Do you ever have those days that feel as though you are showing up to the best of your ability but life just kicks you in the face? I felt that way a couple of weeks ago. I was working hard and showing up but it felt like everything I touched went sideways.
My Monday classes end late in the evening and, after a long day of school and a week that wasn’t going right, I was randomly craving a blueberry bagel. Since it was so late, though, there were no blueberry bagels left in Union Station. Add that to the list of things that aren’t working out, I thought, and got on the train sans bagel.
The next morning, I had an early class. In the morning rush of people heading to work and school, I stayed in my lane with my head down. In my mind, I was running through what the day would look like and, honestly, I wasn’t excited about it. This is unusual for me. I usually love to jump into a day of projects and learning but this day yawned open in front of me. The end felt so far away.
In the middle of my little mental rant, something caught my eye that stopped me in my tracks. A blueberry bagel! I made a quick U-turn and immediately ordered it from the two people behind the counter. Even though it was only a bagel, it represented a small thing that actually worked in my favour. As silly as it sounds, it gave me a bit of hope for a better day.
Even though I felt that way internally, I still remained quiet, with my eyes down, as I waited for the bagel to toast. In the silence between me and the two people behind the counter I suddenly felt that I should share how their bagel had changed my day.
“You have no idea how much I appreciate this bagel,” I said.
The atmosphere suddenly shifted drastically. The lady toasting my bagel turned sharply, looking at me directly for the first time in surprise. The guy behind the counter suddenly stood up straight. His eyes lit up.
“Yeah, last night I really wanted a blueberry bagel and I couldn’t find one. I’m kind of having a rough week so this bagel is just a nice bright spot in my day. Thank you,” I said.
That moment of sharing changed everything. I had a beautiful conversation with those people behind the counter. They shared with me how little things can change a day. We laughed together. I got superb customer service. They waved good-bye to me as I headed to my class with a completely different outlook.
After that encounter, as I walked toward my class, I decided to focus on tiny moments of gratitude instead of remaining discouraged about what wasn’t working for me. The truth is that my entire week changed almost immediately. The opportunities that exploded in the hours and days after that bagel moment overwhelmed me.
I don’t think this was a coincidence.
I share this story because I found that approaching my life from a position of frustration and resistance made everything crumble more quickly. As soon as I pressed in to gratitude and making genuine connections, though, the opportunities poured in. People literally approached me out of nowhere asking to work with me. I went into a meeting to figure out an issue that no one would help me with the previous week and the woman I met with with went above and beyond to help me.
I’m not saying this to brag. I am saying this because this is the difference: approaching people and situations with positivity, love, grace and a sense of humour will get you one thousand percent further than approaching with frustration and negativity.
Express your gratitude to the person behind the counter. Listen genuinely instead of overtaking the conversation. Look for joy in the day. These things sound a little fluffy but that week taught me how much power they have to transform.
The posture of your heart can change the direction of your life.