One of my favorite thoughts to anchor to is, “We have the power to dictate our own inner experience.” Now, there are always factors outside of our control that impact our lives in big ways. But, following the old adage of, “Life isn’t what happens to us, but rather how we choose to respond,” the best in the world are uncommonly consistent at putting their energy into what’s within their control. It’s not because they care less about the outcomes or the consequences of external factors, but rather because they know it’s what gives them the best chance to get the results they want in the end. Plus, it’s a much more enjoyable path to getting there as well. In my experience and attempt to subscribe to this way of thinking, it is a skill that is much easier said than done. What I’ve come to understand is that it is a choice we make every single day, and it often starts within the first few minutes of waking up.
No judgment in this, but how many of us wake up and the first thing we do is pick up our phone? When I ask this in a room full of people, usually the majority of the hands go up accompanied by a knowing laugh. Now, let’s think about this for a moment…
Before we take a moment to check in with ourselves (mentally, physically, or emotionally), before we check in with a loved one, we dive into our phones that typically offer a roulette of texts, e-mails, or even more of a gamble, WE CHECK THE NEWS. So, from the moment we wake up we immediately jump into external sources and external noise, oftentimes letting them dictate our mood before we even get out of bed. There might be days where this works in our favor and we get some good news that makes us want to conquer the day, but along with that comes the other side of the coin.
At Compete to Create, one of the core principles we teach is how to train control, and what science tells us is that one of the links behind motivation and resilience is how well we are able to focus and place our attention into those things that are within our capacity to control. As humans, we typically get more and more anxious when we focus on the external and all of the things that we might care about, that matter, that can have real consequences but are ultimately outside of our capacity to control.
One way to anchor our thoughts and behaviors to what is within our control is to commit to a short, but powerful, morning mindset routine.
What would it look like if you created a little bit of space in the morning to choose how you wanted to navigate the day, how you wanted to engage with challenges, how you wanted to show up for yourself and those around you, before letting external sources “tell you how it was going to go”? As we likely know now, more than ever, we cannot always control the challenges we will face day to day, but what often dictates our experience is how we choose to show up for them.
If you want to train control and enhance your skill of dictating your own experience, it could look something like this…
1. Wake up and turn off your alarm. SET THE PHONE DOWN 🙂
2. Take one deep breath, focusing on a long exhale.
3. Take a minute to think and feel about something you’re grateful for.
4. Set an intention for the day. What do you want to be about today? (Not WHAT you are going to do, but HOW you want to show up)
5. Get out of bed and just feel your feet on the floor.
The more we are intentional about how we respond to the inevitable challenges throughout our day, the more we can regulate our emotions, reduce stress, and continue to stay motivated and resilient regardless of what is going on around us. This simple exercise can prime your mind to focus on what’s within your control at work, and I have a feeling your loved ones might even notice a change in how you show up in the morning as well!