A CEO Shares His 6-Step Morning Ritual

Karan Rai, Founder and CEO of ASGARD Partners & Co, on the book that changed his life and what gives him energy.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Karan Rai: I am a big believer in morning rituals and have a morning routine that I follow with minor variations each morning - I got the idea a few years back from reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

  1. Wake up and drink big glass of water.

  2. Say my I AM statements out loud - I call this creating myself for the day - it's a powerful process that allows me to set a clear intention about how I want to show up in the world.

  3. I write at least 10-15 things I am grateful for in my journal.

  4. Visualize my 2-3 most important long term goals as already accomplished.

  5. Write down 2-3 things thing I'm committed to getting done today to advance those long term goals.

  6. Short meditation to get centered for the day

It sounds like a lot but the whole thing can as little as 20mins but no more than 45 mins. I believe you are your daily habits and this is my process to give myself the best chance to create a productive and fulfilling day.

TG: What gives you energy?
KR: Spending time with my family and tackling new mental and physical challenges. I recently signed up to run a marathon this November on a glacier in Antarctica where the temperatures will be well below zero and conditions will be a bit hostile. How might that give me energy you might wonder -well the whole process of preparing for a challenge like that gives me focus and working towards that specific goal gives me a lot of energy.

TG: What's your secret life hack?
KR: It is a spiritual process of Self Inquiry prescribed by a late Indian sage named Ramana Maharishi - ask yourself this one question as often as possible - WHO AM I? Begin the answer with "I am not this body, I am not even this mind" and then get still and present and keep the inquiry alive and see what shows up. It's one of the most powerful spiritual practices I have ever come across. It is my quantitatively unverifiable but experientially proven belief that this practice gives me access to wisdom beyond the limitations of my five senses.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
KR: I am an avid reader and lots of books have influenced me so hard to pick one but Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle are right up there in terms of influence that lead to meaningful behavioral/life changes.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
KR: It’s a bit unhealthy – my wife is constantly reminding me to turn that thing off or to put it away. I'm working on it though. Yes it comes to the bedroom with me but I don't bring it to bed.

TG: How do you deal with email?
KR: I don't touch email or social media till I am finished with my morning routine we discussed earlier - for the first 30-45 mins after waking up - however it's a free for all after that - frankly I need a better / more disciplined approach to email. I've read about the super productive types that only do email a few hours a day at scheduled intervals - that sounds good in theory but I'm not there yet.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
KR: Either meditate, or read whatever book is on my reading list for the week. Even though I don't get enough of it I do absolutely love my alone time.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
KR: Over 2 years ago - ended up in the hospital due to massive anxiety and was having anxiety attacks almost daily. That was the beginning of my realization that I wasn't living on purpose and something needed to change. In hindsight, the absolute best thing that ever happened to me. Gave me the push to create a more fulfilling life that is more in harmony with who I am and who I want to become.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
KR: “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” 

Karan Rai is Founder and CEO of ASGARD Partners & Co. an investment & advisory firm based in NYC. He loves working with and investing in companies led by inspired entrepreneurs and leaders who are building purpose driven organizations. Karan is a member of The WSJ CEO Council. He earned an MBA with a concentration in Finance and Strategy from Yale University’s School of Management. He is also an instrument rated pilot with over 500 hours of flight time. Karan resides in Manhattan with his wife and two sons. www.asgardpartners.com.

Thrive Questionnaire, Morning Routines

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