There is not one single person that has not endured at least a bad day or two. So, you woke up late and stubbed your toe, or you were stuck in traffic today. You may have just argued with your family, or things are just not going according to plan. This is life; everyone receives terrible news from time to time and endures those dreaded bad days. And to make matters worse, you are scheduled for a long shift at work. You wear a noticeable grimace on your face, your posture is slouched, and you may feel grumpy, sad, frustrated, and on edge.
Does the client know your reasons for being short with them? Absolutely not. Maybe their beloved pet is suffering from something you perceive as minor, so you come off as uninterested and uncaring. This is not your nature, but today is a bad day, and you are always on top of your compassion game so you should receive a pass this one time. Or maybe you take a phone call and do not actively listen, giving short answers in a sharp, annoyed tone. You usually are the best at assuring clients over the phone, but today was a bad day, so this one time you fail miserably at customer service.
Clients will always remember this one time, no matter how wonderful you have been in the past. And when it is a new client, you can be confident they will not return and will talk to their friends about the experience. Long-term clients may give you a pass this one time, but they will never forget the day you came across as callous and uncaring.
But everyone has bad days! We are not emotionless people!
Yes, I know many of us are just the opposite, so full of emotion that we feel everything. However, this is also true when we are feeling sad, angry, etc. Being proactive about your body language is an integral part of compassionate care. Take a quick look in the mirror; how is your posture? What is your tone of voice like? Access yourself as you would examine a patient. Not many people are aware that changing your posture can improve your mood. Take a moment to recall a time that you were thrilled and excited, mimic that posture and smile. It is incredible how much your emotion will change when you change your physical state of being.