What We Get to Do

There’s a great scene in the movie Office Space, where the secretary is needling the main character for not being chirpier as he drags himself into the office. “Looks like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays,” she says, not knowing he has just battled stop-and-go traffic, ducked-and-dived to avoid seeing his slimy boss, and skulked into his cubicle only to be interrupted by the sound of an annoying colleague on the phone. (It’s a hysterical film, and I highly recommend it for some silly Sunday fun.)

I love that case-of-the-Mondays quote because it captures so succinctly the feeling that so many of us have at the beginning of the week. And even now, eight-plus years into being my own boss, Mondays can sometimes fill me with dread at all the stuff I have to do.

But one of the magic tricks that I picked up years ago that has helped me cope better with that “Monday” feeling is this: reframing all of the things I feel I have to do, into things that I get to do.

It’s a small mental shift, but it can have a powerful effect on how we perceive the day, week, and tasks ahead. Because it reminds us that we are lucky, even if only in a small way, to have the opportunity and the ability to do the things we do.

I don’t HAVE to review my P&Ls, I GET to review them because I am in the happy position of being a director of two successful businesses and have a powerful brain that enables me to decipher numbers. I don’t HAVE to take my daughters to nursery, I GET to walk them there because I am the lucky parent of two amazing children and have a healthy, functioning body that enables me to walk fast while pushing a stroller. I don’t HAVE to get back in touch with a corporate client, I GET to email them because I have worked hard to develop the strong reputation I have, and others want to work with me.

Do you see how the energy changes almost immediately? Very quickly we can go from feeling put upon and burdened to feeling lucky and energized.

That’s the power of what we “get” to do.

This may not work every time, but it has a pretty good track record, and is a quick and easy way to change the way we feel about what’s ahead of us. Little shifts like this, little energy boosts, little mental reframings, they all add up over the course of a day, a week, a lifetime, and before we know it, we’ve become do-ers instead of complainers, activated instead of deadened.

So the next time we catch ourselves dragging our feet, hitting the snooze, moaning about what we have to do, let’s remind ourselves that we get to do it, too. And not everyone is so lucky.

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About Me
Rupal Patel logo
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Rupal is a born-and-bred New Yorker now living near London. Her high-octane career as a CIA officer turned serial entrepreneur has taken her from military briefing rooms in jungles and war zones to corporate boardrooms and international stages.

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