The point of triage is to determine how you can save the most lives by handling a group of casualties quickly in the most effective way possible. Is that a practice we apply to business challenges? When a new opportunity presents itself to you, how do you handle the first five minutes?

Why is the first five minutes so important?

Sometimes, five minutes is all you have to turn an opportunity into something that launches you into a new future. Five minute scenarios are real and a part of every day life.

In sports, bench players sit and wait for five minutes of playing time. When the chance to make a free throw, score, or a catch comes along, they better be ready. Instead of being happy with a batting average of .333 (like the starter is), they have to bat 1.000 or go back to the bench. Do you work every day like a bench player who is situationally ready to take on whatever may come their way and make the most of it?

How about first impressions? You finally get a chance to meet someone you admire and respect–an author, a CEO, a sports figure. What do you say? Do you establish a mutual relationship or are you just another face in the crowd? How do you prepare yourself to be ready for life’s opportunities when they just show up?

Prepare for the Unexpected

The way you prepare for the unexpected so that you make the most of every opportunity is actually what you do in the first five minutes of your day. When your eyes first open, before your feet touch the floor, what are you thinking? Are you grateful for that first breath (I am blessed by another day when 6,744 people in the US took a breath yesterday, but won’t today)?

Are you glad you are getting ready to roll out of bed and let your feet hit the floor (since so many people face chronic illness and either can’t get out of bed or need a lot of effort and/or help to do so. 1/4 of people with chronic health issues have daily limitations, and, for just one example, over 19 million with arthritis have to limit their activity).

Are you looking forward to what you will eat for breakfast (unlike the 925 million people of the world who struggle with starvation)? Are you excited about who you will meet, how you can help, what you will do to make the day better for someone else? Are you committed to doing your best, being your best and expecting the best?

It is absolutely amazing how much better the day flows when you are grateful for it, when you commit to making it a great day, and seek to serve others. Give it a try, you will see just how the first five minutes of every day will improve the other five minute experiences throughout your day!

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