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You Are Allowed to Have a Bad Day

July 1, 2011

I woke up the other day and felt a little bit off.

I went about my business, figuring these things usually wear out as the day progresses. But it lingered. My mind felt fuzzy. I could barely string two sentences together. I couldn’t concentrate. I felt lethargic and low.

Maybe it was allergies. Or I didn’t get enough sleep. Or maybe it was one of those mysterious biological universe circadian rhythm things, where the cosmos was blocking my energy force. Okay, I made that up entirely.

So I pushed through, making some lame attempts to get my work done, even though all I wanted to do was to lie down.

The day proceeded in slow motion. I took calls, but I hardly made any calls.  I turned up for meetings, but mostly kept to myself. I kept looking at the list of projects that needed to be attended to, but I couldn’t think of anything to do. My initiative and motivation were curled up in a ball on the floor.

As the hours marched by, I felt not only lazy and tired, but also started feeling guilty. I noticed my colleagues as they energetically talked on the phone, chattered about projects, held important meetings. Why didn’t I have any important meetings scheduled today? There they were, on the phone, conferring in the hallways, getting things done. Taking names. Doing deals. Contributing. Unlike lame, no-good, unproductive me.

Layers of jealousy and paranoia were now settling on top of my malaise.

I called my wife and whispered my concern, looking for some quick therapy. “I feel like a waste product.” I confessed.

“Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself,” she quipped. “One off day isn’t going to ruin your career.”

“Really?” I asked, listening to the collegial laughter billowing out of the conference room, finding that hard to believe.

“Yes.” She replied firmly. “For goodness sake.  You are allowed to have a really bad day. Now go take a nap and forget about it.”

Those words were a huge relief. She was right. Most of us are fairly consistent in our productivity and attitude 99% percent of the time. But we are not machines. There are going to be moments when we waiver, when we are off.

And it’s okay to let it be.

I did take a nap, then came back to the office without all that extra pressure. I did a couple of things, fulfilled some obligations, but mostly took it easy. Tomorrow is another day, after all. A fresh, new day.

And guess what?

It was.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2011 6:42 am

    I totally get this. I only work the day job (CPA) during the two “busy” seasons for tax preparers, and I hit it hard during those times. Bad days happen, and it’s all I can do to just accomplish SOMETHING before I go home, sleep and look forward to a new day.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and offering some encouragement. I’m super excited about my upcoming adventure, but I really appreciate the kind words from so many.

  2. July 1, 2011 6:47 am

    Naps are one of the best things ever invented. I think we should start a siesta movement in the United States.

  3. July 1, 2011 6:54 am

    Elijah needed a serious nap after doing battle with the prophets of Baal. Works for me. Now if I could just get some angels to drop by Panera and deliver some lunch.

  4. July 1, 2011 7:10 am

    This is encouraging, Brad. Well, to a point, anyway. 😛 I generally have three days like this per week. Yay brain fog! But you know, I never appreciated new mornings the way I’ve learned to appreciate them since getting sick.

    Thanks for sharing this post – I’m glad to know that others have days like I have. It’s weirdly encouraging.

  5. July 1, 2011 7:40 am

    I’ve been learning something about myself I don’t much like this week…when there’s a big, big, intense project, I don’t have bad days.

    My bad days come when I have white space in the day.

    I’m still figuring out what that means, but I don’t like it. Thanks for something more to consider as I think it through.

  6. July 1, 2011 8:35 am

    I once posted about something similar to a bad day… and to my suprise, many of the readers reflected THEY were suprised… because I usually write a positve and strong persona. I now know how they felt. You just became ‘real’ to me… not that you weren’t or aren’t… it’s all about perception. Just so you know, I respect ‘real’.

  7. July 1, 2011 8:51 am

    I’d better be allowed to have a bad day! I have lots of ’em. It doesn’t stop me from getting up the next day. Everything looks better at 5 a.m. (I’m not kidding.)

  8. July 1, 2011 12:12 pm

    Best post I’ve read in a while Brad.

  9. July 1, 2011 1:31 pm

    Thanks Brad.

    This was timely. Just had one of those days, only there was a fire to put out forcing me to work extra hard despite my lethargy and things seeming to be 10 times harder than usual.

    Now thankfully the day has finally ended and I can get some rest.

    Tomorrow is surelt another day.


  10. July 1, 2011 7:16 pm

    Days like that remind us that we’re not God. It’s so easy to beat ourselves up but we have to extend grace to ourselves just like we would to others. Great thoughts.

  11. July 2, 2011 3:17 pm

    doesn’t everyone take naps? i think levenger makes a special nap mask that comes in red leather.

  12. July 4, 2011 5:24 am

    I have learned to embrace the malaise! Sometimes my body (and spirit) just needs a little more TLC than usual. It’s best to listen. You wife is a very wise woman :).

  13. July 6, 2011 2:18 pm

    Come on now… you actually said “waste product?”

    Know who else is a huge fan of naps? Me, mothers of babies and preschoolers and kindergarten teachers everywhere. But aren’t there also some companies that actually have napping rooms? That’d be a good topic for a future blog post. Might have to go nap on it. I mean, research it.

  14. August 12, 2011 1:41 pm

    Lets say I’ve seen better days. some how a voice in my head is telling me to take it easy. the harder i try the more things around me go wrong. Broke a glass, ripped my blinders off the window. feel tired. low. computer is slow… well. sometimes these things happen i go oh well next thing on the list. but today seems dark, sad and lonely. Whatever it is. I bless my day and everyone elses. who cares. its a day for me to stay in bed and watch cartoons.. maybe thats the good thing about today. I get to do nothing at all. Hey what do you know. It is a good day after all. Not the way I wish it was. But how often do i sleep all day, relax and watch cartoons? Today I am…. Thanks to a really bad day… 😉

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