Are you sleepy in the morning and don't feel like getting up? There's a secret to reversing that. Are you slated to attend a reception but hate that type of event? There's a secret to reversing that.
The secret is incredibly simple: take the focus off yourself.
If getting out of bed in the morning is an awful chore, the secret is not to focus on how sleepy you feel or on how much you'd prefer to stay in bed longer or on not wanting to leave a warm and cozy spot. All of that just focuses on self.
Instead, focus on something other than self. What interesting things do I get to do today? What project can I finish — or start? Who is looking forward to hearing from me today by phone or email?
If attending a reception event is agony and you don't enjoy such a thing for whatever reason, the secret is not to dwell on the fact that you probably won't know anyone else there or on the fact that you always feel self-conscious at such events or on the fact that you dislike making small talk.
Instead, focus on something other than self. Who's in the room that you'd like to meet? What does (that person) like to do in his/her free time? What if you broke the ice for someone else who doesn't like being there either? Just being interested in the other person puts the focus on others and away from you.
That's the secret.
[Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio.]