The Power Hour

What could you do if you dedicated just one hour each day to improving yourself and your life? Could getting up one hour earlier each day be the key to unlocking your full potential? Annabel Harrison meets podcaster and author Adrienne Herbert who is firmly in favour of the Power Hour

When it comes to multi-hyphenates, they don’t come much more impressive, or inspiring, than Adrienne Herbert. A personal trainer, podcaster, author, motivational speaker, Adidas ambassador and Director of Innovation & Performance at Fiit, Herbert has more than her fair share of spinning plates. Not that she’s complaining. 

It’s now more than two years, and 150+ episodes, since she launched her Power Hour podcast, in which she interviews a wide range of ‘coaches, creatives, change makers and innovators’ about their morning routines, daily habits and rules to live by. Listeners have enjoyed hearing from guests as diverse as Dame Kelly Holmes and chartered psychologist Fiona Murden, Ella Mills of @deliciouslyella and Ben Branson of Seedlip non-alcoholic liquors, all answering Herbert’s one simple question: ‘What could you achieve if you dedicated just one hour each day to self-improvement?’

The show is such a success that The Power Hour book was released at the end of 2020, providing much-needed motivation during this especially challenging time. Here, I ask her what lessons have stayed with her and her advice on how to improve our daily lives. 

What is Power Hour all about?
Power Hour is about reclaiming your time, and starting the day by doing something intentional, before the rest of the world demands your time and attention. The book is a practical toolkit to help you create a new routine and stick to it. If you have a goal you want to achieve or you want to change your life for the better, or you think you don’t have enough time to do anything for yourself, then the Power Hour can help you.

I often say that there is joy in every single day of my life because I’ve created a life that I love, and because I choose to look out for those ‘good’ things. They can be big or small but I know that they’re there. That’s why the first hour is so critical to the rest of the day. It sets the tone for what comes next.

I deliberately use the phrase ‘RECLAIMING your time’ – because it describes the intentional act of taking back something that was stolen from you. I have had lots of feedback telling me how empowering that is. So many of us don’t realise that we are on demand 24/7 until it is pointed out to us.

Have you always been a morning person?
I’d be lying if I said that I wake up every morning and jump straight out of bed, singing and dancing; however I do wake with a sense of urgency and excitement about knowing that the day ahead is based on the life I have created by myself, for myself. 

I haven’t always been a morning person, though. Often it’s more about our lifestyle rather than our biology; things like working long hours, drinking coffee, eating dinner late and watching TV in the evening can all impact our sleep and therefore our ability to get up in the morning.

 For anyone struggling to get up earlier, commit to a one-week trial. Make sure you get into bed one hour earlier than you usually do for seven days. If you stick to it consistently, by day eight you’ll probably wake up before your alarm and be feeling ready to take on anything.

What feedback do you get, in terms of how people spend their own
Power Hours?
It’s a real mixture; some people work on a passion project or create a new career path. Some start adding yoga, Pilates and even dance classes to their daily routine. And many use their Power Hours for meditation, journaling, listening to podcasts, reading, watching TED talks, studying. The most satisfying thing is how many people have said that they didn’t even realise they weren’t prioritising themselves until they listened to the podcast or read the book. 

You have interviewed over 150 guests on your podcast, who was a particular highlight?
I have interviewed so many truly incredible people but the one that stuck with me the most was Karl Lokko, an amazing man who I’m now lucky to call a friend. His story is inspirational. Due to the intervention of a church-run, anti-youth-violence project, Karl denounced his gang involvement and transformed his life completely. Each positive change led to another, and another, and another. Now Karl is an activist, poet and highly successful public speaker. He has worked with Richard Branson and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity. He speaks to young people around the world about his experiences and works to reform gang culture and fight for social justice. When I think about Karl’s story, I always remember that his willingness to learn ultimately set him on a new trajectory. Where you start does not determine where you go, or where you finish. 

Are there any lessons that have really stayed with you?
I listened to a podcast interview with rapper and entrepreneur Jesse Itzler. When he celebrated his 50th birthday, he had an acute realisation about the passing years and his own mortality. He worked out that, seeing as the average life expectancy of a male living in America today is 78, he only had 28 summers left. Hearing him make that calculation felt like a punch in the gut. By the same metric, I have 48 summers left. Of course, this number is undetermined – I could live a lot longer, sure, or maybe a lot less. The point is: it is a finite number, and Jesse made me realise that I can’t afford to waste a single one. Time is the most valuable thing we have, and the only thing we can’t get more of. I still find it very hard to say ‘no’ to things, so I often think about this imagined summer countdown, and it makes me focus on how I want to spend my time.

How does the pandemic affect your Power Hour?
Having a Power Hour is more important now than ever. With many of us stuck in our home/office/school hybrids for the first time, setting boundaries has become more challenging but is even more crucial to our mental health. It’s so easy to get caught up with work and, if you’re a parent, home-schooling; that often means our own needs get pushed aside. That’s why making a conscious decision to carve out this time for yourself, to focus on your needs and goals, and making your Power Hour non-negotiable is so important. We all need that time for ourselves to have the energy to cope with others’ demands during the day. You can’t give what you don’t have. And if nothing else, our routines are so up in the air at the moment, now is as a good a time as any to make some positive changes!

Power Hour by Adrienne Herbert is out now (£14.99)

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