the worst day of your life

April 25, 2008 at 9:02 am | Posted in Professional Development | Leave a comment

I was at an off-site meeting the other day with four others where we were doing all-day reviews of the business, thinking about upcoming challenges, etc., etc. As is normal in sessions like that, some of the discussions were tense, some light-hearted, some a bit heated. Business can be hard and full of things that make you want to pull your hair out. It can get to you.

At the end of a very long day, we’re sitting around after dinner and my boss says, “tell me about the worst day of your life.” At first, we weren’t sure if he was kidding or not. He wasn’t. Now, for some context, this isn’t even close to the first time we’d met. Most of the crew had been together for more than 5 years, so it’s safe to say we were all friends. Still, that’s a heavy duty question and it comes with some risk, but we all told our stories. There was a different feel over the group and some of it was even a bit emotional.

After we were finished, the conclusion that he drove home was that nobody mentioned a business situation as the worst day of their life. What he was doing was giving us perspective. As I said, business can be hard, but it often doesn’t compare in scope and scale to “life.” Keeping it in perspective is so helpful. And as an aside, if you feel comfortable enough in your team, this was a great exercise to help us become closer as friends. Risky to be sure, but the benefits were really worth it in this case.

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