Way back on Day 112 of last year I was thankful for a lesson from my dad (here). Today I’m thankful for another lesson from him.
With a great night of sleep behind me I awoke this morning ready to take on the world. After 9+ hours of snoozing I was ready. My task list for the day long, my focus would be tested to keep up with everything I needed to do. I was ready.
As the day started I was hammering through my list a little more quickly than expected. Then slowly, but surely, the wheels started to fall off. A couple of things didn’t go as planned. Issues came up that I was ready for. Obstacles got in the way and were blocking my path. While passion and energy are some of my strengths they can also be my biggest weaknesses at the wrong times. I could just feel my body starting to coil like a spring about to be sprung. Ignoring it at first I started to tackle one of the obstacles. As I progressed I became increasingly aware of just how tight I was getting. At about the point I was about to pop I took a deep breath and thought about what I would suggest to a friend who was feeling the same way. At that point I smiled, took a deep breath, and took a break from everything.
Way back in the day my dad always taught me that when I get frustrated the best thing to do is calm yourself down. If that doesn’t work, walk away from whatever you’re doing for a few minutes and then go back to it. Being a bull in a china shop bulldozing my way through the task rarely leads to happiness, it’s usually just a bigger mess to clean up.
In concept, it seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? Take a deep breath, take five, walk away, calm down, and then go back. Easy! Nope, it is tough as hell. The more frustrated I get the more determined I get (a huge strength at the right times) and the less likely I am to quit. When things get tough I want to get them done. Not always the best course of action. I’m pretty sure my dad used to struggle with this too, the looks he shot me when I suggested he walk away from something that was frustrating him were enough to kill sometimes. As I’ve gotten older I totally understand – if someone tells me to walk away I get more determined to finish it, but if I suggest it to myself I’m more likely to pause. Hence the reason I asked myself what I would suggest to a friend… It’s always easy to see from afar and tell someone to chill, but I don’t usually listen. It’s easier to pause when I decide it’s time to pause, but rarely do I see it until it’s too late. Combine the best of both and I ask myself what I would suggest to a friend and take my own advice.
So today I told myself I would suggest to a friend that their judgment was being compromised by frustration, their effectiveness deteriorating due to frustration, and it was time to take a break. You know, you need to run to your accountant’s office today, this might be a good time? I took a deep breath, smiled, and walked away for a little bit. Now that I’m back I’m ready to dive back in and take everything on with the right attitude. Life is an attitude, and after taking a brief pause, I’ve chosen the right one.
Thanks again for the advice Dad! All those years of thinking I wasn’t listening while I was too busy complaining when you made me help you have imprinted some wonderful lessons in my brain. Thanks!