John Jantsch: This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth-focused eCommerce brands drive more sales with super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing.
John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Amy Landino. She’s the bestselling author and award-winning host of Amy TV, but today we’re going to talk about her latest book. Good Morning, Good Life: Five Simple Habits to Master Your Mornings and Upgrade Your Life. Amy, thanks for joining me,
Amy Landino: John. Thanks for having me on. I’m a fan of yours, so this is just a pleasure.
John Jantsch: Well, thank you. I’ve just been around a long time, so that’s, that’s all I can say about that. So why morning? Why is morning so important?
Amy Landino: Honestly, I just think that it’s really easy to let moments process by very, very quickly if we don’t pay attention to them. So what better time to start doing that then when you start the day? I really believe that if you can, even if it’s just 15 minutes, if you can take ownership and own and really feel like you have done something on your terms to start the day, you’re good. It’s going to be a little bit easier to take on the curve balls that come throughout the day, especially when you get better at anticipating them. Which I just think more self-awareness and time with your own thoughts can help you accomplish. So yeah, I think mornings are something everybody has. Even if your morning doesn’t start until one in the afternoon because for whatever reason you work a night shift or something along those lines, it’s your way of starting the day. So how are you doing that?
John Jantsch: So I know a lot of this is, is your own personal experience that you’ve put into this, but have you done any, I’m sure there’s some scientific research out there about like our rhythms and what’s the best time to do some of this? I mean, did you study any of that or are you aware of any of that kind of research?
Amy Landino: Yeah, a little bit. I mean I definitely researched it in terms of like sleep because even though the book was about morning routines, a lot of people get the wrong idea that it’s this means it has to be a certain way and at a certain time and everyone is completely different, and not only that, the majority of the time, those of us who are trying to perform a little bit better lack in performance in other places and they take away from sleep when they do that. And so I think sleep is really important. Making sure that you’re getting the amount of sleep that’s right for you is important. That might be six hours, that might be seven hours, that might be nine hours. Obviously we hear the recommendation is seven to eight but everybody’s different. And noticing that about yourself and just knowing that that’s got to happen is important.
Amy Landino: And then I also think that there are people who just genuinely cannot fathom getting up before the sun and they very much are thriving off of that connection with light or any vitamin D that they can get. I’m not one of those people, but maybe if you live on the West Coast and you’re just so used to thriving off of the sun that that’s how you would want to wake up. That was sort of the research that I looked into is just how people are different and the problem is that a lot of people wouldn’t even know that because they haven’t taken time to notice it about themselves. We’re too busy consuming content about how it should be without actually really taking stock and what’s important to us and how we genuinely feel about it.
John Jantsch: Yeah, that’s a good point and particularly for entrepreneurs, there seems to be a lot of literature, a lot of writing of late about the these morning routines and almost more coming at them as like hacks, which I think is actually not terribly healthy. However, I do think that people can establish routines and habits that do serve them. So I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask you what’s your morning routine look like?
Amy Landino: Oh, thank you for asking. And I’m so glad you said that because that’s really the motivation behind the book was that there’s just so much of this going around where it’s like this is the exact process and it’s not. It’s about a habit becoming a habit because it’s habitual. And that can only happen if it’s natural to you. So what’s natural to me is lately I’ve been waking up between 4:30 and 5:00 I think that’s a little bit crazy. I’m not going to lie, but I also just absolutely love going to bed and I know I am not productive at night. So I reverse engineer what time I wake up So I get at least seven hours of sleep every night. I’m not worried about staying up late. I’m not a night owl. I don’t thrive off of watching 10 episodes of something on Netflix.
Amy Landino: I just don’t. So I would rather wake up and make the most out of the next day once I’ve sort of hit my point. So that’s waking up. That first half hour I just let myself figure out how to be awake. That’s typically just washing my face, doing a skincare routine, preparing some lemon water to sip on when I start trying to use my brain at some point and getting the coffee going. And so that’s sort of like the first 30 minutes, letting the dog out. These kinds of things that are super easy going and not making me do anything to stress myself out. After about being awake for about 30 minutes, I’ll sit down and just brain dump is a little a methodology I learned about from Julia Cameron in the book the Artist’s Way. She talks about morning pages. I think she ended up writing like a spinoff book about this too because it was so popular.
Amy Landino: Essentially the topic is you just allow your brain to offload anything on it first thing in the morning for three pages of stream of consciousness writing. And by doing so, you write some of the crummiest stuff you’ve ever written in your life, but it allows you to break through all of the gook and nastiness that you’re waking up with. Grudges from the day before, any bad sleep, you got a bad dream or just any stress that you’re thinking about. It gets it off your mind a little bit and puts it into the real world in a journal I guess. And then you can kind of do more creative work because you cleared the way for that. So that’s the first thing that I do.
John Jantsch: I will tell you, I am a little older than you, so I read that book when it first came out 25 years ago and have been doing that practice ever since. And I unfortunately, I just kind of like write it all down like garbage almost and throw it away. But do you know Dean D’Souza? Is that his name? How do you say his last name? He’s been around forever. He’s in Australia and I was talking about journaling and he sent me a picture. He’s got like this, well first off he’s a really great artist as well, but he’s got this amazing like bookcase full of all of his journals from 20 some years of journaling and they’re all illustrated and they’re gorgeous. And I was like, I bet you that is pretty amazing to dive into.
Amy Landino: You know what, I hope to have a bookcase full someday. But I will say that I have been keeping, they’re paperback journals, they’re always paperback journals. I order a different colored one different themed one every time I need a new one. But I have been using a label maker on the side of them and keeping track of the dates. This became more important to me. My brother passed away in the last couple of years and so I realized maybe at some point in time as judgmental as I am about what I’m writing in those pages every morning later down the line it might be interesting for me to look back on a couple of moments to see where my headspace was. So yeah, I’ve actually been holding onto them in the last couple of years.
John Jantsch: So I, I interrupted you at your journaling practice.
Amy Landino: Yes, of course. So after morning pages, I like to look at my goals and that’s just because I have the memory of a pea and also I get shiny object syndrome. So I have to remind myself every day, what are the goals of the company, what are my personal goals and what should I be really focused on? Because it makes it a lot easier to go throughout the day and say no to something when it’s supposed to be a no. And we talked a little bit, I think before we went on the air. I’m a big fan of Ryan Holiday’s book, The Daily Stoic. I’m rereading it for the second year in a row and it’s just a page a day read that kind of just gets me outside of myself. Things can get petty and complainy very quickly all the time. And so I just feel like starting the day with a little bit of wisdom that’s far beyond my years is a really good way to go into the day. So those are sort of just some basics.
John Jantsch: Well for balance I would suggest that you add The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur to your daily reading because it is a little, I tease Ryan about this. It’s a little less bro-ish. Just saying that.
Amy Landino: All right cool.
John Jantsch: So let’s talk about the habits that subtitle the book, five simple habits, decide, defy, rise, shine, and thrive. Do you have way to kind of thread all that together for us?
Amy Landino: Absolutely. They were. They rhyme, which is super fun, but they all have a really good reason. So for the decision being in the habit of deciding, I think you’d probably talk about this in The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur because this is so important. Being able to make decisions easily, even if they are difficult ones to make, especially when you’re in business is important. And so taking decisions off of your plate that are less important is good too. But the decision that you should really be making with your morning is like, why do you even care to get that time for yourself? And it could be that you’ve realized you’re caught on the hamster wheel of business and you’re not big thinking and you’ve lost your creativity and that could be a good reason why. But really knowing why this time is important to you, so that you’ll stick with it is big and I think that this resonates a lot with people who are trying to look for different morning routines that they should try because they work for other people and that’s not going to be good enough.
Amy Landino: It’s not sustainable, it’s not your reason why. So the habit of making the decision is really big and it certainly plays a role from the first moment you step foot on the ground. Defy, also an entrepreneurship thing, but very important in the mornings. We know what it’s like to hit this news and not wake up on time. We know what it’s like to have car trouble. We know what it’s like for the kids to mess up our plans a little bit, and knowing how to defy the obstacles that are going to come is a really good way to make sure that you still get your morning routine and make the most of it. It’s not about, is it going to be perfect? It’s about when is it going to get disrupted and what are you going to do in that case. So learning how to defy the obstacles.
Amy Landino: That is a huge habit that has to be in place. You should be expecting it as they come. For the rise habits, that’s that big sleep thing that I was talking about before. We’re all adults. We know how to wake up in the morning, but it’s not necessarily fun and we know for a fact that the majority of the time the less fun that it is it probably has to do with the amount of sleep that you’ve got. And are you really getting restful sleep? What does that look like for you? Have you even experimented with the fact that maybe your shade should be drawn or your plugs should be in? Are you really setting yourself up for success to get the amount of sleep that you get?
Amy Landino: I often find that people don’t really think about the period of time before you’re meant to be asleep as a fall asleep period where we take our eyes off devices and we get away from computers and from TVs and we really start to shut down the mind so that we have an easier time falling asleep. Falling asleep is sometimes the hardest part for most people and really trying to figure out what that looks like for you is a habit to be in. It’s not like I like bragging about going to bed super early. I just know I feel at my best when it’s by a particular time and that’s a habit I have to stick with in order to have the habit of a morning routine.
Amy Landino: Yeah. Particularly us Midwesterner you know where at five o’clock, it’s dark.
Amy Landino: It’s so dark. It’s like exciting for me now because I’m like I feel I get to watch the sunrise and that’s can be very beautiful but I know that that’s an acquired taste, genuinely why are we waking up in the dark? That’s a whole situation. You’ve got to go back to your decision that you made on this, what is your why? The shine habit is all about what that morning routine is and this takes time. You have to just try things out, see what feels good to you. Sometimes things that don’t feel good to you still need to become a habit and that becomes getting clarity around it and finding what those things are. I decided that it was morning pages and goal writing and my skincare routine, lemon water and you know, get into my mastery for the day, which is usually eating the frog of my business.
Amy Landino: Whatever that big task is that I’ve been procrastinating on or I know I won’t get around to in the afternoon when I’m much more skirmish and looking for things to do in the afternoon. So you don’t really know what your morning routine is until you’ve figured out what it is for yourself. And so that’s really what that shine habit is about. When you figure out what those things are sticking with them so that every single day, making the time to do them will pay off in a much bigger way. And then you need to thrive. And that’s a habit too because we’re living a life and not just a morning. So what you do to be productive in the morning, you can really learn a lot about how you can execute that throughout the rest of the day. And I talk about things like calendar blocking and time batching.
Amy Landino: Can we be making better use of our time by doing similar tasks all at once? For instance, I’m doing a couple of podcast interviews and they’re all happening today and not every single day this week. Just things like that that make more sense for us as entrepreneurs when we have to play so many different roles in what we have to do to make the business stay afloat. You know, when are you in marketing mode versus when are you in accounting mode or when you’re in whatever mode can you do a better job of compartmentalizing that and truly thrive throughout the rest of the day and then start all over again tomorrow.
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John Jantsch: What role in your view, do your kind of core beliefs come into establishing your routines to bringing them into today? Like you said, I mean it’s so easy to get knocked off center, through things that happened in the day that were maybe not planned. So what role does kind of having an understanding and kind of holding onto your core beliefs play in your routine?
Amy Landino: You know, that’s a really good question. I think it pops up so much more.
John Jantsch: It must mean it’s a hard question.
Amy Landino: Yeah, is it because it’s so true. I know what it feels like to answer that question, but it sounds different for everybody. For me I know how often I disappoint people now. I’m much more self-aware of it. But the difference between myself as an entrepreneur today versus 10 years ago when I was really just getting started, is that I know I’m disappointing people and I’m okay with it when it’s my core belief that you think I should be doing something that I’m really clear I shouldn’t be. It’s a not right now thing. And also that sometimes we get so wrapped up and excited about certain opportunities, we think that they’re going to put us over the edge and make us big, bad and amazing. And it’s like, I really don’t believe that. I think we’ve been swindled on that so many times for so many different reasons and shiny objects come in and it’s like, wow, this is going to make everything better.
Amy Landino: That’s not true. It’s the little things every day that you work at that make a tremendous difference over time. So I just know at my core that if my gut is telling me something isn’t quite right, that I have to go with that because I’ve been right most every time. And the best part about that is the habit of deciding. When you are really good at just making a decision and going with it you don’t spend a lot of time in regrets. Say if you made the wrong call every once in a while you just move on to the next thing. You learn the lesson, you go forward. And I don’t know if that answers the question, but that’s where I feel like it is for me in terms of my core beliefs and where they play a role.
John Jantsch: So do you ever feel like, and I know this book hasn’t been out that long so maybe you haven’t experienced it much, but do you ever feel like, Oh God, I’ve written this book now I have to like be amazing and on every morning now or somebody’s going to see that I’m a liar.
Amy Landino: 100%, you have no idea. I specifically set aside, I took the summer off like I did all my content in advance and then I had set aside three weeks in August to write the book. It was all in my head ready to come out. But in July, June and July we took three weeks to go to Italy and I just had so much imposter syndrome coming back because I was like I didn’t do my morning routine a single day while I was in Italy, I barely did morning pages. I barely had any lemon water. Like actually I had some of the best lemons on earth because I was in Italy. But still I was so disappointed in myself.
Amy Landino: But I still wrote the book and it’s because I know that a habit is a habit because it’s habitual and I’m going to come back it, things happen. We go through seasons of life, we make these different changes and things just, it’s okay. Like at the end of the day it’s okay if it’s really a routine that’s customized to you, you will get back to it. So yes, trust me, I love to just judge myself when I miss it. But yeah, that’s life.
John Jantsch: So one of the things I’ve been talking about a lot lately, and it probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve been doing this 30 years, that I look back now and I, and I see so clearly the mind, body, spirit connection in involved in what we’re doing now. Not everybody is willing to go there, but I think that if we’re trying to have impact, if we’re trying to make a difference, I think we have to recognize the connection. First off, physically doing this is hard. It certainly, from a mind standpoint, mentally it’s draining. But I think also I work with too many entrepreneurs that are getting the life and joy sucked out of them doing this. And so is there an element of that sort of self-work that you’re conscious of?
Amy Landino: Yeah, I think especially, I don’t know how long you’ve been doing this, but I definitely feel like I’m in a different season of life than I was when I started. When you first start its sort of like, especially if you’ve been lucky enough to find a passion, which I do think that it’s a very fortunate thing these days. It’s like find your passion. And I talk about it on my channel all the time. It is a luxury when you find it, but it also becomes a job if you really do something with it. And so at the beginning its sort of like on never going to get sick of this. And now it’s like, all right, I don’t, I’m not sick of it. But like it’s a job. Like it’s not like its sunshine and rainbows all the time. And so I think the self-work for me and just being aware is that the space away from it is just as good as the space with it and being more aware of when that happens.
Amy Landino: And because I’m so good at planning, if I’m really that good at it Amy, you need to plan to have the space away as much as you’re planning the space in it because it’s just too easy. Especially in my situation where my husband and I co-own a company together, work/life balance does not exist. It is just everywhere. And that’s okay because that’s the life we wanted and that’s the life we got. But you also need to respect yourself that this isn’t who you are, it’s just what you’re doing to be who you are. And so being able to have a little bit of space is really important. And I think I’ve observed that more recently than ever before.
John Jantsch: Yeah. For me, and this could just be my personality a little bit, I get bored with things, just about when they’re done. And so I’m constantly looking for new things and I think that can be okay. People talk about shiny object and you know, getting distracting going to the next thing. I think the key is finding a thread that runs through everything that you do that brings you joy. I mean, I talk about in my book Seasons of the Entrepreneur and I think that a lot of entrepreneurs when they stick with this thing will go through multiple seasons.
John Jantsch: Not just seasons, but come back and start over again multiple times. I think you’re probably experiencing that at the point that you’re in. And I think the longevity for a lot of people comes by staying true to kind of here’s the difference I want to make in my life and my family’s life and the people that I come into contact with. And I think when you have that, and I’m just throwing that as an example, but I think when you have that kind of thread that that continues to run through it, you can do anything you want and still find joy.
Amy Landino: I completely agree and I think I experienced this in terms of outside feedback and in terms of me staying true to that. When I made a pretty big pivot in my content in 2018 and I think that’s, that was the moment I realized like, yeah I know what I should be doing. That even though I need time and space, sometimes everything has to do with the same vision that I started with. It’s just that maybe at one point I was speaking about a little bit more of a niche topic and now we’ve gotten to a bigger space. And then soon enough it’s going to be in another space. It’s amazing what happens when the book comes out on something. It’s like suddenly I’m like, okay, what’s next? But I don’t know what it is.
Amy Landino: The book is the cap on everything I guess. I don’t know, but that’s definitely true. And I remember getting a lot of feedback like, Amy, what are you doing? Like you used to do this and now you’re doing that. And I’m like, but my community and like the people that I truly help on the deepest level, they get it. And quite frankly that’s all that matters because they’re who I’m serving. So I’m sorry you don’t get it, but we get it and so it’s fine.
John Jantsch: How much did you have to fight through that though a little bit. Because you probably had people who were not just confused. They were afraid you were leaving them. So how much did you have to wrestle with that? To be okay with it?
Amy Landino: I think I grappled with it, but I don’t see it as a person that existed before that I’m abandoning. I feel like I’m just sharpening more skills as I go.
John Jantsch: I’m not saying you, that’s just a lot of what you ended up having to deal with.
Amy Landino: Yeah, absolutely. So it was kind of, it was really funny. Some of it was really vanity and some of it was a little bit confusion of brand because at the same time that I made a pivot in my content I also changed my last name because got married. So there was so much stock in like, wow, you really made a name for yourself before. Well, I made a name for myself because I present value, not because I had a certain last name or because I talked about a certain topic. There were people watching my videos about making videos that never planned to ever make a video. They just enjoyed spending the time with me. And then I got to the core of that and it turned out that it was just about how do we manage our time better? How do we do something that’s bigger that would merit making a video or doing anything else?
Amy Landino: And so I just took, I just went broader with the people. But yes, the audience I felt like I was leaving was more, they were never truly the target. They were never truly the perfect person. The perfect viewer as I would usually call them in my first book, they were not really the perfect person. So it’s not that I’m leaving them, it’s just that we’re going down a different path. And I also believe you graduate from certain schools. There may be people who were in The School of Duct Tape Marketing 10, 20, I don’t know how, well, I shouldn’t say how many years it’s been, but it could have been 10 years ago, right?
Amy Landino: And then maybe they’ve fallen off of you and they might come back and go, “Oh my God, this is so cool. I used to follow you back in the day and now I’m following you now,” that it’s like, Oh that’s, that’s really crazy. But that’s okay. I graduated from the schools of certain thought leaders who I found long time ago and then maybe we make ourselves back. Or maybe you just set the tone for me at that stage that I really needed and I’ve grown from you. I accept that. I’m super good with that. And I don’t think somebody has to be a lifelong fan for me to make a lifelong impact on them.
John Jantsch: Yeah, Seth writes beautifully about that very topic in his book Tribes, I don’t know if you have read it or remember reading it.
Amy Landino: I have. I actually reread this year already so it’s funny you say that.
John Jantsch: Yeah because I think he touches on that very point about people go I’m going to go over here now because I think what’s happening over here is cool. Then I think a lot of people do that. Well Amy this was great catch up with you. I probably need to have you back on again just to talk about your whole video production because it’s kind of off the hook but we could do a whole ‘nother show on just how you do that and approach video. So let’s do that at some point.
Amy Landino: I would love that.
John Jantsch: Awesome. So Good Morning, Good Life, Five Simple Habits to Master Your Morning and Upgrade Your Life. You want to tell people where they can find you Amy?
John Jantsch: Awesome. Amy, great catching up with you and hopefully we will run into you next time I’m out on the road.
Amy Landino: Good to talk to you, John, thank you.