Show Up! Why I Went to Work with Puke in My Hair

Brittany Anderson

August 18, 2021

“Eight percent of success is showing up.” ~Woody Allen

My birthday was Monday.

I woke up and thought hey… 33 feels good… I think this will be my year. I was channeling my “13 Going on 30” movie lines thinking “thirty, flirty and fabulous” likely was meant to last through my entire 30’s. I feel pretty fabulous and I have a hunky hubby to flirt with on the daily so life is good.

I was getting ready for my day and was almost ready to head to the office when my 5-year-old walks in to my bathroom and hands me an envelope with “mom” written in her sweet little handwriting.

She said it was my birthday present, so I open it and inside are 2 dimes, a penny and a broken sequence mermaid tail. (You just can’t even make this stuff up!)

I looked at her and she had this huge beaming smile on her face cause she was so proud of what she was giving me. I immediately gushed over how awesome the gift was, gave her a kiss and left to head to the office.

Still feeling pretty fab and smiling on the way to work thinking about my gift and how endearing it really was, I arrive at my office and encounter what I can only explain as Murphy’s Law — anything that could go wrong, did.

It was like a whirlwind of chaos and crabby. Picture one of the more stressful days in your career and think about how quickly those feelings trump any sense of being “thirty, flirty and fabulous.”

I barely survived the day… like we are talking hanging on by a thread mentally and emotionally at the end of the day. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic but you get my jist. It was one of those days where the only reprieve you have is knowing that your drive home is solo and you get to cry all you want. Bring on the dramatics and insert desperate search for a sappy song to crank on the radio and cry — like really hard.

So despite my desire to up the dramatics, I get into my car and head home thinking, “Okay — I’m going to cry for a minute, then flip my attitude so I’m present for my kids. The hubs is working late tonight and we are going to have FUN on my birthday, gosh darn-it.”

So I get home to my three wonderful children, and my 4 1/2 month old decided that “fabulous” was not a feeling I was going to have on this day. He was SO crabby and my girls (ages 5 and almost 2) are STARVING and NEED spaghetti RIGHT NOW! Imagine a mini wolf-pack just hanging out nipping around your ankles. That was the dilemma I found myself in.

So in the mix of cooking dinner, holding my whining son (which mind you is totally out of character for him) and trying to get spaghetti plates on the table, my phone rings.

I look down and see it’s my grandparents who call and sing Happy Birthday to me every single year, without fail.

As I throw plates on the table for my ravished girls (aye, girls are dramatic — okay, maybe the drama is inherited…a little), I try to sit down with my son to rock him, while answering the phone with the biggest painted on smile I could muster.

My grandparents start in on their chorus and I hear this sweet little baby burp in my left ear where I am hopelessly bouncing my son . This innocent little burp turned out to be not so sweet, when I realize there is a massive amount of puke coming out of my son’s mouth that totally saturating my hair. Like we are talking a solid 6–8 ounces of breast milk, sitting in my hair, about to act as some weird form of conditioner or hair gel or I don’t know what.

So the evening goes about how the day went, and by the time I get out of my own tornado I made the conscious decision that washing my hair was out of the question for the night.

Ladies and gents, I’m going to preface this by saying that sometimes, we have to save our sanity. In the first peaceful moment of my entire day I thought to myself, “Brittany — you owe it to yourself to read a book and go to sleep.”

So that’s what I did.

Morning came and while I had every intention of washing said puke-filled hair, my normally sweet, happy-go-lucky 4 1/2 month old son had other plans for me.

As I’m hopelessly watching the clock tick on by, I was faced with a jam-packed day of meetings and one big prospect call. With how the day/evening prior went, and how my morning was starting, I was thinking of rescheduling everything. And you know what? I would have been able to totally rationalize it too.

I have little mantras in my planner that I look at every morning and in it was a quote from a new friend of mine that she uses in her business community (The Top Knot Tribe — check it out ladies, seriously!) which was “hair in a bun, get shit done.”

So that’s what I did. I put my puke filled hair in a bun and I went to “get shit done.”

On the way to work I put on good music, had a dance party in my vehicle to lift my spirits and I walked into my office like I won the lottery of energy. It is amazing what some good tunes and some body movement does for a person!

And you know what?? On that day, with baby puke saturating my hair, I not only had super productive meetings, but I closed my biggest prospect to date.

I chose to show up and stay congruent to myself in my commitments by doing what was necessary.

See, sometimes in life we are faced with frustrations, let downs, disappointments and exhaustion. Life has a funny way of putting us in check just when we think we have it all under control.

In everything you do, you have a choice. You can decide that life happens TO you, or that life happens FOR you. You get to make that conscious decision, every day.

My point in sharing this embarrassing and still all-too-raw story, is that it doesn’t matter how we feel. It doesn’t matter what we perceived as happening to us, it’s how we SHOW UP and handle business. It’s how we choose to frame our attitude to deliver exceptional results to others.

I could have called my team and rescheduled my entire day by sharing the story of what happened in my evening and my morning. No one would have really cared a whole lot and I would have probably felt a lot better running those meetings with clean hair on a day that didn’t start with a crying baby.

There is a quote on leadership that says,

“Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.”

If I had chosen not to show up for my meetings, then what kind of leader would I have been for my team?

The lesson in this, however, doesn’t stop there.

I make a living based on uplifting others, giving positive direction and helping people embrace positive outlooks, but even the teacher fails sometimes.

On my birthday, the day I had such high expectations for, I could have actually changed the trajectory of my day overall if I would have shifted my focus.

I could have kept my day by focusing on the fact that I have thus-far had part in raising my oldest daughter to be so giving and sweet that she gave me literally all she had to give, to start my day. Those three little coins and that broken mermaid key chain, was everything she had to give… and she chose to give it to me. I have tears of pride burning my eyes right now as I share this.

But instead, I let the whirlwind of the business impact my day and I focused on the negative vs. the positive.

I believe in the power of living by example and being congruent to your values, so I try to be one of the most positive people I know, yet, on my own birthday, I slipped.

We are all guilty of slipping. We are all guilty of letting the negative overcome our emotions. Of snapping at our spouses or kids over trivial things that don’t matter. Of being short with coworkers or team members because we are just so “busy” that we don’t have time to explain something in detail. Or in my case of allowing a frustrating moment, make it a frustrating day.

By recognizing, even in the most stressful, frustrating moments that while it’s ok to be down for a minute, you better figure out how to bounce back and let life happen for you versus to you.

Figure out how you can show up, with or without puke in your hair (preferably without, because let’s face it — it’s gross), so that you can be a true example of leadership.

Show up so that your kids see that their mom doesn’t quit.

Show up so that your team sees and reflects your commitment.

Show up and deliver the God-given talent that you were blessed with because the bottom line is that if you don’t, you are doing this world a disservice.

But most of all, show up for YOU. You owe it to yourself, to be the best version of yourself; Every. Single. Day.

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.” ~Brene Brown

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Featured photo courtesy of Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

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