Sometimes trying to communicate a big idea in less than 60 seconds can cause an issue.

Well, gulp, that happened to me with this one when I said “Just having a bad day isn’t real.”

The idea is that we often use “I’m just having a bad day” as an easy excuse that absolves us from responsibility. “It’s not my fault! I had a bad day. I did everything I could. These things just happen. I’ll be fine next time.”

This protects our ego. We hate to fail. And when we do fail we want to blame others or explain it away.

And that’s a shame!

It’s a missed opportunity to see where we were responsible for the disappointment. 

We often have a role in having a bad day. Even if it’s a small one. 

We need to hold ourselves more accountable!

So I ended the video with a challenge to find out what you did wrong and fix it.

And that didn’t go over great with some:


Timing of this video couldn’t have been worse for this person! I replied with empathy and prayer for s/he and the family, and a brief explanation that I will elaborate on here for you.

With the exception of the example above, we all contribute to our having a bad day.

I push hard on accepting responsibility because for 99% of my athletes there is more that they can be responsible for. 

Few are giving a true 100% despite the hard work they are in fact putting in. 

There is a reason we lose, and most often it is because we didn’t prepare or do enough to win.

No judgment!

It’s just a fact. 

We need to hold ourselves to a high standard of preparation if we want to succeed. Just excusing ourselves with “I’m just having a bad day” won’t cut it.

To rickard767’s point, there are things that happen that are out of our control that hurt our performance. His situation for sure. 

Missed blatant holding calls by the refs in a football game. 

A coworker making an error or missing a deadline that affects your project. 

The string on your instrument breaks mid-performance. 

I tried to make that point clear in my video. I was having a bad day because I was sick and just coming back. I couldn’t control getting sick or how it hurt my body.

But was I doing everything I could to heal? 

Did I maximize my sleep every night over the last three weeks? 

Did I have ideal nutrition and hydration?


There was room for improvement!

Having a bad day wasn’t “my fault.” 

At the same time, I could influence how bad it was or wasn’t.

My sub-par performance was a combination of things I could control and things I couldn’t.

There is no benefit in focusing on the things I can’t control like my illness … but attention and effort is best placed on the things I can control to make the best of it.

So if you are having a bad day, here are three steps to help make it better:

  1. Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left, write down all the things out of your control. The weather, other people’s actions or inaction, a lack of resources, etc.

This can be frustrating. 

It sucks that you can’t do anything about these things. 

They aren’t fair. 

It may be someone else’s fault. 

There were significant consequences. And this is all out of your control. 

The reality is, if you spend time and effort on these things, you are wasting your time and effort. 

So let it go!

  1. Now on the other side, write down what you can do to improve the situation, even a little bit. 

This won’t fix it. 

It won’t undo what has already been done. 

But it will give you the best chance to turn things around. 

For example, if there was a holding call that the refs missed, the only thing I can do is refocus on the next play and stay diligent in my technique. 

Or if there is a pattern, maybe I can ask the coach how to better get off the block given the hold, or respectfully bring it to refs attention so they can be aware and make the call next time. 

If a coworker made a mistake or missed the deadline, how can I best support him/her the next time? 

Would it be helpful to check in before it’s due and see how they are progressing, or set an earlier deadline to leave room to correct potential mistakes? 

Given the mistake, what are my options to fix it now and yield the best results?

The string broke! I can’t stop the show and fix it! 

Could you have a backup instrument ready the next time or, like Michale Phelps did when his goggles flooded with water in the 2008 Olympics, just keep going through the adversity (winning gold and setting a world record in the process)! 

The key was Phelps prepared for every adversity (like swimming in the dark and knowing his stroke count so he could swim blind). He controlled his preparation so he could control his response to adversity. 

Which brings us to…

  1. Take action on the right side list. 

Phelps didn’t just think about it. He took action in practice. 

In those work scenarios you have to follow through. In the football example, you have to take action and communicate. 

The greatest plans are worthless without execution. 

So make action a priority!

It is the actions you take that will make a difference in just how bad (or good) of a day you are going to have. 

If you are having a bad day and want to develop the skills necessary to improve, check out the coaching available inside our Success Stories Community

Develop the clarity and confidence you need to be your best when it matters most!

You can do this, and you don’t need to do it alone!