I am often asked what is the one thing that makes the biggest difference when leading and working with people? There are loads of laudable philosophies, models, theories and books that can fill library shelves and, no doubt, are very worthwhile reading. However, from my point of view the answer to the question is quite obvious and resides in the attitude we adopt each and everyday that we are alive – we may not always be in a position to choose the job we do, but regardless of what we do, we can all choose the attitude we bring to work and apply to our everyday life.
It sounds simple, it costs nothing, everyone can do it, requires no more time investment than 5 minutes at the start of each day and 2 minutes throughout the day, so even the busiest of executives can fit it in to their busy schedule, and best of all, everyone can benefit from the positive consequences.
It all starts with intention – how you choose to live your life when you wake up in the morning – and if you don’t do this act consciously, your sub-conscious mind (which is in charge of most of our decision making and behaviours) will do it for you. How often have you rushed out of the door in the morning to commence your day without thinking about how you would like things to go – what impact do you want to have on the world around you? All it takes is one small thing to go wrong in your morning, and it seems to set the pattern for the rest of the day? Even something as simple as burning your toast, spilling your tea, or being delayed in a traffic jam, is enough to put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day. But when you think about it, why would you let something so inconsequential dictate how you lived the rest of your day?
I am going to share with you a technique, that if applied daily, can change your daily experience of life for the better and positively influence the mood of the people you are around – it surely is a no brainer! Right? By following this technique, it increases the likelihood that your words, actions and responses to everyday events, especially during moments of stress will be more mindful, compassionate, kind and positive. It is both subtle and powerful and is best done first thing in the morning, before you get caught up in the hurly burly of your everyday life.
Step 1. Nourish your mind – when you wake up, take a few moments to connect with your surroundings and thoughts – remind yourself that today is a new day with no mistakes! Take A Few Deep Breaths – start off by taking 3-5 slow deep breaths and really experience how the breath enters and exits your body- breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth – it helps to focus your awareness into the present moment – noticing the rise and fall of the chest as the breath enters and leaves your body.
Step 2. Ask yourself – what is my intention for the day? Set the general intention of this new day by committing to it being a productive and enjoyable one. Consider the qualities you want to embody during this new day, such as patience, understanding, positivity and humour.
Step 3. Set your intention for the day. Give some thought to what this particular day holds for you. Perhaps you have a meeting, a doctors appointment, or you have a set amount of tasks to complete. Give these some consideration and think about the attitude in which you would like to approach these tasks, for example, ‘today I will be kind to myself, be patient with others, be optimistic, give generously, have fun and be happy’ or whatever else comes to your mind.
Step 4. Check-in. Throughout the day take a pause, a few deep breaths and revisit your intention for the day and make any adjustments needed.
By applying the above technique over time you will notice how the quality of your communication and relationships improve for the better and your general mood is lighter, optimistic and happy.
Let me know how you get on and if you would like to explore this approach further then please contact me.