Are you having a ‘meh’ Monday? I don’t mean one of those when you’ve had a little too much fun over the weekend and the snooze button on the alarm is seriously tempting. I’m thinking of one of those when you reach midday and you’re still not really sure about your purpose for the day, let alone for the rest of the week. And that kind of gets you to thinking, in a wistful sort of way, that maybe you’re not all that sure about your purpose in work at all.
Or maybe for you it’s the Tuesday evening waiting-for-the-bus existential crisis. Where you have way too much time on your hands to mull over others’ minor idiocies, and where you’re really going to, you know, in life. Whether your career matches up with your expectations (or those of others.)
And most of all… Where. The. Hell. Is. That. Bus?
Sound familiar? Believe me, I have been there too.
Hit The ‘Pause’ Button
If you’re having that moment right now, maybe it is time to hit the pause button, and ponder a little deeper. Just for a minute. Set your screen to something that looks complex. Pick a mind numbingly complicated graph, or your department P&L, and zone out for a few moments. Your boss will never notice.
So what’s this really about? Your customer asked for the moon on a stick. By noon. Your boss is having a bad day and bit your head off over that deadline. And you really wish someone would just do something about the contingent of colleagues who aren’t pulling their weight. Fools to the left of you, jokers to the right. Right?
Well here’s the thing. It’s not them, it’s you.
Woah there, back up a minute. This isn’t about me. Really. I promise you. My customers? Colleagues? Boss? Well, they’re a special kind of stupid.
Sorry. It’s definitely you.
If You Can’t Change it, Change Your Attitude
Sure your boss might be a jerk to you. Customers might be unreasonable. But your actions and reactions? That’s you.
You can’t always control the environment but you can always control how you interact with it. And at work, we often can’t really change the way people act toward us, at least not in an immediate way. Of course over time we can – but how is that helping your current ‘meh’ Monday?
It’s a frequent dinner table conversation in our house. My kids, told to brush their teeth, or do the dishes, or finish up their homework, tell me all about how they will do whatever they feel like, when they are all grown up. I assumed the same when I was their age, too.
Then you realise, that life’s a bit more fuzzy round the edges than that. Of course you should never stay in a toxic environment, professionally or personally. But maybe dealing with your key client on one of their bad days is just the grown up version of doing the dishes when your parents insist. There’s no getting out of it, and you can choose your attitude, and do it with a smile, or hold your ground and curse and grimace right the way through.
I’m no Mary Poppins, but I do think that attitude makes a big difference to personal happiness on a day to day basis!
So your boss is on your back about a project. Could knuckling down and nailing your daily and weekly priorities help you deliver, bringing down the collective blood pressure?
You feel like you’re treading water (or even drowning) in information. If you’re not acting out the inbox zero principles then that can easily happen.
And you know that difficult conversation someone ought to have with your killer customer (or colleague?) Maybe that should be you, tapping her on the shoulder and opening a dialogue to alleviate the problem.
Great. So there’s one more thing to worry about.
Well, flip it on its head, and this way of thinking puts you back in control. You’re not being ‘done to’, you’re driving your own agenda instead of playing along to others’ idiosyncrasies. You’re being a leader in your own life, as well as to those around you at work.
That’s no bad thing. But changing the negative thought patterns that leave you a victim in circumstances of your own choosing, can be tricky.
This is where some external guidance from a coach can help. An outside hand can help guide you to the solutions that you know are there if you were only able to look past the forest of daily frustrations at work. With support on your side, and a bit of effort to make some iterative changes, you can quickly turn the situation round.
Would it be worth it for no more ‘meh’ Mondays?