How long after you wake up do you reach for your phone? 5 minutes? 5 seconds?
For many people I know, this is their first “task” each day. They awake to a screechy alarm– often after not sleeping nearly enough–and then race to their device. I will admit, this used to be my way of operating too until I realized that I was becoming pretty ineffective and feeling pretty dissatisfied. A change was needed.
I finally realized that the most important task on my list doesn’t live in my project management tool or in my inbox.
As I began to fully trust myself and my heart and what I knew all along, the most important task in my day became the care of my soul. If soul is a weird word for you, then you can input the word ‘self’ or whatever other word you like that feels representative of your full embodied existence. I like soul because to me it represents the mind/heart/body working in concert.
We like to think that we can override these components and continue being effective in life and in our leadership. But the truth is that we can’t for very long.
While it may seem that your general dissatisfaction in life is coming from outside of you (i.e. the kid sitting in front of me on the airplane who repeatedly slammed the lid to the table carrier and smashed pretzels in it), it actually comes from within. Our general dissatisfaction is much more influenced and constructed by our internal perspective. And our internal perspective depends on how well we have taken care of our mind, our heart, and our body. Now that I’m fully rested and have completed my morning rituals of meditation and journaling, that little kid on the airplane strikes me as hilarious, creative, and entertaining.
We have a zillion reasons for not taking care of our soul. We’re too busy; we have too many responsibilities; we have no time for hippy dippy stuff; we won’t succeed if we pause for even a minute to handle our deepest needs, the needs of the soul.
But here is what I recommend instead: If you’re feeling courageous enough to begin, ask yourself, “What is the one thing that I know my soul needs to feel alive and at peace?” It doesn’t have to be complicated or involve you running away to a mountain cave (although that might be true for you).
Once you know what it is, do it every day. And make it the first thing you do. Try that for a week and notice how you feel and what happens.
Know that because you’re going to do things differently, your “old self” won’t like it very much at first. Doubt will rule for a few moments or a few days. Do it anyway.
Then, every single day, you will be able to proudly say that you completed your most important task first thing. Oddly, the rest will take care of itself.