S2 Episode 7:

One Good Thing - Every Day - No Matter What

October 13, 2020

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Jessie Gebauer &

Joel Carlovsky

Listen to the podcast here:

As Changemakers, we often crave having more balance but we don't know how to do it. Today, we dive into our One Good Thing - Every Day - No Matter What strategy. This is a tool that helps you acknowledge and accept what is currently happening while proactively deciding to create more balance by committing to doing more good things!


One Good Thing - Every Day - No Matter What

Before we talk about balance, let’s take a look at the opposite. What does it look like, sound like, and/or feel like to be off-balance? And for the sake of this discussion- professionally off balance.


This might look like:

  • Too much on your plate

  • Too many commitments

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Feeling like you’re doing too much but not enough at the same time

  • Feeling removed from who you truly are.


This is where our strategy comes in. It might be called One Good Thing - Every Day - No Matter What but it actually starts with One Not So Good Thing


You can call it whatever you want. The Not So Good Thing. The Bad Thing. The Horrible Thing. The Anxiety-Provoking Thing. But first, you have to name it. The phrase might sound like this “I see you, ___________________.” 


Looking back at the examples above:

“I see you, overwhelm.” 

“I see you, feeling like you’re doing too much but not enough at the same time.”


These feelings are valid and real


That is the point of this One Good Thing - Every Day - No Matter What strategy. You acknowledge the Not So Good so that you realize the deep need for One Good Thing - Every Day - No Matter What. We aren’t avoiding or denying the Not So Good. We are seeing it. And then we are making the choice to do something good as well. 


In practice this looks like:

“I see you, overwhelm. And, guess what? I need to balance you out! Therefore, I am going to drink a glass of water and do a few stretches before diving into work.”


You may have heard us talk about the crap sandwich before. The crap sandwich is the stuff in the day that is going to happen no matter what. Sometimes it’s predictable and oftentimes it’s not. But it’s going to happen. We practice the One Good Thing - Every Day - No Matter What strategy because you can also create balance in your life by making the GOOD things happening predictable as well. 


Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Name the Not So Good Thing.

  2.  Accept that it is happening. (That doesn’t mean that you have to like it or that it will always be that way!) 

  3. And then DO something good to create balance. 


And notice that we didn’t say 32 Good Things every day. Right now, especially right now for most people, 32 Good Things isn’t sustainable or viable. But one good thing? Yup! It sure is!


Take out a journal or grab our One Good Thing - Every Day - No Matter What guide.  Fill up that page and name the Not So Good Thing. Make note of it and work to accept that it is happening. And then write down the GOOD something that you will DO to create balance. Keep reflecting on how this process is going and whether or not you feel more balance in your life. 

Take the time to not rush through this. It might take a few ideas and that’s okay. The biggest thing is to acknowledge the Not So Good Thing and commit to doing the work of doing ONE GOOD THING every day no matter what. Do this now. 


5 X 5 Rule

This month we are going to focus our bonus strategies around balancing out our anxiety. Why? Because it is hard to hold balance and anxiety at the same time! The bonus strategy for this week is called The 5x5 Rule


Have you ever gone down a worry spiral?


Pause and ask yourself if what you’re worried about will matter in five years. If the answer is yes, carry on. But if the answer is no, give yourself five minutes to fret, then move on.


An example:

Say you’re deciding whether it’s worth the financial burden to consider going to grad school. Will the decision affect you in five years? Of course it will! Continue thinking it through. That is a thought that you want to continue to think about. That is healthy and important anxiety. 


If you’re stressing about skipping your friend’s social distancing backyard party, on the other hand? Put a cap on the emotional space you give it. Sure, it could affect you in 5 years—if you blow it off, offer no explanation, and avoid their calls for the next several months. But if they’re a good enough person to count as a friend, they’ll understand—especially when you find your own way to hang out with them.


The Key!

After talking yourself through it, give yourself permission to let it go.


The 5x5 rule is a two-pronged approach. By thinking long term, you’re putting the experience in context and giving yourself some much-needed distance from the issue at hand. How many times have you been distracted from a stressful moment, only to come back and realize you were way overthinking things?


But the 5x5 rule also works by allowing you to spend a few minutes really feeling your feels. When you immediately try to push frustrating emotions away, they only build up further. Spending up to five minutes processing what you’re feeling and why can put those bad vibes at bay.


Of course, as much as you try to gain perspective, anything can seem life-altering in the moment. In those situations, give the 5x5 rule a try, but don’t beat yourself up if your banished thoughts keep creeping back in. The more you practice it, the easier it’ll get.


Final Thoughts

Any new strategy or shift you put into practice will take time. Set simple commitments and follow through. When you inevitably mess up, jump back in! Slow, steady change is where the magic happens.


All the Good Stuff From the Episode