The 5 Alarm Morning

by Betty Lochner on May 5, 2015

PennyI’m not a morning person. My husband would say that is an understatement.

I confess – I often stay up later than I should because that’s when my brain is wide awake and I feel most productive, or at least that’s my story. When I do that, it makes getting up early a challenge. So, I’ve come up with a new system for getting out of bed. I call it my 5-Alarm system. It works like this:

1) First alarm goes off.

2) 10 minutes later a second, and much louder, alarm goes off in another room.

3) Husband gets up, turns on light, TV, makes a bunch of noise and goes downstairs to let our dog, Penny, out.

4) Penny runs upstairs and barks at the side of my bed. I fling my hand over and she licks it then runs downstairs to go outside.

5) About 5 minutes later, Penny returns and barks, scratches, and jumps up until I get up and give her a treat she knows I have nearby.

 The whole process takes about 20 minutes. And it works!

Coming up with my 5-Alarm system was a way to respond to a situation that I know will happen when I stay up late. I know that going to bed earlier will solve the whole problem, but I’m also realistic in knowing from experience, and knowing myself, that I’ll choose not to do that quite frequently.

It’s that way with communication challenges too. When you do or say something that you know needs a different outcome, have a plan ready. Think about how you’ll respond.

It comes down to this simple process: If something is working for you, do more of that. If something’s not working for you, then try something else. 

Do you have a challenge you need to address? Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. Identify the challenge. Pay attention to feedback from others.
  2. Decide you want to address the challenge.
  3. Commit to making a plan – maybe even write it down (this will greatly increase your chance of first time success).
  4. Get others involved in ideas and help implementing the plan. This will help others understand that you are trying to work on something that quite possibly is irritating or frustrating to them and makes them part of the solution.
  5. Stick to the plan. Adjust as needed.
  6. Repeat as necessary.2015-04-23 19.14.23
Coming up with a challenge/response plan can turn a communication or life challenge into a new, more positive outcome. And, you may even inspire others to work on some of their issues.
Or, in my case, inspire my husband to try to get me to stop throwing my bag down the minute I step inside the door. So far, it seems to be working…
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transform your life at work and at home.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website:
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