It came to me in the moment, during a fairly recent coaching conversation with a client. I had never heard this exact analogy before, although I am sure it has been used, it is just something that popped into my head as a way of getting this client to see things differently.

I originally used this analogy with a sunset, however, upon writing this post I decided a sunrise would be more fitting. It is meant to describe that how you see anything is only a product of your own thinking.

This client was talking about something I think all of us can relate to. When they woke up in the morning they saw their day as a “TO-DO” list. Like many of us, this list did not include themself. There was no time penciled in for this person to take care of their own needs and joys in life.

I asked how they would like to feel when they wake up in the morning to envision their day and the word “energized” came to their mind. Knowing that nothing outside of us can make us feel any which way towards our day I got on the topic of perspective. “TO-DO’ lists start in our heads as does our obligation to follow through on them. How we see our day when we first wake up in the morning is all in our head too.


One Sunrise, Two Symbols


Person A (most common)

This person spends a good chunk of their time in their head. It is common for them to get distracted by their thoughts which leads to them forgetting things and getting lost in conversations. Getting things done is what is most important to them. Challenges are seen as problems and quite often as burdens. They are asleep at the wheel of life and don’t even realize it.

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Making time for themself is seen as selfish as that would take precious time from their “to-do” list in order to do so. As soon as they wake up in the morning they take no time for themself and immediately starting thinking about their “to-do” list. Feeling overwhelmed first thing in the morning is quite common and they convince themself that this feeling will not go away until the list is complete. Once the list is complete, they start thinking about the next day’s list.

Symbolism of a Sunrise

Most of the time, when this person wakes up to the morning sunrise they don’t even notice its’ existence.

The odd day that they do notice the sunrise here’s what it represents to them:

  • Overwhelm
  • An imprisonment to their tasks
  • Another day that will be just like yesterday
  • It’s wasting time looking at the sunrise when they could be doing something


Person B

This person lives in the moment. They rarely get distracted by thoughts about the past or future. Appreciating what is in the present moment is what is most important to them. Each day is seen as a new opportunity that will come with new challenges. Each experience is seen as a learning opportunity. They feel alive to the deepest of their core and fully awake to the presence of life.

Making time for themself is of the utmost importance as they recognize that the better they show up in the world the greater the impact they will have. They have a “to-do” list but their list does not define their day. They recognize that repeatedly thinking about their “to-do” list will lead to feeling overwhelmed. This allows them to be in the present moment, to not miss out on the beauty of life.

Symbolism of a Sunrise

When this person wakes up to the morning sunrise here’s what it represents to them:

  • A miracle to be alive
  • A fresh start
  • Beauty of the present moment
  • New opportunities
  • A chance to do something different


All it takes is a little perspective to start your day off just the way you want.


Learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.

Take care,


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