If I said I’d been having a hard time at work these last few weeks, it would be an understatement. I’m talking things that have NEVER happened to me in over 30 years of work.
I’m not going to spill the beans, but let’s just say it has left me unable to sleep, write, draw, even eat sometimes. We are talking down. Down as far as a thing that’s very far down.
So today at work, I’m just keeping myself to myself, not wanting to talk to anyone, but it’s making me miserable. I know I was miserable before, but this is feeding my misery.
I spent half the day shaking and trembling, and no, I don’t think my MS was playing up. I think I had worked myself into a state that my body could no longer cope with. I wanted to be miserable. I wanted to be resentful to others. I didn’t do anything of course. I spoke when someone spoke to me (no one did). I answered the phone when a client called. I chatted to people when they came into the office. And I was professional. It wasn’t how I felt. I felt like I was putting a smile on to mask the turmoil inside me, and I think I did a good job. No one could say anything other than ‘he was very nice. Professional.’ But that’s not how I felt. I wanted to do all these things with my usual gusto, but I convinced myself that all these things that had happened to me required me to feel this way.
But I was wrong.
Have you ever had poor service from a restaurant and sat and cursed under your breath at the situation? Maybe you even made a loud and vocal complaint.
Have you ever shouted at one of your children to the point where they have run off crying to their bedroom? Have you then sat downstairs playing over the incident in your head and hated yourself?
What about work? Have you ever come home after a hard day and moaned to your partner about something one of your colleagues said? Something that got you so angry, you can’t seem to let it go? You run over the incident in your mind and let it feed your anger?
In fact, think of any incident that has left you with a strong emotion: anger, hate, loathing.
How did that make you feel? Did slamming your fist into the wall when you got home after a tough day at the office make you feel any better? It might. But did it improve your situation?
This is where I remembered something I learned ten…fifteen years ago. I’ve since learned it’s called the Fish Philosophy and when I remembered it, something changed in me.
I always just remembered it as
Choose Your Attitude
Actually, that’s just a part of the fish philosophy. This was originally created after some clever people visited a fish-market in Seattle and found a group of people having the most fun selling their fish, but they were also doing great business and as a result, the fish training video is one of the most watched marketing videos in the world (but I’m not going to talk about marketing).
So What Is It?
It’s about making a conscious decision to change your attitude.
But How Do You Do That?
Okay, so it’s not as easy as that, but I’ve had several years of practice. What can you do? These helpful tips are from Fish Philosophy:
- When you wake up, how do you want to feel? Are you in control of yourself, or are you on autopilot?
- Ask yourself-what impact do you want to have that day/that moment?
- Write down some words that describe the person you want to be today – fun, focused, energetic, calm……whatever. Use this as a reminder to ‘load’ ‘yourself’ each day.
- Check your attitude throughout the day.
- Plan ahead for things that could test your attitude.
- Look for the best, cos you’ll find it everywhere!
So, back to my story…
I decided that I am actually a fun person that enjoys interacting with clients and colleagues, and more than that, I’m good at it and it makes me happy.
The weight that has been lifted from my shoulders is palpable. I feel like I can face tomorrow. I’m going to do my thing, because at the end of the day, the only thing I am in 100% control of is me. I can’t control others and if they want to try to fill my day with negativity, that’s their problem.
Side Note To Parents…
I used this with my own children when they were younger. It takes some work, but it can have a positive effect.
I remember times when my children would get so angry and upset the they wouldn’t do anything except sulk. Now, whilst there is nothing wrong with sulking, I would sometimes just ask them if they were happy sitting in the corner, or would they like to do something different, or I would suggest they go upstairs for five minutes then choose an attitude that would make them happier, then come back down and we’ll start again.
For my son (aged 6ish at the time), it worked wonders. It would bring him out of his tantrums in super-quick time, so we could get on and do something. I think that’s because I had tested the system on my daughter. She was the ‘test-child’ as she like to remind me.
It’s been a bad few weeks and I can imagine they will continue into at least the near future, but a least now I am armed with my new attitude. Give it a go…
Choose Your Attitude