Having A Bad Day?
The Simplest Way To Take Control Of Your Environment
Ever have those days when it feels like nothing is going right for you? I'm talking days when the train breaks down, you trip and fall on the way to work, you get to the building only to realize you left your wallet at home, your boss is yelling at you, your computer isn't working, you're screwing up this thing and messing up that thing — days when it feels like the whole world is against you.
I'm a career coach who spends a lot of time helping clients control their inner world (thoughts, emotions, voices, etc.) because I believe we create our own circumstances and environment.
Want to know the best thing you can do when you’re creating one of those bad days or weeks? Stop and be still.
But in a world that's addicted to speed and is built on going fast and working hard, long hours, slowing down and stopping might be the most difficult thing to do. It's certainly not easy for me, yet it's so necessary. I'm going to help you train for these terrible, no good, very bad workdays so you don't fall victim to them.
Before The Fight
Yes, this is a battle. You're in a war. Your job isn't to avoid, deny or hope these days never come. It's to show up prepared to fight. Know that everything in nature exists in cycles, from markets to seasons to even the very smile you have on your face. Those demons you have inside you — the parts of you that are good at the self-sabotage — love to resurface after periods of joy and happiness.
Pay extra special attention after successful presentations, completed projects, big meetings, and huge wins, because that's when you typically let your guard down.
There's an African proverb that says, "Do not look where you fell, but look where you slipped." What are the initial things you do to pull yourself down from the high vibrations of peace and joy? It could be poor lunch choices, procrastination, breaking your word or too many consecutive late nights at work. Learn to spot your demons so you can anticipate these awful days, and take action well before they arrive.
For me, the fight tends to start at home with my three children. As soon as the sun comes up, literally, so does the raging spirit within them. The water's too cold, the oatmeal's too hot, or the clothes are too tight. I then clash with everything and everyone around me, like arguing with my wife over something foolish, like losing my car keys. All of this stems from my impatience, one of my demons. If I don’t catch it quick, the frustration from that impatience could easily stunt my creativity throughout the day and even taint my clients' experiences.
During The Fight
Taking control once you realize you're in a fight is like trying to put toothpaste back in its tube: difficult and messy. But that's OK. You must do everything you can to battle the habitual events, voices and triggers that are driving you at that moment. Here are some suggestions:
• Silence works. Just stop speaking until you start laughing.
• Scream as loud as you can. Shout, "No!" to yourself to shock your senses and change the flow of energy.
• Leave the building as fast as possible. Just remove yourself from the environment.
• Move very, very slowly. You'll become aware of different thoughts contributing to the stressed state.
• Speak in a different language or in the third person. This will create some distance between you and your emotions.
Each of these is a simple way to scratch the recording currently playing in your head. Yes, your colleagues will think you're a bit crazy, but some of the best leaders start out that way.
After The Fight
This is where the battle is really won. The gift of slowing down is really felt when you use that time to reflect. The world is forcing you to stop for some reason, and you'll continue encountering these bad days until you learn why.
So once you've survived or even stopped that terrible day or week, spend 13 minutes shortly after to write about the experience. Who or what triggered it? When did you notice it was happening? How did you respond? How did that feel? What can you do differently next time? Just explore. Allow your thoughts to flow through the pen, and it'll pay in dividends when the cycle returns.
Respect these moments for what they are: intense battles of will and consciousness to maintain your peace. You are fighting for your life here, only the way you have to fight is counter to everything you're used to because you are your opponent. Don't force your way through. Slow down, elevate your awareness, and will yourself to a good day.