Changing lives, one alarm clock at a time.

It’s five in the morning. All around the world, alarms begin to sound.  

You stumble to the coffee pot and wait impatiently as it brews. Then you sit slumped at the table while desperately slurping coffee in an attempt to jolt yourself awake. Phone in hand, your brain goes into autopilot as the scroll begins. What a way to “wake up” to the day.  

Leadership coach and personal development expert, Robin Sharma shares a different morning vision with Jay Shetty. 

With his encouragement, members of his 5 AM Club rise early to embark on the day’s journey by taking it by the horns. The first hour of their day, what Sharma refers to as The Magic Hour, is filled with focus and intention.  

This morning routine isn’t just a fad or a flippant exercise. Sharma, bestselling author of The 5 AM Club, claims the 5 AM Club movement is the mother of all habits. 

Sharma, a consultant and voice of wisdom for billionaires and influencers the world over, swears by this early waking routine. To him, it is the bedrock of a life lived full to the brim of intention and service to others.  

Intentional, Not Accidental

Sharma does not just encourage people to get out of bed at 5 AM he insists that they must start living at that time. Enter the 20-20-20 protocol. 

“I really believe getting up at 5 am and running this calibrated 20-20-20 formula that much of my book is about, will take any human being to a new level of creativity, productivity, prosperity and service to humanity,” he tells Jay Shetty. He and his clients have lived by the 20-20-20 formula for two decades.

The 20-20-20 protocol kicks off with 20 minutes of movement, starting the day with health and focus. Movement, especially first thing in the morning, is vital to optimal health. 

“It basically sets you up to be on fire the rest of the day,” Sharma explained to Jay Shetty. Morning movement helps the body release dopamine, BDF, and cortisol, just to name a few. Intentional movement in the morning also increases the metabolic rate.  

After getting the blood pumping, it is time to turn to the heart. Twenty minutes of reflection set the tone for the day. Sharma encouraged listeners to use practices like prayer, mindfulness, meditation, and journaling to anchor themselves during this time. 

“We live in a world where a lot of people are busy being busy,” Sharma told Jay Shetty. “What is the point of being busy around the wrong things?” Connecting their heart and values to their dreams and aspirations helps create intention for how the day will be used instead of just being busy for busy’s sake.    

And finally, after waking up through movement and anchoring through reflection, Sharma encourages growth. The last 20 minutes of the magic hour are filled with learning, self development, and disciplined focus on self improvement.  

Sharma explained that no matter the level of wealth or education, the most successful people he knows never stop learning.  

“The billionaires I work with have one common denominator, and it’s that they are curious,” he said to Jay Shetty. “They have a white belt mentality even though they are some of the most famous people in the world.”

The white belt in martial arts denotes a beginning student. Sharma is encouraging even experts to never stop personal development and growth. 

What is the Point?

At first glance, it may seem like the 5 AM Club is just a nice way to start the day. For Sharma, however, the intention goes much deeper. He firmly believes the habit of waking early and having an intentional morning routine is the springboard for success. 

He’s not the only one who believes in early rising. As he studied great men and women through history, he learned most of them rose early and lived with purpose. The formation of habits shaped their lives too.  

“You talk about the habit formation protocol, about building habits,” said Jay Shetty. “In my mind, building and breaking habits should have been the first thing we learned about in school.”

Sharma couldn’t agree more. He likened the building of habits to an athlete that is preparing for a competition. Practice in the off season is what leads to victory. 

“Victories are won before you even step on the field,” Sharma told Jay Shetty. “You look at Kobe Bryant for example, or Shaq or Lebron or Federer or Serena. These people made the moves they made that won them championships through their sweaty disciplined practice at 5 am while the rest of the world was not watching.”

Sharma lives by the truth that the formation of good habits is vital to success. 

Building Empires

These days, so much focus is put on mental health. While Robin Sharma and Jay Shetty both acknowledge that mental health is vital for the wellbeing of the whole person, they are passionate that the focus not stop there. 

Part of the genius behind the 5 AM Club is its focus on the wellbeing of the whole person, or what Sharma describes as the Four Inner Empires.

Sharma elaborates on the Four Inner Empires and how to cultivate them: 

  • Calibrate your mindset
  • Purify your heartset
  • Strengthen your healthset
  • Connect with your soulset

Sharma believes a balanced focus on each of these four areas is necessary to have health and success. Shetty applauds his focus. 

“I’m glad you have gone beyond focusing just on mindset in your book,” he said. “Mindset is important, but a well-rounded approach is needed.”

“That’s what allows you to go out in the world and move through failures and really own your domain,” Sharma explained about the focus on the growth of each Inner Empire. “If you work on those, you go out in the world, and automatically everything you touch is golden. Our outer success is always a function of who we are on the inside.” 

Redefining Success

The world’s version of success – houses, yachts, cars, power, and all the things money can buy – is not a new concept for Sharma. He works with billionaires and some of the most influential people in the world, and rubbing shoulders with wealth and power has convinced him even more that these things fall short where it really matters. 

“I believe that the real key to success is joy and inner peace,” Sharma told Jay Shetty. “That is why all the billionaires have all the things and they are not happy. Our nature is joy, peace, bliss, love. When you release the trauma, peace just shows up because that is who we truly are.”

What led Sharma away from the allure of worldly success and to this realization that true joy is found elsewhere?

In the Footsteps of Humble Giants

The bedroom of Mother Teresa sat in stark contrast to the corner office of a billionaire that Robin Sharma was used to visiting. His time in an Indian slum with the humble nun was profoundly impactful for Sharma.  

“I sat in Mother Teresa’s bedroom in Calcutta,” he told Jay Shetty. “She had nothing but a bed and a table. She had reached the level of maturity, where the bliss and joy didn’t come from material things, but it came from love and service.”

He sensed the same level of bliss and joy in a prison cell. 

“Two years ago, I stood in Nelson Madela’s prison cell,” he told Jay Shetty. “My life changed standing there because he was in there for 18 years.” 

Sharma described to Jay Shetty what it must have been like for one of the most influential people in the modern world to experience a place full of suffering and anguish 

Sharma explained that encountering suffering on such a level, and yet knowing how it had shaped Mandela’s life was deeply challenging for him. He saw no regrets in Mandela’s life of service, no matter how hard it was. 

In that, he knew he had found the true meaning of success.  

“I don’t think it’s about ‘Likes’, and I don’t think it’s about yachts,” Sharma reflected to Jay Shetty. “Are those things wrong? Absolutely not! We are sensual human beings having a journey. But I think there is a different game that the true legends and titans play. It’s about enjoying the journey and making an impact on humanity.”

Better to Give Than to Receive

Sharma was changed by experiencing the most humble surroundings and hardest circumstances. His life’s work became about much more than simply waking up early in the morning.  

Serving others has brought him more fulfilment than he knew possible. He shared the same message with Jay Shetty’s listeners that he shares with his clients.

“Focus on giving joy and beauty to other people,” he said to Jay Shetty’s listeners. “True fulfilment comes out of that. If you want real joy, it doesn’t come from getting. Bliss is never experienced from getting; it comes from giving.”

“Learn to plant trees under whose shade you do not plan to sit,” said Jay Shetty, quoting Nelson Henderson. 

This has become the mantra of Sharma’s life and work. Moving the hearts of masses and millionaires toward gratitude and giving is creating a ripple effect. 

Coming Full Circle

“If you want real empires, if you want real happiness, if you want real bliss, if you want to elevate your immune system (there’s lots of science to back that), just go out in the world and give as much value and radiate possibility, and amazing things will unfold in your life,” Sharma said to Jay Shetty.

The joy in giving is why Sharma does what he does. He believes that creating the habits and intentions that cultivate the Four Inner Empires leads to success found in service. Each morning spent chasing the sunrise builds growth and character. 

Habits develop stamina and steadfastness.

Service breeds compassion, selflessness, and empathy.  

At the end of the day, Robin Sharma lives in the moment with an eye always looking to the horizon. 

“As we connect with our mortality, we realize what life is really about,” he explained to Jay Shetty. “On the last hour of the last day, what do I want to be said about me? I encourage people to have that discipline to architect their mountain climb so that each step and each day is a climb toward that Mount Everest.”

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode with Robin Sharma “ON How To Release Your Toxic Beliefs & Getting Back To Your Higher Nature” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.