“If you wanna change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day”. –US Navy Admiral William McRaven
Hands up, who rolled their eyes? Anyone? Statistically, some of you must have, so lets have a little more of Admiral McRaven’s speech:
All done? OK. How’s about now? Fewer of you, perhaps.
I’ve been doing an exercise this year that involves writing a few intentions for the day every morning. Mine are often a mix of personal development stuff (read the [wellness article] before noon), needful things (fold the laundry; research ergonomic mouse options), and work-related items (update the peer review checklist; send invitations for content coaching). I know, these look suspiciously like a To Do list, right? Well, yes, and no. These are my priorities. These are the three things are what I will do well, if I do not a single other thing well that day. Certainly, they are small things. And they do boost my confidence to be able to do other things on a more ambitious scale. The drudgery of the actual To Do list. The Task List. The Work in Progress List.
The thing is, you manage what you measure. So measuring three intentions every morning (or pre-written the night before) feels immensely achievable. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t days full of suck. But being able to depend on myself for just 3 little things means that a day full of suck isn’t a day full of fail. If I need to manage the 3 things to be dead easy (drink the water, go outside, call my mom), then those days, they’re dead easy. If I feel like I can accomplish more, I choose more labour intensive intentions (weed the front garden, make the banana bread, mail the package).
So I was thinking, how great would it be if one of these things was for the betterment of my family, my friends, my community. What kind of great exercise would it be if one of my three items was about service to others. Maybe that means something as simple as writing a friendly message on my sidewalk with chalk, or feeding the birds, or writing a bravo note to someone who helped you out recently.
Three days hence, it’s global Good Deeds Day – Lets all suit up for that. But lets also work toward a time when we don’t need a quasi-mandated reminder to do good deeds. This Lent, may I spread the good deed love even more broadly.