The phone rings. You answer, only to find out your child care has fallen through at the last minute. That’s when the doorbell rings, scaring your dogs into a barking frenzy – while you drop your mobile phone into your smoothie. You’re still hungry, your kid is care-less, and that phone might never recover. Your day is off to a horrible start.
A perfectly bad day. Or, is it?
Wonder why you never have a perfect day?
I asked that question in my new book Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work For You. And then I got curious.
Maybe you don’t believe in perfection. As the saying goes, no one is perfect, not even a perfect fool. But haven’t you ever said, “This is perfect”? Whether it’s your partner or a pizza or a presentation, have you ever felt that shimmer inside that says, “perfect”? Perfection does exist, when it’s personal – we define it on our own terms. So, let me ask you a personal question.
Why haven’t you found your perfect work-from-home day, I wonder?
Maybe it’s because you’re focused on what’s not going according to plan. And maybe it’s just because you haven’t taken the time to write out what a perfect work-from-home day looks like.
Take a moment, right now, and just consider: describe a perfect work-from-home day. A day where you feel fulfilled, productive and balanced .
Create the timeline and the script. Open up a google doc or grab a pen and paper – take the time to explore what you really want. Otherwise, how are you going to get it?
If your perfect day were a scene in a movie, what would it include? And if you were the leading actress in this drama, what elements would you bring to your performance? Be sure to consider other characters, props and setting -that’s your home office- inside this cinematic masterpiece.
Even in your perfect day, you’ve got to leave room for the unexpected!
Fires and unpredictable events are a part of every day – so, what’s going to be different on a perfect day?
The answer might be found in how you show up. After all, it’s your performance that makes this movie a hit.
Now, on this perfect day, I wonder: would you show up a little differently? How would you perform your role?
I met Candace Sauve while she was suspended in the balance between a “stable corporate job” and starting her own business. We met during a pilot session to incubate her idea for her new business Got Breathwork. As she expertly guided me through her in and out breath technique – designed to reset your nervous system – I made a discovery of my own. The common denominator in every perfect day.
When you picture your perfect day, are you living in chaos? Running from obligation to obligation? Your calendar so full a paperclip would be pressed to fit in sideways? Snapping at anyone who dares to delay your burgeoning to-do list?
When Candace described her perfect day to me, she spoke in terms of how she wanted to feel rather than what she wanted to accomplish. “Ease. Passionate. Compassionate,” she explained. “When I’m in back to back meetings non-stop, all I can think about is how to go faster, faster, faster. Then I show up as tense. Stressed. Controlling. And that’s not how I want to live – or how I want to show up.”
The description of her perfect day resulted from pondering these three questions:
- How do I want to feel when I wake up in the morning?
- How do I want to show up in the world?
- What do I want to do about these realizations?
Release Obligations, Discover Joy
Old habits die hard. Five minutes after my breakthrough discovery, I was back on task. All I needed to do was retweet a blog from my boss, pull out some chicken to defrost for dinner, and put the finishing touches on my PowerPoint slides for my next meeting. Totally doable in five minutes, right?
And that’s when the irony hit me. I had to hurry up and finish breathing so I could hurry back to the chaos. The chaos I created. Instead of reaching for my phone, I reached for Candace’s technique. Breathe in. Breathe out.
In that moment of pause, I let go of my self imposed deadlines and obligations. And discovered joyful calm instead.
Just one small step – breathing in and out – can help you to see the self imposed deadlines and stories that no longer serve you. And realize the dragons aren’t real, the deadline that looks like a disaster isn’t real. One perfect moment.