Dane Sanders

When winning the morning isn't enough to win the day

published7 months ago
5 min read

Hey Skywalker

Years ago, I owned a silver Vespa.

Inspired by a trip to Rome, the cosmopolitan vision of effortlessly zipping around town seemed idyllic. The dream of dancing through traffic before pulling over for a quick espresso (not to mention the 'anywhere' parking spot) was glorious.

When I found myself living in Santa Barbara—California's version of the Italian Riviera—I decided to take my dream for a test drive. I was putt-putting my way down State Street for a little less than a used Corolla.

It turns out Santa Barbara was made for Vespa's. So was I. Every kickstart made me feel more cool. Sometimes I even pretended I spoke Italian.

Then—about a year later—I saw her in the window. She was too much for one man to handle. It was almost unfair. But there she was... a black Vespa.

I decided immediately that I needed to have her. The updated beauty had 50 more cc's, a custom suede seat, and a chrome package that glistened against the sun. But none of that was why I was so smitten.

I wanted her because she was NEW.

Suddenly, the dream ride that was my silver scooter seemed sub-par. It instantly aged. It became "so last year." I started making up stories to justify an upgrade.

This black "beauty" wasn't just the new silver—she was the new black! An instant classic with the kind of power I "needed." The larger size was certainly more suitable for taking my wife on a Vespa date. Of course, I was convinced it was safer for both of us too. Purchasing it was the responsible thing to do.

But you already know the truth: The utility of both Vespas was identical. I wanted it because I wanted it. New was enough.

What is it about new?

Not only is "new" one of the most powerful forces in marketing, but the phrase itself also offers the hope of going again. This sense of redemption is one of the reasons we humans consistently pick what's novel whenever possible.

Even the lore in my line of work backs up all things new. A common sentiment in performance coaching is that if you 'win the morning,' you'll 'win the day.'

Start your new day right, and you'll find yourself on the best trajectory. Of course, it's not wrong. Launching well does get you going strong.

At TMYD, we're big fans of the idea, which is why the last Newsleader installment was dedicated to creating a minimally-viable way to launch strong every single day.

The case I made was that the leader who consistently starts their days from a position of strength gains a significant advantage over those who don't.

At least until you hit some turbulence.

At some point in everyone's days, we all come up against friction and fatigue. When that happens, the temptation is to coast on the morning's wins or throw in the towel early.

This is where new becomes a problem.

The endless inbound requests, notifications, and distractions have the promise of new attached to them. The addictive algorithm leverages new to incentivize you away from your focus.

So, how do we fight back? What do you do when you're low on energy, and the compelling promise of something new is calling your name?

You're most susceptible right after lunch—exactly when you need a bridge to keep your momentum going. When your initial blast of energy gets depleted with half your waking hours (and responsibilities) still in front of you, the last thing you need is to get sidelined.

This is where designing a way to sustain deserves some attention.

So here's a simple plan to get the most out of the second half of your day

The trick starts with reframing your days

Consider your days in these three parts:

1. Launch—this is the “winning the morning” bit.

2. Strain—this is the thick of the action and where most fall over.

3. Recover—this is the set-up for tomorrow.

This framework is proper for athletes, entrepreneurs, and artists. If you're looking to build something meaningful, you need an executable plan for all three acts.

We've already covered your launch.

When it comes to the strain, I don't recommend white-knuckling it. That's where we're most vulnerable to new having its way. When we're under stress, we need a gentler approach.

To get us there, consider the half-time scene in the locker room.

We're in the thick of the NBA playoffs at the time of this writing. What's remarkably consistent is whoever is winning the first half, if rarely a predictor of who will win the game.

Since this is an analogy, let me be clear: Your job is to win the whole game.

The three ingredients that go into an effective half-time include:

1. Catching Your Breath: Mini recovery

2. Correcting Your Course: Calibrate your coordinates

3. Completing Your Daily Mission: Maximum strain

Your first job is to pick the halfway mark and physically get up from your work. This part is easy to skip and probably the most critical factor. Use your body to walk into a different room (or around the block) and consider what just happened. Use the restroom. Drink a glass of water. Catch your breath.

Your second job is to look at the scoreboard and decide if you're winning or losing. If you don't know, it may be that you need to create a scoreboard first. What do you need to do to optimize and pull even further ahead if you're winning? Suppose you're losing. What needs to change as you head into the second half?

Your last job is to get clear with your intentions and move. As with the first job, it's not enough to think about what you want. It's committing with your actions to get it. Are you playing to win or not?

Remember: A great start doesn't get the job done. Your work isn't complete until you're holding the trophy at the end of the day. So take a time-out, give yourself a pep talk about why you're doing this and what's at stake, and then get back in the game.

Here’s the thing

Having a great morning ritual is fantastic. Necessary even.

But it's insufficient to win the day.

You're doing your work in the middle of a full-court press of people whose sole goal is to steal your attention. Their greatest weapon? New.

Please don't fall for it.

You are the captain of what you pay attention to. Lead yourself to the final whistle. Your future self will thank you.

Trouble putting your half-time show to work?

Hit reply or leave a video message at I'd love to troubleshoot however I can.

Next Time

You've already guessed the topic for next time. With your morning won and your half-time decided, all that's left is finishing your day right. That will be our singular focus. I can't wait.


P.S. If you missed last week's Converge Podcast with Cloverleaf's Kirsten Moorefield, add it to the cue right now, especially if you're looking for a tool to radically increase trust on your team.

Dane Sanders is CEO of His team of certified mental health professionals and coaches - trained in TMYD's motivation modality - offer workshops tailored for organizations looking to become great. Tom Rodriguez is TMYD's Chief Mental Health Officer. Comments, questions, and inquiries are always welcome at

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