Kirthi Mani Starts Her Mornings With This One Microstep

The Principal of Global Services at CliftonLarsonAllen on the simple ritual that boosts her mood and helps her maintain perspective throughout the day.

I strongly believe in focusing on context instead of content, so the Microstep that helps me thrive in every area of my life is starting each morning with meditation. I meditate at 4:00 am, and I never miss it, no matter which side of the globe I’m on. This ritual helps me put all the contents of my life in the right context, helping me set the tone and intention for the day ahead.

As Viktor Frankl  put it,  “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” My daily meditation helps me adopt my attitude for the day and avoid functioning in a reactive mode.

Both my parents are yoga and meditation enthusiasts, so that’s how I started the practice when I was only twelve. Back then, it was about curiosity and wanting to join my family in their 4:00 am fun.  Now, I do this to bring the best version of myself out before I start my day.  I truly believe that those who have a “why” to live can bear with almost any “how.” Meditation helps me put my “why” into perspective and not get bogged down with the “how” and “what.” It helps me stay motivated, recharge, and focus on what matters. 

The biggest change I have experienced from years of practicing meditation is the realization that every stressful situation is only stressful because I think it is not happening the way I want it to happen.  Life will never completely happen the way I want it to, and I’ve learned to be grateful for that! In every stressful situation, you can change it, accept it, or remove yourself from it. When you remind yourself that it is that simple, it is very easy to bounce back and center yourself.

At work, our team does a “Happiness Project.” We started this tradition when the pandemic hit, and it has been a game-changer! Every week, we meet for 30 minutes to talk about anything that impacts our happiness, whether as a team or as individuals. We then pick one issue that we want to work on that week. We come up with ideas and suggestions for each other, and everyone always leaves feeling a little brighter and happier. The point is for everyone to share, because it is human nature for us to feel happier when we uplift someone else. We have a whole powerpoint deck with the issues and solutions we came up with.  Just looking back at it makes everyone smile! 

I am very grateful that I started meditation and yoga at the age of twelve. Due to my consistent practice, I have never really experienced stress or burnout.  When you start every day reminding yourself of your true nature, it helps you remember to stay positive. It keeps my cup overflowing and keeps me joyful. I’ve found that you are very easily able to lighten any stressful situation or uplift a person who may be experiencing stress or burnout. Helping others leaves your cup even more brimming.

I find joy in seeing life as an expression of one’s happiness, rather than as a pursuit of it. When you see each day through this lens, you can immerse yourself in any activity without any expectation or fear, but rather for the pure joy of the activity.

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