I woke up the other day and felt a little bit off.
I went about my business, figuring these things usually wear out as the day progresses. But it lingered. My mind felt fuzzy. I could barely string two sentences together. I couldn’t concentrate. I felt lethargic and low.
Maybe it was allergies. Or I didn’t get enough sleep. Or maybe it was one of those mysterious biological universe circadian rhythm things, where the cosmos was blocking my energy force. Okay, I made that up entirely.
So I pushed through, making some lame attempts to get my work done, even though all I wanted to do was to lie down.
The day proceeded in slow motion. I took calls, but I hardly made any calls. I turned up for meetings, but mostly kept to myself. I kept looking at the list of projects that needed to be attended to, but I couldn’t think of anything to do. My initiative and motivation were curled up in a ball on the floor.
As the hours marched by, I felt not only lazy and tired, but also started feeling guilty. I noticed my colleagues as they energetically talked on the phone, chattered about projects, held important meetings. Why didn’t I have any important meetings scheduled today? There they were, on the phone, conferring in the hallways, getting things done. Taking names. Doing deals. Contributing. Unlike lame, no-good, unproductive me.
Layers of jealousy and paranoia were now settling on top of my malaise.
I called my wife and whispered my concern, looking for some quick therapy. “I feel like a waste product.” I confessed.
“Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself,” she quipped. “One off day isn’t going to ruin your career.”
“Really?” I asked, listening to the collegial laughter billowing out of the conference room, finding that hard to believe.
“Yes.” She replied firmly. “For goodness sake. You are allowed to have a really bad day. Now go take a nap and forget about it.”
Those words were a huge relief. She was right. Most of us are fairly consistent in our productivity and attitude 99% percent of the time. But we are not machines. There are going to be moments when we waiver, when we are off.
And it’s okay to let it be.
I did take a nap, then came back to the office without all that extra pressure. I did a couple of things, fulfilled some obligations, but mostly took it easy. Tomorrow is another day, after all. A fresh, new day.
And guess what?