Give Everything Your Best

Parents, educators, and mentors, how are the attitudes of the young people under your guidance? In our visits with businesses and educators, we hear repeated concerns over work ethic, disrespect, and a sense of entitlement. Too often, these attitudes are overshadowing the skills our young people are bringing to the table. Here’s a piece to help you help them…

 

One of history’s most admired people, Helen Keller, once said, “I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

So, how high do you set your bar? If you were given a daily report card on your actions and accomplishments throughout the day, what would your grades be? Would you be proud of yourself and your performance—and more importantly—your attitude?

Each day, there are opportunities to use our time, talents, and unique skills to learn, grow, and serve—not just in our actions, but also with our attitude. It shows in the quality of our work and relations with colleagues and clients. It’s found in our families in our roles as spouse, parent, and relative. It’s in the times we spend with friends and those we serve. And, in our everyday interactions with others, whether we know them or not.  The bottom line is this: Did you give your all to every aspect of your day?

Setting a high bar is especially important when associating with others—whether in our families, school, workplace, or in social settings. When we operate solo, our dignity and self respect are on the line. However, when we’re part of a collaborative setting, we have an added responsibility to contribute to the total effort. We owe them our best.

Here are my top ten indicators of an attitude of excellence: 1) high personal and professional standards of performance and behavior, 2) positivity, 3) enthusiasm, 4) dependability, 5) integrity, 6) humility, 7) motivation and work ethic, 8) kindness, 9) respect, and 10) resilience. What’s on your list?

If you are a teacher, parent, or mentor, how do you encourage the young people in your life to give their best? How would you rate in modeling the top ten? Here are some quick and easy ideas for encouraging students to give 110 percent with passion and resolve:

  • Create a personal report card for them. After completing a task (a team project, a sports game, a large chore around the house, a book report), ask them to fill it out and rate themselves not only on their performance, but their attitude. (Here’s a helpful article on receiving constructive criticism.)
  • Praise them for their efforts in all things, and stress the importance of positivity and determination, not just winning.
  • Ask them about a time they gave their best but didn’t take the prize versus when they didn’t give their best but still won. How did they feel after the outcome? .
  • Share your stories of times when you gave your best and how it paid off.
  • Have them do an honest self assessment of the top ten attitude indicators. In which are they a role model? Where is there room for growth?

Developing an attitude of excellence is a sign of a true winner. We won’t always take home the prize, but we can gain the admiration of others by giving everything our best.

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