After a monumentally challenging day yesterday; one that challenged both mind and mood, I had a real “road to Damascus” epiphany. Everything at work had gone sideways, I was given a project I’d never seen before and was told I had to get it done in 24 hours, and I hadn’t slept well the night before, so was feeling dragged out and exhausted.
It seemed that everyone I ran into had issues with the workplace or home. It was as though a dark cloud hung over our building, refusing to leave. I began to feel quite put-upon, especially about the hurry-up-and-just-do-it project that for some reason wasn’t on the schedule. I got that tight feeling in the back of my throat that tells me that panic is just around the corner, plus I felt a heavy cloak of indignation settling over me.
Then, like sunshine bursting through rain, it came to me: I can do this. I can handle this. I can make things happen because I have done it before. Anyone who has ever been in a play, learned their lines perfectly, then got on stage on opening night and froze has felt like this. A calming, cooling, relaxed feeling settles over you, and you realize that you already know what to do. All that practice has paid off, and the words come out perfectly, and there you are–right smack in the zone.
So I mentally stepped back, took a deep breath, and did what I do every day–I put the pedal to the metal and outlined my project. Once I let go of the resentment (“how can they do this to me? This mess isn’t my fault!”), the anger, the fear and doubt–the rest was easy. After all, when something has to be done quickly, the automatic trade-off is that it might not be perfect, but it will be enough.
While slipping into my auto-pilot mode, I realized that all negative thoughts and resentment just gum up the works and nothing gets done. No one likes to be taken for granted or be pushed beyond their job description, but it’s going to happen sooner or later. So why make it worse by digging in our heels and coming up with all kinds of excuses for why this, that, or the other thing cannot be done? There will inevitably be a compromise; after all, things done at the last minute will not always be just so. But again, there is no time for arguing or fighting because time’s a-wastin’.
So–we can face these occasional challenges to our sanity with insanity, or we can put the craziness in a box and tape it up so that we can accomplish what needs to be done. Although it doesn’t always feel that way, the choice really IS ours. We can choose to be panicked or peaceful.
And for me yesterday, in all that sturm and drang, I chose peace. And do you know what? It was there all the time!