October 31, 2021

Micro-Beginnings

Josh Gentine

Mornings. Man do I love mornings. I am a notoriously early riser. I bask in the dark of the early dawn of day. I roll around in mornings like a kid in grass. I never set out to be an early riser, nope, the morning chose me. It started when I was young and had to clean horse stalls before going to school. I used to pull on my boots, trudge through the snow uphill (both ways) to the barn in the freezing cold of Wisconsin winters to feed and water the horses and clean their stalls. In college it was no different. As a walk-on, I was relegated to the earliest workout time, requiring me to ride my bike uphill (both ways) through the freezing cold South Bend winters only to be screamed at by our strength and conditioning staff who hated the fact that they had to be awake at an ungodly hour to scream at walk-ons. Good times.

These days, my mornings are more peaceful. I spring out of bed between 3-4 AM to drink coffee, pray, read, reflect, workout, prune house plants, dust knickknacks, or often, just sit with my thoughts. In fact, I sometimes even powernap before the kids get up, sneaking in a quick 15-20-minute nap to recharge the batteries. Ah the glories of the morning!

While perhaps you don’t feel as strongly towards mornings as I do (let’s be honest, my morning fetish is intense), why does it matter? Because the morning is a beginning, and beginnings are powerful. Like January 1st or your birthday, which are often used as reset opportunities for goals, ambitions, plans and priorities, the start of your day is a micro-beginning that gives you the chance to start fresh, a clean slate on which to design a new day. However, many people don’t take this time to design. For instance, if you have young kids, the mornings often get consumed by the drama of getting kids dressed, fed, watered, and out the door in time for school. And, odds are, many of you are also getting ready for your own day!

While there are an infinite number of reasons why getting up early can be “hard”, I beg you to start taking an extra 5-10 minutes each morning to get centered. Doing this will make a huge difference in your day if you use that time wisely. Those 5-10 minutes will help you reset your mind and get you pointed in the right direction. Everyone has their own routine, but here are four quick exercises you can do each day before you open your laptop or start scrolling. Grab your coffee or tea and…

  1. Remind yourself of your Why and reflect on the fundamental reasons for your being and why you’re on this planet (yeah, think that big!).

  2. Reflect on your values. Values are your decision filters and keep you focused on what matters.

  3. Revisit the two or three goals you have for the next 30-60 days.

  4. Review your to-do list and prioritize the things that really matter.

It is difficult to stay on track, both personally and professionally. We are constantly bombarded by distractions, muses, and the seemingly endless supply of information we’re supposed to consume and act upon every day. However, by taking a few minutes each morning to re-center yourself on who you are and what you want in your life, it is exponentially more likely you’ll be able to make the impact you wish to make. Additionally, this simple pause each morning will free up a significant amount of time as you begin to work more effectively by focusing on the things that move the needle.

And remember, if you need some help centering yourself, reach out – I’ll be up early!

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