A Two Question Ritual to Change Your Day
Leadership always has trajectory. What’s yours?
- How is your attitude breathing vitality into others?
- How are your actions strengthening relationships?
Daily rituals establish trajectory.
A two question ritual to change your day:
#1. What one thing would you like to do less today?
Suggestion one: Stop looking at your phone while you’re with people. The presence of a cell phone lowers performance and hinders relationships.
Suggestion two: Stop complaining for a day. (Well, maybe just an hour.) Every now and then, I resolve to stop complaining. One time, I only lasted a few minutes.
If complaining made things better, the world would be perfect.
Complainers are victims.
Suggestion three: Stop avoiding tough situations.
Experience shows that avoiding tough situations:
- Drains vitality. Dripping faucets suck the life out of you.
- Prolongs ignorance. Stepping into a tough situation is a learning opportunity.
- Inflates negativity. The longer you wait, the more you imagine the worst.
Suggestion four: Stop obsessing about stuff you don’t like.
#2. What one thing would you like to do more today?
Suggestion one: Take responsibility for the trajectory of your leadership by choosing actions and words that express aspirations.
How might you adopt an attitude that makes it more likely your team will follow you?
Suggestion two: Decide what you like in terms of actions and attitudes and do that.
Suggestion three: Write a sentence that describes the way you’d like to show up today.
Suggestion four: Notice what’s working.
When was the last time you walked around noticing – with gratitude – things that are working?
What’s one thing you stopped doing that you’d like to start doing again today?
- Walk around.
- Keep a to-do list.
- Close your door for “Deep Work.”
What suggestions seem most relevant for you?
What suggestions might you add to the list?
Why Rituals Work (Scientific American)
10 Life Changing Questions to Ask Yourself Today (Inc)
How to Stop Complaining: 7 Secrets to being Happier (Cleveland Clinic)
Great conversations for self reflection and mentoring other leaders. Love the picture and the complaining observation! 🙂
Thanks Vicki. Here’s to a great week.
When I need to do deep work, I schedule a small conference room for a couple of hours, preferably on a different floor from where I normally work. That way, my office door is always open AND I can work without distractions.
Thanks Jennifer. There’s some interesting material about where work actually gets done, and it’s often NOT in our offices.
My ‘stop doing’ is #3, avoiding tough situations. Usually they’re not even that tough, but I don’t get to them, and they linger on, taking up mental energy. Since retirement, my ‘start doing’ is different for me: focus on people. Conversation is not my strong point, so sometimes I end up talking about what I’m working on or excited about. Afterwards, I wished I was better at getting people to talk about what THEY’RE excited about. I want to be more like my buddy Dan Buettner, explorer/author/entrepreneur. He always makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the world to him right then, and that what you know or are interested in is the most exciting thing imaginable to him at that moment.
Thanks Glen. That #3 is a big one. In a way, I think you’re a little scary if you LIKE tough situations. Of course, there may be some who thrive in conflict. I think they’re rare.
I enjoy the idea of determining your own trajectory through daily habits. It seems simple, but it is not an idea I have ever seen spelled out. Deciding to gear your trajectory towards the things you want to do and away from the things you do not wish to do is powerful and a little intimidating. It is, somehow, harder to make these positive changes than to continue the default route. This quarantine has made my days blur together and I find that there is not much in my day to do less of, except break away from screen time. There is a million and one tasks that I wish I were doing more often in the day. The two middle suggestions are the ones that I am the most familiar with, as they are frequently mentioned in yoga lessons: being present and setting the tone for your day. I have found that yoga and meditation are a good start for changing your day for the better and are fairly similar to your advice here. I would add taking breaks and making a space for yourself to the suggestion list of things to do more today. This is another yoga principle that I have personally benefited from and have seen on another of your blog posts. Setting aside quiet time for yourself can be really healing, especially when faced with demands of a leadership position. I used to have a habit of working on side projects and interests for myself but have lost that habit in the hustle and bustle of graduate school. I would love to begin this task again, as it reminds me of the passion that brought me here. The grind of schooling can be overwhelming but setting aside time for bettering myself in an area of niche interest makes it worth it.
The component that is mentioned about to stop avoiding the tough situations is something that is incredibly important for young leaders to embrace. As you rise through the ranks within your company there will undoubtedly be tough decisions and tough circumstances that you will be faced with. It’s important to take these head on to be able to effectively overcome them and act accordingly if they arise again in the future. If there was one thing I would do less on a daily basis it would be looking at my phone, it’s a bad habit and makes me less productive in certain circumstances. I’ve downloaded an app on my phone that if I am on my phone too much during the day it forces me to take a break to try and combat this. It allows me to be more aware of what is happening around me and live in the moment. One thing I would like to do more of is to take mental health breaks to ensure that I stay sharp and can make the right decisions in high-stress environments. When you become drained mentally you act in ways that may not reflect your normal state of mind which can be problematic. Mental health in my eyes is equally as important as physical health and ultimately the two play off each other.
I wholeheartedly believe in the power of ritual and starting your day with specific intentions and mindsets. I like to wake up and the first thing I do is write down a list of my intentions for the day, whether they are specific, like chores or assignments, or more general behavior-based intentions, like remember that you can only control what you do, not what others do. At the end of the day I like to reflect upon whether I did what I intended to do or not and I write about why or why I did not. I also like to end my day with five good things that happened to me that day. In a world filled with more and more tragedies everyday, I find that actively thinking about positive moments or events and listing them helps to ease anxiety and depression.
After reading this post, I think I will add in these two questions to my own ritual for the day. Asking questions does not always result in an answer, if it does great, but if not that’s okay too. Sometimes the best thing about asking yourself a question is the self-analysis and introspection that comes with it. Instead of thinking about something abstractly, a specific and pointed question helps to yield better clarity. However, I believe it is critical to write–not type–write the question down. Writing helps the mind to become more conscious of the concept you are writing, and I find that whatever I write tends to stick in my brain longer than things that I don’t write down.
With regard to leadership, the best leaders know to ask themselves questions and to question themselves all the time–these are two separate things. Asking yourself a question is specialized to you, while questioning yourself implies that your actions affect others and reflection on those actions is to benefit others, not just yourself.
Haha. Super nice…though just like you mentioned about your wife – complaining helps too..in the hill context. Something big, hard is there for grabs.