Yesterday required me to draw on my own psychological skills more than most. It started off with minor annoyances, snow-balled into bleakness, but ended on a very positive note.
As I shared yesterday, I walked into work and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. Such a great start to the day! But by walking, I didn’t need to use my travel card, which was still lying on top of the dresser in our hallway at home.
With a day of criss-crossing London ahead of me, I really could have done with my pre-paid card. Annoyance crept in. I’d arranged my day so I could work in the City, then make my way to the West End for a quick medical appointment, a bit of light Christmas Shopping and then early evening drinks with a business contact.
My morning was fairly disintegrated by some hard-core procrastination and revisiting some writing that I’d already “finished” – but picked over once again, like the carcass of some road kill. I wasted time like it was free.
I then had a last-minute client cancelation, so decided to walk from the City to the West End, something I do regularly. Two things: I was wearing the wrong shoes (nice brogues, but not really meant for walking the amount I did) and I’d underestimated the cold.
You know where my hat and gloves were? Yes, next to my travel card at home. I silently cursed my own stupidity. I was so pig-headed, I decided to walk regardless.
And froze my face off as a result.
On arrival at my medical appointment, I checked in, only to be told 20 minutes later that their computer system had crashed and there would be a delay of at least 30 minutes before anyone could be seen. The waiting room was already full when I got there, so I hunkered down – still wearing my coat – and tried to be productive with my iPad.
I eventually left the clinic 90 minutes after arriving, walking out into darkness. I tried to see the positives of the situation, using self-talk to remind myself I was being an adult by doing all of this. But the cold and the sore feet got in the way, if I’m honest.
Making my way to a popular (for some reason) Department store, I went to pick up a pre-ordered gift. Upon presenting my email to the chap behind the desk, he ‘helpfully’ pointed out that this was just the order email and that the confirmation email hadn’t been sent to me yet. No sign of my gift.
Now, I was positive that I’d seen a confirmation yet couldn’t find anything on my phone. And with no way to cancel the order at this stage, I’m left in limbo about whether or not it’ll turn up in time for Christmas.
Walking back out onto Oxford Street, the cold wind nearly took my breath away, so I actually ended up going to Uniqlo and bought myself one of their ubiquitous sleeveless puffy-jackets to wear under my coat. It helped. A little. But the crowds on the street and in the stores really began to get to me.
This snow-balling of bad mood is something I regularly explore with my clients in coaching sessions, so I took a break from being annoyed and asked myself what was really going on. The answer?
I was annoyed at my own disorganisation – forgetting important things like a travel card and gloves – and then annoyed at my own pig-headedness at insisting on the walk across town. That was it. Nobody’s fault but mine. Deep breath. Forgive myself, while reminding myself of my own fallibility. A fresh start. Pop in the earphones and listen to something pleasant on Spotify. Get moving.
By the time I arrived at the drinks down in Mayfair, I was feeling much better. But the welcome I received, the lovely people I got to meet and the (bizarrely nice) compliments I received about my new ‘jacket’ were the icing on the cake.
In less than thirty minutes, I was feeling on top of the world again – even better than I did when I walked into work in the sun. And no, it was nothing to do with the free finger buffet and delicious sliders.
Well, maybe a little.
But it was a good reminder of my extraordinary ability to wind myself up and upset myself. Just like everyone else. I just needed to stop, have a word with myself and then re-frame the experiences.
Onwards and upwards. Today is going to be a better day.