Emotion can be thought of as energy in motion. To change your mood, MOVE! Or change your circumstances.

The other day I received a phone call with some disheartening news. It drained the energy out of me, put a pall on an otherwise beautiful day. Part of me just wanted to go home, crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head, and sleep until it was a new day. No kidding. We all have those moments and this was my time “in the barrel.”**

I had been touring a property and was at the point where normally I would go in and say hello to the property manager and the leasing staff. The last thing I felt like doing was going into that clubhouse and putting on a happy face, playing the role. And yet….

I knew that I had to shake the mood and that the best thing for it was distraction, movement, change of circumstances. So I told myself to walk my talk, and I entered that clubhouse and greeted the staff with a smile. And in few moments I was engaged in a lively conversation and my prior bad/sad mood was in the past where it belonged.

I probably am not telling you anything you don’t already know, have not already experienced at one level or another.

So, my challenge to you is twofold:

1. Do you know it well enough to recall it when you need it? Do you know it in the moment of decision?


2. Do you do as well as you know?

**To say someone is in the barrel means it’s his or her turn to suffer an unpleasant experience. I first heard this expression while watching night landings on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Navy aircraft carrier. It was used in reference to a pilot who experienced repeated wave-offs, having to do so many go-arounds that a tanker had to be sent up to refuel the plane. I was told that pilots were taught, perhaps to reduce the stigma and related stress, that there are pilots who have been in the barrel, and that some pilots will be in the barrel, but no pilot ever escapes the barrel. So they learn to keep their heads up, take the bad times in stride, and keep on going until they are through them.

This is a classic from the NSC Blog archive, originally posted June 2, 2008.