4 Thought Prompts to Help Start the Day with Intention
Just about every morning me and my bestie do a little check in via text message. The timing of the check in and the content of the conversation flow a little differently from day-to-day, but no matter what else we talk about, we almost always support each other in grounding back into the present moment with these four simple prompts.
This little ritual evolved into being over the past 8 years of friendship, and it has become a vital component of my day. So much so that if for some reason we are unable to connect on a particular day, I will usually stop at some point and pose these prompts to myself. They work great with a friend to hold your reflections and mirror things back to you. They are also fantastic for solo self-inquiry.
The four prompts are:
– Happy New Day!
– How’s your breath?
– What do you have going on today?
– What would feel supportive?
Here’s why I find these prompts to be so powerful:
1) Happy New Day!
Happy New Day! is a celebration of the fact that we are here another day. It’s a new day! Yahoo! There is no focus on what day of the week it is. It’s not about living for the weekend. Rather it’s about living each day as if it has the possibility of being the best day ever, because it totally does.
Also, the fact that it is a new day puts to bed any nonsense or shenanigans that took place the day before. Happy New Day implies a fresh start. A clean slate. A chance to show up and try again.
On top of that, Happy New Day also implies a chance to show up with whatever new skills or goodness we onboarded the day before. Had a moment of sheer brilliance yesterday and woke up feeling super confident? Great! How will you let that confidence shine through and inform everything you do on this fresh clean slate that is called Today?
2) How’s your breath?
I love this question because it immediately calls the person being asked to take a breath. This initial ‘reset’ breath brings you back to your body and back to this moment. It starts the process of calming the nervous system and waking up the cells in the body. It helps the brain become clearer and creates some space and relaxation in the muscles. We can connect with all the good yummy things we seek in our daily lives by reconnecting with our breath.
‘How’s your breath?’ can be a loaded question, or a question you might hesitate to answer because so often we simply don’t breathe. We have a tendency to sit there holding our breath without even realize it. There are gaziiiiillions of reasons why we hold our breath including stress, fear, confusion, curiosity, avoidance, and that go-go-go lifestyle we’ve all fallen into, to name a few. This call to take a reset breath is a beautiful reminder that it’s ok to be in the here and in the now, that you are safe, and that you can not only get through this day or this situation, but that you can do it with poise and grace.
This question is not just a call to notice when you’re holding, though. It’s also a call to notice when your breath is flowing freely and you feel super great. Sometimes in our culture we forget that it’s totally permissible to feel totally great. If you feel really open and full, this call back to the breath is a great moment of noticing that beautiful, fluid, comfortable and happy sensation and honoring it fully. By doing so, you will expand your capacity for comfort and for trusting that comfort is ok.
3) What do you have going on today?
Sometimes this question actually gets answered in the ‘how’s your breath’ part of the flow. That’s because when you begin to notice the quality and presence (or lack of presence) of your breath, you often start to become aware of why it feels that way.
On its own, ‘what do you have going on today?’ is a great way to take a deeper look at what you believe you have to do that day, ensure your heart/mind/body are aligned with the tasks on your calendar, plan your energy management and self care strategy, make space for joy and address negative feelings, and to generally become present to where you are right now, and begin the day with clear intentions.
You may be very surprised at what you learn about yourself when you really start to take notice of what you do each day, and how you feel about each thing.
4) What would feel supportive to you?
This is one of my most favorite questions in the entire Universe.
I love the phrasing of this question for so many reasons. For starters, it takes the charge out of the idea of ‘help’. You can be a highly functional, professional, and productive member of society…and you can be all of those things on an even deeper level with the right support.
Receiving support does not imply weakness. It implies that someone else believes in your strength and that they are there to witness and hold you as you continue to build it up.
You deserve to have people support, invest in, and resource you. Furthermore, there are people around you just waiting for the chance to lift you up even further in your life.
I also love the phrasing of this question because it puts the responsibility on the person being asked to come up with the answer that serves them best. Instead of saying ‘How can I help you?’ which implies some sort of power shift or exchange, it calls the person being asked to pull on their inherent wisdom, knowledge and experience to decide what they need or want for themselves. It puts the role of the asker in service to the askee. It requires the asker to check their own ego and ideas at the door and truly show up 100% in support of the askee. This builds trust and confidence for both parties, as well as the relationship at large.
An interesting thing to note about these prompts:
Sometimes the answer to the questions is ‘I don’t know’.
How’s your breath?
I don’t know.
What have you got going on today?
Blergh, I don’t know.
What would feel supportive?
I dooooooon’t knoooooooow.
It’s totally ok to not know. You are not obliged to make up any answers, sound clever, do research, or whatever your default setting is when you don’t know something.
Allowing yourself to get to know yourself takes enormous amounts of courage. Simply asking the questions is more than enough. Answers will emerge if and when they need to emerge. Your courageous self-inquiry is the most important element in this practice.
All Day Every Day…
So, that sums up my four favorite prompts to start the day with. These prompts are great for anytime of day, really. They work for any situation or mood…whether you’re frustrated and seek a time out and a reset, or you feel great and you want to memorize that feeling.
How Does this Connect to Vocal Confidence Coaching?
Q) Sam, you’re sweet and everything, but what do any of these recent email updates have to do with voice, speech, presentation, communication, or what you call ‘Vocal Confidence Coaching’?
A) Everything, my love. Everything.
The sound of your voice and your patterns of speech, as well as how you choose or don’t choose to speak up in a meeting or to give a presentation, as well as your ability or inability to speak up for yourself when it matters most, or any scenario in which you do not feel truly seen, heard or understood all have their roots in your relationship with yourself, and what you believe about your place in this world.
Truly speaking and communicating with clarity and confidence requires an embodiment of clarity and confidence within. You can learn vocal technique to help with enunciation and projections. You can count your filler words like ‘um’ and ‘ah’ and the like. You can learn about eye contact and hand gestures, and all sorts of tactical and practical skills – and any of those specific skills you need to build are woven right into your unique Vocal Confidence Coaching program.
The thing is, if you are continuously afraid to be your most authentic self in a given situation, then none of those skills will fully serve you.
Sure, how you speak, what you say, and how you say it are important.
But if you are constantly hiding, or living an old story of yourself, or worse…someone else’s story of you, then are you really getting your point across? Are you really stepping up into your fullest potential?
Vocal Confidence Coaching is designed to help people become confident and effective communicators and leaders. The underlying requirement is that you’ve got to be willing to explore the idea that underneath the layers of life-crust, shoulds, protective habits, behaviors and beliefs that have built up around you, there is a grounded, confident and self-loving person with a deep reservoir of untapped knowing and potential. These posts are speaking to that person.
If you are interested in getting know that person more deeply, while also building new communication and leadership skills, then book an exploratory call and let’s get curious together about what magical possibilities are waiting for you.
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