Preparation for the day ahead requires more than wardrobe selection, a calendar review and a cup of coffee. In my decades of entrepreneurial experience, successful days do not just happen. They require a certain perspective, a degree of preparation and some planning. To achieve a positive outlook, I abide by the 10/10/10 rule, every morning devoting 10 minutes each to these three things. Ok, being honest, I mostly do 5/5/5 but that is only because of my entrepreneurial ADHD! I learned about this method of proper mindset while attending a leadership conference as a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
Start your day in the right direction; put yourself in a positive mindset with the help of these morning mental exercises, which you can easily incorporate into your own routine.
Spend 10 minutes in uninterrupted, total quiet. For some, this might take the form of prayer, for others it might be meditation. Depending on the person, this period of reflection might simply mean sitting in silence. Whatever form this takes for you, these 10 minutes allow space to reflect on the previous day and focus on your goals going into the day ahead. Use this time to clear your mind and set a positive tone.
For 10 minutes, create a gratitude list. This can be written in a diary, documented in a gratitude journal, scribbled on a scrap piece of paper or even just itemized mentally. The format matters little as long as the focus is on those things (big and small) that you appreciate. The point is to get your mind thinking of the positive aspects and moments of your life. Doing so alters your brain beneficially and can literally change your life. Study after study reveals that gratitude leads to better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction and decreased likelihood of suffering from burnout. Expressing gratitude releases the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, and consciously practicing gratitude every day helps these neural pathways to strengthen themselves. Research also demonstrates that gratitude lowers the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, resulting in better cardiac functioning and more resilience to emotional setbacks and negative experiences.
The final 10 minutes should be spent reading a book of inspirational quotes or something else that is positive. This will help put you in a good mindset and perhaps provide you with your mantra for the day. Whether you find inspiration from the words of someone like Steve Jobs:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Or ancient proverbs:
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the next best time is today.”
A simple Google search will provide tons of sites and books full of quotes. The important thing is that you take time to seek out sources of motivation to inspire you to greatness. Remember that to form a habit you need to do something for 60 consecutive days (on average). By dedicating just 30 minutes every morning, devoting 10 minutes on each of these three things – introspection, appreciation, and inspiration – you’ll set yourself up for a successful day.
Questions to Consider
- 1. Do you let your first email, text or voicemail define the type of day you’re going to have?
- 2. What practices do you have to self-correct when you find yourself in a bad mindset?
- 3. Do you have negative people in your life that affect your mindset? If so, what are you doing to fix it?