The way you begin your day will direct how the rest of the day will flow for you. Most small business owners are in drive mode from the time they wake up until they end their day. Perpetual stress can eventually lead to burn out and loss of creativity.

When you feel like you are treading water to survive to keep the lights on in your business, you can find more focus and peace with one simple morning routine.

The Practice

Before you get out of bed, spend five minutes just watching your thoughts. Notice the stories that your thinking mind spins about what needs to be done, how there is not enough time, what is not working and, of course, the critiques on your personal performance. As you watch the thoughts, do not try to change them and do not believe them. Imagine you are listening to someone else think.

This creates calm within you because you are accessing a higher form of your conscious mind.  You are most familiar with the thinking mind that runs on auto-pilot based on old stories from the past and assumptions you made about yourself, your business and your life. The often hidden part of your mind is your higher intellect or as they call the wisdom mind in Eastern philosophy. The wisdom mind is where your creativity, inspiration and intuition comes from when you give it space to breathe.

Just taking a few minutes to step back and watch your thoughts gets your intellectual mind to separate itself from the panicky thinker. If you do this correctly, you should feel an immediate sense of peace as you untangle yourself from the motor-mind. After a few days you will notice that the stories never change, they keep telling you the same things and you can finally see that they are not really true.

Clarifying the Mind

Imagine that you add a spoonful of dirt to a clear glass of water and stir it up. The water appears dirty, but actually the water molecules and dirt molecules remain separate. When we are in mind-chatter, it appears that our mind is clouded and disturbed but the pure aspect of our intellect remains untouched. Stepping back and watching the mind is like allowing the dirt to settle in the glass and the pure water of your awareness can be seen again.

You can practice this anytime throughout the day when you get caught up in drama or stress. Take a step back and watch the thinker. The more you practice this technique, the more creativity and innovation will flow to you. Many people say they meditate but all they are really doing is drowning in their thoughts. If they do feel some relief on the cushion by just closing their eyes, the peace of mind leaves when they return to their normal routine. The practice of witnessing the thoughts is a more powerful way to work with your mind even in the midst of action.

You cannot be creative when you are frustrated or when your mind is under pressure. This simple practice of stepping back can help you find a solid foundation in the rush of life and business to bring in fresh ideas and a new perspective that is hiding behind the chatter.

Published on: Nov 28, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.