For whatever reason, my daughter now wants a night light on and a story told to her (not just read) in order to fall asleep without crying.
My wife is the best at making this happen, offering to rub my daughter's back and talk about when she was a little girl and scared of the dark. And lately, she's been not just telling stories to my daughter, but also asking her about her day. By creating this conversation, my daughter calms down and starts to sink deeply into the comfort that exists in intimacy.
Gently moving back and forth across my daughter's back, my wife will ask my daughter three questions in order to balance and ground her. As I listened from the hallway, mesmerized, I realized these are the same three questions we can ask ourselves as entrepreneurs and leaders in order to bring our day to a close so that we can rest and awake refreshed and ready the next morning.
Question 1: What was the best part of your day?
Entrepreneurs and leaders tend to hold themselves to very high standards. As such, we often glance over our successes and let our failures loom large in our minds until we muster the fortitude to tell ourselves we'll never let that happen again and we'll work 20-hour days if we have to so we don't collapse like that again.
Easy, tiger. Stop for a minute at the end of your day and acknowledge one thing that went well. Did you close a deal, even a small one? Land a meeting you've been trying to get? Finally break through to and motivate an employee? Save money by switching your insurance? Whatever it was, name it and celebrate it.
Question #2: What was the worst part of your day?
This is a chance to vent, even to yourself. Don't go over an entire list of failures, though. Pick one that stood out, that moment you went through that wasn't pleasant. Yes, you'll have a lot to learn from it, but for now, as a matter of balance, name the thing you didn't enjoy and get it out of your head and into the world where you can deal with it.
And once you name it, move on. Often, just saying what it is that frustrates you can begin the process of you working through it.
Question #3: What are you most looking forward to tomorrow?
Ending on this positive question can rightly frame the work facing you the next day. Do you have a big speech? A chance to demo your product? A new employee starting at your company? Are you taking the day off to spend it with people you love?
Finding a reason to get up tomorrow morning can help you go to bed happy. Who knows? Maybe your dreams will be sweeter. When the stakes are high, we need chances to calm and center ourselves so that we can focus our time and energy on doing what matters the most in our businesses and our lives.
What about you?
Do you have an end-of-day or end-of-workday ritual or routine that lets you close out a busy day so you can rest well? If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.