Yesterday began fairly normally, apart from my husband being unexpectedly interstate for work and me feeling the need to be super-organised to compensate for his absence.
By 8:07 am, I had cleaned out the fridge, put something in the slow cooker for dinner, organised lunches for our daughters, made a doctor’s appointment for our youngest daughter, had a video call with a colleague, left home on time with both daughters and collected a friend’s daughter to take to school. I had all three children at school in record time and, as I drove into work, I was feeling a little proud of how successfully we had managed the morning. Our daughters had been amazing in getting ready while I was on the video call, and everything had come together swimmingly.
On my way to work, the semi-trailer in front of me lost something quite large out of its uncovered load. The item flew out of the truck and on to the road immediately in front of me. Since there was no room at all for evasive action, I swore, took a deep breath, and hoped that whatever it was wouldn’t get stuck under my car and flick me off the road, or fly off and hit another car. Thankfully, all was good. I was a little shaken, but everything was fine.
Work went well, although I was busy because I had customer deadlines. I managed to achieve the customer deadlines, which felt quite cool.
And then I left early to take our daughter to her medical appointment. She had fallen over earlier in the week and her arm had been hurting ever since. At first, my husband and I were both certain it was a sprain, and so we hadn’t been too worried. Except, the pain hadn’t gone away. Hence the doctor’s appointment.
And so it turned out that the “sprain” was a fracture.
The night then became a little crazy as I worked to organise medical appointments for the next day, while consoling our devastated younger daughter and making sure that our eldest daughter met her extra-curricular activity commitments for the evening.
When the evening had quietened down, my first thought was: Well, THAT wasn’t a great day! And then I immediately paused and became curious. Why wasn’t it a great day? I reflected on the aspects of the day that I would call “not great”:
- I nearly had an accident while travelling at 100 km per hour.
- I didn’t get all of my work done because I had to leave early.
- I was running late to collect our daughter from school, which resulted in her becoming anxious about where I might be.
- We were almost late to the doctor’s appointment.
- We were three minutes late to the x-ray, because I had to rush home with a spare key in between the doctor and the imaging centre.
- Our daughter’s arm, which she hurt two days prior, was broken.
- Our daughter was going to miss book week and the fun of dressing up with her close friend. They had been planning it for weeks.
- There will be fracture clinic visits next week when my husband is away and when I am trying to fit in a handover for a new role at work before a colleague goes on leave. That will mean more time off work in an already tight week, and I have no idea how I will fit everything in.
I conceded that there may be some justification for considering it a less than great day. However, surely there were also reasons for it to be considered a good day? I had a think:
- I’d achieved heaps at home before going to work for the day.
- I’d had a fantastic and useful conversation with a colleague before leaving home.
- I’d organised dinner in the morning, which meant that dealing with the pressures of the evening was made a little easier.
- I was fortunate enough that I hadn’t had an accident when the item fell off the the semi-trailer.
- I’d had a fabulous morning at work, and had achieved my customer deadlines.
- We’d had the opportunity to meet a new doctor who we hadn’t seen before. We thought he was lovely, and so we may now have a new doctor who is more accessible than our current doctor (in the same practice).
- The x-ray technician was fantastic with our daughter, and very reassuring.
- Our right-handed daughter fractured her left wrist.
- Our eldest daughter couldn’t wait to console our youngest. They don’t always agree yet, when it matters, they are there for each other.
- A work colleague had, without prompting, bought me an espresso banana smoothie (my favourite comfort food), just to say thank you for my efforts.
- Before the appointment, when I had told some work friends that I was worried that we had left our daughter’s arm for two days before taking her to the doctor, they shared similar experiences, found ways to make me laugh, and did their best to put me at ease. When I told them it was fractured, they offered support and care.
- A friend offered to take over the transport of our eldest daughter to and from a special event this evening, even though it is going to be way out of their way to do so.
- We have so many people in our life who are willing to help. Even with my husband away, if we need help, we have it available.
What occurred to me was that I could find more things that were great about the day than were not great. Yet, the first thing that had come to mind was “Well, THAT wasn’t a great day!” And I would have continued to believe that, had I not paused to ask myself why I was thinking that way.
The learning that I took away from this was that the only truth about any day is that it is a day. The rest comes from our opinions and stories. We can create a story that it is a good day or we can create a story that it is a bad day and, either choice is legitimate. However, if we are aware of the choices and declarations that we are making, then we can be aware of what we are creating and we can choose to create the story that will best serve us. If we aren’t aware of what we are declaring, then we potentially move forward, living our “truth” about the day, without understanding whether that truth is serving us.
So, when is a day a bad day? When we say it is.
As a leadership and life coach, I help people explore how they are being in their interactions as leaders and in life. I use the Be. Do. Learn. approach to assist people in shifting their obstacles and turning them into pathways. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please contact me via the Leading and Being website or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org