Do you ever have one of those days where you think "Greatness? I just hope I survive today without going crazy." This was one of those mornings, but I've learned something in my study that helped me turn it around. Today began with the supposed installation of the porch railings we ordered six weeks ago. Yep, you know where this is going. Someone didn't measure right (it wasn't me) and so we have to wait again (probably another six weeks). So I got to the store trying to get over being a little ticked off. Seemed like the day was changing when I opened the door and a bunch of people came in with their kids and wanted to buy books. Then our brand new point of sale system would not process a woman's credit card. Behind her the kids decided to play with the rubber vases we have in the store by throwing them on the floor. I tried using our alternative credit card machine just as UPS walks in with a big delivery and needs me to sign. The alternative credit card system won't even work. I sign for UPS and give the woman back her card and so she considerately gives me a $100 bill. After getting her change she walks out of the store and I hear a beeping. The credit card machine finally went through and processed her card. So I took a deep breath closed the store and called tech support.
Yet it was a reminder of resilience that helped me turn my day around. One of the practices that Karen Reivich suggests in The Resilience Factor is putting things in perspective. The practice calls for you to look at what is going on and see it in the light of a year, or of your entire life and then see how important it is for you (I'm paraphrasing big time here). I've adopted a similar practice in my business. We only strive for excellence and when things don't go as planned I tended to get upset. Yet I'm learning to put work challenges in perspective. No one will die if I something goes wrong in my work. That was my reminder today: no one will die if I can't get this point of sale system going.
What happens when you put things in perspective? For me, the first thing that happens is I laugh at myself. Two things seem to upset me more than anything else, driving and technology. Since I can't avoid either of them you'd think I'd figure it out by now. Yet when people drive badly, or technology doesn't work the way it should I get unreasonably upset. That's what was happening this morning. By the time the sale system wouldn't process credit cards I was ready to throw it out the window. Yet, I was able to laugh at myself when I thought "will someone die if you don't get this going?" My initial thought was the guy who installed it, but I laughed and thought "no, no one will die." Then I relaxed.
When we relax and the "fight, flight, freeze mechanism" gets turned off, we can think creatively. That's when I was able to void the credit card transaction, fix the machine with tech help and reopen the store.
Let's face it, some days it's not easy to bring out your best. Sometimes getting through the day is greatness. However, putting the challenges in perspective works for me. Be honest with yourself. There isn't much that deserves to wreck a day. Put it in perspective.