Monday was going to rock. It was supposed to be a productive day. Why? Because I decreed it so.
I had just completed my morning routine of reading when I wrote these words in my journal: “Am determined to make today and this week as productive as possible.”
Ever make a similar declaration?
It seemed no sooner than I wrote those words that the world conspired to put them to the test. There were constant interrupts, urgent projects, distracting side trips and phone calls I hadn’t expected to take so long. Finally, near the end of the day I left my office a little early hoping a change of venue to sequester myself in my home office would help.
But conspiracy has no boundaries. Near home my car broke down. Annoyed drivers queued up behind me as I sat stalled in a left turn lane of a busy intersection waiting for a tow. It was rush hour for everyone but me. With each change of the traffic light a pulse of vehicles maneuvered around my 3,200 pound brick-of-a-car, ticking off what precious time I had left the way a metronome ticks away the silence.
I like to think that I can learn from any situation. So, while the cars pulsed by, I thought back through the day. What happened to my productivity resolution? How did I contribute to The Conspiracy? What was in my control? What’s my takeaway from all this? I was satisfied that, apart from a few minor distractions, I would have made the same choices given the opportunity to do it again. Sometimes you just have a bad day and I was prepared to chalk it up as that. Little did I know that the day’s lesson had yet to begin.
I arrived at home in time to meet someone helping me install new wood flooring, the consequence of some flooding in my basement. (Come to think of it, sometimes you just have a bad month). At one point, fetching something from my garage I noticed a young man coming down the driveway. Thinking he was a friend of my son’s I went out to greet him. When he told me he was “in the area” with a work crew siding other homes and would like to know if I was interested in a bid, I responded cooly. Perhaps even rudely. I explained that he caught me at a bad time and he could call back next year when I might consider it.
Very politely he pressed me for my phone number and asked me to sign a form giving him permission to collect it. Naturally, as a marketing pro, I really appreciate when people ask my permission before they contact me. You wouldn’t know that from my response, however. I was dismissive. My kids watching on said I could have handled that better. They felt sorry for the guy. I felt sorry for me. Couldn’t he tell I had a bad day and just leave me alone?
Later that night as I was wrapping up a few things in my office I saw some notes I had drafted for a future blog post—on noticing people; taking the time to make people feel important. I was going to write about how a man I know was honored at his retirement celebration. Person after person spoke about how he made them feel important—as if they are the only one that mattered when they were with him. As I listened to their stories, I realized that was true of my encounters with him as well. It was then that I resolved to do the same. I was determined to be a noticer of others; to make them feel important.
That was on Sunday. Then Monday came and that declaration was put to the test too.
Ever make a declaration and have it put to the test?