Last month, I went on my first business trip in months – a sign that my work life is back to normal. I welcomed the trip because I was in a work “slump”. My attitude had not been the greatest due to some recent decisions made that were out of my control. Those decisions impacted a project I had been working on for 3 years. I often use the travel time to reflect and regroup, and boy, did I have some epiphanies!
I know I have the power to change the atmosphere (environment I’m in) with a positive attitude, but it takes work. Sometimes, it feels more comfortable to mope around, but it doesn’t provide any long term benefits. Here’s a personal example from my business trip of changing the atmosphere.
This incident occurred at the airport on my way to my destination. Yes (eye roll)…I hadn’t even left Austin, Texas yet and I was faced with a lesson. I’ve noticed over the years, I tend to get tagged for extra screenings at TSA. This day was no different. I was so annoyed because I got called to the side even after they practically made me strip down to the basics – shirt and bottom.
I was told by security the following areas on my body were of concern: my left wrist, my waist, my groin area, my left breast, my knee, my right hand, my right kidney, my second toe on the right foot, my lungs and my thyroid gland (not really on the last three, but you get my drift). Really??? This day was just ridiculous. It seemed like it was taking forever. I partially kept my gaze on my belongings in the bins. I didn’t want anyone to walk off with my stuff. I was impatient and annoyed with the questions and frisking.
By the time it was over, I was outdone with irritation. I went to grab my belongings, reached for my shoes, and the security guard asked, just as I managed to put one shoe on, “are those your shoes?” I looked at him and said, “Yes.” There was a slight delay in my mind registering what he had actually asked, so I came back with an, “I hope so since I’m putting them on MY feet.”
We exchanged a laugh. He said he was trying to cheer me up since I looked so serious, but he could see I didn’t get it at first. He said he was only joking and knows people only reach for their own shoes. I attempted to explain I was annoyed by the frisking process. Saying it out loud made me realize I was making a bigger deal about it than needed. We exchanged a few more words, then we parted ways.
The security guard changed the atmosphere in my mind. I was on my way to a full on melt down, but he stopped me. I walked away asking myself why I had been so annoyed. I know this is routine. I arrived at the airport early to account for the process. Hearing him tell me that I “looked so serious” reminded me that was the opposite of how I want to carry myself. This is especially true having recovered from a chronic, life altering health condition like breast cancer.
I strive to be lighter in mind, spirit and body. Even the use of the word “light” in my blog site title provides a clue of how I want to be. The experience at the airport did ENLIGHTEN me to my attitude. I’m not immune from reverting back to old ways. I also believe my oral medication for breast cancer treatment affects my mood. I’ve been more conscious of it and make adjustments as needed. For example, I’m more reserved at times by staying to myself at work and/or home to avoid spewing my agitation on some unsuspecting soul.
With humor, the security guard said something that sparked a change in the atmosphere of my mind. He changed the trajectory of my attitude and I loved it. That’s how I want to be for others. You have to believe you have this power. It doesn’t take much and can be accomplished through simple acts of connecting with others. These can be brief moments. You can also do it for yourself by engaging in positive self-talk. Out of habit, you may be feeding your mind negative messages (like I do) and not realize it. However, when I catch myself, I change my self-talk to that of encouragement, or whatever is useful in the moment.
I’m grateful the security guard gave me a reminder. I need to channel more of my humor, especially when I’m stressed, and share it with others. How do you go about changing the atmosphere?