My mother always used to say to me and my siblings “prevention is better than a cure”.  She’d apply it to a whole plethora of situations, but never to how to start our day.  She missed a trick!  It’s really tough to pull back from the precipice of a rotten day at work.  Consequently, the attitude with which we start our day is extremely important.

In order to stop sabotaging ourselves and start supporting ourselves there are practical steps we can take first thing in the morning to boost our confidence and set ourselves up for a positive day – prevention is better than a cure!  These 3 steps are just a few of the many morning rituals I have adopted to support myself (more on these in future blogs!).  I’ve used them before meetings at Buckingham Palace, when I was the only woman at the boardroom table of a Royal charity, before a big million pound client pitch, as well as while I was rowing single handed across the Atlantic (you can hear about this in my TEDx).

I know the steps work.

Debra Searle with Her Majesty The Queen and other trustees

On the board of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award… HM The Queen isn’t on the board, but we were at her house!

  1. Change your relationship with your thoughts and feelings.

Our thoughts create feelings and these feelings impact our actions, the result of which will be positive or negative depending on what we first thought about.  What thinking is going to support you?  As we are the thinker of our thoughts, if they are sabotaging us rather than supporting us then we need to change the thought.  One way to do this is to learn to observe our thoughts, and then let them pass, rather than holding onto any associated negative feelings.  We don’t have to be at the mercy of thoughts and feelings.  There is a great animated video by Headspace that explains this brilliantly here.  Using the Headspace app and their 10 minute guided meditations has helped me enormously in the mornings – it’s shown me how to observe rather than react to my thoughts and feelings and it sets me up brilliantly for the day.  Get up 10 minutes before those you share life with or download the meditation to complete on a busy commuter train.  Either way – it works!


A photo of Debra's medal from the Etape Du Tour in her car

This medal is about so much more than completing a bike race.

2. Optimise your environment for a hit of positive attitude

Our physical environment can have a huge impact on our thoughts and feelings.  Often we don’t have complete control over it but there are moments where we can put attitude enhancing objects in our line of sight.  Hanging from the rear-view mirror in my car is a medal I received on completing a gruelling mountain stage of the Tour de France bike race.  It was a day that nearly broke me, mentally and physically.  Now when I am driving to a client meeting I look at my medal and say to myself “Debra, if you can get through that then you can get through anything”.  Similarly, I have pictures on my office wall of my children and other moments of real pride, not for decoration but because they give me a hit of positive attitude whenever I look at them.   How could you optimise your environment?

One of my favourite mood-shifting memories is dancing the night away at my brother’s wedding with my daughters.

3. Utilise Memory Songs in the mornings

If quieting the sabotaging voice in your head is proving challenging, then try putting together a playlist of your Memory Songs.  You know the ones?  Those songs that have incredible memories attached to them, that instantly transport you back to that happy moment.  Maybe it’s a song that reminds you of a special holiday location or the girls-night-out song you always sing and dance to or maybe a song your kids love from their favourite movie.  We all have those songs.  At home I bought a cheap waterproof Bluetooth speaker with an attached sucker so I can play my Memory Songs in the shower each morning.  If I am working away from home I ban myself from watching breakfast news and instead hit ‘play’ as soon as I wake up and dance around the hotel room while I’m getting ready.  It always, without fail, boosts my confidence and makes me feel like I’ve swallowed a happy pill!

Let me know what strategies you employ in the mornings that super-charge you for a successful day.  How do you support yourself, rather than sabotaging yourself?  Collectively we can prevent the negativity from creeping in… because prevention is better than a cure!