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Riding the Elevator of Life


Elizabeth Lovius is a coach, changemaker and bringer of joy. We’ve worked with Elizabeth since 2013. She’s also worked with Pret, ITV and the Rugby Football Union among others.


Good days and bad days are a fact of life. We all have them, often for reasons we can’t identify. And we all know from experience how the good or bad days can affect our relationships at work and at home, sometimes with consequences that last well beyond 24 hours.

But how many of us acknowledge this fact to ourselves and others?The simple step of recognizing our frame of mind, day-to-day, can help nourish our relationships and make us more productive.

Think of it as the elevator of life, which relates to the level and quality of our thinking.

When we are having a bad day it’s like we’re on an elevator that has gone to the basement. Our thinking is very low; our feelings are depressed; and we are overcome by negativity.

In the basement, all we can see are problems. It’s dark and gloomy, there are lots of obstacles to navigate and we can’t see far enough ahead to work out how we’re going to get through.

Relationships can seem challenging and other people may seem to be to blame – family, customers, colleagues, bosses... We don’t feel resourceful and are overcome by the urgency of all the problems that need solving. When we’re low on the elevator of life, this is our experience. And it’s important to recognize that this is true for everyone.You are not the only person to ever suffer from bad day syndrome.

When we’re having a bad day it definitely isn’t the best state from which to try to connect, communicate or relate to others. Unfortunately, locking ourselves in a dark room is rarely possible either. So recognizing and acknowledging this state, to ourselves and, if absolutely necessary, to others, makes perfect sense.

The good news is that our natural state is one of clarity and wisdom. Like a pool of water that’s been disturbed, our thinking and mood will settle back to this calm, clear state when we give it the opportunity.Then the elevator of life will begin to rise up of its own accord and we’ll find ourselves in a different state, a different mood.

When the elevator of life reaches the top floor we have perspective, we can see clearly to the far horizon and are able to plot pathways forward. We have access to our own natural wisdom, compassion, connection and clarity of thought.

We can see the right solution to what seemed an insurmountable problem when we were down in the basement.We can empathize with someone who yesterday we felt was intent on obstructing our progress.The right course of action presents itself with crystal clarity.

The simple truth is that we are all constantly riding the elevator of life between the top floor and the basement, stopping off at all floors in between.Where we happen to be at any point in time is going to affect our thinking and feelings, influencing our behavior and therefore our relationships. And what’s true for each of us individually is true for everyone else too.

Developing a shared understanding of this simple fact with our colleagues at work or our family can be a surprisingly straightforward way to improve the quality and productivity of relationships. Simply feeling able to acknowledge a bad day to other people can help raise our elevator to a higher floor. Likewise, noticing when someone else is low on the elevator and giving them some allowance for the fact can prevent bad days leaving a lasting mark.

Whether or not you refer to “good days/bad days” or “the elevator of life”, sharing a language that enables you to communicate your state to each other will definitely help.

And ultimately, we can draw comfort right now, no matter how low our state of mind, that this too shall pass and that clear, kind, common sense is only ever a thought away.

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