This is the worst day ever … how’s yours going?

I was in the break room when a coworker from another department walked in.  Within seconds we got to the “Hi, how are you” exchange … promptly followed by the obligatory “I’m good, thanks.”

But today was different.

As I was speaking something inside me gave me pause.  I finished getting water from the cooler and as if time was suspended—just for a second—I turned around and said,

“Uh, you know … actually … I’m having a really crappy day.”

“As a matter of fact, it’s probably one of the worst days I can remember.”

Photo credit: music2work2 (Creative Commons)

I then rattled off a few issues that I felt were absolutely suffocating me.  Some financial … some family related. I didn’t go into all the gory details as I wasn’t looking for sympathy.

I just had this feeling to correct my dishonesty.  I wasn’t being honest when I said “I’m good, thanks.”  And as I stood there my coworker just looked at me amazed.

After a brief pause this was the next thing I heard, “Actually I feel the same.  It’s not a good day for me either.”

“My mom has Stage IV cancer and I have to repeatedly drive two and three hours to take her for treatment.  It’s just a lot … and I feel stressed.”

My decision to be honest—in that split second—made the difference between communicating and connecting. It was a seemingly small thing.  I mean how many times have you said, “I’m good” when someone asked “How’s it going?”  … For me it’s countless.

And it wasn’t like I was whining about my issues—and nor was my coworker.  We were just being brutally honest with where we were at the moment.  And you know what?  It completely changed my day.

After I made the decision to be honest in a VERY small thing, my entire day started to turn around.  Of course, my problems didn’t go away … I still had them … but they didn’t have me.  They didn’t have my thinking.

As a matter of fact, I started to think about my coworker and what they must be going through.  I then started to think about how many other people are going through the same stresses every day … maybe at work … at school … at church … at home.

And what do they get from most of us? “I’m good, thanks.”

So here’s the deal … get brutally honest. Where can you choose to be more honest with yourself today?

What is an issue or problem that you don’t want to deal with, but if you said something … even to a stranger … it might have less power over your thinking?

Take an opportunity to honestly connect with someone today, instead of just communicating with them.  Who knows what inspiration it may bring.

Heck, I’m only writing this now because I was brutally honest … and honesty inspires!

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About the Author

nicholasbrack

  • http://justiceandlife.org/ Matt Lossau

    I love it Nicholas! Way to take a risk!

    • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

      Thanks Matt. Whew!

  • http://fantasyfic.wordpress.com/ Sandra Bell Kirchman

    Wow, that’s really honest give and take. Good going, Nicholas.

  • http://www.themakegoodchoicesproject.org/ Michael Hawkins

    Nicely done! You put yourself ‘out there’ in a good way.

  • Lisa R

    Nice way to put yourself out there.

  • http://www.wildhorsechase.com/ Missaralee

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s a great reminder to turn off the autopilot and connect in a real way!

  • http://twitter.com/deepexistence Stephen Guise

    I really connected with this because I have always had a hard time accepting worthless dialogue. Why should you be surprised to find connection when you’re giving sincere responses to each other? We are all human!

    The worst part is that I still engage in worthless small talk because I either don’t think I have the energy to have a real conversation or they’re walking by quickly or some other excuse. Of course, I usually am having a good day, so the cliche response is often genuine. I’m ranting here.

    It was a great post that taught a valuable lesson. I asked a girl at work how her weekend was and she said not that great because she was sick. I appreciated her honesty!

    • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

      Awesome! There is such freedom in honesty. Even in the smallest of areas. Cheers.

  • http://www.momentsintimewithtannis.blogspot.com/ Tannis

    Oh this is great. Can you imagine the thoughts going through your co workers mind that day too? They were likely thankful to get their day off their chest as well. It is true how often we just say “good” or “fine”. Beware those words.
    For years, I managed a cafe and it amazed me how many people came in every single day, and day after day, just for the connection. Many times I knew we had the opportunity to turn their day around either before sending them home to their families or to work. I know we put many smiles BACK on people faces just with kindness.
    Thanks for sharing, and taking a chance. I am just coming over to say hi from the Jeff Goins challenge!

    Tannis

    • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

      Thanks Tannis.

  • http://www.transformationaleditor.com/ SuzanneG

    Fantastic! When people around me ask how I am, I’m all too aware they don’t really want to know. To know would mean they have to take the time to be in the moment and make a connection with you. Good for you, Nicholas, for taking that step to be totally honest with your co-worker. It was freeing for both of you to not force yourself to put on a happy, carefree face. And it affirms the other’s humanity when the exchange is based on truth and the very real need for someone to see us where we are.

    • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

      Thanks Suzanne. I appreciate the engaging comments.

  • Nancy Slocum

    Nicholas, I really liked what you said, “Take an opportunity to honestly connect with someone today, instead of just communicating with them. Who knows what inspiration it may bring.”
    I believe we all were created for relationship with a longing to really connect, but we fear man’s opinions and shrink back from being our authentic selves. Instead, we play small and stay stuck on superficial auto-pilot. I’m literally sick of and really dislike empty small talk and am not very good at it. Maybe it’s because my true self knows it’s a lie and THAT creates inner conflict.
    We really aren’t serving others or ourselves well by not being authentic. You did a great thing by being courageous enough to be true to yourself and lead the way by being honest. It serves as a great model and gives others permission to do likewise! Maybe we can start a revolution of living authentically. I think that’s what God had in mind when He created us so we wouldn’t be living ashamed of who we really are.
    You really touched something deep here! Blessings to continue…

    • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

      The real challenge for me was to “write” a more personal post. I had been thinking of writing one … but I finally had to just do it! … And this is what came out. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. It’s encouraging!

  • Flora Brown, Ph.D.

    Nicholas,

    Congratulations for being honest. Most of us have been encouraged to keep a happy face, but that can be destructive when we push down our true feelings. In this situation, you learned something about your coworker that put your own misery in perspective.

    A while ago I blogged about another take on this based on a talk by author Mel Robbins who wrote “You Are Not Fine.” http://coloryourlifehappy.com/blog/changing-your-life/you-are-not-fine

    • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

      Thanks Flora. It definitely put things in perspective. Good to know there are others not willing to be “fine”.

  • http://twitter.com/panAngler Laurie Nylund

    Honesty *is* inspiring, as was this post. Good job, Nicholas!

    -a fellow Goins writer

  • http://bobholmes.blogspot.com/ Bob Holmes

    Good Save Nicholas! When we get that gentle nudge, take it every time. Life’s too short to let it go by in a blur. The more we respond to those threshold moments, the more we see them. I’m praying for your friend and his mom.

    PS ~***CONGRATULATIONS DAD!!!***~

    • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

      Thank Bob!

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    The best way to make a connection to someone is to be vulnerable – brutally honest and baring your soul to them. That vulnerability endears people to you, and it allows them the chance to be encouraging. And you never know when they’re going through a bad day in the future and seek you out for some encouragement.

  • Suzanne Mickelson

    Thank you for sharing this post! Your honesty gave me pause to consider what I do in those situations. Because I don’t like (nor am I good at it) small talk, I tend to stay in my office and work. I will reconsider my response now which may also give others an opportunity to share how they are feeling.