It was December 23 and I just picked up my mother to take her grocery shopping. The parking lot was frantic, but we easily got a parking spot (I’m ‘lucky’ like that). I sent my mom to start the shopping and I popped across to the pharmacy to stock up on Omega-3. As I was searching for wild fish options a man in his 50s approached me and asked, “Is that for you and baby?”

What I said, “Ah no, they’re for my husband and I”.

What I thought, “Do I LOOK pregnant???????”

He then went on to say he was from a particular religion and added, “I don’t have much time, but I’ll tell you quickly.” He acted like his time was very important, but he’d carve some time out of his busy schedule to ‘tell me something’.

He then went on preaching at me, telling me how the world is going to end and the environment we live in is like hell.

As I stood there listening I realized that I was becoming more and more annoyed and I considered why:

  • he made a lot of assumptions I didn’t appreciate:- I had children, or in fact I looked pregnant (!!!); I had time to listen to him; and he had no regard for my point of view – he just wanted to be heard.
  • he  was talking ‘at’ me, not ‘with’ me
  • I felt hi-jacked, I went to the pharmacy to buy supplements, not religion
  • I have my own opinions and beliefs on this topic, and I have to say, our beliefs weren’t aligned at all
  • I’m not  open to doom and gloom conversations

What I said, “I think life is pretty wonderful.”

What I thought, “Buddy, I didn’t buy a ticket to your show – so I don’t want to hear your monologue!”

As I was planning my escape I was thankfully saved by a phone call from a friend.

So what does all this have to do with work?

I am a big believer in using your emotions as your well-being barometer. I was uncomfortable and frustrated in the situation – and my barometer has allowed me to honor how I feel and as a result I knew I didn’t have to sacrifice my happiness to make a stranger more comfortable than me.

The barometer is a wonderful way to live a fantastic, positive life a majority of the time. If you’re happy, do more of it, if you have a negative emotion, don’t do it, or do less of it and consider the following:

  • What can I do to transform this negative feeling into a positive one?
  • I need to stop doing what is making me unhappy and focus on another more positive thought / action / behavior
  • Is there fear that’s making me feel this way, or is this situation genuinely not aligned with my desires

Assess your work in the same way and skip the excuses of, “But I have to do things I don’t like because…” – No you don’t, you can always choose another choice, thought or behavior. I can remember driving to work and crying as I pulled into the parking lot because I really, really, really, REALLY didn’t want to be there and I was struggling and make myself sick.

You may think I’m simplifying things, but it is simple. We create the suffering and unhappiness because we tolerate things that don’t make us feel good. This applies not only to work but all life situations.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season! Remember to look for ‘the good’ in everything and in the rare moments you can’t find it, trust your emotional barometer and do what’s great for you.

After all, life is meant to be fun, and easy.