Today I want to share two stories with you. The first is (sadly) very common, and the second happens very rarely.
Jessica jolted awake. For the fourth time. Finally, she got up, rushed into the shower, and got the kids awake. As she supervised their breakfast, she rushed around packing up their backpacks while her husband put together their lunches. Out the door, Jessica and her kids ran to the bus stop, getting there just as the school bus pulled up to the stop.
By the time they got there, Jessica was out of breath. She knew she looked flushed and hurried. One of her biggest pet peeves every day was rushing up to the bus stop, flustered and out of breath, always the last one there, while everyone else seemed totally calm. Somehow, no matter how hard she tried, it was the same thing every single morning (even though the stop is only around the corner from her house).
Then she rushed home, grabbed her laptop, and drove off through rush-hour traffic, flicking from radio station to station to distract herself from being worried about being late. She finally had a second to breathe after the rush of the morning, and something that had been bothering her all morning came to the front of her mind. She felt like she’d forgotten something. There was something she’d wanted to do before work. What was it?
Finally, she arrived at work, and as she pulled into the parking lot, she remembered…she was doing client visits today. As usual, she was prepared, but she always wished she had half an hour before heading out to focus and pump herself up. Whenever she did, she could feel how much more confident she seemed, how impressed her clients were.
But that day…well, she’d get it done. But she wouldn’t be at her best. And she’d know it.
Fast forward three months. It’s another client-visit day.
Jessica wakes up on her own, rolls over, looks at the clock, and smiles. Plenty of time.
She swings her feet over the side of the bed, drinks the glass of water on her bedside table, and takes five minutes to journal. She writes a few sentences about things she’s grateful for and looks over her goals. Jessica moves seamlessly into 10 minutes of meditation, and then she has a quiet breakfast by herself. No family…just time to herself.
By the time the kids are up, Jessica has showered and put together the kids’ backpacks. Her husband packs the kids’ lunches while Jessica does the breakfast dishes, and soon she and the kids are out the door.
They get to the bus stop early, and then Jessica breezes through morning traffic, arriving at work an hour early. She spends the time brushing up on some points for her clients and doing some priming to boost her confidence.
The rest of the day…easy. She has no problem blowing away her clients, because she’s at the top of her game.
What’s the difference?
In the second story, Jessica has a morning ritual.
Like the students we’ve helped with morning rituals, Jessica’s mornings have gone from rushed and frantic to calm and energizing. Instead of being something she dreads, mornings are something Jessica actually looks forward to.
And that happiness carries over to the rest of her day.
People often view happiness as this mysterious thing that’s always out of our reach, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Happiness is a choice, and we can attain it by making choices every day that lead us to greater happiness.
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