This ‘night owl’ CEO has a morning routine that makes her a better leader during the day

Cheryl Bachelder popeyes ceo

Cheryl Bachelder is the CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. and author of “Dare to Serve: How to drive superior results by serving others.”
I am a night owl — so I’m not a big fan of morning, but I’ve created a routine to get me in the right frame of mind for the day.

My morning starts with music. When I was a child, my mother woke us up with inspiring music, and I have continued that tradition.

Recently I created a playlist of songs that wake me up and play through my morning activities.

My current playlist begins with a children’s song, “Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory, Glory” and ends with a traditional hymn that my grandmother loved — “I Need Thee Every Hour.” My playlist reminds me of the family that I love and the purpose of the day.

I love breakfast. My favourite menu when I travel is scrambled eggs, crisp bacon and rye toast. At home, I like steel-cut oatmeal.

Coffee is essential. When I am in town, my amazing husband Chris goes to Dunkin’ and brings me a large coffee with cream and one Equal. This endears me to him for the day!

Vitamins help me stay healthy, but I hate swallowing pills. My doctor suggested gummi vitamins. How fun is that? Each day I take multivitamins, calcium, and probiotics, and they taste like candy.

Reading and quiet time to reflect are the most important part of my morning routine. I’m currently reading “Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army” by Robert A. Watson and Ben Brown. Peter Drucker called the Salvation Army “the most effective organisation in the United States.” He didn’t qualify the statement to say charitable organisation, either.

The book is a remarkable story of mission, innovation, stewardship, dedication, and measurable results — lessons that could serve us well in for-profit institutions.

Morning is my best time for writing on my blog, Serving Performs. About once a week, I wake up with an idea that I want to explore or a story that might encourage and inspire others in their leadership journey.

I’m currently writing about the importance of leading your team to a daring destination — a bold audacious goal that is plausible and possible, but well beyond many people’s imaginations. This is one of the important ways that a leader serves a team well.

To have the energy to lead, we need to be restored and prepared before we get to the workplace. When I honour these routines, it makes a big difference in the day.

The Success Series is a collection of the best advice from some of our favourite writers, thinkers, and leaders. This week, we asked: “What is your morning routine?” See other articles in the series here.

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