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One year ago today, July 7, 2014, will go down as the worst day I’ve had professionally in my life. It wasn’t that any one thing happened but it was the day when the combined weight of rejection, lost hope, doubt and mounting pressure of several kinds all came together and created a tipping point that sent me into an emotional spiral.

It could have just as easily happened two days later. There wasn’t anything special about the day necessarily. I had been closer to the tipping point than I wanted to admit.

It took the better part of the week to emerge from the despair. By the end of July things were looking up and by the end of August it looked like I was going to be able to finish the year strong…and I did.

Memorializing Your Worst Days
I’m a person of faith and optimism and haven’t hit emotional lows many times in my life so that’s why that particular day stands out to me. A few weeks after that dark day I realized I wanted to keep a reminder of the bitterness of that day so I pulled out an index card and wrote, “Remember that feeling on Monday, July 7, 2014.” Below the headline are a series of bullet points outlining all the things I was realizing or feeling in that moment. It includes points like, “remember how you had little assurance of future work” and “remember how you had just been rejected by your last good prospects.”

I hated the feeling of July 7, 2014, but I don’t want to forget it either. That’s why I needed to memorialize it. That index card has been in front of me every day for the last year. It’s a reminder of how low things can go while also an encouragement about how it won’t be the end of the world either. I don’t want to forget it because when I’m having a bad day it won’t be as bad as that day.

I need it on the good days too. When I’m having a great day, I need to be thankful for the opportunities and stay hungry. Remembering that day will keep me hungry and help me fight against complacency.

Everyone will have a bad day. You’ll also have a worst day. Don’t waste it long after it’s done. Find a way to remember it and use that reminder to push you forward.

Photo credit: Brook Ward via Creative Commons license.