Rough Day? 3 Ways to Hang In When You Feel Like Getting Out

That’s how fast my friend pulled together an amazing collection of people, for the sweetest possible reason.

I was serving in public office at the time, and things were a little rough. On the county commission, one of our key jobs was to monitor county funds, ask careful questions about expenditures and budget priorities, and make sure that those we represented were being served well.

It was a complex and difficult job, so I (always!) had questions.  
lot of questions.

Some folks really liked that. Appreciated it even.

Others, not so much.

So when the criticisms came, they were very loud. Very harsh.
And very public.

After one really rough day, my friend Linda sent out a call for support, and in less than two days, pulled together a huge gathering of friendly faces at a local venue.

Folks of every political stripe you could imagine came together just to thank me for trying, and to offer a shot of much needed encouragement.

It was one of the kindest, most humbling, experiences I’ve ever had.

But that’s not why I’m telling you this story.

It’s what my friend did NEXT that I want to share with you.

After a few minutes in which several folks took the floor to share words of support, Linda turned and handed me a red vinyl folder.

It was red, she said, so I could find it quickly in my desk.
It was vinyl, because she wanted to make sure it lasted.

It was, she said, an “Atta Girl” file.

In it, she’d printed out and stashed a whole stack of friendly emails written by many of those present, as well as some who couldn’t be there that evening.

She read a few of the emails to the crowd, thanked them for sending those in, then handed the file to me.

She told me to pull out that file and read through it every time I had any doubts about whether I could continue, or whether the work (and struggle) was worth it.

THAT’s what I want to share with you.

There will be many times in your life, where you will be challenged to handle difficult circumstances.

And as the leader in your business, as the CEO of your own show, you will have to stand for something you believe in.

You may have to say a polite but firm no to a customer you hate to disappoint. You may have to let a team member go who isn’t a good fit. You may have to make tough choices about the way your company shows up in the world and what you deliver.

Not everyone will love what you do, either.

So some days, you may feel a little beat up. You may want to just crawl under the covers. Or quit.

That’s okay. I have those days too. Even now. :)

And you can, actually, crawl under the covers for a while. That’s fine.

Just don’t stay there. 

Because the world needs what you have to share.

So here are 3 quick strategies for hanging in when you really want to get out.

1. Start your own Atta Girl file.

Or, if you’re a guy – your Good Guy file. :)

Any time someone sends you a thank you note, a card, or an email telling you how special you are, how much you helped, or what a difference you made for them, tuck it away in your own brightly colored, vinyl folder. Keep that close by in your desk.

Another idea is to take those notes and tuck them into sheet protectors inside a Good News Notebook. If you’re crafty, decorate the cover, and make it a joy to look at. (That was Linda’s idea too!)

For digital files, you could create a folder on the desktop of your computer and use it the same way. Just copy and paste those happy emails onto a Word doc. Drag and drop them into that file, and label it something like your “Feel Good Folder”.

Whatever you call it, wherever you keep it, make it a habit to pull these out from time to time, and re-visit those notes.

It’s okay to give a little grin as you read them, too.

2. Fill up a Thank You Jar.

Keep a pretty jar, a pen, and a note pad, on your kitchen table or some other central place. Any time something good happens in your life, or someone says something that you just really, really needed to hear, write it down. Date it. Fold up that little piece of paper and drop it in the jar.

In a way, this is a version of what Stephen Covey called, filling your emotional bank account. At the end of the year – or when you need a boost on a random tough day – pull out a few of those happy little notes and get a quick positive energy re-set.

3. Gather Your Own Circle of EnCouragers.

 When things are really tough, or when you just need a Courage Boost, reach out to your own circle of supporters. Invite a few faves over for coffee and dessert, or beer and barbecue.

But don’t be mysterious. Tell them straight out that you need a little support, a shot of courage, a circle of friends. Then, share with them where you’re struggling, and where you could use help.

They’ll be honored that you’ve asked. And you’ll get what you need.

You’d do the same for them, wouldn’t you?

Of course you would.

And here’s a Bonus Tip for business owners.

Whenever you need a fresh testimonial for your website or some marketing copy, you can usually find some inspiration in that file.

You may be able to use them verbatim. Or, you may need to reach out to the author, and ask them if they’d be willing to say the same thing for you as a testimonial.

You never know!

I’ve used all of these strategies myself, and still do – because they work.

What about you? What’s your favorite way to cope when things get tough?


Photo Credit: Matus Laslofi on Flickr

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