How Successful People Start Their Days

Start your day with a routine that works well for you & you will feel a sense of personal fulfillment early in the day.
Start your day with a routine that works well for you.

World-renowned life and business strategist Tony Robbins has a saying that I've relied on time and again in my career: success leaves clues. What he means by this isn't that finding success is like solving a mystery, but that part of succeeding is learning from those who have already succeeded and emulating them. I find one of the most powerful ways to do this is by looking at how successful people start off their day. The morning routines of successful people are varied and diverse, but there are a few key activities and rituals that show up time and again. I've found that incorporating some of these into my own life has had a positive impact on my productivity, personal growth, and mindset throughout the day. 


One of the most common habits of successful people is daily meditation. A practice of mindfulness meditation is clinically proven to lower stress and improve our ability to respond to negative events, both of which are hugely helpful for dental professionals. 

Get Up Early

While it may seem difficult, there really is no substitute for waking up early. Getting up before everyone else gives you a head start on the rest of the world, and – most importantly – it allows you to get things done before other people need your attention. This sets a productive tone that often lasts throughout the day, and overall, I’d say that even though it’s uncomfortable, getting up early is one of the best investments you can make.

Don't Check Your Email

This may seem counterintuitive, but the truth is, email is no way to start your day. Try to check email a little later in the morning, after you've had time to set a positive tone for the day. In all likelihood, the emails can wait, and you'll be in a better position to respond after you've had time to prepare yourself for the day. 

Start with Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools we have for maintaining a positive mindset, and starting your day with gratitude is a great way to set a positive tone for the day. Before doing anything, take the time to say – out loud – 3 things you are grateful for. I've found that doing this in my own life helps me start the day on the right foot.


A lesser-known technique is visualization, which involves sitting for a few moments and taking the time to concentrate on visualizing how you want the day to go. If there's something big you have to do that day, visualize yourself doing it and succeeding at it, using as much detail from your imagination as you can. This way, once you actually get to the task or situation, you'll feel like you've already been there – and have already excelled.

Find a Routine That Works for You

As with all things, the real key to a successful morning is finding a routine that works for you. Experiment with adding different things to your morning routine and see what combination works best – then, once you've found something great, stick with it. I've found that my own morning routine is an invaluable part of how I do what I do, and the ritual and the precedent-setting effect it has on my days has been immensely helpful in building Heartland Dental over the years. Chances are, finding your own routine will have a similar effect on your career.

Rick Workman, DMD

Founder, Former CEO and Active Chairman, Heartland Dental

Rick Workman, DMD, graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in 1980. After starting his own practice, he set out to create a world-class dental support organization that would relieve the management burden for dentists by offering them an array of non-clinical administrative support. Today, Heartland Dental is the largest dental support organization in the country. In addition to being the founder of Heartland Dental, he is also the past president of the Association of Dental Support Organizations. To read more about Dr. Rick Workman, click here