Some days just plain suck.

You get a flat tire or get in your car and the battery is dead.

Maybe a client sends you an email that’s less than complimentary.

Maybe you just didn’t sleep well last night. And little kids are a pain and maybe they didn’t sleep last night, so they’re an even bigger pain. A cute pain, but a pain still.

Yup it’s a bad day

So what do you do when you have a bad day? Work still needs to get done, whether your day is going well or going to the dogs. Very few of us have the luxury of taking off every day that doesn’t go according to plan.

[Tweet “When days suck, what’s your plan to get out of the funk?”]

Well, the bottom line is, you’ve got to sit down at your journal or computer or Photoshop or lawn mower or yak shaver and get yaks shaved so you can eat.

Bad days always have the potential to put us in a bad mood. But staying in a bad mood all day is a choice — and one that has little to do with what actually gets done in a day.

We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes. – Chuck Swindoll

The pick-me-up

Today I want to recommend an antidote for bad days. Author Patrick Rhone, in his book This Could Help, calls it the ‘yay’ file, and I suggest you create one. I’ve got a notebook in Evernote called ‘Yeah Me’. The name doesn’t really matter, the function does.

My Evernote notebook contains stuff like:

  • Congratulations from colleagues
  • Tweets that made me feel great about myself
  • Income numbers I’ve help clients generate or colleagues negotiate above what they expected

Basically, it’s a file about how awesome I am. That sounds a bit vain, doesn’t it? Does that make you feel uncomfortable? Keep reading.

[Tweet “Yes, I have an Evernote notebook that just tells me how awesome I am. Why don’t you?”]

The purpose of the ‘yay’ file is not to be pulled out and viewed every day until your head becomes so big you have to hire a contractor to widen the doors of your house and office.

It’s to serve as a reminder that just because days suck, you don’t suck.

Pull it out on the bad days and give yourself a reality check. Like on the day when you fail at a project and it’s blowing up (it happens to me too at least monthly). Pull it out when you’re mired in self-criticism and tempted to beat yourself up about how poor you are at…whatever. Pull it out when you feel like an imposter.

Use it as a pick-me-up to feel awesome about yourself again. We all need that at some point. I expect every single one of you to have a ‘yay’ file. If you don’t, then plan to create one. Today.

Add to someone’s file today

Now, let me ask you another question: When was the last time you added to someone else’s ‘yay’ file? That blog you read and love and get so much out of — have you told the blogger how you value what they have to offer? What about that developer you follow on Github or the designer on Dribbble? Have you reached out to them to tell them they are awesome?

Have you ever told the cleaning crew at your office that you appreciate the clean work environment, or do they only hear from you when they missed something?

[Tweet “When was the last time you told someone else they were awesome and you appreciated them?”]

I’m not saying just giving someone you appreciate a thumbs-up on social media, or extending some other fairly passive sentiment. I’m saying take the time to write them a personal note and email it, message them or, better yet, sit down and write a real card and mail it to them (snail mail, to a physical mailbox).

They all have bad days

No matter how awesome you think someone is and how infallible they may appear, remember that you only see their highlight reel — not the outtakes.

I’m super lucky that I have readers who send me notes and tweets, or tell me in person that I’ve helped them. I store these in my ‘yay’ file and pull them out when I’ve made bad business decisions, or get a nasty email, or am a bad husband or father. These positive reminders almost always help me get myself back on track for the day.

So build your own file and send a note to someone else today to build their file.

You never know how much they might need it.

photo credit: clement127 cc

2 responses to “Do you have a ‘yay’ file?”

  1. lisa snyder Avatar
    lisa snyder

    your article inspired me to start a YAY Notebook in Evernote to gather personal and professional accomplishments.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      Woohooo, glad it’s helping you to get a notebook for that and congrats on the 2500 visits to the gym. Making time for fitness is hard sometimes when things get busy but it’s so crucial to just feel good (at least for me).