As weeks go, last week was a rather rubbish one. Which wouldn’t be so bad… except that every single day contained its fair dollop of rubbish.
But don’t think this post is going to be a pity party… because it’s not!
I’ve actually learned a few valuable things, which I want to share with you in this post.
So if you’re having a bad day, hang on in there.
Hopefully, you’re about to feel better!
How To Survive A Challenging Day
1. Learn The Lesson And Apply It
In most things that happen – whether it’s good, bad or ugly – there’s a lesson to be learned.
My business coach Alex always bangs on about this. And he should know.
He saw his business go from a ridiculously high (I’m talking tens of thousands of dollars) profit to absolute zero in the space of just one week. Yes, you heard me… one week!
Now, Alex could have started his own pity party. He could have started thinking he was useless, would never succeed and was doomed to nothingness.
But he didn’t.
He reflected on the differences between the two weeks. He reached out to his customers to find out what was going on. He looked at his data.
He sought out the lesson he needed to learn.
He learned it and then applied it.
And what happened? The business regained momentum, he matched his peak profit levels again… and then crushed them.
I won’t even tell you what Alex’s profit is today, simply because many of you wouldn’t believe me. But let me put it this way… his company just made it into the Inc. 5000.
And that’s because every time he hits a wall, an obstacle, a barrier, a disappointment (whatever you want to call it), he learns the lesson and applies it.
Last week might have been complete poo for me, but on reflection I’ve learned several very useful lessons which will serve me well from this week onward.
If you’re having a crap day, what lessons are there for you?
2. Take What You Need
I’ve always been a massive advocate of this one… and the inspiration all comes down to a lyric by Oasis:
“Take what you need and be on your way”
What do I mean by this? Let me explain…
For some people it’s way too easy to reflect too much or search too hard for lessons. Sometimes, something is just what it is. No more, no less.
In those instances, we’re better just taking what we need from the situation, and going on our merry way.
I’ve actually got a fantastic example of this…
A few years ago, I was speaking to a friend who’d received some honest – dare I say brutal – feedback. As you can imagine, she was in one heck of a state, emotions were erupting, and she was in that place where she was throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
You know the place I mean… the feedback meant she as a person was useless, had nothing to offer, everything she did was wrong, etc etc.
We sat and had a chat about what had happened and the feedback that she’d received.
One neutral, pragmatic discussion later and she was in agreement that some of the feedback was warranted… it highlighted areas where she genuinely needed to improve, work on, deal with, whatever.
But the rest? The rest she couldn’t understand. The rest – despite her best attempts to rationally explore and understand it – didn’t resonate and left her flummoxed.
So my advice to her?
“Take what you need and be on your way”.
Take the lessons you need from the situation, and leave the rest float away. Don’t bathe in it, don’t let it drag you down… just let it go.
3. Opportunity to grow
Another thing we can overlook is the fact that these things are often opportunities in disguise.
And not any opportunity… But the rare diamond opportunity that is a chance to grow.
This dawned on me late last week when I started to reflect on why I was reacting to a situation in the way that I was.
I have a personal disclosure to make here… When it comes to emotional intelligence, I’m still in the crayon stage. It’s that bad that I any time I feel a strong emotion, I have to reverse engineer what’s happened to figure out what it is. Yep, that’s me!
So, when I started reflecting on my response to last week’s “rubbish”, I started to understand how I was completely in charge of how I felt.
And with that realisation, a bad situation suddenly transformed into a stepping stone of personal growth.
See, I realised that “things” will always happen. That’s life… None of us are sparkly unicorns floating around in a fairy tale castle.
But how we respond to it? Yep, that’s all down to us.
We can let something eat us up inside, or we can leave it wash over us like a wave. We can follow step two and take what we need from it, or we can immerse ourselves in it until we’re drowning in our own misery.
Last week, I was reminded of that very valuable lesson… we can learn to choose the constructive and positive response. We can learn to change our reactions so that next time is different.
We can choose to grow and move on.
4. Tomorrow is another day
My final “survival tip” requires a simple – yet powerful – shift in focus.
When you make a mistake, it can be all too easy to let it define you… “Oh I’m so hopeless, I can’t get anything right. I’m useless”.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that an event, incident, issue, whatever it is – is just that… an event, an incident, an issue. It’s not something that defines us.
- A mistake doesn’t mean you’re a useless person… it just means that you’re human!
- An error in judgement doesn’t make you a bad person… it simply means that like every other person on the planet, you are fallible!
- A sequence of issues or bad experiences doesn’t mean you’re doomed to live a life swathed in bad luck and misery… it just means you’ve had one of those weeks.
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you stop focusing on what’s happened and instead shift your attention to the future, you’ll release yourself from those chains that would have otherwise bound you and dragged you down.
Instead, shed whatever it is like a snake sheds its skin. Leave it behind, and let a spotless you step out of the shadows to stride into tomorrow.
Because, as saccharine and slushy as it sounds… tomorrow is a brand new day!
Now go get them, tiger.
And don’t forget… you rock!