How’s this for a day gone bad? You spilled your morning coffee over the center panel in your car on your way to work. In traffic. With no napkins around. Horrible meetings with passive-aggressive co-workers or supervisors. You got blindsided by unexpected complaint emails. It took 40 minutes to get your lunch meal served. To top it off, the waiter messed up your order. On the way back to the office you dropped your phone on the pavement, almost cracking the screen. Nothing but tedious projects got handed to you that afternoon, and there was a car wreck on your way home, causing a two-mile backup, and a full bladder having been stuck in traffic with no way to avoid the wait.
Let’s pause for a moment and look inward. Ask yourself how you would feel after a day like that. Go ahead, I’ll wait. As for me? I’d be all kinds of grumpy. My evening would be shot. And it would take a bunch of successes the next workday to get my emotional barometer back up to good.
Here’s an idea. Instead of sitting in the soup of a day filled with failures, what if we simply allowed ourselves to have a bad day? What if, after crossing the threshold of our home, we told our inner grump, “Okay, that day sucked. But those kind of days happen to everyone. And today it was my turn. Tomorrow it will be someone else.”
I’m trying to adopt this mindset when I have bad days at work. Unfortunately, it’s too easy for me to resort to my tried-and-true script of acting crabby in the evening and being suspicious of another bad day the following morning. I say we try a different recipe when reflecting upon a bad day. Acknowledging that it was bad, appreciating the workday coming to an end, and being thankful for an evening that will be better for us. Certainly couldn’t hurt to give it a shot?