Have you ever had one of those amazing weekends? Maybe you took your children on a fantastic weekend getaway. Maybe your favorite football team clinched a spot in the playoffs. Maybe you enjoyed a relaxing weekend at home. Like clockwork though, that magic carpet ride inevitably comes to a screeching halt. After a smiling, dream-filled sleep, you open your eyes, thinking about how fast the weekend went by, and the first thing that comes to mind is, “I hate Mondays!”
If you’re like me, you’ve uttered that phrase hundreds, or maybe even thousands of times throughout your life. BUT…today is different, and I’m going to challenge you to never use those words again. In fact, grab the nearest sticky note and write down that phrase. Now…I want you to rip it up and throw it away…a symbolic gesture to commemorate the moratorium on Monday bashing.
You’re probably thinking, “Who cares if I hate Mondays? Doesn’t everyone?” Well, I’d like to suggest that by replacing the energy you spend condemning a day that has barely begun with a Mindful Moment, your life will change in three ways. You’ll be more successful, more influential, and genuinely happier as time passes.
“Our life is what our thoughts make it. A man will find that as he alters his thoughts toward things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him.” –James Allen
When you alter your thoughts toward the gifts that the work week always gives us – Monday mornings – you’ll come to find that Monday mornings will accordingly alter towards you, and you will find greater success. Monday mornings, after all, set the tone for your whole week. It’s time to regroup, the time to warm up, the time to plan, and the time to prime your brain for a successful week.
Have you ever attended a major sporting event and arrived early? If not, I can tell you that the athletes typically arrive at the venue hours before competition begins. They review their game plans, stretch their muscles, and refine their tactical approach to the contest. They do this to understand what it will take to win, to protect themselves from injury, and to sharpen their skills one last time before their big performance.
Think about your work week like a sporting event, where Monday morning is the warm up session. Review your game plan, which is your schedule for the week. Ensure nothing’s changed, and confirm you have the resources to accomplish each task that’s set before you. Start your stretching…mentally. Find a way to fill your brain with positive thoughts. Spend some time thinking about the things you are grateful for. Listen to some energizing music. Engage in some physical exercise or even meditation. Regardless of the method, replace the phrase we threw away earlier with “Thank God it’s Monday!” Next, refine your tactical approach to the week by preparing for your tasks. If you’ll be meeting someone for the first time that week, do some research on his or her background. If you have a presentation, practice it out loud. If you have a test, spend an extra hour studying. Like your favorite athletes, you’ll know your game plan; you’ll prevent injury (physical or not), and your skills will be sharp as you approach each task.
“Emotions are contagious. We’ve all known it experientially. You know after you have a really fun coffee with a friend, you feel good. When you have a rude clerk in a store, you walk away feeling bad.” –Daniel Goleman
Not only will you gain success, but you will also become more influential by embracing your Monday mornings. To illustrate, I want you to perform an experiment tomorrow morning. When you arrive at work, at school, or when you wake up your children, approach each interaction with outwardly positive energy. You’ll see the moods of others change right before your eyes, and you will positively influence the outcome of someone’s day. Armed with the awareness that emotions are indeed contagious, take it one step further. Infuse your game plan with intentional positive emotions, and it won’t be long before you notice the influence you’ve gained in your environment.
Your existing relationships will strengthen, and you’ll begin to form new ones. More of your ideas will be heard. Your credibility will grow. Consequently, more and more people will want to be around you and will seek out your guidance. Your performance at work or school will improve. Your growth and development will accelerate. Throughout this process, you’ll actually be developing your leadership skills without even realizing it. Leadership expert, speaker, and author John C. Maxwell once said, “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less,” and regardless of your position or your title, you will be regarded as a leader. Just think, all of this is possible if you’re simply willing to shift your perspective once a week, throw away three little words, and commit to the power of positive thinking
“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” –Dale Carnegie
The most compelling argument for incorporating a Mindful Moment into your Monday Morning might just be an increase in overall happiness. Recent discoveries in the growing field of Positive Psychology have shed new light on what happiness is and how it’s achieved. If you’re like me, you were taught throughout your life that the achievement of success or the attainment of wealth led to happiness. In other words, success makes us happy. The premise of Positive Psychology is that we’ve had that formula backwards all along. Achieving success does not increase our overall happiness. Instead, happiness leads to success. So now, you’re probably wondering, “If success is dependent on happiness, then what the heck is happiness dependent on?”
And that takes us right back to our Monday morning exercise. Research actually suggests that happiness is a choice…and the key to making that choice is in our thoughts. If we choose to be positive, and if we make it a point to express gratitude, our brains actually become more energetic, motivated, and even creative. Interestingly enough, as more and more research is done by psychologists and neuroscientists, more and more supporting documentation of this premise emerge. Maybe the most prominent positive psychologist and bestselling author, Shawn Achor, spent the better part of 10 years researching happiness and teaching his findings at Harvard University. The culmination of that research was his book, The Happiness Advantage, which explains how reprogramming our brains to be positive leads to increased happiness, and ultimately more success in life and at work. This makes that Monday morning warm-up that much more important.
So the next time you have one of those amazingly wonderful weekends, don’t cry when it’s over, smile because it happened. Wake up the next morning, think about how grateful you are to have had that weekend, and then force yourself to harness all of your energy as you shift your focus forward and say, “Thank God it’s Monday!” Your happiness, your influence, and your success depend on it. And one day…as hard as it is to imagine…you might actually mean it.