Coming up on four months since pulling the rip cord on my 30+ year corporate career and time has flown by. My days are filled. My nights are filled. I don’t look at the clock anymore, it just goes by too fast. I have structured, focused, creative days, starting with a morning ritual that I don’t miss. It ends with another ritual, that I don’t miss. Along the way I’ve learned 4 key things that I thought I would share. Four things I wish I figured out while I was still working in corporate.
1. Mornings Matter – I thought I was a decent morning person when I was working , I had no idea how wrong I was. Now my mornings are the ignition that drives me through the day. I go to bed ready to wake up and get to it. It all came about because I found a book in an Airport Bookstore, of all places. The Miracle Morning. I actually started this practice last June, but only in the last 4 months have I figured it out. I’ve taken the Authors Process and made it my own. Here’s what I do every morning…EVERY morning.
1. Wake up early – anywhere between 5:30 – 7am
2. Drink a big glass of Water (I do chase it down with a cup of coffee). Get hydrated.
3. Read – Read at least 10 pages. Read a book that educates you, stretches you into topics that you don’t normally read about. Maybe self-care. Use this time to really focus on the book, mark up the pages, study it. The 10 pages will fly by.
4. Write – If you don’t have a journal, get one. Spend 10 minutes (to start) writing about how you’re feeling, what your day will be like, what you will accomplish. Whatever is top of mind. Goals. Plans. Some call it a “Flight Plan”. Get it down on paper.
5. Meditate – I use the Calm App. It’s a 10-15+ minute mediation session. The 21 Days of Calm is a great session to start with. I didn’t think I could sit for 10 minutes trying to calm my mind. But that’s the thing. The mind will do what it wants, it’s how you take it back to the breath and begin to train it like any muscle is the fascinating part.
6. Exercise – I rotate. I do Yoga, lift weights and run. Yoga has unlocked body parts I thought I lost in my 20s.
That’s it. This takes about an hour. Sometimes I go longer, as needed. I’m now ready to tackle anything. You can add visualization and affirmations to this. For me, I sprinkle these into my process as needed.
2. Impermanence – There’s an old saying that goes something like…”Learn to Surf, because you can’t control the waves.” All things have a beginning and an end. Emotions. Situations at work. Org changes. Bad times. Good times. Stay centered. Enjoy the moments, big and small, because in the end it will change. Life will ebb and flow. It’s how you react and flow with it, that matters. Resistance takes work. Resistance takes energy. Resistance drives self-doubt. Just remember what you’re feeling or going through right now will change. That’s life.
3. Gratitude – For so many years in corporate I left the day without any sense of gratitude. I always had a complaint at the ready, but rarely a thought about what I was grateful for. Sure, as we get older we begin to get a sense of “where did the time go” and we begin to really think about all the things that have gone by, that we didn’t pause to appreciate. From experiences, to meeting new people, to helping strangers, to giving back. As part of the Writing portion of my morning routine I intentionally write down the things I’m grateful for. From the biggest to the smallest. It all matters. It all adds up. When you state and document your gratitude it gives it weight, not just a passing thought. Give it a try.
4. Close and Celebrate the Day - Each evening I’m fortunate enough to have someone in my life that I get to close and celebrate the day with. When we’re both done with work, with go outside, grab a wine glass, put on some music and toast the day. We celebrate what worked and what didn’t. We instituted the 5 Minute Rule. We get to bitch and moan about something for 5 Minutes, then it’s done. Closed topic. On to something new. It’s a way to share time with your loved ones, get stuff off your chest and move on. Don’t get bogged down in a bitch session. If you have small kids, make it fun. Ask them about their day and what they want to celebrate. If they had a rough day give them 5 minutes to get it out of their system, then on to greener pastures.
There you have it. My 4 things I’ve learned in the last 4 months, that have honestly changed my life. Can’t wait for the next 4 things. If you do all or some of these, let me know your experiences. If this is all new and want to try, grab the book and dive in. Let me know how it goes. Good luck.
Gone to the Barn to make art.