Jared Goetz: Hey guys, Jared Goetz here, and welcome to The Modern Soul. In today’s episode, I’m interviewing someone who came over here from India, played professional tennis, and then went on to exit five companies. His name is Sharran Srivatsaa and more than his accomplishments, I really admire his mindset and the tools that he uses to figure out what his days look like and how he stays on task day after day after day. This guy has been waking up at 4:45 am for six years straight. He runs a club called the 5 am Club, where he has 6000 guests get on every morning for five minutes to start their day off right. Aside from that, we get into some really incredible topics.
We talk about, we live in an age of more information than ever so sometimes we don’t know what’s causing us to feel stress and anxiety. I like to call it ambient anxiety. It’s a feeling that you have and you don’t know where it’s coming from. We talk about how we tap into that and we talk about how to stay consistent. Guys, if you think that this will benefit you, stay tuned. This is a really, really good one. Anything we’re referencing, any of the resources, books, or tools will be posted below and on my website, jaredgetz.com. Stay tuned and enjoy and let me know what you think.
Jared Goetz: My good friend Sharran Srivatsaa. How are you doing today my friend?
Sharran Srivatsaa: I’m so happy to be here. I’m excited for the podcast and just want to share some value man.
Jared: Hell yes. I think you said your day has been like mine. We’ve been on– Mondays, I try to keep my days pretty scheduled, from 12 to four quality work. I think life’s about balance but Mondays, I have no balance. What are your Mondays like?
Sharran: Mine are very similar. They’re actually by design. Earlier this year, Jared, my coach, and I worked on this idea of actually stacking the week. It’s a really powerful concept where I rest well on the weekends and so I have a very– My Mondays are my busiest days, so I stack them really hard. My Mondays and Tuesdays are my busiest, Wednesdays they get a little better, and Thursdays I do a lot of creative content creation on Thursdays, and generally, I call Fridays my buffer days. Fridays are off, no bookings on my calendar. I use Fridays as creative days, buffer days to think. I almost feel like I need that day just to recapture, rethink, rebuild.
That way, I almost feel like I have a break Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and I can come back hard. But noon on Wednesday, I’ve probably accomplished everything that the week has to deliver.
Jared: It’s funny, I design my weeks very similarly. The weekends– Saturday, I’m doing nothing. I’m spending time with my fiancé, with the dogs, I’m laying on the couch and doing all the stuff that I don’t normally do. Sundays, I’ll play golf and get organized but Monday it’s crazy like that, and then it tailors off but, Sharran, you’re always extremely intentional with everything that you do. I’ve known you for probably about six to eight months now, maybe a little bit more. We’ve spoken a bunch of times, you’ve given me some really solid advice in my life and you’ve had some incredible accomplishments yourself, which I think being so intentional has allowed you to achieve what you have. You’re originally from India, and you were a pro tennis player?
Sharran: Yes. The story– Well, it’s one of those– You’re a good golfer, it’s one of those never was, has been, type stories. The reason is, my father– When I was growing up as a kid, in India it’s very– I was born in India, and when you’re growing up as a kid, you don’t really talk about a few of these things and I didn’t know what that meant. For example, I’m colorblind, I’m tone-deaf. Well, it doesn’t matter what that is, you get kicked out of art class and music class, it’s kind of weird, and then I’m dyslexic, I have ATD, ADHD, so I can’t read properly and I can’t do math. If you think about it, I can’t read, I can’t do math, I get kicked out of music, kicked out of art and I was the smallest kid growing up. I didn’t hit my– I’m six feet tall now, but I didn’t hit my growth spurt until high school, and I was a–
Jared: You were destined to be a failure?
Sharran: Dude, I was the runt. I was the little piglet, and the interesting part is when all those things come together, one thing happens and it’s that you’re the perfect candidate to get bullied because it’s super easy to pick on you. You can’t hang out with the jocks, you can’t hang out with the intellectuals, you can’t hang out with the artists. You can’t hang out with anybody. I remember this story, and you’ll appreciate this. There was a– From classroom to classroom, I remember going to the classroom and I probably had to walk maybe 50 feet to go to the next classroom between classes in middle school, and I ran almost a third of the mile around campus to get to the other classroom because the lockers were in between and I would get beaten.
I had me and my backpack, and I would just run, and my father realized this pretty quickly. He realized that something was wrong, I didn’t have the courage to tell him that. I didn’t know any different, and I didn’t have the courage to tell him. I remember, this was my 11th birthday, I think, we were sitting on a park bench and my dad said to me, he goes, “Hey, I think that there’s probably a better place for you to grow and flourish in your talents.” I’m years old. He goes, “I’ve really been thinking about, maybe we can get you to Australia or to the UK or to the US.” I’m like, “I’m 11, you’re kicking me out of the house? This is crazy.”
I think my dad who had never left India had learned early on that something was wrong and he felt the need to say, “All right, structurally, the system is not okay for my son.” Jared, I am not joking, we were sitting in front of two tennis courts and my dad said to me, he goes, “We just need a skill, we need a capability to allow you to launch out of here. To give you your proverbial passport.” He looks at me and he goes, “Do you think you can cut it?” I’m like, “Cut tennis? I’ve never hit a tennis ball in my life.” He says, “Well, it’s an individual sport, you could still win.
You’re young enough to learn. You have decent hand-eye coordination for now, and whether it be you being the smallest kid doesn’t matter because otherwise, you play soccer, football, or whatever, you being small matters.” That was the day we made academics secondary and made tennis primary in my family. I was the only child, and so it was almost a family accountability, a family goal of getting me to being good enough to leave the country, either on a scholarship or whatever. That was the entire story of learning tennis as a means to an end to get out of India.
Jared: Your family was, “Sharran, you can’t read, you’re not good at math, we’ve got to figure out something for you,” and you decided on tennis. How did you then just decide, “Okay, I’m going to get good at tennis.” Do you start practicing? Did you get a coach? How did you get good at tennis?
Sharran: Yes, totally. Great question. Literally, we signed up for lessons every day. One of my dad’s friend was a personal trainer. My dad and I worked out together every morning. I remember this and I was never an early riser or anything. There were times when my dad would literally pour water on my face at 5:00 AM and say, “Get up, we need to go.” He said, “This is what we promised.” Literally, and I’m like, “Dad, the pillow.” He goes, “Up, let’s go.” We used to wake up– I used to train in the mornings and then I used to play tennis in the evenings, every single day, seven days a week. It just became a– My life became just getting– Just developing that skill and capability.
Jared: When did you actually come to the US?
Sharran: When I was 13, 14 years old, I started to play on the pro tennis tour. Think of it as the– In golf, this would be like the Hooters leagues or the– Before the PGA. In tennis, they call them the satellites and challengers, that’s the pre-ATP, but you can still get pro points for that. I started playing. I played all of Southeast Asia. Not homeschooled but away schooled as my mom called it. Literally I was in school while I was traveling. Then I didn’t realize that once you actually get a pro point in tennis, you are pro, and once you’re pro, you can’t play college tennis in the US because you can’t go from Pro to amateur status.
Jared: You screwed yourself out of college tennis?
Sharran: I did.
Jared: By getting a pro point?
Sharran: I got one pro point and then Ohio State basically said to me, “Hey, we saw that you got a pro point, you literally got– We have to rescind our offer, and I’m like, “This is the entire idea. This is the whole plan of doing this.” A lot of kids what they used to do is, they used to play these tournaments, which I learned later, and right before getting the pro-point, at the end of the qualifying round, they would actually tank and lose. They would get all the benefits of the experience but they would not get the pro points. That’s how they would still be eligible for college tennis in the US. I couldn’t play DI or DII tennis but I went on an academic scholarship to play DIII tennis.
I played DIII tennis at a small school in Iowa because that’s the only thing I could get to, and that was the start of my– That’s how I got to the US.
Jared: You did end up going to college?
Sharran: I ended up going to college on an academic scholarship. I uped my grades and all of that and then I played Division three no cut tennis.
Jared: Did you come to the US by yourself or were you with family?
Sharran: No, it was my parents actually are not super well off. They’re middle class family. My dad was a professor in the local university. My mom was a nutritionist, and they sold every single thing that they had to give me one check. They paid for a full year’s worth of everything, room, board, tuition, laundry.
Jared: How much money was that back then?
Sharran: That was maybe $30,000, $35,000 maybe. It was a whole [unintelligible 00:10:37]. Everything for the first year, and my dad handed me this check and he says, “Hey, here’s everything that we have. This is yours. This for the first year of school. We hope you can make years two, three and four. If you can’t, come back and we’ll take care of you.” That was a really good safety net.
Jared: Right. You were just sent off and it was like, you have to figure it out because here’s everything we got for you.
Sharran: Correct, yes, [inaudible 00:11:01].
Jared: You had a lot of pressure on you.
Sharran: Well, it was pressure but it was also–
Jared: A safety net.
Sharran: Yes, I was looking for. I was like, “Wow, this is amazing. I can go do whatever I want to do in a society that will actually appreciate me at least before I screw up or do [laughs] anything stupid. I showed up in the US at the one-year grace period, and I had a chance to build a brand new life and since then I’ve been back home once.
Jared: Now how much culturally different was it coming from India to then going to college in the US?
Sharran: Oh, it was night and day. I’ll tell you this point, I haven’t told a lot of people this. My first day in college, we were in the sticks in Iowa. My first day in college. I get into my dorm room, and I get a– That’s one of my first day, my second day I get this call that says the president of the school and the dean want to meet with me. I was like, “I’ve been here 24 hours, what did I do wrong that the President of the school and the dean want to meet with me?” Of course, I show up and they meet with me and they’re like, Sharran, we take multiculturalism seriously at school, we want to make sure you’re okay about the recent incidents towards you. I was like, “What recent incidents?” Well, someone apparently, which I didn’t even know, by the way, had etched on my door, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”
Jared: Oh, my God.
Sharran: Can you imagine that? [laughs]
Jared: You’re pretty much by yourself in college and somebody wrote that on your door?
Sharran: Yes, and someone saw it and like reported it because it was a hate crime.
Jared: You were used to being bullied in your life because when you were a child you were bullied.
Sharran: I thought it was a joke. I was like, that’s hilarious.
Jared: It didn’t faze you?
Sharran: No, I was not afraid at all. I was like, “I don’t even know what you’re talking about, but this is funny.” They had this guy come down and sand my door, and I’m like, “This is totally fun. This is hilarious.” If you think about the gravity of the situation, talk about being in a new place trying to do new things, and I’ll give you the funniest story of all is since I didn’t have money a lot of things happened that first week, but the one thing that I’ll never forget is my ability to understand English was decent, because in India you actually go to school where they teach you in English, but the kids never have to talk. I understood just fine.
Jared: Your accent was strong.
Sharran: Yes, it was very strong, and I could barely speak. I couldn’t speak very well, but I understood everything fine, and I needed a job, because I really had to make some money for the next few years. I went to work-study and I said, “Hey, how do I get a job?” They said, “Well, what shifts do you want?” I was super embarrassed. I didn’t know it was normal to work in the US. I was super embarrassed, I said, “Well, can I just get the graveyard shift?” They’re like, “Okay, sure.” I was a custodian in the science building, from midnight to 6:00 AM, because I thought that no one would see me there and I wouldn’t be embarrassed mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms and all of that. The first day I show up on and I think the custodian who had been there like 20 years was like, “Hey, kid, let me teach how to mop a floor because you probably don’t know.” He taught me and I learned, not hard, but I cleaned bathrooms and mopped floors and all of that, and this guy was hilarious.
He was super funny, and he would tell me these jokes and I would laugh so hard, and then I will try to tell him jokes that I knew, and he’d be like, after I told him two or three times he’d be like, “That’s really funny, Sharran. If only I could understand you, I would have laughed the first time.” I said, “Well, what do I do?” He goes, “This is what you should do. Go to the library and check out some accent tapes like learn English. I go, “Oh, good idea.” Jared, I show up at the library and I’m like, “Hey, can I get some accent tape?” She goes, “Oh, for what language?” I said, “English.” She goes, “Well, just FYI. When people come here they talk to other people, I have accent tapes for French and German, Spanish, but I don’t have English tapes.” I said, “Well, what do I do?” She says, “Well, why don’t I just give you a book on tape and you can just listen to it?” She hands me these CDs, and I had the old- I don’t remember this. You’re too young for this but it was a–
Jared: How old are you now and how long ago was this?
Sharran: I’m 40, this was when I was 17. I had a little Discman, Sony Discman, and she hands me this, I don’t even know what it is. She hands me a book, a stack of CDs. I put it in and my custodian tells me, “Hey, you have six hours of mopping floors. You’re going to learn English in no time.” The funny part is the book that she gave me was Tony Robbins Personal Power.
Sharran: The first book that I ever listened to was about personal growth, and the reason I speak the way I do, I generally yell when I speak, and I only know how to speak because Tony yells, I didn’t know. I thought that’s how you spoke English. I had no idea. I learned to speak just screaming out. My wife’s is like, “Can you just calm down.” I go, “This is how I speak.”
Jared: Oh, I know.
Sharran: I was super fortunate that when you listen to incantations and mindset stuff, without even the intention of it, and that’s what was being listened to and being programmed, literally, I could have been listening to Warren Piece, or Tony Robbins, and by stroke of universal luck I was listening to personal growth stuff, which is what started me on this. I think it gave me an early advantage on this.
Jared: That’s the perfect example of not having any expectations, and then getting led down a path that you’re meant to get led down. You literally were embarrassed to mop floors, and the guy that was teaching you how to mop told you to get some tapes, and now you’re forced fed self-help material that I’m assuming helped propel your career. What was next in your career? You’ve exited five companies now. How did you go from a kid who came from India was getting bullied to exiting five companies? I’m sure it’s a long story.
Sharran: Oh, no, we can do it fast. I’ll give you the first exit story, and there’s probably a lesson in there. The first one is, I was in–
Jared: Real quick was this your first big break in business, because I always talk about once you get that first big break, you outperform what your limited beliefs are, which is something that Tony Robbins talks about a lot, and that first big break is the thing that you can hold on to and leverage to get that second, third, fourth, fifth, and so on. This is your first big break?
Sharran: This is my first big one and I was very fortunate that I got the big one right out of the gate. I literally will tell you my goal. My goal, when I left India of coming to the US was that I would get a- I was computer science math major. For some reason, I like computers a lot, and all I wanted was to get a $100,000 a year job, that is all I wanted. I said if I can make $100,000 a year I have hit the jackpot. This is the greatest thing that can happen to me ever, and what happened was my senior year of college, I wrote this paper, this paper on technology, and I got chosen to present it in Berkeley at a Computer Science Conference, total nerd conference.
I go to present it on stage and there’s three judges that listen to my stuff. I present my stuff, I never presented anything before, I present my stuff, and then I come off stage and one guy, one of the judges peels off, walks up to me and says, “Hey, Sharran, great presentation. By the way, you’re not going to win.” I was like, “Oh my god, this sucks.” He told me straight up, “You’re not going to win. However, what you shared could be the missing piece to a company that I just invested in. I was like, “Okay,” he goes, “Let me connect you with the founders, and maybe this is of interest to you.” I said, “Sure. I’m looking for a job anyway. I need to get my hundred thousand dollars a year goal.”
This was during the technology boom in the Bay Area. This was 1999-2000. That’s when everything was happening, and they connected me with the founders. I got my first entry into technology so I was not a founder but I was one of the earliest employees so I got stock options and all of that. I got to build something from the ground up. They used my technology to incorporate as a core part of their product so I got to build a core part of that. As a business, we raised over 26 million dollars in venture funding and these are all public numbers. After three years the business got bought by another public company for 550 million and so I had my small piece of that which I was able to pay off all student debt because I’ve taken those over the years. I was able to pay back my parents. I was able to do everything that was–
I was able to get completely debt-free and also give myself a five-year runway. I was single so a five-year runway was not that much money but because if I said a five-year runway meaning if I didn’t have rent and all of that like what would I do? So for five years, I took five years off and I went and I taught tennis for five years. That was my way. So I was in the Caribbean for a year, Dubai for a year, and on Maui for three years teaching tennis and that was the– That time gave me- every day I would sit down, I would journal, I would write business ideas.
That gave me more perspective than any other time but I remember where I was not equipped to build a business when I was 21 years old. I knew nothing. I knew how to write code. I had zero idea how to pitch to venture capitalists. I knew nothing. I had to learn all of that on the job. I didn’t even know how to do– I didn’t know how to be productive. I didn’t have a productivity system. I didn’t know how to manage email. I didn’t know how to manage my time. I literally didn’t know anything and I could talk and I had to learn that by my self.
Jared: That’s the best way to learn. I mean, I have a very similar first big win and I may have told you about this, it’s I got basically approached by a company called Yik Yak which was a start-up company. They raised $10 million. They wanted to sponsor my shows which I wasn’t throwing anymore and instead I told them what they should do. They were like, “This could be a huge missing piece to our company.” Just like you, I came on board. I implemented all the marketing. I saw them raise another $62 million. It opened my eyes. I made my little exit and that was like the first big break from my beliefs of like what I thought was possible as well.
After this, now you’re like, okay you did the hundred thousand dollar thing. You’re playing tennis. You’re all over the world. You’re meeting cool people. What brought you your next thing? What was the next thing you wanted to do at this point?
Sharran: There’s a couple things that happened in there and I’ll share that with you but there’s a cool lesson here and the lesson like I know I keep thinking about this is we always find people that say, “Well, if Jared could do it, if Sharran could do it, you can do it too,” and I don’t think that’s accurate. That’s not fair to say because you have a completely different set of skill-set, capabilities, mindset support systems and so do I, and it’s hard for me to say, “Well, if he can do it or if she can do it, I can do it too,” and I was like that but, Jared, here’s the big lesson that I’ve learned. People will always say, “Well, just model Jared, you’ll be fine.” I’m like no you can’t. There’s no way you can model Jared. He’s a stud like it’s super hard.
But I think that there’s a key here and the key is, instead of modeling the person, could we model their support system? Now, instead of modeling Tiger Woods, could I model his trainer, his coach? Who did he have in place to bring out his talent and can I get something similar and model that support system for myself that would bring out my personal, my own unique talent and I think that a lot of times we get so fixated on the call of the Trumps or the Musks or the whoevers of the world and we see well, I want to be like them but you don’t realize that they are who they are because of their support systems.
That’s why I’ve been on this mad dash towards saying, “Huh.” When I talk to my mentors right now, I’m like, “I don’t want to figure out like what do they, like what are their rituals? What are their routines and what are their support systems?” Once you’ve figured that out quickly figure out what their beliefs are because then it shatters all your glass ceiling beliefs, right? To me when I’m talking to my mentors I’m like, “Hey, so when you wake up on a Sunday what do you do? When you get a really crappy email like how do you think about it?” If they walk you through that, you’re like, “Oh my God, this is amazing. I don’t have to wait 10 years to figure this out.”
Jared: You’re somebody who I come to with those types of questions cause you have accomplished more in your career than I have so far. I totally resonate with you. When you wake up in the morning, what’s your first thought? Where does your mind go to get you on the right track? On that note, for you, what is that like? What are your first thoughts in the morning?
Sharran: Totally. I realized that very quickly and I think you nailed it. Just like that you just nailed it. I think what we create when we’re up in the morning we have a choice. We could either be good with default routine of “I’m going to check my email, see what’s on social and then react to it, or I’m going to create something every morning.” My mentor Walter Schneider, one of my mentors in the real estate phase. He has 41,000 agents around the world. He owned one-third of the Walden RE/MAX. I guess it’s insane. He told me, he goes, “Create before you consume.” Super cool thing, right? He’s like, “Create before you consume.”
Sharran: What I do every morning, and for folks, this is the truth. Every morning at 5:00 AM is I run this thing called the 5:00 AM Club Call. It’s 5:00 AM Pacific Time every single day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for five minutes every morning. It’s just five minutes. It’s a phone call, it’s totally free and there’s one message at 5:00 AM. It’s generally me and I’ve got a couple other co-hosts that do that on the days that I’m traveling et cetera but the goal is everybody gets on, you can hear everybody live, I mute everybody. We do one quick message 3-5 minutes and then we’re off and that’s kinda their verbal espresso for the day.
My job, I start my day. I wake up at 4:45. I get up. I stretch a little bit. I put my sweats on and I go to the call and I get the chance to create that one thought every morning. It’s my personal accountability to one, serve, but two also, I have to create that. I have to show up with energy. I have to show up with some kind of meaningfulness in the morning and Jared, I will tell you there are days that I do the call and some days that I don’t. I can tell a huge difference because I’ve been doing this every single day for the last five years. We have 6000 plus people on the call right now every single morning.
Sharran: And it started no marketing no pay, nothing.
Jared: Just to hold yourself accountable and to make yourself create in the morning.
Sharran: Yes. And my coach came up with this thing where she said to me. This was two years ago, she said, “Sharran, no more preparing your message the night before.” Literally, I show up at 4:55 and I do a deep-centered meditation for just a minute. I know you have a deep meditation practice and I go and I’m like, okay, what was the message from yesterday that really resonated, maybe my children, my wife, my business partner, my work, and then you’re able to take that story and succinctly build it into a message and deliver. It’s super original–
Jared: Then you push yourself on to the path you want to be on for the day. I’m sure a lot of people can relate, and I’m a believer that your energy, especially in the morning, is very fragile. What you’re served, like if you wake up and you check Instagram and you see something about politics that turns you off, you’re going to have that weird eerie feeling for hours to come. Your energy is very fragile and you rarely have control over it if you’re just consuming. If you’re opening your email, you’re looking at your text, you’re looking at your Instagram first thing, you don’t really know. Maybe you get something good from it and starts you off the right way but maybe you don’t.
I think that the takeaway of creating before you consume, I think anyone listening, that’s such a powerful little tidbit, I mean that’s something that I’m gonna start thinking about even more regularly and that’s such a good way to simplify it. I mean I’m always thinking more complex like you need this time to yourself from the morning and I have a non-negotiable one hour in my meditation room every morning.
Not that I’m meditating for an hour, sometimes I’m meditating for 40 minutes, sometimes it’s 10 minutes, but I’m in that room with no phone, with just music, just a sauna, just stretching, just a notebook for an hour and that’s probably been the single biggest thing that I’ve implemented in my life that has the biggest effect on my happiness, my fulfillment, and my career.
Sharran: I think you’re spot-on on that and I’ll tell you, I think all of us are very bio-individual, right? There aren’t very different in how we’re wired. Jared, since I’m up at five, I’ve done a lot of different morning routines. I am actually a believer. I think there are people that have a routine in the morning and people that don’t and I think that’s a big determination between your success and your not. Here’s what I use. I’ve tried the whole Tai Chi in the morning. I’ve tried the whole chug a bunch of water. I’ve got a journal. I’ve tried like I got to do P90X.
I got to exercise. I got to do all of that. I’ve just realized that doesn’t work for me. It got too complex where I was like, “Oh I got to do 20 minutes of this, 40 minutes of that,” it was too much so–
Jared: You don’t know anything because you’re thinking oh my god I have to do all of this stuff so then it’s [unintelligible 00:29:51] like I didn’t want to do any of this.
Sharran: Totally, and like literally, for me I wake up at 4:45 every single day because I have one alarm, and then my five to 6:30 AM generally speaking I do only one of two things. It’s super easy, I try to simplify my life significantly, I call it the farm boy morning routine, Craig Valentine talks about it too. Literally, I wake up, what does a farm boy do? he feeds chickens and the sheep and he does the work in the morning, I believe that it’s super easy for me. I write a lot, you and I talk about content creation, for me, writing is super therapeutic.
I’m not the best writer but it helps me clarify what’s in my head a lot because my dad used to tell me this he said, “Fear has no place on paper.” I love that saying because you’re afraid about something, if you write about it, it labels it in some paper so my favorite thing to do in the morning is only one of two things. I wake up, I normally the night before will set up what I’m going to do in the morning, I’ll literally pull up the document, I’ll pull up the prompts, and that way when I show up I can just grab my cup of coffee and I can just write. By 6:30 I’m like, “Wow, I got so much done” that it would not have been able to do any other time and either do that or this is crazy that I’m telling you this, I am not joking I literally sometimes don’t want to do anything. I will sit slouched on this big leather chair that I have in front of my fireplace in the house, it doesn’t matter if it’s 80 degrees out but it’s dark, it’s cool in the house, I just love the crackling sound of the fire, I just love the movement and I just sit there, lights off I just sit there no phone and sometimes I’ll dose off sometimes I’ll come back, to me that’s a very kind of like drifting state, it’s very therapeutic for me.
I just want to be centered before I begin my day, to me it’s either how my feeling today? Farm boy morning routine or hang out by the fire, that way it’s super easy, and regardless of what my kids wake up at 6:45, 7. I’m a really good dad like I’ve gotten all the crap out of my head and I’m in a good place.
Jared: I think a lot of people consume so much stuff because we live in an age of unlimited information, that’s not necessarily wisdom, it’s information. People are learning about my morning routine, your morning routine, Tim Feriss’ morning routine, Elon Musk morning routine and they’re like, “Oh my God, I have to do all this stuff to be successful” but it’s like no, you actually just need to figure out what works for you and it’s cool you simplified it either the farm boy our sitting in front a fireplace, either one is good for you.
Now, I have a question for you. You wake up every morning at 4:45. I have trouble waking up in the morning, I could wake up in the morning there’s been 6 month streaks that I’ve woken up at 5 O’clock every day, there have been 3 months streaks where I sleep until my eyes open up. I like to tell myself it’s because I think I’m smart, my brain is good at convincing me of things but it might be because I’m weak, I don’t know what it is, my brain is really good at convincing me that I don’t need to get up when I want to get up the night before I’m like, “I’m getting up tomorrow morning, I’m doing this, I know it will set my day the right way,” but then in the morning I’m like, “Yes, it’s five I could go do that or I could do an hour, I could sleep a little bit more,” how do you get yourself up out of bed?
Sharran: Yes. Good question. I’ll give you two answers, one is for folks that have built-in accountability like me, I have 6000 people waiting on a call so I kind of–
Jared: That’s a good one.
Sharran: Yes, but this is going to sound super weird but I’ll walk through it. If there’s any one thing that I do, and this works for me again very bio-individual, it’s the same practice that I run every single night and that’s what sets me up for the day. This goes back to a very interesting story, I was living in India with my parents, we had a small one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city in Chennai and my dad after dinner he would sit down, we clear the dining table, my dad would sit on the dining table, he would open his kind of leather journal for the day, he would write tomorrow’s date on a page, he just write like 1,2,3,4,5, the things that he had to do for the day and he called it you can create tomorrow today, that was his way.
He always tells me, “Hey Sharran, you got to create tomorrow today,” and Jared, he would do it every single night. I didn’t really understand what that meant, seems so mechanical, what I do now is the two minutes before I actually fall asleep, when I’m ready to go to bed, this is going to sound hokey but it’s super powerful, I close my eyes, it’s actually faster while I do it then I tell everybody what it is but I’ll tell everybody what is. I close my eyes and I visualize exactly what’s going to happen the next day. I’ll walk you through it, I close my eyes and the alarm goes off. I see myself grabbing it, turning it off, no snooze, grabbing it, turning it off, jumping out of bed, putting my sweats on, putting my hoodie on. Running downstairs, grabbing my headset, going into the study, and getting ready for the call. Stretching, grabbing my coffee, doing the call then I see myself actually, it’s tomorrow is a lazy day, no problem I see myself going and slouching in front of the fireplace turning the fireplace on, sitting there putting a blanket on me.
I see myself put another pot of coffee, I see my timer going off. I run up, I wake up my mom, wake up my son and my daughter, I get them ready, I get myself ready. We do breakfast, I get to work I just quickly scan the work calendar in my head and then I see myself coming back at dinner at the right times. I’ve made the decision but I’m back at home at 6:15 or whatever it is, I see myself just having dinner with the family and I see myself finishing up the day, putting my kids to bed and back in bed again right where I am right now. I see it really, fast.
Jared: Like I even said at the beginning of the call, you’re extremely intentional with everything you do. You basically visualize your entire next day so you make it your reality before the day actually starts so that when you do what you’re supposed to do the next day, it feels right as opposed to not having a plan and expecting yourself to have the discipline to stay on track, unattractive doesn’t really exist except for somewhat maybe on your calendar maybe conceptually, “I’m going to do this tomorrow” but you’re intentionally visualizing exactly what your day is going to look like the next day and you think that that’s the key to getting yourself up in the morning?
Sharran: I think so only because of the reason that you just mentioned it before, you’re like, “Hey, my alarm goes up at 5.” I can be like, “Uh I don’t need to do that today I’ll be fine,” the reason is because I think we’re allowing ourselves to make the choice in the moment instead of already making the choice, so when I close my eyes I premade the choice so when I’m given that same situation again, the alarm going off again, I know what it’s going to look like, I know what my phone’s going to look like. I’ve already made that choice so making that choice again seems natural.
Jared: It’s funny you say I think, it’s really like when you say I think and you’re telling me about it, it’s reinforcing your ideas in yourself even more, you’re going to stick to it even more in the future. There’s a connection to that.
Sharran: Yes. The interesting part is once you do it once or twice, you can do it super fast in your head and sometimes I may not have- that’s why I also like right before I go to bed I’ll look at my calendar for the next day and just be super grateful for like, “Hey, tomorrow I get to hang out with Jared, I haven’t talked to him in a few months.” I got excited about it so I can just run through my day in my head. I’ve also noticed this year is that if I look to my calendar and I feel something stressful about the next day, it’s good to know kind of that’s a stressful thing coming up because there’s one or two things that are important here which is, why do we put ourselves in these stressful situations? There’s no reason for it. If I’m working with a client that I don’t really enjoy but that client shows up on my calendar every third Wednesday and I’m like, there’s no reason for this.
Jared: Stressed again, no more of this client.
Sharran: Yes. We’re all very bio-individuals so I think a lot of times it’s like if everything that you look at your calendar is stressful, that means that you probably have a chance to re-center and be like, “Hey you know what? I should probably make a few different decisions.”
Jared: We don’t think that we have the choice to not make those decision but you do. Sometimes I found myself in business ventures that were taking 80% of my energy each day and making me 0% to 10% of my income for months on end. I’m like, “What the hell? What am I doing this for?” I’m wasting my time, I’m becoming the worst person because I’m stressed about this and it’s not even making my life any better. Sometimes people don’t think that that’s okay, they think they have to keep doing what they’re doing but you have the choice.
Sharran: The interesting part is that it actually happens to extremely smart and bright people more than it does to the general population because it’s like you said, the extremely smart and bright people, the person that is listening right now, they can convince themselves of anything.
Jared: Exactly, your mind is powerful, it can convince you.
Sharran: I think the reason behind that a lot of times Jared is that if you don’t know your options, you feel like you don’t have any. When I see something on my calendar.
Jared: That’s a good one. Repeat that one more time.
Sharran: Yes. If you don’t know your options, you feel like you don’t have any. The interesting part is you can fix it, all you have to do there is to force yourself to create options. If you and I- we’re talking about gender but you be like, “Man, this client” I’ll be like, “Okay, awesome” we’re going to come up with five options, so magic number, right?
Sharran: Because 10 sounds like too many, one is not helpful, so I’ll be like, “Hey, what is one other option?” You could fire this person, cool. What else? Or you could change the– Cool, you could give someone else point on this, cool. You could change their payment structure, cool. You could take a break from this version, cool. You could change this and give it to someone else, cool.
Jared: You don’t proactively make those options.
Jared: You don’t even know you have them. The smart people listening here, which I’m sure you’re smart if you’re listening to this, the takeaway is that you need to be proactive to be able to contain your mind from– Basically, you have to be smarter than your mind is and it’s already smart. I think that’s kind of the takeaway, and you have to be proactive in giving yourself options so you could pick what you want to do.
Sharran: You nailed it because when you and I get to chat, it’s super fun because the core of this is when you’re inside the bottle, it’s hard to read the label. You see yourself, you know you have enough awareness that’s stressing you out, you’re like, “Well, this sucks, I think it’s stressing me out.” To me, it just I know, I can give you advice because I care about you, but I’m not emotionally connected to your product. It’s same for you. When you’re helping me out with one of my clients is e-commerce, I know nothing but you care about me, but you’re not emotionally connected to it, so it’d be super easy for you to do. That’s why when I care.
Jared: On that note, if I’m talking to someone that I respect, and I have problems that are stressing me out, they’re not stressed out by this problem, so they could point them out to me, but on the same note, if you do practice meditation, if you do practice mindfulness, you can actually separate your true self from your mind, that’s all stressed out, and you can see situations with no emotional attachment. I think that there’s a strong lesson that you can actually almost be your own coach if you’re good enough at being present and you can pull your true self away from your mind. That’s a deep one to think about, but I’ve learned that.
Sharran: No, that’s so good, because I think that very few– That is the joy of, people are like why am I meditating it? It’s like swimming, right after a while, suddenly, like it hits and you’re like, “Well, I can separate these feelings.” I’ll tell you, I’ve been meditating on and off for a long time. I can’t do that on-demand. Me being super honest, I can’t do it on demand. I have noticed that I’ve tried TM, I’ve tried a lot of things, but I’ve noticed what works for me really well. If people want to get into meditation, I’m sure Jared you have some ideas. I use an app. Literally, it’s like, “Are you stressed?” “Yes.” “Are you jumping on a plane?” “Yes.” It literally picks situationally where you are and it does a guided meditation for like 12 minutes, and I instantly–
Jared: What’s that called?
Jared: Buddhify. All right, we’ll put that in the show notes.
Sharran: Yes, Buddhify, it’s, I think it’s free, you just you have to say, “Hey, I’m at work and I want a break.” Or, “I just woke up.” You tell the app where you are and it gives you something guided for that 10 minutes, and I instantly feel better.
Jared: I think also, we live in a state of so much information that oftentimes, we get this feeling of like ambient stress and ambient anxiety, and we don’t know where it’s coming from, because we have so many things on our minds, on our phone. Sometimes when you meditate, or you just sit there, and you could separate yourself. The things that are causing those feelings just bubble up, and you realize it’s like, “Oh, it’s because I have to call that person and I’ve been dreading it, and I’ve been putting it off for two weeks if I just did that–
I think it’s a consistent challenge of curing yourself of that ambient anxiety. I don’t think we’ve ever lived in a time like this, where you’re so prone, and you’re so inclined to having those feelings. It’s really important that people like you and I are having these discussions and spreading this word. I think it’s such a powerful thing to talk about it.
Sharran: I like your wording way better than mine. I like the ambient stress a lot. When I talk about it a lot, I call it drag. There’s just–
Jared: Drag, yes.
Sharran: I didn’t know a better word for it, but the only way that I know to mechanically relieve drag is to plan. I think our culture today has talked that it promotes the hustle and grind a lot. They’re like just, “It doesn’t matter what you do, just work your face and grind, grind, grind.” I said this, I said, the hustle and grind will leave you tired and resentful. The crazy part is I did not hustle and grind, I got super sick, it was super painful, I almost lost my family. That’s too hard for me. I literally probably spend right now 70% of my usable time, call it billable hours, 70% of my time, I probably spent in some way shape, or form, planning.
Jared: It’s important to note that you do spend 25% of your time executing because a lot of people overplay and never make any action. Take note of that, he’s still using 25% of the time.
Sharran: The reason also is what I think happens is the planning, it’s become so beautiful and joyful now that I enjoy the planning process so much that when I jump on the phone with you, I can be like, “Hey, we talked about tonight, let me show you how I did this. I show you my planning,” and you’re like, “Oh, cool. I got the idea.” Because something clicked. You and I never don’t need to talk about execution, you know what’s up, but suddenly, you’re like, “Oh, I see this strategy here that he used, and so I’ve actually started to do planning where either it’s a mind map, or it’s a graphical representation, or I’m planning a lot on paper.
I’ve gotten to the point, Jared, where I’m sharing my planning with people, I’m like, “You don’t have to plan, what gave you the insight from this? I say whenever you’re stressed, you stop and plan. Say, “Hey, what am I doing in the next 24 hours.”
Jared: This is good stuff, but I don’t want to go too much deeper here because a lot of people listening and myself included are like, “Okay, cool, I want to plan. Where do I start? What tools do I use? Where do I begin?” I actually wanted to get on a call with you and talk about because here’s the thing, I get emails from you once every two weeks that are jam-packed with tons of good, valuable, not fluff, like valuable content. I see you posting high-quality content on social media, you’re executing in your business, you’re getting a lot of shit done. What tools do you use to plan and organize, and where do you start?
Sharran: Yes, totally, let’s walk through that process because I think this is– Thank you for asking. Probably my favorite thing of all, is this. Three step process, if you are listening right now, and so if Jared and I were hanging out and we had 20 minutes, this is what we would work on together. The first thing I would say is, there is we got to eliminate this ambient stress, which is the drag, because it’s very hard for anybody to just go into planning right away, it’s super difficult because our minds are kind of messy right now.
The first thing I would say is, it’s not a brain dump, but it’s like, take a piece of paper, you have the front and back of an 8 and a half by 11 paper, you can fill it as much as you want. I want you to write down every single thing you think you need to do. It can be pay taxes, walk the dog, fix my elbow, I need a better driver, whatever it may be. Just everything that is on your mind that you think you need to do, you should write it down. You’ll probably stop in like the three-minute mark, and you will get everything out. That’s when the good stuff happens. That’s the difference between the conscious and all the unconscious drag. That’s when I will force you to fill both sides of the paper with everything. Once you get all that out, you’re in a very clean state. That would be part one. Just getting everything out, but doing it all in the form of, “What action do I need to take because I’m trying to eliminate drag. Step one–
Jared: Once you start, they start rolling, by the way. If you think of them in your head, you might come up with 10, but you start writing, you’re going to write 40 or 50. I’ve done it.
Sharran: The best part is, once you have it all, you’re like, “This is all I need to do. I’m not as stressed about it, because this is way easily accomplished on the piece of paper.” Now there’s a second extract. Right after I do that, this is really good to do the second exercise. A lot of management gurus talk about this. I really love this. It’s the start, stop, continue exercise. I love it. It just takes a piece of paper draw. It’s just got three columns. One-start, one-stop, one continue. I like to do the stop first because you can’t add things to your plate before you remove something off because we’re all jammed anyway.
A lot of people are like, well, Sharran, “I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to stop exercising. I don’t want to stop eating meat. I don’t want to stop– I’m like, “You don’t have to stop forever. Would you stop for 90 days?” That’s all I’m asking. Now you’re like, “Okay, cool. What am I going to stop for 90 days?” So that the column is just what am I going to stop for 90 days. You’ll come up with three, five, seven, things that you’re going to say what I’m going to stop snoozing for 90 days. I’m going to stop drinking alcohol for 90 days. I’m going to stop partying for 90 days. I’m going to stop doing Netflix for 90 days. No more than one episode of Netflix bingeing.
Actually, I have a client that says he binges on Netflix a lot because that’s his stress reliever and I said, continue watching, but tell yourself no more than one episode per night, it changed his life. I’m like, this is so crazy that that was like the most amount of advice I gave you for a lot of money that you paid me. He’s like, “It changed my life” Because we did this start, stop, continue to have extra. When you do the stop, you’ll realize that you now have time to add a few things.
If you say, “Hey, I want to go on a walk. I want to create content. I want to write.” Because all we tell ourselves is I’ll need to write stuff, but you’re like, where in my world am I going to fit it in? I always say five things that you’re going to start, five things that you’re going to stop that way they kind of match up so you don’t feel like, and it’s only for 90 days. Then the continue is your pat on the back. You’re like, “Hey, you know what? I’m still meditating for an hour a day. Cool. I want to continue that. I’m still hanging out and cooking dinner with my fiancé. I want to hang out and do that” Whatever you do, the continue stuff is really important.
That gives you the, “Hey, I’m doing certain things that are good. I’m going to continue that.” I call it the five, five, five. Five starts, five-stop, five continue. It gives you a little framework. Now you’re like, “Okay, cool. What do I do with this?” My favorite thing then Jared, this is my last part is I like to just do a 90-day plan. In the next 90 days, I literally do month one, month two, month three, what am I going to focus on? What are my projects? The hard part here is that people think that they have so much. The original data dump that we did, that’s when I literally go through each one and I do one, two or three is the first month, the second month of the third month that way.
Then I take each of those and I just put it in each of the months. That’s it. Now you’ve taken the whole exercise where you know that, “Hey, data dump all these things I have to do. Now I know where in the months they’re going to go. I literally don’t have anything else to do so I’m only going to do this and that my 90-day plan becomes my Bible and I only look at that. I actually have my 90-day plan hanging on my wall right now. That is all I have. I don’t think about anything else. Everything else is next quarter.
Jared: When your mind is like, “Oh, you should do this instead of or you should.” You know that you already were intentional in what you’re doing. You got to just stick to it. You got to have the discipline to stick to it. That’s the missing piece.
Sharran: The cool part is this though. Once you start knocking stuff, that the reason why most people are not executing on is that they feel like I have these 41 things to do, but I don’t know, should I do it now, should I do it later? Is it important? When you just slot them in the right spots, you’re like, “Oh, cool. I don’t have to worry about these things in months two and three. I just have to do this in month one. Awesome, let me get this done and once you do one and you see the check off the list, you get traction.” Jared, I think it’s super hard. The one-year plans are hard because they feel so far away, but the 90-days feels long enough where I can make progress, but short enough where I can see the end.
Jared: First of all, I think this exercise is amazing. I think that there’s one other thing that you need to do- that a lot of listeners need to do before they even start this exercise and that’s defined their vision because a lot of people don’t even know what they want their life to look like. They think that they know what they want their life to look like. They think that if they only had the car that they saw on Instagram, they would finally be happy or if they only were able to travel to this country like that other guy, they would finally be happy, but there’s so much information.
There’s so much stimuli that makes you think you know what you want. One of the things that were extreme that I would say, this is the single biggest thing that’s propelled my career and it was at a Tony Robbins event. It was that a UPW event. It was defining my vision very vividly, exactly what I wanted my home to be like, the type of person I want it to be with, the person I wanted to be, I want to be more compassionate, did I want to be funnier? Did I want to be more serious? The type of car I wanted in my driveway specific to the color, the type of food I wanted to regularly, the body I wanted and clearly define it all.
Because then when you’re planning, you got to make sure that each of those plans are a little step in the direction toward your vision. Because a lot of people, if they don’t know what they want, they’re like, “Oh, I’m going to do this, but they’re heading in all these different directions. I think at least that defining that vision super clearly and the problem is that a lot of people listening might be, “Okay, I’ll define the vision” They’re sitting there and they’re thinking, and they’re like, “Well, the vision is not coming to me” Well, it’s like, it’s not going to just come to you. You need to get yourself in the right state first. You need to get yourself at a high energy state first.
If I just finished this podcast, “Okay, I’m going to good energy because we just talk.” I’ve been sitting here for literally eight hours today. My body’s tired. My endorphins are low. If I try to think with my vision, it’s going to come out not that good. If I go and I do a run, I drink some water. I push out some pushups. I put on some good music. I beat my chest a little bit, whatever it is, then the real, the vision of who I really want to be will come out. For anyone listening, who’s like, I understand this, but I don’t know how to make it happen.
It does start with your body. It does start with getting yourself in a high energy state to define that vision. Then I think what Sharran just said is it sounds simple, but it is so important to do that at least once every few months, because we are- so many of us are living in this state of ambient anxiety. We don’t know why we feel this way. I’m sure 50% to 80% of listeners or more can relate to that feeling. I think that the exercise we just talked about is extremely practical.
Sharran: Let’s people not forget, Jared, when you and I hanging out before I think this was over Christmas time, you did it. You literally wrote down, remember you, like you wrote down and he sent me a scan. I was like, this is insane. It was 41 things. I was like, this is amazing. We can actually knock stuff off of this.
Jared: Yes. Oh yes. It gave me so much clarity because listen, I’m 30 years old. I don’t know everything by any means. I’m learning every single day. I have– I’m running Zen Drop, which is a big business I have between Zen Drop and my agency, 20 something employees. Now I’m a first-time homeowner. There’s a leak in the roof. I have two dogs. I have a fiancé. We’re planning a wedding I’m trying to stay healthy. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and some people have much more overwhelming circumstances than I do and going through this and talking to you about it was super helpful to me. Anyone listening, I highly encourage you guys to take action on what we just discussed.
Sharran: Yes, man. It’s awesome.
Jared: Sharran wanted to talk to you more about your career, but your mind is much more fascinating to me. The only reason I would talk to you about your career is to validate you to people listening so they know you’ve accomplished a lot. I know you’ve accomplished a lot and to me, your thought process, the different ways that you set your life to be intentional. You’re an amazing father. You’re overall just a high energy, happy guy every time I talked to you. To be able to get inside your mind is a privilege and I appreciate that. I know we’re running low on time here, and I want to be respectful of your time. I’m going to want to have you come on here again, and I’m sure other people are too, but just some closing words, anything that you want to get out to the listeners before we wrap up?
Sharran: Yes. Totally, well first, thank you for that. Thank you for the kind word I’d say that, if you’re listening and took away one thing that listening to Jared, specifically, that even I was making notes on is the limits of your language are the limits of your world. The limits of your language are the limits of your world. When you see something written well, when you see something explained well, when you see sometimes the word beautiful is not enough, it needs to be gorgeous. Sometimes how things are explained is super important because your mind and your vivid vision doesn’t come to life without that.
Take a lot of care in how you’re using language well because how you create and define that is literally how your life’s going to turn out. Just remember the limits of your language are the limits of your world.
Jared: Just another great piece of advice, Sharran, thank you so much for spending this hour with me. I’m sure everyone listening really appreciates you. You’re such an amazing human being. I look forward to having you on here again.
Sharran: You got it, man. Hey, thank you for having me. A lot of people don’t realize how hard all this stuff is to take, to make time, to produce it, to share this. kudos to you for creating and using your platform to share this. I appreciate you having me on.
Jared: All, about making the world a better place and you’re helping a lot. Thanks a lot, Sharran.
Sharran: You got it, man.