Michael Simmons: “Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”

lululemon yoga handstand

These words from Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla, describe a mentality many founders can relate to as they go through the day-to-day grind of running a startup.

Like Musk, entrepreneurs face huge ups and downs every single day, sometimes in the same moment. Having energy to confront those challenges is the essential ingredient to success.

To understand unique and healthy ways to consistently and quickly boost energy daily, I interviewed the country’s top ambitious young entrepreneurs, honorees of the Empact Showcase, who work tirelessly, day and night, to turn their visions into reality.

Their responses will surprise you! Each response includes links to research and resources so you can incorporate the habit into your life if it’s right for you.

1. Jump, jump up and jump down.

As a chiropractor my routine consists of daily rebounding which has immense benefits such as increasing mental clarity and activating the body’s lymphatic system in order to remove toxins. I rebound for 10 minutes every morning, and I use the time to create an energy of positivity for the day by shouting out powerful I AM statements such as I AM strong, I AM happy, I AM successful, I AM healthy.

Successful entrepreneurs such as Anthony Robbins incorporate rebounding into their everyday life in part because of the incredible benefits of improving posture and increasing endorphin levels. For cardiovascular health, rebounding is a safe, low-impact way to burn the same amount of calories as exercising on a treadmill

2. Do one random act of kindness.

Helping others gives me energy, and I’ve developed a unique way to do it in 15-minute chunks in the afternoons. I set aside the time for something non-work related. It can be anything from running an errand, picking up an afternoon coffee, or responding to a personal friend’s email. During this time, I help someone by opening a door, carrying a package into a store for someone, or ask via email if my friend needs help with anything. I always feel an immediate satisfaction after assisting another and the acts always benefit me later in the universe’s karma exchanges.

—Cofounder Kim Kaupe of ZinePak

3. Meditate using this app.

My morning habit includes a 20 minute meditation. The ideal place and time to meditate is early in the morning before starting any electronic media. It’s important to keep the time of the day and the location of the practice as regular and identical as possible. For the practice to stick, it’s good to start with a short time like five minutes. There are many techniques out there, but it’s important to do this DAILY, whatever the technique, and to increase the time ideally to 20 minutes or more. Below 20 minutes the brain does not really re-wire itself enough to have strong benefits like anxiety reduction, reduced need for sleep and improved focus and concentration at work, among others. For beginners I advise using a meditation app. (I use HeadSpace.)

—Founder Guillaume Gauthereau of Sequoia Lab

Killer bees

Fesus Robert/Shutterstock Bee pollen is packed with essential nutrients.

4. Mix a teaspoon of bee pollen with coconut oil.

When my energy starts to dip, I reach for a teaspoon of bee pollen with coconut oil drizzled over it. This gives me enough energy to sprint to the end of the day and enthusiastically tackle whatever is left on my to-do list.

I got this trick from Kimberly Snyder, author of “The Beauty Detox Foods.” She calls it “Energy in a Spoon.” While getting your caffeine fix from another cup of coffee might give you a quick boost, it won’t sustain your energy. Bee pollen has many benefits and is packed with essential nutrients that can fuel your body and increase your stamina and focus. Coconut oil is made up of Medium Chain Triglicerides (MCTs), which your body can quickly burn as energy.

—Founder Natalie Macneil of She Takes On The World

5. Do handstands when you’re stuck.

We do headstands and handstands periodically throughout the day to reinvigorate ourselves and help solve tough problems when we’re stuck. We find uninterrupted wall space in our office. Then we fling ourselves up against the wall for a few minutes. It helps to take some yoga classes where they focus on inversions. It’s great to be reminded of what your body can do when so much of our work takes place in our minds. Inversions are great because they’re fun, quick, good for your body and also actually refresh and revitalize your brain!

—Cofounders Anne Wootton and Bailey Smith of Popup Archive

6. Put coconut oil and butter in your coffee.

I drink Bulletproof Coffee whenever I need a boost, and it definitely does the trick. Bulletproof Coffee is a cocktail that consists of high-grade coffee blended with oil and organic, unsalted, grass-fed butter. The benefits of drinking Bulletproof coffee include weight loss, decrease in cravings, and a boost in cognitive function. It’s an easy way to take in energy without a single processed carbohydrate.

The recipe is two cups of coffee, one to two tablespoons MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil, and one to two tablespoons unsalted grass-fed butter.

—Cofounder Mattan Griffel of One Month

drink water

REUTERS/David GrayStaying hydrated will keep you focused.

7. Drink a lot of water.

I drink lots of simple water, because it just makes me feel better. In fact, I think it’s awesome. From a scientific perspective, it makes up much of who we are and influences no less than 100% of the processes in our body. Studies show it can keep you more alertboost your brain, increase your productivity, and even improves your mood.

How much should you be drinking? Rule of thumb is that food typically provides about 20% of our daily fluid intake, but that still leaves roughly 13 cups for men and nine cups for women. Of course, everyone’s hydration needs are different and can be affected by all kinds of other factors, including weather, age or activity level.

8. Don’t get up on the wrong side of the bed.

I decide to get out of bed on the right side every day. In other words, before I get out of bed I think to myself, “How positive do I feel?” If the answer is anything other than very positive and excited for the day, I decide to reset my thoughts at that point and focus on the best possible outcome the day can bring. This starts my day off correctly every time. The key here is to do this BEFORE looking at your phone, turning on the TV or talking to anyone.This happens purely between your ears not in the external world.

9. Do P90X ab ripper with work friends.

We book a conference room in our co-working space, kick off our shoes, get on the floor and turn on the official P90X Ab Ripper X video. It takes us through a series of extremely challenging, painful exercises together as a group for 20 minutes, just long enough to break a little bit of a sweat. The challenge level of the exercise creates a group dynamic of suffering together, which creates trust and builds commitment. By the time we’re done, it almost feels like that ab workout was the hardest thing we will do all day, making our actual work easy to tackle. More importantly, when we are done, we all laugh and release energy and create more open channels of communication.

10. Drink this on-the-go shake.

After examining some of my unhealthy habits, I identified one, small thing I could change to give myself better health. I drink Soylent, an on-the-go breakfast shake, for breakfast to make sure I get a good meal in. Recognized by the FDA as safe, it is a meal replacement shake packed with protein, carbs, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, Soylent shares their ingredient list (open source) and allows consumers to find, create, and tinker with recipes so they can customize their nutritional needs.

By knowing what I’m having for breakfast I have one less decision to make when I start the day. Like most entrepreneurs, my days are long and eventful. Soylent has proven to be a simple and quick energy solution to get me through those long days.

11. Build a culture based on energy.

It’s critical to have an energetic team, and we hire based on it.

Secondly, we’ve built several practices into our culture designed to build the energy of our whole team throughout the day. These practices include playing high-energy music, our best performers hitting a large gong that everyone can hear when they make a big sale and “15 Minutes of Fame” team meeting at the beginning and end of the day where managers amp people up and recognize the day’s top performers. Inspirational speeches, videos, and messages are the norm. We conclude every meeting with a loud team chant to wake everyone up and get the blood flowing.

I personally build my energy by saying “good morning” to as many people as possible. When I feel a dip an energy, I have my go-to high energy people that I know will give me a quick high five, fist bump or positive boost so that I can get back to my work refreshed.


Catch a quick catnap.

12. Take a cat nap.

My most energized days are when I get the chance to take a 26-minute catnap on my couch with my kids while they are getting their daily dose of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I find that starting with something completely mindless and unrelated to work makes it easier to turn off.

That short time enables me to get multiple hours of additional work in later in the evening once everyone has gone to bed and there’s lots of research that shows catnaps make you more productive.

13. Walk 30 minutes or more every day.

Running a business can be emotionally, physically and mentally challenging. After watching a video by Dr. Mike Evans called 23 and 1/2 hours, I began walking each day.

At first, I started walking 30 minutes a day. Two years later, I hike six miles a day and sometimes the REP Interactive team and I will go workout with NFL Athletes in the off season in California’s Santa Monica Mountains. Since I began doing this I’ve lost 45 pounds, doubled the size of my business, and gotten married. I am definitely healthier and happier.

14. Use this device to track your steps.

I started wearing a FitBit, an activity tracker, at the beginning of the year, and beyond helping me track my steps each day, I’ve found that it’s a huge help in keeping my energy up. Several months ago I noticed a direct correlation between feelings of tiredness and sluggishness throughout the day and a lack of steps. When I need a quick pick-me-up, I leave my desk and walk about 1,000 steps, or five to seven minutes at a brisk pace. I’ve found that these quick breaks help my energy, my productivity and my overall step count! By thinking about one or more business challenge during these walks, it’s easy to justify the time away from my desk as a “working break.”

15. Cultivate a habit of gratitude.

Each night before I go to bed, I write down three things that I’m grateful for. Some days I may be lucky enough to include a big success but most of the time I’m just listing the smaller things from the day, like having tea with a friend or learning something new from a co-worker. I believe it’s important to celebrate the small wins in life! And by writing down positive memories it feels like I’m wiring my brain for happiness.

Researchers have shown a correlation between keeping a gratitude journal and a 25% increase in happiness, as well as better sleep and a feeling of being more refreshed. To get started with this same habit, you might consider purchasing gratitude journal.


Practice your mindful breathing.

16. Breathe your way to health, wealth, and willpower.

I do Pranayama daily for 15 minutes in the morning for holistic healthcare. Pranayama is a Sanskrit word for a breathing technique. This habit helps me do things with high energy and focus on my priorities — in both my life and my business.

Here’s how you do it: alternate what nostrils are closed, generally by using the right hand’s thumb, ring and little finger. The thumb is used for closing the right nostril and the ring and little fingers are used to close the left nostril. The mouth is closed and is not used for breathing. No sound should be produced while inhaling or exhaling. I do 10 rounds with breathing through the left nostril and 10 rounds breathing with the right.

It comes with abundant benefits such as better control on obesity, hypertension, blood sugar, and cholesterol; improves your cardiac functions and increase your visual and auditory reaction time.   

17. Use a standing desk.

I started using a standing desk in September. After just two months, I noticed I have more stamina, more focus and a higher energy level throughout the day. I used to experience terrible back pain, but since using a standing desk, the pain has dramatically decreased. This got me curious: What are the health benefits of simply standing more? According to research out of England, standing just three hours a day during the workweek is the caloric-burning equivalent of running 10 marathons in one year. There is also a plethora of research to support reduced risks of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and early mortality. In fact, sitting for an hour is worse than smoking two cigarettes, according to another study.

It’s rewarding to know that we can help our team members stay healthy through something as simple and necessary as a desk.

18. Start lucid dreaming with a dream journal.

I write down my dreams immediately upon waking to bolster my lucid dreaming. I swear, as soon as my brain realizes that I’m actually listening and paying attention to it, it starts to give me the really good stuff. I credit this practice with an increase in creative thinking, memory and stamina.

Studies have found that people with frequent lucid dreams are better atcognitive tasks that involve insight, like problem-solving.

Source: Business Insider