How to shift your mindset when nothing seems to be going right

“AARGH! Can this day get any more stupid?!?” I asked myself as I sorrowfully cleaned my bathroom and kitchen with one hand because my other one was wrapped up in gauze and tape.

It was 7 pm on a weeknight and I had just come home from a dutifully attended yoga class (dutifully because I was really too busy to go, but I attended anyway because I knew it would make me feel better).

Even yoga hadn’t gone great as during this class, my instructor had come over to me during one of the poses and asked me “Are you modifying?” And I looked up – barely able to do the pose I was currently in to see the rest of the class had moved on.

“Um…no…” I said. “I just wasn’t paying attention.” That’s a yoga fail.

The day had started well enough. Lunches made, children and husband out the door, dog walked, and I showed up at my first meeting of the day, freshly showered, coffee in hand, rearing and ready to go. I even had lots of white space in my calendar in the afternoon and I was looking forward to tackling some items on my “to do” list that had been sitting there for awhile.

But all best laid plans can turn sideways – even over nothing.

I currently have a goal to streamline my business operations. As I hire more contractors, absorb more expenses and multi-task across a range of platforms, my bookkeeping has gotten more complicated. So I was SOLD on the new Quickbooks Online program. It was NO problem to reach these people when I purchased the program, but how about when I need help setting it up?

Nope…the call centre is a wasteland.

I called not once, not twice, but three times this week already. Each time I sat on hold for more than half an hour and then I had to hang up and go to the next thing before it was my turn to ask a question. When I texted their Facebook page in a fury they hurriedly responded, but the call centre? Forget it.

AARGH!! I thought they were supposed to be SAVING me time, not WASTING it!

So, I leave work early today, no further ahead with setting up my new bookkeeping system, because I am on dancer carpool duty and figure I’ll throw in a yoga class.

After yoga, I pop into the grocery store to pick up snacks for the volunteer committee meeting I’m hosting in my home that evening.

In my still somewhat tired and annoyed state, I try going out the “in” door. The doors are automatic. I thought it was a safety feature to have doors open in a public place, no matter which direction you’re going?!? I guess not. The door ate my entire fingernail. Blood everywhere. UGH.

I try calling my husband who I had shooed out of the house for the evening due to said meeting – he is out to dinner.

I arrive home with my painfully aching and bloody fingernail to be greeted by a mess in every “public” room in the house – kitchen, bathroom, living room, TV room, front hall, no bed made. UGH! This is not up to my standards when hosting a gathering in my home.

I tape my finger up, proceed to tidy with one hand, and then gave into the sweet indulgence of a cupcake and a glass of wine before my guests arrive. (Sabotaging my current meal plan in the process.)

What is the moral of this story?

Everyone has bad days – days that don’t go entirely as we would like, aren’t as productive as we would like, and where the world seems to be conspiring against us. Even though I know what to do to avoid the less than optimal result, do I always do them? No.

Everyone has bad days. Here are 5 ways to help you through yours.Click To Tweet

What if I had a do-over? What if I could see the day differently? This is what I would counsel myself as my own coach:

  1. Seize white space in your calendar to move forward those things you “never get time to do.” 

    If you still don’t want to move forward on an item when you have time to do it, what are you avoiding? Is this something that should just stay off your “to-do” list altogether?And if not, what’s stopping you from completing that task right now? Seize the white space! or take the item off your to-do list forever.

  2. When one route doesn’t work, try a different one 

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the same result – calling the Quickbooks call centre repeatedly and staying on hold over and over was making me insane. But as soon as I used an instant messenger application, it worked! Why didn’t I do that earlier? Stubborn much?Let it go, let your ideas go of how you think help “should” come and the path will reveal itself to you.

  3. Adopt an observer mindset 

    Why did I choose to force the “in” door open at the grocery store when I was trying to go out? I literally got stuck and it snatched my fingernail as a result. Why didn’t I just patiently turn around and find the right door to exit? If I had taken a step back and observed my impatience I would have been amazed at how obtuse I was being.When things don’t seem to be going your way, perhaps you are at the center of the problem. “The common denominator between you and all your problems is you” I’ve heard it said. Change your mindset – change YOU – and you just might find yourself without those petty problems.

  4. Slow down 

    The impatience that floods in when all is not as it “should” be, is entirely avoidable. Whose timeline is this anyway? Does it really matter if I am uber productive every minute of the day? Or can I slow down, take a breath and move forward on tasks with a more measured and deliberate approach? That is how I choose to run my day today.

  5. Express gratitude 

    I am grateful for this day.

I am grateful for this day. How to turn your bad day into a better one.Click To Tweet

As I enter into the day after my stupid day, now with an awkwardly performing left hand while my finger heals, I have a daily reminder of what happens when you force your own way and allow systems and processes to aggravate you instead of support you. Today, I choose gratitude. Today, I choose to open doors with a smile and in line with how they easily open, not by forcing them open with impatience and brute force. Today, I am looking forward to the sun shining on who I meet and the challenges I face. Today I am grateful. And the whole world is shining.

All will be good with the world today because I’ve changed my attitude.

To your success – at home, and at work,

Susan Elford

P.S. If you’d like to receive regular issues of Balancing Your Total Life in your inbox twice a month, sign up here or below so you don’t miss a single post! You will be joining a community of like-minded, career-loving, life-balancing, go-getters who want to make the most of every single day. And, if this is speaking to you in a way that is sparking you to make some real change in your life or in your career, and you’re looking for more CLARITY about what’s next so you can be SUCCESSFUL in your career or your business, send me an email and we’ll set up time for a complimentary Balance Breakthrough Session. We will get you well on your way to figuring out how you can make those needed changes so you can balance it all and feel fulfilled in your life and in your work.

PR Launchpad Guidebook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a Leadership Coach and PR Strategist who especially loves to work with women who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a full and satisfying life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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