yesterday was undoubtedly the worst. i felt low. saddled with a morning & afternoon full of tension and annoyances, my high hopes for the day vaporized. i had woken early, floated into the office looking forward to the unseasonably warm forecast, focused on making good progress, excited for the sunshine that would be waiting for me at my desk. things of course, did not pan out as planned.
chin up, buttercup. bad days happen to everyone. practice being upset, stressed, and overwhelmed and that is what you will be. it is how the people around you will perceive you. as one hot mess.
when days like these come around i am reminded of something my father told me when i first began my career. i was in the process of taking leadership over a high-profile project. i felt nervous, unqualified, and unprepared. i was correct, i wasn’t ready. but that didn’t stop the train from pulling in to my station at 120 mph. in light of my predicament (and i’m sure in part to stop my sobs) my father told me “be the duck”. when you feel stress, panic, and near or fully enveloped in crisis mode, be calm. while you may be paddling fast as you can under the pond surface, not everyone needs to know. above water, be graceful and still. too often, when stress is upon us and the work feels overwhelming and mounting, we act as a Labrador retriever would upon entering a pond. disrupting the serene surface, splashing, making noise, drawing attention. we complain and vent. effective leaders show restraint.
be the duck.
i’m remembering that a professional lady such as myself should take heed of this lesson. externalizing my stress at the workplace isn’t part of a solution. rather, it builds on the problem, drawing attention, judgement, and observations that may not be looked upon so kindly.
yesterday was just another work day. today is a new one. not every day will be full of productivity & positive regard. sometimes, it’s going to be hard and not so fun. but that doesn’t mean that progress can’t be made, that problems can’t be solved, that i can’t use a day like yesterday to work on how i choose to handle stress.
be the duck.