Dos and Don'ts for Overcoming the Worst Work Day Ever

Written by: Crosby Noricks  

From the outside, owning your own business means waking up each morning Cinderella-style; singing with the sunrise, adorable little bluebirds helping you to get dressed, a zippity doo dah of gratitude and oh yeah, great hair.

And sure, on those days when everything is humming along, professional independence is a bit like being the fairy godmother of your own life. But we all know life itself is no fairy tale. Some days, you wake up just not feeling it. at. all.

It could be the never-ending news cycle horrors, a fight with your main squeeze, a good morning panic attack (a recent study found that 72% of entrepreneurs surveyed cited a mental health concern, the struggle IS real), or a go-go-go couple of weeks that have left you tired in all the parts and places a human can be tired.

When something personal is affecting you professionally, try out some of these guidelines to help you persevere through those ups and downs.

After all, you still have to make sure someone is driving the carriage and paying attention to that midnight deadline.

Don’t resist reality

Sometimes it’s our unwillingness to accept what’s actually happening that ends up causing us the most pain. All that running from what’s going on makes moving on harder, not to mention leaves you wide open for an emotion-filled sneak attack when you least expect it. Often, you will immediately feel better when you clearly acknowledge your emotional attachment; “My dad is in the hospital and I am scared,” or “I wasn’t able to secure sponsorships during yesterday’s conference call and I’m second-guessing myself.” Get a handle on the root of the problem.

For Brand Consultant and Certified Coach Stacey Hagen, a tough spot is a call to go inward. “Since I'm ultimately responsible for the energy I bring and I don't want that energy influencing a client on a coaching call, I do my best to sort out whatever is going on prior to getting on a client call. I do this by meditating and journaling. It helps me clear my mind so I can show up fully and hold space.”

Ask yourself, “what do I need to do to feel better?” and start there. A quick 20-minute walk or bitch session with a friend who gets it can work wonders.

Do fix what you can

For circumstances where there’s miscommunication and frustration building between yourself and someone else, getting on the path to peace might be easier than you think. Consider the adage, “no one can resist a non-resistant person.” This phrase is one Relationship Coach and Therapist Kelli Adame uses to help her clients move into a non-resistant, acceptant flow around a challenging affair. She suggests, “the next time you’re dealing with a difficult interpersonal conflict, focus on validating the other person by making them right. Everyone has the right to feel and think whatever they want, after all. Making the other person feel heard is the first step toward de-escalating a situation and puts the other person in a better mindset to receive what you need to deliver.” Adame recommends using this language “I hear everything that you are saying and you have every right to that concern AND I’d like or I need (whatever you have to negotiate).”

Do tell those you trust

Now, it might not be the most professional of declarations but sometimes getting real with your network about certain challenges can deepen rapport.

For Alex Moresco, a Chicago-based entertainment publicist and star of the new original reality web series “PRGirl”, a Lyme Disease diagnosis in 2016 completely changed how she approached working with clients. “Working and balancing a chronic illness can be incredibly tricky, especially in a service based industry such as PR. I have been especially fortunate  to work with clients that I now also call my friends, and who genuinely care about my wellbeing. It is imperative that I am transparent with clients about my limitation so I can set expectations and provide the best service possible.

Don’t silo yourself

You could go back to bed and wallow in whatever has you down. It’s your company after all, and if you need to close up shop to get your mind right before getting back in the game, it’s a viable option. However, there’s a fine line between hiding out and simply giving yourself some necessary, though temporary, down-time.

That said, the quickest way to stop self-pity is to focus on serving others. Making valuable business introductions or taking your new intern to lunch are all easy-effort acts to get outside yourself and into the feel-goods that doing for others sparks. For an instant uplifting mood boost, Adame loves to simply buy the person behind her in line coffee.

Whether you choose to shut down or power through, how you handle your rough days can shed light onto your values and expectations as a business owner, it also models to self-care for your own team, clients and partners. Not all situations or solutions are one-size fits all of course, but over time you’ll learn how to overcome not-so-ideal days with ease and grace and find a regimen for achieving happiness and professional sustainability that fits your personal needs and gets you back on track toward happily-ever-after.

Crosby Noricks is the founder and director of PR Couture, the sourcebook for fashion and lifestyle communicators. As part of the site’s own 10-year anniversary celebration, Crosby launched The Bespoke Communication Awards, a global online award program established to recognize excellence among agencies, in-house teams, individuals and brands.