Kat Cole is the president of Cinnabon.
I have two distinct morning routines: My “on the road and in a hotel” routine is incredibly regimented and my “home” routine is pretty dynamic.
When I’m waking up in a hotel anywhere in the world, I get up around 5 a.m. and drink 24 ounces of water.
I walk around the room (even if it’s super tiny), look out the window, and think about the day.
I check my calendar and all my major social media platforms, news sites, blogs, emails, and messages that may have come in overnight.
I’m looking for relevant news, urgent business and team needs, updates from startups I invest in, or anything awesome to get my brain going and know what’s going on in the world.
That takes about 20 minutes and is all done as I’m enjoying my morning hydration. I picked up this ‘drink lots of water first thing in the morning’ habit while travelling for humanitarian work in eastern Africa. We are so lucky to have access to clean drinking water, and I think about how grateful I am for that almost every day.
6 a.m.: If the weather is decent and the area is safe, I go for a walk or jog outside (30 minutes), usually with my EDM playlists, then wrap up with 10 minutes of basics when back in the room or hotel gym: burpees, lunges, planks, etc.
If the weather is bad or I’m in an unsafe area, I’ll do yoga and exercises in my room or the gym for 30 minutes. If I’m on the west coast of the U.S., I have early calls with east coast people scheduled, so if it doesn’t require being in front of a screen, I talk on my walk.
6:30 — 6:45 a.m.: On my way back from my walk or jog, I hit the nearest local coffee shop. The early morning java-joint aroma, sounds, and vibe are my happy place.
I’m in NYC quite a bit, and the moments I spend at Stumptown at the Ace Hotel are so grounding for me that it borders on meditation. If I’m in eastern Africa or Turkey, any coffee almost anywhere is awesome and does just fine.
I often line up a casual coffee and mini-breakfast meeting with students, entrepreneurs, or friends in that city — talking, learning, and thinking with other humans creates a purposeful start to any day.
7:30 a.m.: Next I shower and get ready; I’m done by 8:15 a.m. I’ll grab a quick, healthy snack and head out to whatever business meetings or events the day holds — ready to set the world on “fiyah”!
When at home in Atlanta, I wake up as early as 5:30 a.m. or as late as 7 a.m. I still drink my 24 ounces of water and check social media, news sites, and messages, just as I do when I’m travelling, but next, I do shots: turmeric, wheatgrass, and aloe. Then I do a mini yoga session or some quick stretching.
After that, I shower, get ready, and head out the door. I’ll have a high-protein snack and go straight to the office by 7:30 or 8 a.m., unless I have 6:30 or 7 a.m. meetings (which happens from time to time).
At least two days a week when I’m home, weekday or weekend, I start the day with a coffee or breakfast meeting in different spots around Atlanta (Octane Coffee is a staple). I’ll meet with a coworker, candidate we’re interviewing, potential business partner, startup, existing employee, or a group of local students.
I’m in the office or in local business meetings by 8:30 or 9 a.m. on those days, and the day’s awesomeness ensues.
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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