Working with athletes is an incredible thing. The determination and motivation that I see on a daily basis is enough to keep anyone inspired, and it’s all just in a day’s work. Most of the athletes that I work with don’t even know that they’re inspiring though. To them, they are just doing what they do — playing the sport they love, one that they’ve been playing for their whole lives. To them, each day is sometimes just another day.
One athlete in particular that I work with has impacted me beyond just the daily ups and downs of college athletics. This particular individual often comes to see me at the most exhausting points of my day, at times when I feel like I can’t even think for one more second. But no matter what my mood or the circumstances, she always manages to get me with one simple question:
“Steph, what was the best part of your day?”
And in that moment, I stop and I think about my day. Truly reflect on the good things that have happened in the last several hours for just a moment. Sometimes, the best part of my day is something as benign as a cookie I picked up from a local bakery. Sometimes it’s something more, such as a great conversation with someone or a random act of kindness. Whatever it is, I find that that moment spent searching for the best part of my day can turn my mood around instantly.
I go from just going through the motions, to really reflecting on the last several hours and all the good things that may have happened, something that I might not do otherwise.
Sometimes, she also asks the flip side of the question: “What was the worst part of your day?” and this gets me thinking too. Usually, I realize that I can’t pin point any “bad” things that have happened to me, or I realize that the worst part of my day has been something silly like a longer commute time, a shortened workout, or forgetting my lunch. All things that can seem “bad” in the moment, but in the grand scheme of things, tell me that I pretty much lead a wonderful life. If the worst part of any given day is that I forget my lunch, then there’s really not that much to complain about, is there?
And on the rare occasion that there is something truly bad that has affected my day, it still helps to have this reflection. Because if I can stop focusing on the negative and realize all of the positivity in my day, all of a sudden that “bad” thing is just a little bit better. And sometimes, just that little bit of positivity is all you need to move on.
Both sides of this question can help to turn around my day. In fact, I’ve told this athlete this — there have been times that she has come to see me in my grumpiest moments when I don’t want to talk to anyone, and with these one or two questions, my mood can turn around instantly. All it takes is a little reflection for me to realize that my bad mood is unfounded, and it’s up to me and my pretty-awesome-day to turn it around.
In fact, I find it pretty amazing that I’m usually choosing between several things to tell her the best part of my day, and there have been several times when I couldn’t come up with any type of answer for the worst part of my day. Not even one. Not even the most benign “bad” thing ever. How great is that? Even if the “best” parts are silly and possibly meaningless, the fact that they strongly (and almost always) outweigh the worst parts of my day is a wonderful thing.
But honestly, sometimes I can’t see through my own moods to realize how great everything around me is. No, every day of my life isn’t sunshine and roses, but to stop and think about the bits of sunshine that we get along the way — and realizing that those bits of sunshine are far more significant than the negative is an important thing.
Next time you’re in a mood, think about these two questions. Maybe something bad did put you in a reasonably bad mood, but possibly by thinking about the best part of your day, you can improve upon that even just a little bit.
I can tell you right now that for yesterday, the best part of my day was visiting with my mom, who I haven’t seen in a while. And the worst part? Probably waiting an hour for brunch, which turned out to be one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. So hey — I’d say that pretty much cancels out that bad part, huh?
And with that, I ask you: What’s the best part of your day? And honestly, what’s the worst part of your day?