You set out for the office each day with a bunch of positive intentions.
You have some grand expectations of how your day is going to pan out.
Maybe you’re even aiming for the Best. Day. Ever?
Does it include stuff like:
- Nailing your meetings
- And making a positive contribution
- And generating money for the business
- And have someone thank you
- And receiving no emails
- And not having any conflict
- And your annoying co-worker not turning up and giving you grief
- And getting time to go to the gym
- And completing all the items on your to do list
- And having time to eat a nice lunch
- And impressing your boss
- And maybe even getting home in time to spend some time with your family
What else do you consider to be factors of an ideal working day?
I too fall into this trap. Wait a minute – trap? Yep, it’s one big trap.
Take a look through the above list – that is a heck of a lot of stuff. The chances of ever achieving all of that in one day are low. Really, really low.
You can’t predict the future and when you try and it doesn’t work out as you planned and in line with your expectations it leads to the mother of all evil – stress.
Recent experiences have increased my appreciation of stress and the negative impact it can have on multiple aspects of your life. But rather than trying to deal with the symptoms, lets dig into the route cause.
The direct route to stress is found when holding on to unrealistic expectations. Of others. Of ourselves. Of the weather. Of the planets aligning.
When something gets in the way of you meeting your expectations, you start to feel a little pressure. This cycle grows as you plan not only to overcome whatever unpredictable hurdle has come up, but to overcome it and to STILL achieve all the other items that make up your ideal day. And so the pressure builds.
We strive to have control over our work and our lives. We get attached to how we want things to be. And so the pressure builds more.
We need to stop doing this. Now.
Having positive intentions, goals and pushing yourself to be a better version of yourself is great. Holding on to a very specific set of ideals and expectations of what you must achieve in order to have the best day ever is not.
We need to find the strength to let go of these expectations. To have a more open mind. To stop being so specific with ourselves. To set ourselves some boundaries of what our expectations and ideals should be. To acknowledge that we aren’t able to control how other people react and behave. That we should not try to make them how they want to be. That we cannot predict the future. That it’s more important to talk about how we do things, rather than what we do.
When you notice you are holding on to some ideal and very specific expectations, remind yourself that you are encouraging stress into your life.
So on reflection, what does the best day ever look like?
Maybe it should be something more like:
- Staying alive.
- Keeping an open mind.
- Working with positive intentions.
- Helping someone in some way.
- Oh and of course not holding on to unrealistic expectations.
Good luck. Have a great day.