Did you ever wake up a bit out of sorts? Something just feels slightly off from the moment you open your eyes?
And then there’s no coffee.
And Apple (or Google) has decided that you’re not actually you and begins to pull you down the long, dark, tunnel of password restoration.
And you need your computer because you have a client meeting over Zoom in 30 minutes.
Well, you get the point. Some days it feels like the world is working against you.
Clearly, I’m describing the start to my day today and it’s probably pretty obvious that I’m a bit grumpy about it.
Anger, like all of our emotions, is fed by the story we’re telling ourselves about what’s happening. When it comes to anger, the story always features BLAME in a starring role.
- “I’m mad at myself for forgetting to pick up more coffee when I was out yesterday.”
- “I’m frustrated by Apple password quagmire and furious that they don’t have a simpler fix.” (It turns out that they do. I was just too aggravated to see it at first.)
- “I want to throttle my son for loading his Skype account onto my laptop because I’m sure that’s the reason I’ll be missing my client meeting.”
Lots and lots of BLAME.
Which leads me to feel like a VICTIM.
And there you have it - the looping Dynamic Duo of virtually every bad day.
WARNING: These super-villains rarely go away on their own. A bad day can stretch into a bad week or longer. For some, the BLAME-VICTIM loop can even become a way of life.
So what to do?
The Secret is in the Story.
Believe it or not, it’s never the circumstance that gets (and keeps) you riled up, it’s the story you’re telling yourself about that circumstance.
For example, the password situation on my computer fueled my bad mood because of the running story I was telling myself.
Ugh! Several days to restore?!
What did he do to my computer?
I’m going to miss my meeting.
My new client will think I’m a flake.
She’s going to fire me.
My reputation will be trashed.
If I had stayed in that story, chances are it would have taken up quite a bit of my morning and probably caused me to postpone my client meeting.
Hint: Thinking clearly, being creative, and problem solving are impossible when we’re stuck in a story.
3 ½ STEPS to Shifting Your Story (and saving your day)
- b r e a t h e – step away for a moment clear your head and your mind with a few deep breaths
- Reframe – what other stories might be equally true here?
My laptop just needs a reboot.
I can use my iPhone for my client meeting if I need to.
If I do need to reschedule, I can handle it in such a way that it enhances my new relationship.
I’ve gotten out of MUCH tighter spots than this one. How silly that I’m getting all riled up
- Act – do something. Get out of your head and into positive action. This can be problem solving, working, exercising, reading, listening to music, etc… The idea is to get out of the story and into the present moment. Practice mindfulness.
3½. Repeat any time the story creeps back in.