Your First Five

Your first 5 minutes.

They set the stage. For a meeting. For a conversation. For the day. They disproportionately fuel the spirit of all that follows.

What do you do with your first 5?

When I was a theatre director it happened way faster. 5 seconds. Even before you delivered the monologue you had prepared for your audition with me. Even if you were physically right for the role I was casting. I knew within 5 seconds.

We often call it first impression.

Within 5 seconds I knew if the audition would delight. The dynamics of an audition are very specific. An actor’s preparation and skill meet a whole wide net of intangibles. But here’s the deal:

Each day is rich with first impressions. Even when we speak with folks we think we know well. Each day is rife with intangibles.

Our preparation and skill, our habits, our attention to the dynamics of a moment shape the unfolding of every day.

The first 5 disproportionately fuel what follows. What do you with your first 5 minutes? How do you shape the first 5 of a meeting, a conversation, your entire day? How do you set your stage?

  1. Your first 5 in the morning

Do you grab the coffee that’s waiting for you, pre-brewed? Flick on the tv? Read literature that inspires you? Flick through your Facebook feed? Sit up and meditate? Pull the curtains and contemplate the view? Jump into the shower at once? Jot down your dreams? Check your emails?

Do your actions in your first 5 energize you for the remainder of the day?

  1. Your first 5 in a meeting

Do you enter ready to play? Sit back and observe? Banter with the colleague sitting next to you? Go to your smart phone to check emails? Resent the time you’re wasting in this meeting? Complete tasks left unfinished earlier in the day? Grab a doughnut from the food tray?

Do your actions in the first 5 energize you and others for the remainder of the meeting?

  1. Your first 5 in a conversation

Do you get right to the point? Talk about what’s going on for you that day? Inquire about your colleague’s state of mind? Crack a joke? Rehash the latest office gossip? Reopen old wounds? Present goals for the conversation? Make sure you’re on track?

Do your actions in the first 5 energize you and others for the remainder of the conversation?

  1. Your first 5 in the chance encounter

  A chance encounter is like an audition. Down to 5 seconds. The intangibles are vast and impossible to know. Do you have the impulse to engage? Do you notice their impulse to engage? Do you initiate? Do you know how to get in sync with a stranger?

Do your actions in the first 5 of an unwritten moment energize you and others for the remainder of the day?

I don’t want to overwork the theatre analogy. No, not every moment in life is an audition, but yup, you and I are the actors every single day. The choices we make in our first 5 disproportionately fuel the quality of everything that follows.

Pay attention to your first 5. Choose that which energizes. It’s the swiftest accelerator of beautiful outcomes.

So simple. So powerful.