The First 15

How do you start your day?

Only moments after waking, your head is already turning, thinking through the long, exhaustive list of to-dos to accomplish that day. Soon after, stress and anxiety begin to set in. How will it all get done? Thoughts about how monotonous life can be creep in before even getting out of bed. Soon after, you find yourself staring at your phone: checking emails, responding to texts and facing sudden, time-sensitive, urgent matters before even pouring your first cup of coffee.

Does this sound like you? Do you start your day already overwhelmed by what is to come?

One of the most incredible things I learned years ago was to practice intentionality regarding how I began my day. What I have found is that the way I start my day can have an impact on each hour that follows. The First 15 is what I call it, and I’m a strong believer that how I spend those first 15 minutes of my day will determine how I live and react to the next 15 or more hours to come.

“I am so tired.”

“My body aches.”

“I have so much to get done today…it is sure to be a crazy, stressful day.”

If I start my day overcome with thoughts like those, they will attach to me like “Kragle on a Lego” and I’ll be sure to find myself dragging throughout the day.

That is not good.

“I feel refreshed!”

“I’m ready to hit the ground running!”

“Let’s do this!”

If I start my day feeling energized and determined, that mindset will continue throughout the day and I’ll be more likely to accomplish everything on my list and more.


A negative mindset can impact our entire day. For instance, a negative mindset can make me feel like a morning workout is something I have to do. I then feel irritated as I sit in traffic on my morning drive and I find myself with less empathy and patience for those around me throughout my day, affecting my ability to serve them. I may find myself choosing poor food choices (like fast food), struggling to stay focused on income-producing activities, and lacking overall self-discipline in other choices and decisions that arise throughout the day. A negative mindset makes it easy for me to miss or ignore simple blessings that happen all around me, like a child smiling at me or a thoughtful act directed toward me by a stranger. A negative mindset literally alters everything that happens in my day—negatively.

A positive mindset can impact our entire day, too. A positive mindset makes me feel like my morning run is something I get to do. I remain calm and relaxed as I sit in traffic because I knew I would run into it and I left early enough to avoid it impacting my day. Feeling empathy for others and being patient with those around me, I am able to serve them accordingly. I choose quality and healthy food choices. I’m focused on income-producing activities, thus allowing me self-discipline to make positive choices throughout my day. I see the child smile at me and smile back. Paying it forward when a stranger directs a thoughtful act toward me is directing my own thoughtful act toward another stranger. A positive mindset literally alters everything in my day—positively!

Here are 4 practical things you can do each day to ensure you get started on a positive foot.

  1. Practice Gratitude

Take 30 seconds to practice gratitude before you do anything. When you wake, open your eyes. What do you see? Can you wiggle your toes and move your arms and fingers? Take a deep breath through your nose and visualize a few things that make you smile. Think of all of the reasons you have to be happy and allow them to permeate your mind.

  1. Be Complimentary

Compliment someone. Compliment yourself! If you live with someone, take a moment to say something nice to them. Just as important, if not more, say something nice to yourself! A personal favorite compliment of mine is, “I’m the man, baby! Today is the day!” (Usually said in a silly, booming voice! Dorky, huh? I know – and I dig it. ) It makes me laugh and I think that is a good thing. Choose what works for you. Say it out loud!

  1. Pray or Meditate

Do this for at least two to four minutes. Ideally, before you turn on your phone. I know that can be hard. What if a sales prospect finally emailed you back? Maybe they did, and maybe they didn’t, but I promise you…your phone can wait. Pray for your day ahead and every part of what will happen as you enter into it. It doesn’t have to be prayer, either; you could also close your eyes and spend a few minutes meditating, visualizing how your meetings will go, how your workout will go, how you’ll feel when you engage with your family, coworkers, and prospects… Allow yourself a few minutes each morning to just be.

  1. Read Something

Have it be something of value. (That rules out your Twitter feed or Facebook wall!) Dive into material that challenges your mind and makes you ask questions for at least five or ten minutes. Do your best to eliminate distractions, too. There are countless great books and blogs (like this one!) that can help align your mind and heart in the right stance to embrace all that will happen in your day. As you read, pull out at least one takeaway to meditate on throughout your day. Write it down if necessary.

When I brush my teeth in the morning, the first thing I read is posted on my mirror. It’s called: “Why I Succeed.” I read it out loud while I brush my teeth. (Which is hard to do without laughing!) However, it absolutely gets me locked into the right mindset to crush the day ahead!

Have fun with this! Think about your “First 15.” Maybe it’s your First 5 or First 20. Whatever you decide, make sure you do it with consistency. This alone can change lives! Make it personal, keep it fresh, and don’t think about what others think of you. It is your life. Experience it fully.

How have you been starting your day? What changes do you want to make to get your day started off on a positive note?


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