Rule #1: Find Yourself

How we start the day is how we do the day.

As a leader, how do you start the day?

In the early morning, our job is to reignite self-connection so we deepen other-connection.

Early in the morning, I get up and make my way to the coffee maker. And if you’re like me, there is nothing like hearing the drip, smelling the beans, anticipating the first sip.

As the coffee brews, I open the door to my backyard so my dogs, Dixie and Dakota, can do their joyful, doggie-things. And clutching my steaming cup, I settle into my happy spot: the screened porch with my dog-eared books and journals piled around me, having coffee with Jesus, and breathing myself into the day.

This is the routine: the waiting, opening, listening time. This is the silence I need to jumpstart my gratitude, hope, and awareness.

Rule #1: Find Yourself

Being transparent, vulnerable, and accountable is the centerpiece of connection. This is different from self-centeredness; this is break-wide-open humility and honesty. This means being an open book balanced with the wisdom of discretion: not everyone deserves the whole gift of your story.

Yet, as far our stories are concerned, we do have to be rigorously honest with ourselves: owning every chapter instead of “forgetting” about the monkeys that showed up at your three-ring circus, or the times your head spun around like in the Exorcist. Maybe you don’t have those parts in your story, and if not, bless your heart as they say here in the south; I sure as hell do. Our stories are part mythology, nightmare, and poetry: own it all so it does not own you.

Our story gets more powerful as we accept the ancient wounds that need healing, and the character flaws that make us scary at times … just a bit, and only at times.

This owning of the whole catastrophe becomes possible when we find daily practices to deepen self-connection. Think: meditation, prayer, journaling, therapy, spiritual guidance, coaching, the quiet pounding of sneakers as you run, deep inhales and exhales, yoga, and hiking in nature.

A client of mine began a meditation practice several months ago. I had been inviting him to do so for quite a while, yet he found it hard to squeeze it in with all the demands. I get it, self-connection is hard. Time is limited. And emptying the dishwasher can be more fun than looking at ourselves. Yet, the universe found a way to clear his path, and his daily routine started to include meditation.

His response to me: “Why did I wait so long? Everything is now better: relationships, work.”

No one thing takes us all the way home, and yet the self-discovery that flows from silence and solitude can be a balm for your soul that then flows onto the people who work with us, live with us, and keep faith with us. And so in opening up to ourselves, we open to others, and before you know it, we are leading those who want what we have.

Connection Prompt: What can you do every day to deepen ways to Find Yourself?