First, let me clarify I’m not suggesting you go celebrate tough times in the moment. It doesn’t even seem possible. However, it is important to let those sh*tty days with the tough times or unhappy customers, things that didn’t go right, happen. You need to recognise and own these times in order to create space for reflection.
We all know there’s a lot to be said for looking back and reviewing with serious thought or consideration (though it is also important not to dwell).
2. To throw back light
One of the most successful ways we can throw back light on a difficult situation is through being grateful. Make the situation shine. Reflect on what didn’t go well but also how the setback, failure, waste of time, did serve you well.
Research shows people who practice gratitude, such as daily journaling or just writing down what they are grateful for every single day, find it easier to come out of whatever funk or difficult spot they are in much quicker than anybody else.
Very recently I was trying to set up a website and was doggedly determined to set this website up by myself. This has to be one of my greatest fears/challenges and one of my greatest areas of incompetency.
But I know it’s completely mindset. It is completely about control or having a lack of it because I don’t know and don’t understand what to do. Honestly, when people talk tech it sounds a bit ‘provocative’ (you know, sexy!) to me because I really don’t understand what they are talking about. Heaven help me if George Clooney talked tech!
However, I am determined to demystify this process for myself so I’m trying to set up my own website, for My Side Hustle. Here’s how it started: I purchased a theme and then spent four days (watching and rewatching tutorials) working out how to get to step two. 4 whole days! That’s what I had allocated to get the website up and running and serve the people of the Side Hustling world. Four days away from my main gig and/or family time. That’s a fair bit of time in my book.
I managed to get past step 2 to step 4, but only just. Now I don’t think I’m that silly, certainly tech illiterate, but surely I could work it out with the online tutorial. Well, there clearly was meant to be a certain level of understanding which I didn’t have and it didn’t work.
So I asked (begged) my husband to help me. He then went and watched the videos while I spent 25 minutes in the shower crying out of sheer frustration and discomfort from sitting all day and generally not feeling great. I was so frustrated with myself and that sneaky, horrible feeling ‘lack of control’. Why couldn’t I do this? Why wasn’t this working for me? (And of course) ‘I’m stupid’, ‘I don’t understand tech’, ‘I’m the only person on the planet that doesn’t get it’.
My husband however who is better at this stuff and perhaps not quite as patient as me, came back 25 minutes later saying ‘I’ve worked it out…the tutorial is hopeless’. He too couldn’t work it out!!! That made me feel better to realise that this particular tutorial wasn’t for me or maybe this particular theme I had tried to overlay it with wasn’t for me. But I was trying so hard to keep it going I was not seeing that it could be an external factor I was not in control of rather than blaming myself for that lack of control around understanding.
Firstly, I ‘celebrated’ with a good cry. I really did need to get that frustration out and of course, not everybody is going to cry, you might go for a walk or a punch a punching bag or scream. My coping mechanism is a good cry in the shower. But I also looked back and could see how I needed to have that bad day. And yes, I was a bit snippy with the kids because I was doing this work as a side hustle and it was a Sunday, and I was snippy with my partner and it was just blah. I was just spiralling into something I was not happy with.
But you know what? The next day I woke up and felt so much better – about everything – and there were many factors that made this so:
To celebrate, I took the time to write down what I was grateful for. What lessons I had learnt from the experience (see above) and what I should do in the future. I also ended up congratulating myself on having a go! Is website set-ups my thing? Probably not, I’ll stick to facilitating, but I had a go!
When I write about it, it feels so trivial, but in that moment, the sheer frustration felt quite overwhelming and when you’re at work trying to build your SuccessCulture and help people around you to build theirs, sometimes the build-up of the little things just gets too much – until…
…you take a moment to celebrate the bad moments! If you want to build a SuccessCulture for yourself or in an organisation, in your business or in your relationships, sometimes you’ll need to celebrate those difficult frustrating times. Own them and acknowledge them for what it was like maybe a needed wake-up call, a speed bump or just a process.
And practice gratitude. This blog 5 Steps to Personal Success has gratitude at the top of the list and here’s a link to my favourite journal The Five Minute Journal which keeps me in check with my gratitude and My SuccessCulture every day.
PS Right now you can follow My Side Hustle on Facebook (the website is coming soon – eeek!) – The good thing about the site not being ready yet is that What’s Your Edge? is super busy! There’s a silver lining!