EJM Designs Limited Blog

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Inspiration: Digging Out

Cincinnati Snow Alberta Clipper

If you live in the Cincinnati area, you need no reminder that there is going to be between 6 and 8 inches of the white stuff out there later today. We've already earned about 5 in the southeast by 2:30.

Turns out I had to get out on the road for a necessary grocery stop a little while ago and as I was preparing to step outside to dig out the car and shovel the drive, I paused as I opened the door. "This is going to be misery," I thought. Another piece of my mind immediately followed it with "Why?" It occurred to me that this task (and the subsequent driving) was either going to suck or it was going to be enjoyable. And that both were possible.

Letting it suck was the easy choice. Simply let go of hope and allow physical discomfort bleed into your emotional state. Before you know it, you'll be a grump, loudly cursing every strain of your back, every heap of snow you push off the drive, every chill under your clothes. That doesn't sound fun at all.

I wasn't entirely certain how to make it enjoyable, so I started with my standby: At the risk of appearing mad to my neighbors, I put on the biggest grin I could muster. I smiled and shoveled. I thought about the mailman and what a relief it would be to him to tread on a cleared, salted walkway. I thought about my wife effortlessly making it from her car into the house. I thought about how my shoveling was giving the car time to heat and that my drive would be nice and toasty. My smile grew and by the end I was genuinely enjoying myself.

Two lessons here:

Whistle in the Dark
Your actions and attitude will directly translate into emotional state. If you approach a task already discouraged, how do you think it's going to go if you encounter even the least bit of resistance? Smile before a physical task. Mentally smile before a non-physical one. The alternative is not pretty and will drain you.

Little Now, Little Later
I went outside today knowing that maybe half of the snow had fallen. There would be more snow. There would be more work. But instead of allowing that to frustrate me, I took comfort in the fact that now I'm half done and later today or tomorrow I'll be shoveling another 4 or 5 inches while others are hefting 10 at a time.

So let me know: how do you mentally and physically approach challenges? What works for you?

It's going to be a great week!

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