If you haven’t heard the expression “eat the frog,” it’s shorthand for a Mark Twain quote. He said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

There are many variations to the back half of the quote, but the message is the same: If you’re having trouble procrastinating, eat the frog to get it over with and get on with it.

This post is about my two morning tricks to eating the frog. But, my message is much grander than a digestive issue.

I want to give you a morning mindset to virtually guarantee success in your life. Bold, I know, but true nonetheless. I also want to stress it makes no difference what your morning routine is. It’s how you think about your morning that matters.

First, I want to share a secret about myself that no one knows. When I say “no one,” I mean absolutely no one—not my wife (that’s the first time I’ve said that in print!), father, mother, team, or friends. Nada, zilch, no one.

An African Parable

Every single morning almost immediately as I awake, I think of this popular African parable. It started almost a dozen years ago when I first opened my recruitment firm milewalk.

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: When the sun comes up you had better be running.

Are You a Gazelle or a Lion?

In the morning, I feel like a gazelle. When I go to sleep, I feel like a lion. What I do throughout the day transforms me.

What I think during the first few hours of the day gives me momentum to become the lion.

In the story, the gazelle rightly has fear—real fear. The gazelle’s fear causes it to run. The non-life threatening fear most people feel in their lives, however, can be paralyzing. Fear is what prevents them from figuratively running.

Every morning when I wake up, I feel a pit in my stomach. Fear is the first thing I feel. My eyes pop open and I think I run a business that relies heavily on me and I need to constantly figure out ways to generate revenue to support for the staff, my wife, my dogs, and myself. That requires calling prospects, selling, marketing, handling candidates, and a bunch of other things I’m sure I could do better. I need to write that next book, find the right publisher, so on and so forth.

The difference for me, however, is what my daily bout of morning fear causes me to do.

Overcoming Fear—What to DO

There is something vital to understand before you’re able to overcome the feeling of fear. You must act first.

When you take action, you gain experience. When you gain experience, you gain competence. Competence makes fear less paralyzing.

You need to get into motion and act before you can do anything. And, you act your way into feeling. You don’t feel your way into action!

Small steps are better than no steps. A small step with an emotional win is better than I giant step with a huge emotional loss.

Your actions can be anything. Get up. Walk to the bathroom. Take the dog out. Cook breakfast. Make Coffee. Drive to the gym. Exercise. Most people do these activities every morning, but the problem is they do them mindlessly.

Overcoming Fear—What to THINK

Winners think everything they do is a victory. I think every step I take in the morning is a victory. I literally register it my mind as a win.

It doesn’t matter what your morning routine is. What matters is how you think about each step of your morning routine. It’s your mindset that makes all the difference because your mindset breeds confidence. Your confidence is what makes you act. And, your confidence typically grows when it tallies more wins.

Here’s what I mean:

My alarm rings at 5:00 AM (on mornings I’m not writing a book). My eyes open. I’m breathing. I’m alive. WIN.

Let the dogs out of their crate. Feed them. WIN. WIN.

Waltz to the balcony so the dogs can relieve themselves. WIN. (The inventor of the Porch Potty gets an annual holiday gift from us.)

Grab their relief with toilet paper. Make it all the way to the toilet bowl and deposit it without dropping anything. Ka. Boom. I’m the best pooper-scooper ever. WIN.

Bathroom break abbreviated for, uh, blog post cleanliness. Brush teeth. Wham. I’m the best teeth brusher ever!

Get dressed. I manage to get all my workout clothes on properly in their respective spots. WIN. I could actually make that something on the order of four or five wins if I count all body parts and feet separately.

Make coffee. Put it in the paper to-go cup. Didn’t spill any. Wa-hoo!

Grab the car keys, phone, wallet, and gym bag and make it to the garage without falling. I’m on a roll.

Workout at the gym. It’s not even 7:00 AM yet. I can’t believe how many victories I’ve racked up.

By the time I’m sitting at my desk, I’ve already scored twenty or so victories. My mind thinks I’m rolling right along.

Now I can eat the frog. It shouldn’t be too tough because it practically feels like dinnertime.

I always love to hear from you: What are your morning secrets to success?