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Today’s Agenda: “Get Through It” or “Be Amazing”

Colleen with her dogI used to a have a little sign on my desk that said, “Today’s Agenda: Get Through It.” I bought it during a difficult time in my life and my career. I was barely hanging on, running on empty, and feeling the weight of responsibility for a program, staff, and budget. At the time, that’s all I could muster–getting through the day without any major catastrophes. Eventually, I decided to leave that position, stop trying to climb the career ladder, and return to clinical practice where I felt I could make a more direct impact and maybe, just maybe, have a life.

But as I moved on, I kept that little sign and it stayed on my desk until one day when I realized that in spite of all the positive changes I had made, I was still living by those words, “get through it.” Get through the drive to work, get through the next patient, get through my documentation, get through the drive home. I was no happier because I was approaching my work, my day, my life like something to “get through” rather than something to be savored and enjoyed. My thought process was just “get through” the next thing. Upon that realization, I decided to throw that sign in the trash. I would no longer “get through” anything. I was going to enjoy things, and I was going to find a new motto – I just didn’t know what.

Coffee cup that says And then it happened. Completely unaware of my recent epiphany to get rid of the “get through it” motto, my new office mate brought in a few decorations to make the office more her own as I had invited her to do. A new sign simply appeared on my bookshelf. It said, “Here’s the thing about life – you only get one so get out there and be amazing.”

There it was. My new motto. “Be Amazing.” What if instead of just getting through the day I approached it with that kind of energy and wonder? Be amazing! Be amazed! Enjoy it! How would my day be different if instead of just “getting through” I tried to be “be amazing.”

My circumstances didn’t change, but I did. Instead of approaching each appointment thinking “get through it,” I approached it with the thought “be amazing.” I started to enjoy the work more and have more energy. I changed because the words I was telling myself changed. Words are powerful. What we are telling ourselves about our experience is powerful. So as you approach your day today, what are your thoughts? What will you tell yourself about your experience? Will you “get through it” or will you go out there and “be amazing”?

Colleen Erb, PsyD

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