Although I am not a big fan of Oregon Ducks football, I do believe in the mantra of the team: Win the Day. Whereas I don’t apply this motto in a football sense as my playing days ended nine years ago, I do apply it in a professional and personal sense starting each morning when I get out of bed.
I am a very positive person with an optimistic attitude on almost anything thrown my way so naturally I have far more good days than bad ones. If there was a scoreboard that kept track of the positive points of my day vs. the negative points of my day according to a football scoring system, you would routinely see scores favoring the positive side of 35-3, 42-10, and 28-7. However, about 30% of the time you would also see scores mixed in such as 28-24, 21-20, and 10-7. It is on these latter days where I have to fight a little harder to come out on top.
Sometimes I will get to work and immediately a setback will occur. I will get an e-mail, a phone call, or complaint. Then something else will happen that I did not hope or plan for. Some people at this point will fold and announce that the day has been lost. While I do feel discouragement, I do my best to not give up on the day. I tell myself that the next several hours will not be as easy as usual and that I will probably experience additional setbacks but that the day can still be won.
But, you might ask, how do you win the day when not very good things have already occurred, when you know you will have to deal with the aftermath, and when you sense that further things could go wrong? What can you do to salvage the day? First, I make sure I have a positive attitude. This means believing that even though more negative things could present themselves, a greater number of positive things will wash them out. It also means carrying myself with positivity and reflecting it onto others as well. The way you treat others will bounce back at you. If you treat people in a positive manner, you will have more positive vibes sent your way. If you treat others in a negative manner, you will have negative vibes sent your way.
Salvaging a tough day for me also means taking initiative and getting ahead. If I am dejected about something that happened, I will get myself back on track by doing all I can to rectify the situation. If it is something out of my control, I try to move on to a different task, one that maybe is important or that goes above and beyond my assigned duties. Completing something like this helps to overshadow a less significant episode that went wrong and it sends the momentum back in my favor.
I don’t just try to hit homeruns, however. I also notice and appreciate small victories. If I get a compliment, a “thank you” from a student-athlete, or a friendly visitor to my office I consider them all as little things that can help turn a not so great day into a good one. Just as an example from today, I received a small Christmas gift from our associate athletic director. It gave me a much needed boost instantly.
Bottom line, on some days we have to battle. Good days aren’t always easy to achieve and sometimes it seems like the answer is to just accept a seemingly unavoidable bad day. But if no one died and if no one got fired, I really do think we all have the capability to turn bad days into good days. The key is to just stay positive, get ahead, and relish the small victories. Our motivation should be at the end of the day to walk out of the office in a triumphant and confident swagger rather than a slow walk of defeat. Good or bad day? It is entirely up to each one of us. Don’t Blink.