It’s getting tougher to bounce out of bed with a spring in my step.
I’m not stiff or anything like that, and I don’t stay up too late or sleep with the TV on. It’s because of other people. The same type of people I’ve been dealing with for decades. And it’s getting worse.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, it’s just getting harder to do it. Like the Instagram expert who hasn’t got a clue, the “morning mood” is multiplying. It looks like the coworker who says “don’t talk to me before coffee,” the student who “just can’t focus before 9 am,” and the friend you always let text you first, for fear of disrupting their “beauty sleep.”
The problem isn’t that these personality types don’t like getting up early, it’s that they still surround themselves with others, and basically expect everyone else to deal with them. Or worse yet, they expect people like me — people in the service industry — to do all the work for them.
Am I responsible for the mood of those who come to me for help? Partly, yes, but not entirely. It’s a two-way street … kinda like life! And no matter how much someone hates mornings, they still have a responsibility to everyone around them. It’s called being consistent. That means the way you are in the afternoon, after coffee, or just before sunset, should be the same as it is when you get up.
If that sounds entirely unnatural, then get to work on the steps below. But first, understand this; it takes work. You think guys like me who’d much rather stay up all night, just leap out of bed smiling? Nope, I’m actively trying to be “up.” To be “on.” More importantly, I’m trying to be consistent because that’s what everyone deserves. It isn’t easy, but it’s the right thing to do.
Get up earlier
Most of us need a second to ourselves in the morning. Some of us need two.
If you’re the type of person who needs a bigger runway to take off, then man up and get up. Instead of seven snoozes and a morning full of forgetful faces, get up and meditate. Sit alone and get your mind right before you have to deal with everyone else.
Smile with your eyes
A smile is one of the simplest ways to show others you care for them enough NOT to be a total killjoy. But not just any smile, a smile so wide it forces you to open your eyes a little wider. It’s what I call, a working smile.
For me, a little grin when I’m chatting is natural. But a smile, not so much. So I actively contort my face to look more pleasing. And it works. Almost immediately, people respond more favorably to me. Shocking, I know, but when you actually try to look pleasant, people want to be around you.
Use your words
It’s brutal having to drag a coherent sentence out of someone in the morning. It makes you wonder how they can survive the day when you can barely hear a word they say, let alone understand them.
So speak with authority. And keep it up all day long. Act like everyone you are talking to is hard of hearing. I’ve found that the louder I am, within reason, the better my day.
I’m sure there are studies somewhere that will back me up, but there’s something about a real handshake that sparks a fire. Maybe it’s just the act of gripping aggressively, or maybe it’s the physical contact with another human; whatever it is, early morning handshakes are a great way to show you care.
In the winter, I roll out of bed nearly naked and head straight to the porch with my pups, bladders bursting. And instead of using the weather app on my phone to check the temperature, I take a walk outside and see for myself. Talk about a wake-up call!
When it’s warm, I’ll jump in a hot shower — hot as I can tolerate. After I’m sufficiently warm, I’ll turn the knob to cold and take 10 deep breaths under the chill. The entire act takes maybe five minutes and makes a huge difference when it comes to my morning mood, and it’s one of the first things I recommend to all my athletes.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a morning person or not, what matters is you’re a person, and if you’re doing life around other people, you need to hold up your end of the bargain. Maybe that means employing one or more of the techniques above. Or maybe that means putting yourself in other’s shoes and asking hard questions; Would I like me in the morning as well as the evening? Am I adding to my environment, or sucking the life from it? Am I responsible, or am I making others be responsible for me?