Just a few days ago I had one of those mornings! I felt the seconds flying past me, and the clock mocking me. I couldn’t seem to advance no matter how speedy I was! It also felt like everyone was pushing my buttons! There’s no other way to say it other than, I was in a sh!$ty mood! Been there?
I know that it’s impossible not to have days like these every now and then, but having one recently reminded me just how important it is to prepare for a great morning! I’d like to believe that I am extremely conscious of my thoughts and reactions, and so I did quite a bit of reflecting during that day to pin point what went wrong and how I could make sure to avoid it happening again (or anytime soon!).
See, as leaders, we can’t just go to work and ignore the world (or scream at it!). We are always affecting something or someone. As leaders we always have our vision in sight, and every moment we set a course toward that vision. More importantly, we hopefully are inspiring others to join us on this moment-to-moment trek to accomplish great things. See, as leaders, we can’t afford to have bad mornings.
In reflecting, here’s what set me off:
• I didn’t sleep well and I woke up too early.
• Figuring out breakfast for the family was challenging.
• I couldn’t decide what to wear.
• My family’s humor just didn’t jive with me that morning!
Now, would you agree with me that these things are little things? Yes! But what happens when a lot of little things add up? In my case it was just enough to throw me off into an emotional storm that lasted more than I wanted. I think about those individuals who experience the onslaught of many little things each day and don’t reflect; don’t understand why they are feeling as they are; don’t see how easy it can be to shift it, and never take action for change. For busy leaders, it’s crucial to plan for success and have systems and habits that support our wellbeing. On this morning, my being was not well, LOL!
As Oprah would say, here’s what I know for sure! These are the systems/habits that can help me (and I suspect you too, if your mornings can be a little crazy) ensure that I start out my days happy and effective:
1. Go to bed at a reasonable time to ensure you get at least 7 hours of sleep.
2. Prepare for bedtime with a ritual, like a warm bath and cup of tea, or relaxing music, or reading or yoga.
3. Make sure your fridge and pantry are stocked for the week so you don’t have to figure out how to feed yourself and your army!
4. If you’ve got kiddos, like I do, make those school lunches the night before and set out their clothes.
5. Set out your own clothes! Look at what your day will be like, know how you want to look and feel, pick your outfit, and steam/iron it.
6. Set your Mind! Mindset is EVERYTHING. Have one or a few mantras on hand that allow you to set your mood. A good one I could have used that morning—“I laugh at myself & it feels good!”
7. Turn off the TV and play music instead! The power of music to shift our mood is real! TV chatter and the increasing amount of bad news being broadcasted can overwhelm us. It becomes noise we don’t need.
8. Forgive yourself. Sometimes, no matter how much we plan, things just don’t go as planned. Shake it off and don’t make it personal. Peace over Perfection! (Isn’t this a great mantra??!!)
9. Shift to love and gratitude. When we sweat the small stuff, as I did that morning, I picture myself stopping for a few seconds, looking at my family, my home, everything in front of me, and saying “Thank you! I love these people and these things! I’m so blessed!” Focusing on what’s real melts away the self-pity, anger and stress.
10. Breathe. Find just a few moments before heading out your door to take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed, smiling. It’s a re-calibration and a moment to just BE before we launch for the day!
I know these work for me, when I work them!
What helps you start off your day successfully and positively? Please share your ideas below.
Here’s to great mornings!