At my job, we have morning meetings that we call the daily huddle. In these meetings, we name one thing we accomplished yesterday, three things we plan on focusing on today, and one “working norm” we will live into that day.
Our “working norms” are a list of things that range from personal to professional development. The document has more work-related things like, “come prepared to all meetings and be on time” and also things that align beautifully with your personal life like, “speak clearly, directly, and kindly.”
I like the working norms, not just because they are perfect one-liners but also because they are manageable.
Another thing we do at work is have monthly professional development meetings where we fill out a form of the things we’re working on or want to improve on, as well as action items to help us get there. I can write, “become a better listener” every month but when that meeting is over and I’m back behind my email screen working on various projects, I quickly forget about that goal…until next month.
That’s why I like the idea of setting a working norm for the day. Our daily huddle takes place within the first hour that we arrive at the office. It is one of the first things I’m forced to think about as I settle into my desk and therefore something that stays with me all day. Saying it out loud just makes me feel even more accountable.
By having one little thought to keep in the back of my mind, I immediately become more mindful. Today, I could be focusing on the norm of “we are stronger, faster, and wiser as a team.” Sure, I’m also thinking of coming prepared and speaking kindly and doing other things that, in general, make me more pleasant to work with, but more than that, I have directly made a conscious decision to remember the strength in my team. And that is powerful.
So what if you made your own working norms? What if you sat down and made a list of the things that make you your best? What if you included the things you want to work on? What if you taped that list to your door and each morning as you were heading to your job, you chose one? Just one. And what if that day you decided to make every decision in a way that reflected that norm?
And don’t word it as I often do in my professional development worksheets: “be a better listener.” That could be written on every door in my house and it still wouldn’t get through to me. Give yourself something tangible. Hear the words of those around you.
It’s true that when we focus on something, it becomes our reality. We pick up on it in every day circumstances. So focus on listening. Focus on tasting your food. Focus on being mindful and prepared and ready for whatever comes your way.
There are so many aspects of life we rush through, whether that’s work or play or meal time or down time. We are always rushing through the things that give life color. Make yourself slow down. Allow yourself to pause. See the beauty in the things that surround you. Taste your food. Hear the birds. See the freckles on your skin. Smell the Hudson River as the wind tosses water your way. Feel the soft comfort of fresh bed sheets. Be mindful and you’ll be amazed at what your mind can do.