At a cellular level our beliefs influence our cells. If you don’t believe me, read the book The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton.
So if you believe that you need eight hours of sleep, you believe that because you’ve been told that or you tried it once and it worked and you said, “That’s it, I need eight hours of sleep.” Well, Nathan, let me ask you. If you’re going to bed one night and you’re only getting six hours of sleep because it’s midnight and you’re getting up at 6:00 a.m., if you believe you need eight hours and you’re only going to get six tonight, by default how are you telling yourself that you’re going to feel in the morning if you’re not getting the eight hours that you believe that you need to feel rested? You follow?
Hal: You’re going to tell yourself, “I’m going to be tired in the morning because six hours isn’t enough for me.” Well, is it really not enough or do you tell yourself that and it’s a self-perpetuating reality? You’re like you wake up on the sixth hour, you’re like, “Oh my god, I’m so tired, I knew it.” Right? You created that reality. But if you tell yourself, “I’m getting six hours tonight,” or, “I’m getting six hours and 12 minutes,” or, “I’m getting five hours and 42 minutes. And I’m going to rejuvenate and regenerate and I believe that I can succeed on six hours and I’m going to crush it,” right? Then you’re making that into your reality.
And the last thing I want to say on this topic, because it is an important one, is there are many factors to your sleep. Biology is one. So not only are you influencing your biology through your belief, but, you know, our genes. Like, you know, there’s realities where each person is different. And, yeah, that’s why every person is a little bit different. But here’s a big one, diet. If you eat shitty food all day, pardon my French, if you eat crappy food during the day, guess what your body does while you’re sleeping at night. It’s detoxifying. If you ate fast food during the day, your body is detoxifying at night.
So literally you might be sleeping 10 hours, right? But your body is, like, “I got to get rid of all this crap that you put in me during the day.” Versus if you eat a healthy, let’s say a primarily plant-based diet. And I’m not saying you have to be a vegetarian or vegan, but I’m saying you eat lots of healthy, living, nutritious food during the day. Then at night your body is like, “Dude, thank you for hooking me up with what I need. We can get some really quality rest tonight because you didn’t poison me all day.” Right? So there you go. So if you eat crappy food, you probably need to sleep 12 hours. If you get a clean diet, you know, you’ll be amazed at how six hours of sleep, maybe even five or four, you know, can be enough. But I can’t say there’s one wrong way or right way, you got to try it for yourself.
Nathan: Awesome. Well, thank you for handling that, man.
Nathan: So look, dude, we have to work towards wrapping up and you’ve covered so much gold. But I think what I…another thing that I found really, really interesting is you just don’t walk around and tell your story and talk about, you know, waking up early and the whole Miracle Morning thing and how it’s changed your life and how it’s changed all these other people, like hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. You’re actually really, really savvy with this Miracle Morning book series and the way you’re approaching your business. And I’m just really curious, like, can you share that with our audience? Because you’ve done very, very well with, you know, creating this platform, creating this brand, and then bringing on other people to work with you and really diversifying this brand. And you’ve got some crazy strategies going on that’s really, really smart and, you know, you run, like, a very, very successful company and you have staff and you have all these things going on.
Hal: Yeah. So is there a specific question there or do you want me to kind of just give, like, a quick kind of tip or overview on, like, what I found to be the most important aspect?
Nathan: Yeah, I think the main question is how do you find leverage for the work that you’ve done?
Hal: Yeah, so great question. And, you know, to give people kind of an overview, so I have, I don’t know, like seven different income streams, I would say. In fact, if anybody wants to, I’ve got an article on entrepreneur.com called 7.1… Or what is it? 7.1 Keys to Multiple Streams of Income, or something like that. But if you go to entrepreneur.com and search “Hal Elrod,” you’ll find it.
But, so, I’m a big believer in multiple streams of income, but building them one at a time. And the reason for that, I mean, I really…in 2007, ‘8, ‘9 when the U.S. economy crashed and I lost over half my clients and lost my business, I really only had one stream of income, I was a coach. And after that I went, “I’m never going to put myself in a position again where I’m dependent on one stream of income.”
So just to quickly run down it for everybody so everybody has an idea of what, you know, kind of my business model is. So I’ve got The Miracle Morning book, and that actually, believe it or not, is one of my largest streams of income. And if you’re wanting to write a book, you can go look me… Art of Charm, The Art of Charm Podcast. If you google “Hal Elrod Art of Charm,” I did an episode called Beyond the Bestseller where I went in depth on how to write a book that creates a movement, earns you a fortune, and changes the world. And that’s our mutual friend Jordan Harbinger’s podcast. Right, Nathan? But, so, that’s if you want to go in depth on how to write a book like that.
But, so, my book actually creates, this year, probably a seven-figure income from just the one book. But then I launched that into a series, so The Miracle Morning for Writers comes out next month, The Miracle Morning for Parents comes out, The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs I’m coauthoring with Cameron Herold, Miracle Morning for Salespeople is out. So there’s this whole series, which is me leveraging, you know, other coauthors and their platform and their brand and all of that to bring their following into The Miracle Morning. And then I’m a keynote speaker, I do a lot of speaking. I do one-on-one coaching, I do group coaching. We live events, right?
And you might look at that and go, “Oh my gosh, how do you do all that?” Well, it’s one at a time, right? Like, I launched one thing at a time. And Brendon Burchard really taught me that, that, you know, he would focus one of his brands for one year to launch it, roll it out, build a platform around it, you know, and creates some streams of income around it. And then the next year he’d launch a new one. So one year devoted to launching one stream of income. So don’t try to do too many things at once.
So as far as leverage, that is probably one of the…been the biggest breakthrough. And it took a while to get the leverage that I have and I don’t think you can just demand or command leverage overnight. Like, you’ve got to build something worth other people being attracted to in order for them to come in and you being able to, you know, create that leverage.
So I have a couple business partners that have been game-changers for me. First and foremost, Jon Berghoff I brought in. Jon Berghoff, we used to work together, friend of mine, and he is world-class at putting on and facilitating live events. I was not world-class. I’m a speaker, but I don’t know how to facilitate, like, the whole event.
And so Jon, I brought him in and it was a win-win because he doesn’t have a platform. So I built a platform over the last, you know, 10 years and I had a platform of people that read the book, that were on my e-mail list, that listened to the podcast…I also have a podcast, that listened to the podcast. And so I was able to partner with Jon and leverage his strength. So he brought to the table this ability to create these amazing live events, I had brought to the table that I could get people in the room. Right? It’s a great match. So now Jon and I now, I fill up the events and, you know, he coordinates everything else around the event.
Then I have another partner, Honoree Corder. Honoree is my partner in the book series. My job now with the book series is I find the coauthor, you know, I have a conversation with the coauthor and say, “Hey, here’s the brand and the book series, and here’s how much revenue it brings it and here’s what you can expect and here’s the ‘what’s in it for you’.” And then once they go, “Wow, I’d love to coauthor a book with you, that sounds great,” I introduce them to Honoree, and then we’ve built a team on the back end that does the graphic…we’ve got, you know… It took years to build this, right? So, but graphic designer now, and we got the web guy, and we’ve got the editors and the ghost writers and all these.
So, you know, four months later, after I introduce the coauthor to Honoree, I get an e-mail with a PDF that the book is done. And I get to look at it and I get to go, “Oh, great.” So, I mean, literally books are coming out. And I created a formula where the first four chapters of each book were basically written by me, and then they’re customized by the coauthor. Then the coauthor adds the next six chapters of their own original content and ties it all together. So yeah, so books are coming out in The Miracle Morning book series and every single one has been a number one bestseller in its category so far, but I don’t actually write the books. I mean, again, I wrote the formula for the books, I mean I guess I kind of write them. But, yeah, for the most part I introduce the coauthor to Honoree, she pumps out the book, or they pump out the book together, it comes back to me, I approve it, and it publishes.
Nathan: Yeah, wow. And how many… I’m curious, how many books under The Miracle Morning series do you plan to produce?
Hal: The Miracle Morning for blank. If you can fill in a blank. Right? I mean, so think of it… It’s really kind of like Chicken Soup for the Soul. Right? I mean there’s…I think there’s hundreds of Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
Hal: One of my coauthors though made a great point. When I told him it’s kind of like Chicken Soup for the Soul, he goes, “No, no, no. This is way better than Chicken Soup for the Soul and it can be way bigger.” And I went, “Well, I like your optimism, but,” I was like, “why do you say?” And he said, “Because Chicken Soup for the Soul, all it did was really…those books just entertain or inspire people while they read it, but it doesn’t really change their life because it doesn’t really change their behavior.”
He said, “Now I’m sure some people it changes the way they look at life, but,” he goes, “it doesn’t change their behavior. And if you want to change somebody’s life, you got to change their behavior.” He said, “That’s why, Hal, The Miracle Morning book series, I believe, will be,” he said, and it’s hard for me to even say this, but he said, “I believe it will surpass Chicken Soup for the Soul at some point as the bestselling book series in the history of the world.” And he said, “But more importantly it will change more lives…I mean it will change…it will be the most life-changing book series because every single one of book series is customized for the person reading it and what they do for a living or their age or whatever.”
So, like, The Miracle Morning for Teens I want to come out next year, Miracle Morning for Couples. Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs, right? And Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs, by the way, is scheduled to come out, I think, in December of this year, 2016.
Nathan: Got it.
Hal: Don’t hold me to that. You know, sometimes books take longer. But Cameron Herold, you know, former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is coauthoring that with me, it’s going to be amazing. But, yeah, so there’s probably, I would say, over 100 titles in The Miracle Morning book series minimum will, you know, will roll out over the next 10 years or so. But, you know, no promises, who knows what the future holds.
Nathan: Yeah, yeah, wow. I think that’s just so extremely smart, the way you’re finding leverage for your brand, working with other people, teaming up with other people, and, yeah, just really just scaling up your message, dude.
Hal: Cool, buddy. I appreciate that, Nathan, coming from you, man. You are a sharp entrepreneur, so I appreciate the kind words and the encouragement.
Nathan: Thanks, man. Well, I try. So look, dude, where’s the best place people can find you?
Hal: Miraclemorning.com, the new site just launched, it’s kind of exciting. Depending on when this comes, we got our event bestyeareverlive.com, that’s our event that is in the December in the U.S. in San Diego. Not a bad place to be. But, so, miraclemorning.com. My website is my name, halelrod.com. But I would encourage everybody, you know, if you get the book, that’s on Amazon, probably the best place to find the book is on Amazon. Unless you’re an iBooks reader, you can get it on iBooks. Or, you know, on Audible if you’re an audiobook listener. Whatever platform you prefer, it’s on pretty much everyone.
But The Miracle Morning Community, I’d encourage you to come join the Facebook group. But I would start at miraclemorning.com and get a few chapters of the book for free, get the book on Amazon if you want to get that, and halelrod.com if you want to reach out to me. So I gave you a lot of URLs there, but I would just start with miraclemorning.com and go from there.
Nathan: Boom. Well, thank you so much for taking the time, Hal, this has been an amazing conversation, brother.
Hal: Dude, and, Nathan, I’m so grateful, I’m so proud of you and what you’re doing and you’re impacting so many entrepreneurs’ lives, young entrepreneurs’ especially. And, you know, I’m grateful for you and the work that you do and thank you so much for letting me share with your audience.
Nathan: My pleasure, my man.
Hal: All right, brother. Take care.
Nathan: You, too. Ciao.