Do you ever had those days when you feel like nothing is going right and you just suck at everything - even the things you don't suck at? Here's a little reminder for you... We all do and being reminded of that from time to time actually really helps.
Every Monday night at 5:30, I gather with 5 mountain bikers chix (who all coach mountain biking) to be coached ourselves. As expert riders, we still seek to improve our skills in a variety of terrain/features.
While we are all seasoned in managing expectations, pressure and the negative mindset that students can fall into from time to time as coaches, we are not immune to those expectations, pressures or negative mindsets (and sometimes tears) ourselves.
Last Monday I showed up to my regular coaching session. I was tired from a big renovation project, a continuous rotation of guests in my house for the previous 2 months, several mistakes at my job, some personal struggles and a not-so-confident building bike experience the day before.
The setup wasn't great to start with but I was determined to be present and learn. Despite my determination to be present, my performance was lacking. "God Meredith you just can't do anything right - not even the things you ARE good at, biking, your job, taking care of your dog etc." was the repetitive dialogue in my head every time we stopped.
I even felt a tear of frustration building in my eye, which I of course passed off as dirt/dust. "Get your shit together Meredith - you know what's going on here, you coach people through this all the time, you're better than this."
Ironically, I wasn't speaking to myself in the way I have spoken to anyone I've coached going through a similar experience.
Fast forward a week later, at the bottom of a trail of another lady's night session, it was evident in the way our coach was speaking to one of the group members that she was in the same space I was in the week before.
While I was slightly embarrassed to admit it, when the opportunity arose I spoke up. "You are not alone my friend, I was in tears just last week." She looked surprised and I explained to her why. Interestingly, knowing that she wasn't alone seem to lift the negative self-talk she was experiencing and proceeded to kill it on her bike the rest of the night!
Let me share that again...
Knowing that she is a normal human and is allowed to have bad days too, facilitated her going from a bad day to an awesome day.
How cool is that?
So the next time you find yourself thinking that you suck at life, here are a few things to think about to enable a shift from "I suck" to "I'm awesome, and I'm just having a rough day".
Your mindset is the lens through which you view the world and interpret your experiences. It can be broadly categorized into two types: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, you tend to believe that your abilities and qualities are static, leading you to internalize failures and difficulties as indications of your inherent inadequacy. On the other hand, a growth mindset acknowledges that challenges are opportunities for growth, and setbacks are stepping stones toward improvement.
Recognizing a Bad Day
Before you can shift your perspective, it's important to recognize when you're having a bad day. It's not uncommon for minor inconveniences to pile up and overshadow the positives. Maybe you spilled your coffee, got stuck in traffic, or made a mistake at work. These events, though frustrating, do not define your entire existence. They are moments in time, not a reflection of your worth.
Challenging Negative Self-Talk
When faced with a string of unfortunate events, it's easy to slip into negative self-talk. Phrases like "I'm terrible at this," "I can't do anything right," or "I'm a failure" might echo in your mind. Challenge these thoughts by asking yourself, "Is this really true?" More often than not, these statements are gross exaggerations. Instead, remind yourself of your past successes and remember that everyone experiences off days.
Embracing the Growth Mindset
To break free from the cycle of self-criticism, adopt a growth mindset. When you encounter difficulties, view them as opportunities for improvement. Embrace the idea that setbacks are part of the learning process and that making mistakes is essential for personal development. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this situation?" By reframing your perspective, you can transform a seemingly bad day into a chance to develop new skills and insights.
Treating yourself with kindness and compassion is crucial, especially on tough days. Just as you would offer support and encouragement to a friend going through a rough patch, extend the same compassion to yourself. Remember that everyone has off days, and these moments do not define your overall competence or potential.
Turning Setbacks into Information
Every challenge you face, even on a bad day, holds the potential to propel you forward. Take a step back and analyze the situation objectively. What went wrong? What could you have done differently? Use these insights as building blocks for future success. Each setback can contribute to your personal and professional growth if you approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
Positive Affirmations on Good Days
On the good days reinforce that positivity loop by using a positive self dialogue. "I am good at this". "This is so much fun". "I love how I feel on my skis/bike today. This will make it easier to shut down those shit-talking demons on the bad days!
In the grand tapestry of life, bad days are but minor blips. They do not define you, nor do they signify your inadequacy. By shifting your mindset from self-criticism to self-improvement, you can transform even the most frustrating days into valuable opportunities for growth.
Remember, you don't suck – you're simply having a bad day, and that's okay. Embrace the challenges, learn from them, and watch how your perspective changes your world.