I feel a need to confess — on many days, everything annoys me. And I mean EVERY. THING.
In a number of earlier posts, I discussed the importance of choosing positive thoughts that encourage us instead of negative thoughts that discourage us.
I tried to emphasize that this doesn’t mean having a Pollyanna “toxic positivity.” Or pretending to feel a way you don’t really feel. It means that we have a choice of how to feel about our circumstances.
But in case you have an image of me of drifting along in a perennial happy mood, it seemed important to come clean.
Then I read this post from author, speaker, and longtime coach Cheryl Richardson. Seems she struggles too. And the story she tells — describing how she felt and what she experienced on a cold, rainy morning driving into Boston — absolutely nails the struggle. Here are some excerpts; I hope her words help you as they helped me!
It was a raw, rainy day and I woke filled with dread at the thought of commuting into Boston for a morning meeting.
I noticed my thoughts and quickly switched to a positive [version], but the moment I hit standstill traffic the old tune started playing again.
It takes such vigilance to watch our thoughts, to notice when we’re thinking from past, negative experiences (which is much of the time), and then do what’s necessary to send the mind in a new, supportive direction.
When I arrived in the city, I pulled into the first parking garage I could find, left my keys with a friendly attendant, and headed for the street. Umbrella firmly in hand, I told myself that it was fun to walk in the rain, that my business meeting would be interesting and inspiring, and that the day would flow smoothly and easily including getting out of the city before the late day traffic set in.
I rode the elevator up to the lobby of the building and when the doors opened, I was face-to-face with a short, round man dressed in black and white with a red bow tie and big toothy grin. Over his breast pocket was a monogram that let me know he worked for the building so I went to ask for directions.
“Welcome to a wonderful day!” he bellowed, his voice booming over the busy lobby crowd. “You’ve come to the right person. Today is going to be an amazing day and all you need to do is keep smiling.”
Which is exactly what I started doing the moment he opened his mouth .
How long have you been working here? I asked, curious to know more about this unexpected angel. And are you always this happy?
“I’ve been working as a doorman in this building for 18 years,” he explained with pride, “and it’s the best job in the world. Every day I get to remind people to smile and be happy, because it’s a choice, you know. We can decide to make every day a great day.”
If he only knew…