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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

How to Talk Yourself in to a Great Day at Work

When a beloved childhood friend gets cast in the role of a lifetime—starring in the touring production of a smash hit Broadway show—and she says, “Want to come see the show when we pass through your area?” The answer is obviously, “Hell yes.”

I trekked out to the theater. Saw the show. Applauded wildly. Loved every moment.

Afterward, my friend and I clinked celebratory margaritas and toasted to her success. Several of the other cast members were there, too, sipping drinks and unwinding after the high-voltage performance.

I noticed one performer bent over his cell phone at the end of the bar, texting ferociously, lost in his device. He noticed me, looked up, and smiled.

“My family back at home,” he explained, gesturing to his phone. “I miss them so much.”

I could imagine. Months on the road, cut off from your ordinary routine, detached from family, friends, and the comforts of home. It’s a dream gig, sure, but it comes at a cost.

“So how is the tour going for you?” I asked.

He replied with surprising honesty.

“I couldn’t believe it when I got this gig,” he said. “The pay is great, I’m saving lots of money, and the cast and crew are unbelievable. I am so grateful…”

A pause. I waited for the “but…”

“… but there are some nights when I just want to be back at home. Anywhere but here. That’s the truth.”

This man—and his cast mates—have the task of performing the same songs, doing the same dances, and telling the same story, eight times a week, week after week, month after month. At some point or another, no matter how much you love performing, the shine starts to wear off.

This goes for any industry, of course.

Whether you work in marketing or finance or healthcare or the performing arts or take care of baby sea otters at the zoo, there are going to be days when you simply don’t feel like doing what you are being paid to do. My boyfriend bakes cakes and pastries for a living, which is his absolute dream job, and even he has days like these!

Feeling bored, distracted, homesick, or unfocused at work is human. Totally natural. But remaining in a slump is optional. Changing your mood isn’t necessarily easy, but there is always a way.

Here are some phrases you can say to yourself when you want to create a dramatic turnaround in your day.

If You Are Feeling Exhausted

Tell yourself:

I need to rest. I recognize that. I am going to rest as soon as I can.

But right now, I’m at work. Which means it is time to do the best that I can with the energy I’ve got.

Best effort. Right now.

If You Are Feeling Frustrated With a Colleague

Tell yourself:

I can’t always control what other people do, but I am in charge of my responses and reactions. I don’t have to let this person bring me down. I am here to deliver my best. Full speed ahead.

If You Are Feeling Invisible, Like Your Work Doesn’t Really Matter

Tell yourself:

I don’t have to be the center of attention in order to make a meaningful impact in someone else’s life.

In fact, if I help even just one human being to have a better / calmer / happier / easier day, today, because of the work that I’m doing, then today is a success.

If You Are Feeling Anxious and Overwhelmed by Your Workload

Tell yourself:

I don’t have to do everything today, but I am going to do something today.

I will choose one task, right now, and commit to it with my whole heart.

If You Are Feeling Guilty Because You’ve Been Distracted or Procrastinating

Tell yourself:

Today is not over yet.

My heart is still beating. My lungs are still breathing. I am alive.

Which means it is not too late to do something creative, productive, and courageous. Today.

Not too late to behave like the person I want to be instead of continuing in a cycle of behavior that I might later regret. Today is not over yet!

What are the words that you need to hear, right now, to help you finish today on a high?

Give yourself those words right now. Say them inside your mind or out loud.

No matter how poorly your day has been going so far, you always have the ability to turn it around.

Coach yourself. Talk to yourself. Get your mind back in the game.

Today is not over yet.

There is still time to be great.

Photo of happy coffee cup courtesy of Shutterstock.