Mindful Mornings for Entrepreneurs: Why You Need Them + How to Start
*Photo by Alana Bishop
If you’re like me, you like to keep things fresh.
You get bored with routine, and no matter how hard you try to implement one throughout your day, you inevitably stay up too late, decide to go for a spontaneous coffee run, or get caught face-timing with your parents when you were supposed to be working. But hey - that’s why you became an entrepreneur, right? You wanted a flexible schedule with the ability to check out that art museum on a Tuesday morning. You wanted life on-the-go - the work-anywhere-anytime kind of gig.
The only problem is, if you’re anything like me, you also probably struggle amidst the freedom to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s a daily fight at 8 p.m. to adhere to my self-imposed computer shutdown time, usually because work is actually just that interesting. I’ve found that the moments my work-life balance is the most in-check are the moments that I’ve completed a daily practice in mindfulness. Specifically, if I start my day by having a Mindful Morning.
Why the morning?
We decide within the first moments of our day what sort of day it’s going to be. If we start our day mindfully (with slowness, ease, and intention), we end up creating a day that has space for every single task that needs to get done and then some. How many times have you woken up in a hurry knowing all the tasks you need to complete that day, and within that day spilled your coffee, missed your bus, and forgot about your scheduled phone call with a friend? By choosing to not start your day mindfully, you are telling yourself that there is not enough time. Since what we believe, we create (especially as entrepreneurs), we are therefore creating a day in which there is, in fact, not enough time.
Mindfulness is about so much more than the extra 15-20 minutes that you’ll “lose” by having a morning practice. It’s about the hundreds of beautiful moments within the day that you’ll miss out on by not having one. These are the moments that you’ll miss because you’ve decided that your day does not have space for them, and yet we became entrepreneurs in the first place because we are in the business of creating space for ourselves to thrive.
So what do you want from your day? If it’s more space, here’s a simple formula to get you started with your own Mindful Mornings:
1| Decide to get up.
Regardless of how comfortable your bed is, you’re more than likely the kind of person who loves staying under the covers for a few extra minutes after your alarm goes off. But if your goal is to create space in your day, this is your first opportunity. Decide as you’re falling asleep that the moment your alarm goes off, your feet will touch the floor. Then, you’ll stand, wrap up if you’re cold, and leave your bedroom (or at least your bed). Congratulations! You have just created an extra 5-10 minutes in your day that you’d normally spend on instagram.
2| Create your space.
It doesn’t matter whether you curl up on the couch or decide to sit cross-legged on the floor, you simply need a space that you feel comfortable being quiet with yourself. You may want to open the windows, light a candle, or ensure that you’ll be alone - Whatever it takes for you to create a space in which you can be yourself and be present in.
3| Find your routine.
Fortunately, mindfulness is not a one-size-fits-all type of practice. Therefore, I can give you ideas for your routine, but you will ultimately need to determine what feels best for you. Additionally, some like to practice in the same way each day, while others like to have options to choose from.
No matter who you are, it’s best to start with a bit of movement. Why? Simply put, it’s hard to sit and be still if you’ve got the jitters. And trust me, even if it doesn’t feel like you have the jitters right now, when you’re trying to be entirely present in a few moments, you’ll likely find your mind running in a million directions if you haven’t first shaken everything out. Practically, this looks like doing a little bit of yoga, stretching, or my personal favorite, dancing. And by dancing, I mean mostly just flailing around for a few moments.
Once you’re done here, it’s time to sit. I’ll tell you about my practice and then you can take or leave whatever you want from it. I begin by reading, because I find that it helps my brain wake up and get centered. I choose books that connect with me on a spiritual or emotional level, such as Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne D. Dyer, The Diary of Anais Nin (my soul sister), or the guided journal Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel. You could also start by listening to a short and trusted podcast or audiobook if you so choose. Next, I open up my journal and write whatever comes to mind. Often I start with gratitude, then move into either writing a mantra for my day, listing things I’d like to see come into my life, or naming the feelings that are inside of me at that moment.
Mindfulness is about being present to what is happening inside of you, for the internal shapes the external. Write whatever comes up without judgement, shame, or fear for what it may mean. Simply show up as yourself and be honest - that’s all you can ever ask of yourself anyway.
4| Sit in silence.
Now, you get to sit and take everything in in silence, centering your mind before you step out of your Mindful Morning and into your day. You’ve likely just written things down that mean a lot to you or feel very important, and you’ve also probably read something that is worth ruminating on for a moment. It’s not often that we get a space to actually process such things, and the goal of our practice is to create space.
If silence is uncomfortable for you, it’s likely because you are not used to having so much space. That’s ok, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We live in a world padded with noise, so it should come as no surprise that silence brings a novel feeling. Simply ask yourself to step into the discomfort. The more you do so, the more comfortable you will become.
And now you’ve done it!
Mindfulness is often seen as something that has to take significant time or be extraordinarily intensive, and while you will have a smattering of those beautiful and enlightening moments, it’s mostly just learning to sit with and be yourself. In doing so, you teach yourself that you are worthy of taking up space, and that you actually have a lot more room than you previously thought.
May your mornings now be filled with mindfulness. I’m so happy you came across this today.
Carly Jo Bell is a Digital Media Coach and Manager that empowers solopreneurs and small businesses to create personalized digital media strategies that stick. Currently based in Sydney, Australia, she is passionate about our collective potential to create the lives we’ve always wanted to live. For some that may look like a traditional 9-5, but for her it means finding ways to create “home” no matter where she is. Carly uses her platforms to speak honestly about the digital world, calling for authenticity and relationship building above any vanity metric such as follower counts or likes. She also hosts a daily IGTV series called “Coffee with Carly,” though coffee seems to only make an occasional appearance.