Recently, I found myself somewhat unhappy. Of course, natural instinct is to point the finger outward and blame others or the current surroundings. We sometimes feel surrounded by toxic people. However, quite often, introspect will allow us to see that we are the ones that are being difficult or negative… Not always an easy pill to swallow. But, if you allow yourself time to do a pulse check from time to time, you recalibrate your behavior and improve your mental health. If you develop the skillset for self-reflection you can create a successful mindset to accomplish goals both personally and professionally.
I recently read a fantastic book called "Make Your Bed" by Navy Seal and 4 Star Admiral William McRaven and highly recommend it. He says, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Admiral McRaven shares how the simple task of making your bed every day starts your day off with a completed task and a sense of accomplishment. Making your bed sets a tone of positivity and reminds you that doing the little things make a difference. Here is what I learned and wish to share with everyone.
Develop Skillset of Consistency
Yes, making a bed is a simple task. But if you can't do the simple tasks, how will you do the harder tasks? Also, it's not just about making the bed but being consistent. Finding ways to add positive consistency to your early daily routine sets the tone for the day… including the simple task of making your bed. I love that even if you have a bad day, you come home to a bed that is perfectly made. Other positive early morning tasks can include:
1. Saying or writing down three things you are grateful for every morning during your coffee,
2. Taking an early morning walk every day, or
3. I go to the gym at 5:00 am every morning. I know that no matter what comes my way later, I have already won by doing something healthy for myself.
Create Success Mindset with Support
Another takeaway from the book is the importance of who you surround yourself with. To grow both personally and professionally, you are going to need other people. We most often never succeed on our own. We most often cannot overcome difficulties, failures and hardships without support. We need emotional leverage from friends, colleagues, and yes, even coaches. I have been coaching for years and am thankful to be aligned with Christine Beckwith from 2020 Vision for Success. My best friend of 30 years, Henry Bartley, and my family that help me during difficult times. We need others to help us move past obstacles and forward so surround yourself with those that can give you emotional leverage and help you create a success mindset.
Improved Attitude: Embrace That Life Isn’t Fair
The Admiral uses a term called "Sugar Cookie". This is when your uniform wasn't perfect for inspection, you had to run into the ocean fully clothed and then roll in the sand until fully covered and thus looking like a "sugar cookie." You had to stay in wet, sandy clothes all day. However, the point is that life isn't always fair; however, you must move forward and keep going. He talks about how some of the greatest people in history were those that had to overcome how unfair life was for them… Hellen Keller and Stephen Hawking to name two.
Yes, life isn’t fair. The sooner we self-actualize this, the sooner we can change our attitude around it and move forward regardless. This lesson has taught and helped me time and time again.
Self-Reflection on the Fear Of Failure
Lastly, Admiral McRaven writes about the fear of failure. Fear is a natural response, and our society has trained us that failure is not acceptable. So, the fear of failure is a natural response for many, including myself. However, what we are now realizing is that successful people (all of them) have experienced failure… and more than once. These failures lead to improvement and eventual success.
Fear, while very uncomfortable, can be motivating. The difference between the successful and unsuccessful is whether or not you have courage. Courage is the ability to work past to fear or do the task in spite of the fear. So, you have to work past the fear of failure. It’s okay to fail! It’s essential to learn that within failure lies the opportunity to learn lessons. These lessons help you improve thereby making you more successful and allowing you to move forward.
We all fail and so it is important to be more gracious and forgiving to yourself and as well as others. You never know when your fearlessness to fail may inspire someone else to try!
All in all, I realize that sometimes all of us could use an improved attitude. We are not perfect. We tend to react first and forget to be more humble, gracious, caring, and loving. So, from time to time, ensure you practice self-reflection first before judging others. As a coach, I know first-hand how difficult it can be.
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