Leaders Are Nourished By Daily Rituals

In an episode of The Office, Michael (manager) is headed home for the day, and reports this to Jo (owner).

He’s clearly uncomfortable that he’s ready to leave, while she is still there working harder and longer.

She notices this and tells him, “If your work is done, and you’re proud of it, and you can “put a stamp on this day” and be comfortable, then go ahead and leave.”

Because my office is in my home, I sometimes have trouble with the work/home life boundary.

Something I started doing is saying out loud, so everyone can hear me, “Stamp On The Day.”

When I say this, I feel like I can walk out of the office and shut off the light.

I know I’ve delivered all that I promised for the day. Most importantly, my daughter knows that it might be time to play, and my wife knows I’ll get at those dishes, or make dinner. It feels good.

A daily ritual that dates back to my teaching days, and my daughter’s pre-school days, is picking her up from school.

On home office days, the joy of this ritual pushes me to work as hard as possible in the early afternoon so that I can enjoy the conversation about the day and maybe declare “Stamp on the Day” on the way home.

Sometimes if I get up early enough, and there is nothing pressing before 8am, I’ll make coffee, sit on the front step and read the newspaper. This slows me down, and keeps me from rushing into the day.

Some people make a commitment to write at a certain time each day. Others come into the office on the same route, saying the same things each day.

These kinds of rituals bind each day together for a sense of comfort and continuity, feed our soul, and keep us grounded.

What daily ritual do you have? What can you start?

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