One of the conversations that’s come up with several different people over the past week is about habits and having a self-care routine which helps us stay rooted. Beginning a few years ago, I started a morning routine. This routine now includes tongue scraping, washing my face, taking supplements, having tea, saying my affirmations, and doing some form of centering (meditation, reading, or journaling). Then I have breakfast and get ready for the day.
It took me a while to get here. I began doing forty-five minutes to an hour of morning prayer after going to an International Justice Mission prayer gathering in Washington D.C. I felt the Divine leading me to pray for those being trafficked and the people who were helping them escape. Within six months this practice turned into a Centering Prayer practice, sitting for twenty minutes on a pillow.
After about three months of daily Centering Prayer, I noticed that I was a better person in all aspects of life when I did my practice. When I didn’t sit for twenty minutes, I was not my best self. I was irritable, less kind, and generally not open to the surprises each day holds. So I made a commitment to myself that I would do something every morning that got me to sit on my meditation pillow for at least twenty minutes. I realized I needed to be still to be fully alive in the world.
I can say with 100% certainty that I wouldn’t have started this routine because of any personal benefit. As leaders we can feel that we don’t have time to do a routine, we’re not worth our time, or we get distracted and don’t do it. However, every great leader I’ve read about or have met has a routine that gets them ready for the day. They’ve accepted the fact that they are better leaders when they take time for themselves by having a routine. This morning habit doesn’t have to be long or highly involved. It can be spending five minutes to have coffee and be still, grateful, or present.
Your challenge: look at how you spend your first thirty to sixty minutes after waking up. How does it set you up for success in the rest of your day?