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This CEO says his ambitious 3 a.m. morning routine is the key to managing stress

Curiosity Lab founder and CEO Michael Tennant.
Courtesy of Curiosity Lab

In our CEO wellness series, we ask executives about their day-to-day habits to gain insight into the tactics they use to minimize stress and maintain their well-being.

Michael Tennant is the founder and CEO of Curiosity Lab, a purpose driven venture studio and consultancy that builds products and experiences that teach empathy. In his role as CEO, Tennant creates and incubates businesses to help values-aligned individuals and organizations use empathy to live happier and healthier lives, and to nurture productive and inclusive work environments. 

Coffee or tea? And what do you put in it?
Coffee normally. If I’m at home, it’s black coffee from a French press. If it’s at a café, it’s a flat white with oat milk.

What is your go-to breakfast?
Most days I skip breakfast. When I do have breakfast, I like to have traditional American breakfast consisting of eggs, toast, and some kind of breakfast meat. Lately, I’ve been having a healthier option of yogurt and granola.

Tell us about your workout routine.
The honest answer is that I haven’t been as consistent with working out as I have been in the past. Since having a baby in September, and running a growing company alongside my wife, some routines have had to change. I get out for a three to five mile run at least once a week, we take walk breaks as a family throughout the week, and I try to get a yoga class in on the weekends.

How many hours do you sleep on a typical night?
Since 2019, I’ve been on a unique sleep schedule. On a typical day I get six to seven hours of sleep between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. before waking for my morning routine. I’ll usually take a nap or two between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.

How do you de-stress?
My morning routine is the biggest part of my stress management. It consists of waking, freshening up, meditating, journaling, and assessing my most important task of the day. I tend to place my most creative and inspiring work first, followed by my most difficult and important executive leadership tasks. This routine gives me the space to assess everything in my world, set daily priorities, and take action toward achieving them that day.

According to your phone, what’s your daily average screen time from last week?
Six hours and 50 mins.

What app do you use the most?
Instagram. One hour per week.

When’s the last time you took a day off? What did you do?
Last weekend, we had family visiting and took them to The Salvador Dalí Museum here in St. Pete Florida. We had oysters on the pier, played mini golf, and sort of fed gators.

What’s the thing your company is doing to prioritize employee wellness?
We have a weekly check-in ritual where each person shares a self-care win, a work win, and goals for the week. It’s nice because it’s loose, playful, and relevant. The team indirectly holds each other accountable and inspires new wellness routines, small and big.

What’s your favorite treat?
Cookies and cream ice cream. I’m constantly on the hunt for the most cookie chunks.

What’s your favorite wellness product?
Rather than products I’ll share a few experiences that have been important to my healing and growth: Evryman Men’s Emotional Leadership Community, and 1 Giant Mind self-guided meditation training taught by Jesse Israel.

Show us a photo of your happy place.

“Lounging with baby Naya—my perfect place.”
Courtesy of Michael Tennant
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