Before Bed

Before Bed: Best Bedtime Prep

My friend and fellow author, Robert Urban, published 101 Awesome Things To Do With Your Child & Other Musings Of A Divorced Dad, a delightful and hilarious account of raising his son, Noah. (Highly recommended read, by the way, it is a truly inspirational and honest expression of Robert's view on life, which we could all use a dose of whether we're single dads or not.)

When I came across this one passage, I was not only touched by the gentleness of the ritual between Robert and Noah, but I was inspired to expand on it by creating a new Compass Play.

Whenever I tuck Noah in I ask him to tell me the best part of his day, three things he is grateful for, three things about himself that is good, one thing or situation he could work on and then tell him the same for me. This teaches kids self-esteem and reminds them that they are incredible, however we all have room for improvement.

Sweet, right? Got me right...there...ahem.

After envisioning Robert and Noah having this "movie-making moment," I considered how I could implement a similar ritual for myself. Although my dad is long gone, I would have loved it if he even once had that conversation with me. I would have loved having that conversation with my late husband, Chuck, as we snuggled together in our pre-sleep embrace. I can imagine what he'd say, "The best part of my day was spending it with you playing solitaire. I'm grateful for you, of course, the good news I got from Dr. Greenberg today, and for Holly and Kelly."

Baby Steps Are Still Steps

What is so powerful about this practice is that it has the potential of creating a new level of self-awareness, humility and appreciation for what may seem like trivial things. Baby steps. But steps are steps, and taking a second or two to acknowledge them goes a long way to building your confidence and helping you recognize that you are, indeed, on the right path.

But the BEST thing about this pre-sleep ritual is that it adjusts your tone for the next day. It helps you get into the mindset that includes looking for positive outcomes along the path you want and anchoring the things you love most in your life. These two actions lift your outlook so that you are more apt to hear inspiration, sense your intuition and receive the guidance that points you to the next step in getting what you want. It's also a great bookend to the day in that it helps you get complete and give thanks for another day of life.



This Compass Play will help you move the ball down the field that much faster, especially if you do this every night.

Before you hit the hay and after your pre-bed to-dos (let the dog out, brush/floss teeth, wash face, say prayers, slip into your PJs, etc.), sit on your bed or slip between the cool sheets and mentally consider the following:

  1. Like Robert and Noah, think of at least three things you appreciated about your day. They can be seemingly inconsequential, such as the sunshine that came into your office window that morning. That way you have endless things to choose from to appreciate about your day.
  2. Next, think of three aspects about yourself that are wonderful. Your smile, your wit, your patience with children, your love of oak trees, the way you hand-write notes to friends, how you took care of yourself that day by eating healthy, etc. Self-acknowledgement is an act of self-love, and you need to fall in love with yourself every minute of every day because YOU ARE WONDERFUL and you need that message more than anyone else does. 
  3. Think of the thing, experience or condition that you are most aware of wanting in that moment. Whether big or small, (small steps toward your big goal are sometimes easier to imagine), get present to the idea of it and that it is and/or has happened. Spend at least 5 minutes to imagine how you would feel during or after this thing or small step has happened. For example, if you are trying to figure out how to brand your new company, the small step may be the process of brainstorming a powerful tagline for it. You could imagine getting sheets of paper and doodling ideas, sayings or searching online for inspiration. You could envision yourself coming up with two or three really good ones that you could share with a few close friends for their reaction, finally settling on the one that you totally love. How would you feel during that process? What would open up for you? How relieved would you feel that you got something accomplished that moved you closer to fulfilling your vision?
  4. Drift off to sleep hanging onto the edge of that experience.
  5. Watch for guided inspiration and events that surprise you the next day.

You can also keep your journal handy by your bedside to catch any inspiration that comes early - like in a dream you have that night.

Thank you, Robert, for the inspiration, and thank you for writing a great book; the first of many on your path. Baby steps, brother, baby steps.





Terry Pappy is CEO of Better3, creator of Compass Playbook and author of award-winning books on creativity. What she says about Compass: "It's a fun resource that helps people achieve their dreams using creativity—simply by telling a new story." Terry uses humor and straight-talk to inspire breakthroughs in creativity for audiences around the globe.