When interacting and speaking to successful leaders, I’ve noticed a strong commonality. Regardless of industry, upbringing, or culture, these leaders share a similar disposition: a positive attitude, a refusal to allow external variables dictate their mood and a tenacious appetite for excellence.
Are these people born this way? Is attitude something that is dictated by one’s genes or socialization? In my opinion, I believe attitude is a choice. Yep, everyday you make a choice on how you will see and do the world. The same goes for how you approach and perceive your relationships, your opportunities and your “luck”. You can choose to react to the external variables in a way that it controls you, or you can refuse to have your attitude shaken by the universe’s curveballs.
When I look back at my own history, I know this to be true, for me at least. I’ve had times where I’ve given up and accepted defeat; spiraling into an emotional black hole. Then there’ve been times where I’ve decided to stay positive, even find humor in the situation, and focused on finding a solution versus being engulfed in hopelessness. The catalyst wasn’t any different in these two different scenarios. While the particular challenge may have taken a different form, my attitude is what changed the outcome.
I have realized that I can choose to sulk, have a “woe is me” mentality and be a victim of bad luck. Or, I can accept that challenges, roadblocks, ebbs and even unpredictable disasters are just a part of life. I could sit there and let these disruptions control me. Or, I could maintain a consistently positive attitude, perspective and way of dealing with these matters in way that has impact and effect.
The scary part is, once you accept that you really do hold the power to make a choice, you take responsibility for your own life and happiness. You have no one and nothing else to blame. It’s a lot easier to point fingers – to imagine that life, work, and relationships would be better if only someone did something differently. But get rid of the scapegoat, and all you have left to hold accountable is you.
I still have my negative spirals but I’m learning how to proactively get myself out of a rut. Some actions that have helped me include watching inspirational talks and speakers online every morning, taking “me” time to decompress and relax and writing down goals and solutions. The writing part helps because you can visualize where you want to be, what you want to change and the actual tangible steps you can take to get there. When you have a direction to head towards, even if the steps are small, you suddenly stop feeling hopeless as you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Tweaking your mentality can have the greatest impact. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the emotions of everything that we forget that a winning attitude and a leadership mentality are trained. It’s something that has to be practiced, grown and cultivated. It’s a choice.
I’ll leave you with a quote that I draw inspiration from:
[infobox bg=”bluelight” color=”black” opacity=”on” subtitle=”- Winston Churchill”]“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” [/infobox]
4 Replies to “Choose a Winning Attitude”
Hi Amy, I just read your article minutes ago and decided I had to look up your site and let you know how much I enjoyed reading it. You said it so well and it really resonated with me. Take responsibility and quit blaming others as the decisions and outcomes are our own to make and receive. It is our choice to receive it how we will. It was a great reminder thAt I really do get affected by outer variables and if I want to be a leader, then I have to work on that. Thank you so much for the breath of fresh air. I will certainly add your site to my favorites!
I saw your article on huffingtonpost.com. Your words are almost exactly the attitude I had when I lost my job in 2008. Prior to 2008, I had a job I loved with a great Fortune 100 company. It was a position that was both challenging and rewarding. The sense of camaraderie and pride I had in the work I did was the most powerful drug I have ever been exposed to.
Over time, the one thing that has become abundantly clear in the time that has gone by is that no amount of hard work or positive energy can make a company decide to hire you. The companies themselves are admitting openly that they are not hiring. Instead they continue to shed jobs month after month. I have sent out literally thousands of resumes and applications since that time but still find myself without work. I went on many interviews in the beginning, now I find companies do not even bother to reply and say ‘thanks, but no thanks’. My unemployment benefits have long since run out. While they were only 60% of my working salary, it was just enough for me to keep my independence. Now I’m broke and living with my parents at 30 (and my Dad has lost his job last month). I live in an area of the country where there are just no opportunities, even for folks who want to work and are willing to make huge sacrifices for any opportunity, we are shut out. I have searched for both local and national opportunities. I have a college degree, a double major, and the debt to prove it. I am caught in a place where I’ve been out of work for too long to be considered a viable candidate to any company with a good opportunity, and I’m overqualified to work at McDonalds or the local car wash. Those companies are unwilling to hire people they deem to be potentially short term employees.
I’m not sure where you live, what you did for work or what sort of network of friends and colleagues you have built up over the years. I can assure you of this: if you work as hard as I have at finding work, lost as much as I (and a lot of Americans) have, financially and socially, and find your life slipping backwards as mine has…you’ll have a change of attitude. I am completely depressed and despondent. It is not because I have a naturally bad attitude. It is from repeated failure in my quest to find work. I can only metaphorically hit my head against a wall for so long before a headache develops. My network of colleagues and friends are all also looking for work. I will get no help from them because in a sense, they are my ‘competition’ for any open opportunity. I am not lazy or uneducated! I want to work more than anything!!!
While unemployment is at 10%, people like me are not considered to be unemployed because I have been without work for longer than 9 months. The unemployment numbers are a falsehood based on an economic assumption that just does not hold true anymore. The real unemployment number is well north of 20%. When one in five people are out of work there is less spending, economic principles state that overall demand will subsequently drop. In our consumer driven economy, businesses are forced to cut cost, meaning people, in order to stay profitable. Quarter after quarter, companies who are shedding jobs are claiming profits and in some cases record profits in their shareholder conference calls. The DOW is back to pre-2008 levels, as are Executive bonuses. Nobody in our government, on either side of the political spectrum, has any real plan or answer for this continuing crisis.
Many Americans are in a place where they cannot help themselves and are not getting any outside help. I do not wish this hell on anyone! I certainly hope your experience is the opposite of mine!! I may not be a loser but the line between being a loser and someone who has experienced great loss is so blurred, that I can’t help but feel that’s the most appropriate adjective.
Thank you and good luck to you as you move forward!!!
Hi Amy, this was a very inspiring blog post, one that I needed so much for several months now. Life has been a steep, uphill struggle for me lately, but reading posts on positivity and a happier outlook on life, as well as continually strengthening my faith and belief in hope are sustaining me. Thanks for that, and know that you had an effect on someone you will probably never meet 🙂
Thank you 🙂
Hey, I saw the comment they’re calling you Amy, so i assume that you’re Amy. Hello Amy, your article is really awesome. I experience the same thing as you experienced, and i know, constant motivation is very important, would you mind to send me the links to those inspirational talks? Thanks in advance, lets learn and improve together!!