"My responsibility is leadership, and the minute I get negative, that is going to have an influence on my team." ~Don Shula
"If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree." ~Jim Rohn
Sometimes your day just goes bad. It might have started out that way when you rolled out of bed, or it could have taken a turn for the worse once you got into work. The key for high performers is that you turn it around and not wallow in it. Studies have shown over and over again that positive people are more productive and more likely to get promotions. But here’s the dirty secret they don’t always tell you: They aren’t always positive.
Great leaders and great employees know how to turn a bad day around when they run into one and today you’ll see 11 ways that you can do it too:
Accept it, it happens – Acknowledge and move on. We’re all human, which means we’re going to have bad days. The most amazing people you know have bad days, so you’re in great company. Don’t let it get you into a negative mindset where you start thinking it only happens to you and you’re doing something wrong. The only wrong thing is to let yourself stay there longer than absolutely necessary (which isn’t that long).
Pinpoint the problem – What happened? Did your boss come into your office and yell at you? Did you get too little sleep? Did someone resign? Were sales bad last quarter? Did the barista screw up your latte? Not only does knowing what went wrong help you address it right now, it also helps you discover your “triggers” so you can get ahead of a bad day in the future.
Take action – One of the most constructive things you can do when faced with a bad day is to take action to address what got you there. Too many times a bad day can spiral out of control and you are left wallowing in everything that is going wrong and how uncontrollable the situation is. When you take action, you take back that control and you are forced to look forward to a goal, not back at everything that’s wrong.
Change your routine – If you want to change the momentum of your day, you’ll likely need to change…well, something. Go outside and take a few deep breaths. Take your laptop and go work from a conference room for a while. Jump up and go to the break room for a coffee. Take lunch early. A great way to snap yourself out of your “funk” is by doing something different.
Find your latest success – Switch your focus from the bad to the good. What successes have you had recently. If the boss is berating your performance on something, think about other things that he/she praises you on (or that you know you’re good at if they don’t tend to give positive feedback to anyone). One of the best ways of preventing a bad day is to nurture enough positive momentum so that when something happens that would usually tip your day into a “bad day” you already have so much good momentum going on that it rolls right off your back.
Find a way to laugh – Laughter is healing to the soul. Maybe you look up SNL skits, stand-up comedy, or funny cat videos on Youtube. Maybe you just head to the web and look for jokes. Ask the office funny man for a joke. Laughter is a great way to break yourself out of the rut.
Get a few quick wins – Winning is almost as good as laughter for getting you in a good mood. Remember that action we talked about above? If it is difficult to take action against the cause itself, sometimes just getting a few little things off your plate in a successful way can help.
Gratitude – A little perspective can turn a bad day around. Listing out the things that you are grateful for is one of the best ways to get that perspective. Yes, you’re having a bad day at work, but do you still have a great job? Are you still providing for your family? Do you have good health? Good friends? If you can focus on the great big things that are going right, you might find what spun your day “bad” really isn’t that important.
Talk to a friend – Pick up the phone or go walk over to someone’s office and just shoot the breeze with them. Spending time around people you like and conversing about topics you enjoy will calm you down and bring a smile to that face. We don’t do life alone, and this is a great reminder of that.
Learn from it – Lastly, try to learn from the experience. Bad days often occur because of mistakes, and mistakes are some of our primary material and motivation to learn. When you have a bad day, realize that you’ve been given an opportunity to learn something, so take advantage of it. Turning a bad day into an opportunity turns around the end result.
There’s no need to let a bad moment effect the whole day, there is always a way to turn it around so that you can maximize your productivity and enjoyment of work. If you start taking the actions listed above you’ll find what works for you and what doesn’t, and from there you can more easily manage your day on an ongoing basis.