If you call a law firm, generally you will receive one of two greetings – either a generic “Law Offices” or the rattling off of two to six last names of partners in the firm. It is very business like. Always. Well, maybe not always.
Several years ago as a young attorney I was asked to reach out to a lawyer with a solo practice in a small town in the Rocky Mountains. Instead of the expected generic greeting, he answered my call with a loud and enthusiastic: “It’s a great day to be alive!”
We worked on that case together for several months and each and every time I picked up the phone to talk with him, I was treated to the same “It’s a great day to be alive!” I am not sure I ever learned why he started doing this, but it was his shtick and, frankly, I still cannot think of a better way to get another attorney to mellow out a bit than to cheerfully remind him at the start of the conversation that he should just be damn happy to be alive. Unorthodox as it was, the greeting changed the tenor of the conversations.
I’ve thought a lot about that attorney’s approach to life and the law, most recently in the context of how I greet my mornings and begin my days. By way of background, I am not a morning person. To illustrate: I am guilty of waking up to an alarm and immediately wondering if there will be time later in the day for a nap. Once I get over that pipe dream, my next thoughts usually rush through my long and not-so-distinguished list of “to do” items. This exercise provides its own source of exhaustion when I weigh that list against the hours in my day. But it also is the kick-in-the-rear reminder it is time to get up and get after it. After my first cup of coffee, or maybe second, I’m usually good.
It occurred to me recently that there is probably a better way and that there may something to be gained from ushering in my day in a way that does not involve cursing at my alarm. Indeed, there seems to be no shortage of articles trumpeting the benefits of a positive morning ritual, whether it involves beginning your day in prayer, practicing mindfulness, meditating, writing in a journal, or reading a daily reflection. I am not sure whether one choice is better than another, but to have something to ground you in gratitude and set your course for the day before life’s chaos unleashes itself fundamentally seems to be a good idea.
I still cannot bring myself to set my alarm any earlier to read or journal - maybe someday. In the meantime, I am trying to consciously change the way I greet my morning. To take a few moments before I rise to say thank you for life’s blessings. To think of my family and send a prayer that they will enjoy a good and safe day. To pause to appreciate the opportunities I have in life. To encourage myself to pursue excellence in every endeavor, large or small. To set my intentions and remind myself of my goals. To spend a few focused moments to set the tone for my day rooted in gratitude, love, and purpose.
In short, to greet my morning with a reminder that every day is, indeed, a great day to be alive.