Today was a day when I clearly woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I was angry, and too short with my wife and kids.
There were a number of reasons why I might have woken up and been unhappy. I didn’t sleep particularly well last night, and when I went outside to get the garbage, a raccoon (or some other smart creature of the night) had gone through the garbage, leaving me with a mess to clean up. In addition, for some bizarre reason, my stomach was hurting, and just as bizarrely, my oldest daughter was having a meltdown about wearing clothes that she didn’t really want to wear.
Of course, whatever the reasons were, it wasn’t really good behavior for a lifelong learner and leader to take out frustration on others, particularly when they not only had no clue why I was irritable, but also had nothing to do with the situation.
The best learners and leaders are able to separate their internal frustration from that of their external behavior. These leaders and learners find ways to de-escalate themselves to avoid making others feel as if their days have to start off badly as well. Never ones to let their own emotions cloud their learning and leading, they are truly “Jedi-like” in nature; whether they are internally having a great day or a bad one, they make sure that outwardly they are even and balanced, showing a leader who is ready to focus on the myriad of situations at hand, rather than being consumed with his/her own strife.
This is an area where I have much work to do. While I tend to find myself balanced daily at work, too often I can get frustrated at home. Like a young learner who holds it together at school and then has to blow off steam at home, I wonder if my actions are somewhat the same. I’m still looking for the best ways to make sure I’m balanced all day every day; clearly this will be a work in progress!