Checking a Bad Day Attitude


I’m not sure what makes for bad days, but sometimes they happen. Yesterday was one for me. It started out great, and I felt great. I had no idea what an awful turn the day would take. I did my usual breakfast, blogging and meditation and went to work feeling pretty good. I was a little sore from the workout the night before but, other than that, I was hopeful to get some things done. I’ve just started a cool project, and we had a very productive and fun meeting on Wednesday. Thursday the plan was to de-brief and put together a proposal of what we should do to increase the knowledge and productivity of this group of workers. That’s what I do for a living. I help workers streamline work, improve their skills and make managers aware of organizational barriers that impede performance. It’s my expertise.

After that morning meeting, things suddenly went downhill and somehow I ended the day cramming a brownie down my throat and wishing that I could walk out and never come back. All of those beautiful things that I’m supposed to do actually never do fully manifest as they should in a perfect world because it’s not a perfect world, but I never even got to “do” anything yesterday. I was ensnared in a mountain of meaningless approvals for minute amounts of money and caught on a merry-go-round of inane questions about some workshops I’m doing in June. I was snarling to my friends on the phone. I couldn’t do my run because all I could think of was yoga … yoga … yoga. I went to my yoga class, and I brought my snarly attitude to it. The regular teacher wasn’t there, and I couldn’t connect with the first part of the practice. I kept snarling in my head about the way she was teaching. About halfway through, my attitude shifted and, by the time I lay in Corpse pose, I actually fell asleep for a few seconds.

What is it about bad days? I remember when I worked in the call center at Whirlpool, and I’d have days when I had snarly customers one after another. One day I realized that when I had one I tended to take that attitude into the next call, and I think I helped create that next irritated interaction. I played with that theory for awhile, and I really believe the bad day snowballed at least in large part because of my own attitude. Even with that knowledge, it’s sometimes really hard to turn it around. I have to be aware of my own attitude and do something to change it. I wasn’t capable of doing it yesterday. I ended the day depressed, wanting to chuck this job and this place and move on to greener pastures. The problem is that I realize that nothing is really as green as it appears. So nothing looked like a viable solution except checking out and going to sleep.

I woke up at 4 AM full of energy. I had planned to skip my run again today because of how I felt when I went to bed, but when I woke up I wanted to run, and I wanted to run hard. So, I got up and did my 30/20/10 workout that Jessica had prescribed in her blog this week. It felt so good. Part of it was sprinting, and I felt like I was tearing away from all of the red tape and barriers that were holding me back. For awhile, I felt free and productive. It was so hot and humid, and I was sweating heavily, but it felt so good to be moving and pushing myself to be more than I am now. That’s all I want to do at work, and sometimes it seems so hard to do it. Workplaces just seem to be full of barriers to productivity, creativity and passion. I’ve often resolved just to compartmentalize those things and have them in my personal life, but I’d love to be one of those people who could do what they love to do and make money at it.

Jessica asked me what I would do if I didn’t have to worry about the money. I actually love doing what I do, but I seldom get to do it. I love to problem-solve with people. I love helping them pinpoint barriers to the things they want to happen in their lives. I love the analysis in discovering who they are, their current situation, their needs and desires and understanding the things that are holding them back. I love formulating a long-term plan with short-term deliverables. I love pinpointing some quick fixes that help them feel like they actually see progress. I love finding creative solutions that are efficient in delivering the results they need and that solve multiple problems at once. I love it when I show them the plan, and their eyes light up because they see there is a light at the end of the tunnel even if it’s going to take some work to get there. I love solving people problems. I also love writing. All of that energizes me. When I spend a day like yesterday where I’m buried in paperwork in a cubicle, and I can’t get to the gold, it’s so disheartening.

So, today, I ran. I did my morning meditation. I’m writing. I’ve hopefully checked my attitude. I think I’m going to put aside any paperwork today that can wait until Monday, and I’m going to do the things I wrote about above. It’s jeans day. I’m going to put on my Levi’s and a cute top that makes me feel good about my body, and I’m going to focus on what’s right about my job. After all, I work somewhere where I can actually make a difference in people’s lives. It’s frustrating when I can’t get there, but in two weeks I’ll be standing in the middle of my target audience physically making a difference. It’s a date set in stone on the calendar, and it will happen. Right now there are 5o teachers having their skills enhanced because of my ability to push through barriers and get them the training they need. It’s Friday, y’all. Focus on what’s important… even if it’s just getting to the weekend where you can do the things that energize you. Have a great weekend!

4 Comments on “Checking a Bad Day Attitude

  1. I totally agree with one bad encounter coloring the next one and the next one, etc. until the whole day is ugly and shot. I do the same thing more often than I like to admit. If I can catch it in time, I try to find something I can do for somebody else – send a friend a happy e-card, buy coffee at Starbucks for the person in line behind me – anything to get me outside my own nasty head. It doesn’t always work, but often it does. I’m so glad you’re having a better day today, and I’m sure you’ve got something rejuvenating planned for the weekend, right?

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