May the odds be ever in your favor
Last Saturday, on my day off, I was wide awake at 4:50 am thinking about the things I had wanted to do on Friday that I didn’t get done, the goals I had set for myself and then abandoned when my daughter asked me to take her for coffee in the middle of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee with my daughter but it could have been done just as easily an hour later.
So there I was, wide awake, at the ass crack of dawn, on my day off, feeling disgruntled.
I had a busy day ahead of me. I wanted to get things done AND feel good about it.
It seemed like a really tall order, so I got my coffee and took advantage of the quiet time in my house to formulate a plan.
I had a 9am meeting, had to go to Costco, walk with a friend, coffee with my daughter (this has a way of recurring), run errands, plan dinner, survive.
Admittedly it seemed a little overwhelming. So I decided to rely on one of my favorite strategies,
I stacked the odds in my favor.
First I picked how I wanted to feel about my day; confident and calm.
I decided to go for coffee at 3pm with my daughter: much less likely to abandon my plans if I schedule this at a time that would work best for me AND the afternoon caffeine would boost my errand running.
I wore my walking clothes to my 9am meeting: much more likely to walk if I didn’t have to go home first.
Called a couple friends on the way to see if they could walk (they couldn’t-oh well).
Pre-ordered a sandwich at Starbucks so I wouldn’t be starving if I did walk.
Stop to walk at the park between my meeting and Costco, since I was dressed: much more likely to walk when it is somewhere beautiful.
Picked a loop trail: much more likely to walk further if I can’t just stop and turn around any time.
Added bonus, I took a wrong trail and ended up walking another mile so then I felt particularly badass.
Spent the extra mile thinking about all of you, and how my Saturday experience was similar to feeling better at work: much less likely to second guess the time I was spending exercising if I was multitasking thinking about business.
Decided on take out for dinner: much less likely to feel pressured running errands if I already had a plan for dinner.
So you can see, all day I stacked the odds in my favor.
And at the end of the day, 13,600 steps later, I was exhausted. But I wasn’t disgruntled. I wasn’t telling myself that I should have done better, that anything should have been different.
Now you may be asking what has to do with work, or with anything.
Stacking the odds in your favor is easy because every single step is a small one.
It is the answer to taking the seemingly impossible goal of feeling better at work and making actual progress.
I know because I do it.
Here are some work specific options. Maybe start with one little thing and go from there.
Pack a healthy lunch with small portable portions in case you only have a few minutes here or there
Hydrate. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of afternoon fatigue.
Wear comfortable shoes. Just kidding, I know you are already doing this, but if they’re old, replace them.
Decide ahead of time to pee when you have to.
Yup, you heard me right. It’s too distracting to run around with a full bladder. Ignoring what your body is telling you is a major contributor to physical stress. Usually, no one will die if you take 3 minutes to run to the bathroom. If someone IS actually dying, you have my permission to hold it. But only in that situation.
Remind yourself WHY you are there. This isn’t just a nice thing to do, it prevents burnout. Here’s a hint, it has something to do with the patient in front of you. If you are in management, it has something to do with the nurses in front of you and the patients in front of them. What we do makes a difference in the world.
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT: Pick how you want to feel at work and try not to just pick “happy”. Happy is a great emotion but it may seem incongruent with the things you deal with during the day.
Some of my favorite go-to emotions are
These seem to be more attainable than “happy” since you can feel calm or compassionate when dealing with very difficult situations.
Picking the state that you want to be in may seem a little woo woo but before you knock it, try it. Pick the state and then use some slow, deep breaths to get you back there if you are feeling stressed or out of control. Breathe work is my secret ninja skill at work. It settles you down without anyone even knowing you are doing it.
These are just some ideas, I challenge you to ask yourself,
How can I stack the odds in my favor to have a good day at work?
See what you come up with. It will give you back autonomy and will move you closer and closer to feeling satisfied at work.
Sure you will go to bed tired, but you won’t feel disgruntled.
Don’t wait to feel better. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to solutions to feeling overwhelmed. I can help you if you need me. Reach out firstname.lastname@example.org