It’s 5:51 am. This is how my morning has gone so far:
4:04 – Lebowski is chatting and stirring in his crib. Pretty sure he’s getting tooth #2.
4:40 – Lebowski is full on crying and I get him and bring him into bed. Start nursing to trick him into sleeping again.
4:42 – Jumping bean starts talking and telling us she wants to put her clothes on from her room. Hubby tries to convince her its the middle of the night. Screaming, etc… then she’s back in bed and most is quiet. Lebowski is wide awake but nursing in our bed.
4:55 – Jumping bean has most likely fallen back asleep; Lebowski is between the worlds of wake and sleep.
5:10 – Lebowski falls asleep. Jumping bean is now wide awake and playing with the cat. The cat has found a way to pry open a door and get in her room to play. (Jumping bean loves when this happens. I, on the other hand, jump out of bed and go on a rampage to murder the cat.)
5:20 – Jumping bean is now running throughout the house turning on and off lights, jumping on her trampoline, and playing with the cat (who has conveniently escaped being murdered). All while chanting, “I’m all done sleeping!”
5:23 – I accept defeat and officially get out of bed to make sure Jumping bean doesn’t start using kitchen tools or breaking valuables. (She has been known to go out the doggie door on her own, so we have to be careful.)
5:30 – Jumping bean tells me to “smile!” as we are getting her dressed. “Come on, mommy- smile!”
Needless to say, I’m struggling in this moment to start with a positive outlook, or “tone” to my day.
Making a Choice
I know from experience and my reading in personal and professional development, that this is crucial moment. I need to choose how to start my day. Am I going to brood about this, focus on how to successfully murder the cat and my lack of sleep, or do I take a deep breath and choose to embrace today in a positive light? I KNOW the latter is what will influence my day in a good way and help me actually enjoy a long Sunday with both kiddos and guests. I KNOW that I can choose how to react to my situation and change my outlook. I know this, yet it is still so hard to consciously make that choice. But I will. I am. I will try so incredibly hard to start this day with a smile and a positive outlook. But I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that it will take a good hour to work myself into that ‘good’ mood with a positive outlook. It’s ok, though. Because I’m trying.
A Tone’s Impact … Everywhere
I realized that this has to do with everything we do in life- personal and professional. I ran two training classes on Friday, and I started them with very different tones. One was an optional learning session for a smaller group, and it was much more laid back. We all sat down and had a discussion on the topic, instead of an actual presentation. It encouraged more questions, more inquiry, and less lecture. There was no skill or crucial knowledge that we wanted them to walk away with. The instructor and I liked this format, but it would not have worked for a more official topic and a different group.
The second one was to cover our organization’s emergency procedures… and it’s a serious topic with some dry (yet crucial) information. Our CEO was in attendance, as well as 24 other employees from across the organization. I had toys and manipulatives laid out all over the tables and provided candy. It was set up in advance and everyone felt an official ‘aura’ surrounding the training that was going to start. I started off the session with a formal introduction and stood at the side of the room while the facilitator covered the material. I chimed in where necessary and helped answer questions. The facilitator stood and followed the presentation, and expressed the seriousness of the topic with his stories and tone throughout the hour.
Both of these sessions required a different ‘feel’, but I had to start them off in the right way, or they would have gone very differently.
Choosing how to set the tone in all situations can help guide that experience- for you and others.
I attended a yoga class yesterday that showed me the same concept. It was a free community class, and I had pretty low expectations. (I just needed to get the heck out of the house and this class was timed right.) The instructor started that class with gusto, intention, and determination that we would find a sense of community in that room. She started with a sharing activity and I thought, “OH geez… I just wanna do some yoga, lady.” She kept it up the whole time, and I fell right into following her and changed my tone. I walked out of there WITH a sense of community, and realized that her intentional and strong tone influenced how I experienced that class. I’m glad. I needed someone and something to put me in a better direction, and she did that for me.
If you haven’t seen the Amy Cuddy TED talk on power poses, you should. It’s wonderful in helping you realize that you can change your tone and view of yourself in just two minutes of physical body alterations. Watch it here!
We can each do that – put ourselves and others in a better direction… or at least feel passionately about our causes at home and at work to be infectious to those we love. Our bodies, our voices, and our intentions can set ourselves and those around us in a better direction. It’s difficult- I know. Jumping bean just came and told me she was tired, as I try my darndest to grab today by the horns with a big semi-fake smile. But I will try. And trying is something.