In archery and other shooting practices, there is the concept of “Aim small, miss small.” The idea is that focusing on the smallest spot you can see within the area you want to hit will get you closer to hitting that area. For example, if you look at a 22-inch square target, and you miss just to the outside, you’ll be 11 inches or more from the center of that target. Look at a three-inch bull’s eye, and you’re likely to end up within the 22-inch square target. Look at the nail holding the bull’s eye in place, and you’ll come close to hitting the bull’s eye if not dead on.
Recently, I’ve had a string of bad days. Even days that should’ve been good end up being bad. Part of the problem is that I am aware of everything else beyond the day. I know how much money we owe and have to pay back. I know what our monthly income needs to be (and we haven’t been close). I lost someone close to me. I am under so much financial pressure and am working so many hours a day that I have no time to deal with the stress or to decompress. I have to hold in emotions that would be better expressed. I have to deal with worries of another day because I know that another day will arrive before I am prepared. Unfortunately, I am not the type of person to let it go.
In the service industry, you meet a lot of people, and a small percentage of those people are a-holes. Most people are neutral; some are great. As a society, we tend to focus on the problem people. Karens and Kens take up a majority of our energy and our time. They’ve become particularly unpleasant cultural phenomena. It’s hard to remember the good people you’ve dealt with throughout the day when a rude, obnoxious, entitled, adult brat decides they are due something they have no right to. As the employee or owner of a business, you have to figure out how to be civil and placate the person while protecting your business and staff.
However, what you really need to do is remember that these people are not your focus. You are here to serve your other guests. Focus on the good interactions that you have every day. The people that enjoy your shop, have fun coming, and want you to succeed are your focus. Cultivate them and make a point to remember the enjoyment you got from interacting with them.
At the end of the day, Jenya and I have gotten into the habit of telling each other three good things about the day. Sometimes, it’s been the corn on the cob that we got from the Salvation Army (It was so sweet). These three good things don’t have to be earth-shattering. They can be the normal things you see every day; you just have to notice them. A bee going from flower to flower, the smell of the ocean air, the feel of the sun on the walk home from work, an achievement in a favorite video game… There are millions of good things out there, you have several good moments in the day. Aim small for the good things, and you likely miss small, making the bad days seem a little better.