Compared to who or what?
Towards the end of last year we were in the process of buying a flat in Deal, Kent to renovate and sell on. Around the same time Clive, my husband, was sent an email with what seemed like a really good offer for a night's accommodation in the vicinity, including an evening meal and breakfast, valid until the end of April. We thought it would be a good idea to buy it so we would at least have one night where we could go and get out of the dust, have a shower, meal and a good night's sleep. The voucher was purchased but in the end the flat wasn't.

In April this year Clive realised that we still had the voucher to use so we thought we might as well use it, as it was paid for, and it would be nice to have a night away. We could combine it with visiting his Mum who also lives in Kent.

We eventually found the 'country hotel' just outside Sandwich, and checked in. The rooms had obviously been converted some time ago from what appeared to be a stable block and were by now in need of renewed refurbishing. Just a few of the things we quickly discovered: the wardrobe door was off its sliders; the bracket the TV was hung on was loose, making the TV screen face the floor at a 45 degree angle; the toothbrush holder was broken in half; and when you used the sink a large puddle of water appeared on the floor! I'm sure you're getting the picture of this 'country hotel'.

Clive was disappointed. He thought it would have been a nice treat away for us and if we had viewed it as that then it might well have been seen as a disaster. However I reminded him that he had booked it when we thought we would have been returning for a a day's work renovating a flat. Looking at it from that mindset it wouldn't have seemed so bad. We'd have welcomed a clean room, with a proper bed and a shower followed by a reasonable meal (even if we did have to keep our coats on as the restaurant was so cold!).

We kept reminding ourselves of the fact that bearing in mind the circumstances, and price that had caused us to book we would have been very happy with it. Compared to a dirty, dusty, very cold flat it would have been amazing, however compared to a 4 or 5 star 'country hotel' it failed miserably and would be a huge disappointment. We could also now understand the reason the hotel had possibly had to resort to special offers - it turned out that most of the other residents that night were also on the same deal.

It is always possible to reframe things and see them from a different perspective. That in turn affects how you respond to feel about them. An important question I've learnt to ask as a coach when someone is making a statement about something is "Compared to who or what?" Compared to a flat at the ripping-out stage of renovation it was great!