How well are we positioned to succeed in the future? Our most important possession as leaders is the ability to govern our attitude. There are many things that we may not be able to control, but we can control our attitudes. Our attitude is the single biggest factor under our control determining our futures. In some cases our attitudes genuinely can make the difference between life and death.
The purpose of this article is to provide some guidelines in evaluating our attitude towards critical areas of our life. Evaluating our attitude is synonymous with evaluating our confidence in our futures.
Let us take a brief look at various manifestations of attitude:
Our attitude towards our environment largely determines our level of confidence in our futures. If we embrace negative feelings about our environment that dominate our thinking, then we will find it virtually impossible to maintain a positive attitude of confidence in our future. Every choice we make is a product of our confidence in our environment. Our personal environment consists of our perceptions of the political, economic and social climate around us. It is also profoundly impacted by our believed value system. For example, a person who has a strong abiding faith in the benevolence and providence of deity will be in a far stronger position to process perceived negative happenings around him or her such as crime, corruption and a slide in moral values.
The ability and discipline to seek out the good and the positive in our environment makes a massive difference to how we perceive our futures.
Every day we find examples of leaders and organisations that lift themselves above prevailing negative perceptions of the economy and challenges around them.
Attitude towards our employer and our boss
I realise that this may be a tender subject for many people! The truth is that our attitude towards our employer and our boss may be crucial in determining our passion and success in our careers. We may fall into one of three attitudinal categories:
- We have strong negative feelings towards our boss and/organisational employer. This may be painful and thoroughly unpleasant for us. From experience in interviewing many leaders, such feelings may be like a cancer that is eating away at our minds and hearts.
- We recognise that our negative attitude towards our boss/employer may be seriously impacting on our passion and confidence as leaders. We realise that we are allowing our negative feelings towards others to make serious inroads into our own personal happiness and passion to achieve. We then move deliberately into an honest self-evaluation mode and confront our negative perceptions. As indicated often before in this column, it is amazing how getting rid of negative feelings can change our attitude towards our environment and our boss!
- We move into the third level which is becoming a positive support for our boss and employer. This is a key to successful careers! It is surprising how the attitude of our superiors to us may change when our attitude towards them changes.
Attitude towards obstacles in our life
Many millions of words are printed and spoken daily about the importance of building a positive attitude towards perceived obstacles, barriers and problems. We admire many great leaders around us like Nelson Mandela and others in history because of their ability to overcome serious challenges and trauma.
It is very difficult to develop confidence in our futures if we persist in perceiving every change around us as a threat. Our challenge is not encountering challenges as such; it is our inclination to leave those challenges or perceived challenge and problems in ‘standalone mode’. As soon as we mentally and emotionally process the challenge in a trusted process that works for us, then the nature of that problem seems to change before our eyes. It is allowing ourselves to get stuck in an attitude of allowing the perceived challenge to go unchallenged by process that causes so much unnecessary pain, doubt, fear and anger.
Attitude towards Me
What are your real feelings about you? Our genuine perceptions of self are the foundation of our attitude towards our environment and towards all others around us. We do not have the space to comment much about the importance of our self-image. In our desire to provide support for the reader in his quest to reach his or her full potential, we provide two important guidelines that have enriched the lives of many others:
Do not fear the natural resistance we all have in facing our perceived weaknesses and negative perceptions. As we develop the habit of honestly facing our negative perceptions we invariably find that we suddenly perceive the positive things in life far more confidently and hopefully.
Never allow yourself to get stuck in the negative mode. It is one thing to be aware of negative influences and perceptions. We all have them all the time! It is a necessary element of developing a positive frame of mind. It is however a completely different thing to allow negative perceptions to go unchallenged by a positive process of thinking and feeling. To do this is the ultimate form of stupidity, don’t you agree?
The Terence experience
A few days ago I visited Terence in hospital. Although he is a comparatively young man, his heart was operating at ten per cent of capacity and over the past few weeks his life was hanging on a thread. Because of diabetes and a very weak heart condition the medical staff were not prepared to provide the required triple bypass that he needed. They decided to use a modern stent procedure that may save his life and avoid the trauma of a large operation. Because of a lack of communication between the medical staff and the patient he was kept in ignorance for days on end while they were waiting for certain medications to kick in before doing the procedure. He eventually challenged one of the young doctors on the staff to tell him what was going on. She responded to his passionate nagging by telling him that she did not believe he would survive the procedure. This was a shock to him. He asked her what she would do in his position. She responded by saying that she would go home and try to make the best of things.
It was at this stage that Terence realised that he needed to change his attitude or else he was probably not going to make it. His attitude perked up. He humbled himself and strengthened his faith in his Maker. A few days later the procedure was carried out successfully. He is feeling considerably better and is now waiting for the medical staff to decide when he can have the remaining two needed stent procedures.
In this case, a change in attitude may well have made the difference between life and death.
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