• Having a bad day? Self-Awareness is key!

    We’ve all had bad days. You know, the ones where we’re stressed, grumpy, tired, or carrying extra baggage. As leaders, do we have the luxury of bad days? No, we don’t. Our personal self-awareness of these feelings is paramount.

    Our crappy mood is like an anchor, weighing us and our team down. It’s contagious. That’s right, as a leader, our bad days, our energy, and our mood impact our team. Always.

    Yet, we’re human. And while the ultimate goal is to only be positive and never have bad days, for most of us, we’re a long way off from that.

    Here are some important steps to manage, and eventually reduce, the impact of having a bad day:

    Self-Awareness Is Key

    If you don’t know you’re having a bad day, are you really having a bad day? Definitely.

    We can be having a bad day and impacting those around us without even knowing it. Have you ever had a day where everything seems to be a bit harder? Where people are pushing back a little more? Traffic is annoying you more than normal?

    There’s one thing that all those things have in common – you. Sounds like you could be having a bad day.

    This is where self-awareness comes in. When we start to recognize the signs that we’re having a bad day, or more specifically, that we’re not as positive as normal, we can do something about it.

    Communicate With Those Around You

    There’s nothing more powerful and disarming than communicating with people when we’re not ourselves.

    A simple “Sorry guys, I think I’m having bad day today. Please let me know if I’m not being myself” can work wonders, both in terms of having people help you recognize the signs and reducing the impact of your bad day.

    I’ve found that when I’m having a bad day, the act of talking about it (not complaining about it or making excuses), is a great first step in turning the day around.

    Take A Walk

    If nothing is going right. This is definitely a class-A bad day and it needs to be turned around NOW.

    Don’t try to plug away more and push through it. Unplug, relax, and watch it fade away.

    Go for a walk outside. Breathe deeply. Get your heart rate up. Get a coffee from that great place up the street. Smile (even if you’re faking it).

    Forget about everything that was making the bad day. If it helps, visualize all those bad things going down the toilet, or passing by like clouds on a sunny day.

    You’d be surprised how much something as simple as taking a walk can change your day from negative to positive.

    Have Fewer Bad Days

    There are some simple things that everyone (not just leaders) can do to reduce the number of bad days they have:

    Get Enough Sleep

    Have you ever noticed that you have more bad days when you’re tired? You can’t underestimate the importance of good sleep. It’s when your mind and body recharge.

    Eat Well

    Eating right can have a massive effect on how you feel, sleep, and your overall health. Find the right diet for you and stick to it. Pro tip: It’s probably not available through a drive through or “ready in 2 minutes”.

    Fake It Until You Make It

    Fake it? Yes.

    When you know you’re having a bad day, put extra effort into your attitude. Smile more. Be extra polite. Fake being in a great mood and a positive state of mind.

    You might find that after faking it for a while, you end up actually having a good day!

    Find Your Zen

    We each have something that helps us bring balance to our lives and helps us build a stronger, more positive mind. For me, it’s meditation. For Bob Murray, another of our partners, it’s running. Yours might be yoga, or painting, or paddle boarding, or cycling.

    The activity isn’t the important part – focus on the feeling it creates. When you’re done, you should be calm and relaxed. That calm feeling is what you want to carry through your life.

    Practice that feeling often and get to know it really well. As you do, you’ll find you can go back to that feeling on demand.

    Do these things, watch your bad day disappear, and feel a calm and relaxed take over. Now that’s a great trade! 

    Mike is a Technology Strategist, Project Superhero and Cyber-Security Simplifier.  He is a partner at Incrementa Consulting a boutique consulting firm dedicated to helping businesses be more successful. You can connect with Mike on Twitter, LinkedIn or the Incrementa website.

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