The critical role that a seamless attitude plays in life was brought home sharply to me a week ago when we heard the distressing news that two sons of friends from the Eastern Cape had died in a plane crash. The two brothers were in fact participating in a final flight before the one brother was to qualify for his pilot’s licence. After we heard the news we phoned the mother of the two boys and it was an intensely emotional experience.
Why mention this matter?
Many years ago my wife and I lost our own middle son who died at the age of 21 as a passenger in a motor car accident. He was a talented and dynamic young man. This was a most traumatic experience for us. It felt at the time as if somebody was literally pulling my heart out of my chest. Yet in due course we found that the experience added a great richness to our characters and enabled my wife to cry empathetically with the mother of the two boys while also encouraging her to trust in the Lord and promised her she would receive comfort and context in due course. My wife was manifesting the fruits of a positive attitude towards a very traumatic experience.
Life is about attitude. It really is!
Life is also about traumatic and painful experiences as indicated above. The workplace is filled with challenging situations. Nothing impacts more on personal happiness and leadership ability than a heritage of a positive and seamless attitude towards life in general and in particular towards our leadership role in the work place and in our families.
What is a seamless attitude?
It is a positive attitude combined with the courage to face and move mental, emotional, physical and organizational barriers to full potential. And, attitude may be defined as our emotional and mental direction in life
A seamless attitude towards life is a choice. This is a profound truth. In interviewing and associating with hundreds of leaders over the years that demonstrate elements of a seamless attitude, we find overwhelming evidence that the most important component that seems to distinguish an ordinary leader from a seamless leader is that of attitude.
We want to share with you a recent article by Thomas S Monson, author, leader and President of a global religious organisation. This is a message he feels his over 14 million members across 185 countries, and probably anyone else for that matter, most need during these challenging times we live in. As one would expect from a leader that possesses a seamless attitude, note the simplicity, relevance, inclusivity and universality of the message, especially when one considers it is to a global and truly diverse audience. A leader with a seamless attitude sees the bigger and universal picture, adapts and acts accordingly, and moves beyond boundaries as a result.
Just as we learned the ABCs in school, he offers his own ABCs to help us all gain the abundant life:
“A in my ABCs refers to attitude. William James, a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher, wrote, “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives” So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. “Charles Swindoll – author, educator, and pastor -said: “Attitude, to me, is more important than … the past, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”
“We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.
“B is for believe – in yourself, in those around you, and in eternal principles. Be honest with yourself, with others, and with God. One who was not honest with God until it was too late was Cardinal Wolsey who, according to Shakespeare, spent a long life in service to three sovereigns and enjoyed wealth and power. Finally, he was shorn of his power and possessions by an impatient king. Cardinal Wolsey cried:
‘Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, He would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies’
“Thomas Fuller, an English churchman and historian who lived in the 17th century, penned this truth: “He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.”
“Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities. You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith.
“C is for courage. Courage becomes a worthwhile and meaningful virtue when it is regarded not so much as a willingness to die manfully but as a determination to live decently. Said the American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”
“There will be times when you will be frightened and discouraged. You may feel that you are defeated. The odds of obtaining victory may appear overwhelming. At times you may feel like David trying to fight Goliath. But remember—David did win! Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward one’s coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve. Have the determination to make the effort, the single-mindedness to work toward a worthy goal, and the courage not only to face the challenges that inevitably come but also to make a second effort, should such be required. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”
“May we remember these ABCs as we begin our journey into the New Year, cultivating a positive attitude, a belief that we can achieve our goals and resolutions, and the courage to face whatever challenges may come our way. Then the abundant life will be ours”. End of quote.
We cannot avoid the winds of life, but we can determine our attitudinal direction. Adrian Gore, CEO of Discovery and one of our own great leaders, speaking of challenges facing us, stated: “The antidote is good leadership”.
To this we add that leaders with a seamless attitude are exactly what we need to change the world, especially our own personal world and then the world around us.
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Do you recognize some areas in yourself or your team that need improvement? Email Adriaan on firstname.lastname@example.org for more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside your organisation.