Hi! I’m Sam Laura Brown and I help new coaches overcome perfectionism so they can build full-time coaching businesses with my group coaching program Perfectionists Getting Shit Done and my top-rated podcast The Perfectionism Project. I also have a free training on How To Build A Full-Time Coaching Business too!
When I started my business back in 2013, I thought I had a motivation problem. Despite my potential, I couldn’t show up consistently and was absolutely terrified to put myself out there (hello imposter syndrome). Turns out motivation wasn’t my problem, perfectionism was. I hadn’t realised that perfectionists aren’t perfect people… perfectionists are people who feel ashamed they’re not perfect. And the most common signs of perfectionism are procrastination, overwhelm, all-or-nothing thinking, people pleasing and burnout.
Once I figured that out, I’ve made it my mission to share my personal journey to overcome perfectionism and help other coaches do the same so they can stop holding themselves back from making the impact they’re here to make.
What time do you wake up in the morning and how do you wake up? (To an alarm, music, the sun, etc.)
Right now I’m waking up at 5:15am to my alarm. It’s a little early for my liking but I need to be up at that time to make it to my morning workout with two of my close friends.
What’s on your bedside table?
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo and The Courage To Be Disliked by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi. I also have a face oil that I smother on my face in before bed and some lavender essential oil that I often put on the bottom of my feet to help me get to sleep. Plus a big water bottle and my iPhone charger.
Do you prepare for your mornings the night before? If so, how?
The biggest way I prepare for my mornings is what I like to call ‘responsible alarm setting’. Sounds boring but this basically means that, when I set my morning alarm, I do some quick math to make sure that I’ll be getting at least 7 hours of sleep. Being well-rested is one of the easiest ways to be more productive (contrary to what I used to believe)!
In the past, I would set early morning alarms for early in the morning with the best of intentions, even though I secretly knew that I wasn’t going to be able to wake up at that time. Then I’d snooze my alarm, destroying any self-trust I had left, and wonder why I never felt motivated. I’m able to wake up early today because I did the work to build my own trust with responsible alarm setting. In the beginning, it meant that I sometimes had to set my alarm later than my ‘best self’ wanted to but it was so worth it in the long run.
What are your skincare/body care rituals?
I’m very basic when it comes to skincare but not for lack of trying. I’ve had spurts of motivation over the last decade to get myself a proper routine but end up overwhelmed, unmotivated and returning back to basics.
Right now, I don’t do anything in the morning besides wearing a tinted moisturiser that’s SPF 30+. I live in Brisbane, Australia and have fair skin so wearing sunscreen is a must. In the evenings, I wash my face with whatever cleanser I happen to have and then use a face oil to leave my skin feeling nourished.
What does your morning routine flow look like?
I get home from my workout around 7am and shower before having a relaxed breakfast (usually muesli with berries) and a mug of decaf black tea while sitting in the sun on my deck with my Samoyed puppy Cotton.
I often listen to a meditation or hypnosis (this takes about 15 minutes) then do some mindset journaling and review my calendar to see what I’ve got on. I follow a planning practice I teach in Perfectionists Getting Shit Done called Power Planning. I used to be someone who always falls off the wagon with my plans and I don’t like anything too rigid so Power Planning has been life changing for me.
When do you kick off your workday? And do you have any starting-work rituals?
I tend to kick off my workday around 9am on weekdays and I have two musts before starting work.The first is journaling – I do a braindump to see what’s going on mentally and then coach myself on anything that might stop me from showing up fully following a method that I teach in Perfectionists Getting Shit Done. I never feel like I have enough time to do this but it’s always worth it.My other must is checking my calendar. My calendar is my to-do list so I need to check in with it before I begin working. I’m always tempted to wing it, especially if I’m feeling overwhelmed, but I have to remind myself that never results in a more productive day.
How does your morning routine change on the weekends?
My fiancé is a paramedic and emergency nurse who works weekends so I work on weekends too (my days off are Tuesday and Wednesday as well as every second Monday).
On Saturdays, I have a Zoom call with my hypnotherapist Lynnsey Robinson at 7am (it’s early because she’s in the US and I’m in Australia) so I wake up at 6:45am, splash some water on my face and jump on our Zoom call. I’ll often do a workout afterwards with my friends and then begin my work day around 11am.
I usually sleep in until 8am on a Sunday with my fiancé and begin the day with a group coaching call for Perfectionists Getting Shit Done at 8:30am. I’ll then have a relaxed breakfast before starting my work day around 11am or so.
What does your mindset look like at the beginning of the day? Do you have any tips or tools for getting in a good mindset?
On my best days, I don’t check my emails or Instagram until after lunch. This is a huge time saver for me in the mornings and helps me stay in a positive mindset.
But even though I love what I do, there are still plenty of days where I’m feeling overwhelmed or scared or unsure. For this reason, journaling is a must for me.
What’s non-negotiable vs. what does an extra-luxurious morning look like?
My non-negotiables are my workout, a healthy breakfast, getting dressed for the day, journaling and checking in on my calendar.An extra-luxurious morning routine means reading a good self-help or business book for an hour and going for a bush walk with Cotton. And I’d like to say a meditation or hypnosis track is a non-negotiable but there are a lot of days these don’t happen.
What would you like to improve with your mornings?
Learning to be ok with an imperfect routine and noticing what is working, instead of focusing on what isn’t, has been incredibly empowering.
There are lots of improvements I could make to my routine but none I would like to make right now. I’m always playing around with my routine but what I’m doing is working and I’m letting that be enough.
What’s your #1 recommendation to others who struggle with mornings?
Create a simple base with one or two musts and build it from there. Perfectionists tend to be all-or-nothing with their morning routines and fall off the wagon within a few weeks. To conquer that, start more simply than you want to – trusting that once you have a solid foundation you can build out the morning routine of your dreams.
Also, be kind to yourself. Reading articles like this can make you feel like everyone else has a better morning routine than you do. My morning routine probably sounds pretty idealistic but in practice, it rarely feels that way.