It’s no secret that I’m a supporter of having a smile file. I can’t take credit for the idea of a smile file, but I can share the idea with you.
We all have bad days, some probably more than others. A resource I use to redirect on those bad days is my “smile file.” I actually have two! A smile file on my computer and a box in my office.
The box in my office is full of handwritten thank you notes or cards from folks. Little reminders from people who took the time to let me know how my work impacted them. The one on my computer is mostly emails from people thanking me for some sort of contribution to a project or an answer to their question.
No matter what field you are in, you could use some appreciation for your work. Here are a few screen grabs of the kind of things I keep, but there are no rules to a smile file-other than whatever it is should make you smile! You want to file away things that will bring you back from a bad day, or motivate you when you aren’t feeling any motivation.
Every day cannot be perfect so do something to help you get back on track on hard days; start a smile file.
As I’m sitting in front of the computer to crank out a blog post tonight I have to tell you, I’m tired.
I created a list of 33 topics for this exercise to get back into my writing and I’ve probably only done about half of those topics. I’ve had other things come up that I felt like addressing and I had evenings where I needed to write something much more brief than I had planned.
The 33 days of writing is to get back in the habit of writing. To get back in the habit of using my voice. The 33 days of writing wasn’t necessarily a challenge to write 33 great blog posts, but to just write.
Which brings me to tonight’s off-list topic: getting derailed doesn’t mean quitting. As I scrolled through the topics I have left on the list, I didn’t have the energy to write a post that does any of those topics justice. I almost went to bed without writing, but I’ve come this far and I thought just because you’re too tired to write about that doesn’t mean you don’t write tonight.
I think the same thing happens at work. We see that a project isn’t going exactly how we planned, our to-do list gets burned to ashes, or an initiative suddenly takes a different turn. We can’t always just throw in the towel at these road blocks we have to find a way around, through, under, over them to carry the torch forward.
In 2019 when you hit a wall take the time to take a break or phone a friend, don’t scrap the whole project.
Man, some days just stink. You can have a great job and have a crappy day. Maybe you had it out with a co-worker, a boss made you mad, fire after fire popped up for you to put out, and you just head home defeated and with your head down.
A bad day doesn’t have to derail you. You can get back up.
The best way for me to refocus and move forward is to revisit my ‘why’.
If you don’t know ‘your why’ then what are you even doing?
Your why should help you solve problems. For example, when we get into a group to collaborate on a problem, it can get away from us with lots of opinions and ideas. Taking the opportunity to define the ‘why’ behind the project helps determine what solutions make sense and what solutions aren’t a good fit.
Your why can motivate you on the days you don’t feel motivated.
Your why can define your personal goals.
Your why will drive your actions.
Your why should help you look past those bad days.
If you don’t know your why where you are right now, I want you to think about it until you do. Once you have it, put it front and center in your mind as you carry out your work. If you can’t define your why, maybe it’s time to find a new gig.