Cultivate a Winning Attitude

winning attitudeIf you ask teenagers what is the most important ingredient for success, you’ll likely hear answers like intelligence, money, the number of friends, or even appearance. But, ask most employers and leadership experts with the benefit of wisdom and experience, and you’ll hear a glaringly different perspective. To most, they’ll give the nod to attitude.

In our work on employability, we regularly cite qualities such as integrity, commitment to excellence, dependability, work ethic, positivity, enthusiasm, and resilience as keys to success. Note that each is a choicegrounded in our attitudes. In my travels, some of the most endearing, positive, and productive people are among the most economically and academically deprived folks I’ve known. It’s such an important lesson to share with young people.

Dictionary.com defines “attitude” as follows: “manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, especially of the mind.” We like to think of it as the perspective we take into our daily lives: our thoughts, words, actions, decisions, and interactions. For example, here are some areas significantly affected by our attitude:

  • Outlook on life
  • Mood, demeanor, and nature
  • Personal health and appearance
  • Relationships and communication
  • Handling challenges, disappointments, and unexpected change
  • Productivity, effort, and initiative
  • Personal responsibility
  • Vision, purpose, and goal orientation
  • Integrity
  • Approach to decision-making
  • Personal brand, values, and professionalism

No wonder our attitude is so important! And, why all of us need to be self aware of the attitude we bring into each life arena, each day.  Yes, students, this especially applies to you when you’re harboring a strong case of Spring Fever! And, teachers, this assessment might make for a great school-wide project to improve performance and culture.

To help you and the young people under your guidance, we developed an attitude self-assessment tool that you can access here. We encourage you to share it with the students and family members in your life and to be as honest in your self-evaluation as possible. We all can benefit from an attitude adjustment from time to time and in certain areas of our lives (e.g., work, school, family). Improving our attitude can be one of the most beneficial things we can do for our personal growth, and we hope this assessment identifies a few opportunities for you.

To inspire and encourage you in cultivating a winning attitude, we thought we’d conclude with some of our favorite quotes on the topic. Enjoy!

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

~John C. Maxwell

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

~Zig Ziglar

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.

~John Wooden

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

~Maya Angelou

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

~Stephen Covey

Whatever happens, take responsibility.

~Tony Robbins

… Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

~John F. Kennedy

Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

~Colin Powell

Embrace Change as an Opportunity

Change happens—predictably or unexpectedly and happily or not. And, each of us handles it differently. Unfortunately, some are so uncomfortable with change that they’d prefer a mundane status quo to the uncertainty of something different. Because they don’t know how things will turn out, they expect the worst. That’s too bad—because change can be incredibly positive!

           

This year’s graduates are about to experience the greatest decade of change in their lifetime. Some of it will be voluntary and some of it not. Some of it will be clear and some of it will involve highly uncertain outcomes. Some of it will be easy to handle and some will be highly stressful. It’s all part of the journey.

        Think about some key changes that may be in store for your grads in the next several years of their life…

·      They will choose—and change—their college major/and or career path, maybe several times over! By the way, this is the norm. The anxiety associated with choosing your major /career is considerable—and it gets worse each time.

·      They will probably change jobs five to seven times in their lifetime. They’ll be dealing with new employers, new managers, new jobs to learn, new people to work with, and potential relocations and new friends to make.

·      They’ll likely move several times, whether for long periods or for short-term assignments. The assimilation involved in each situation is significant.

·      They’ll most likely date several different people before perhaps settling down into marriage. Since there is much more at stake than during high school dating, the pressure is that much greater.

·      They’ll very likely deal with a death in their family

·      They’ll buy their first house

·      They may be even blessed with children (which, in terms of “change,” will    make many of the above seem like pocket change by comparison!)

             You can use this list to help open up a conversation with them about what may lie ahead. Share your stories about how you faced these or similar changes. Change doesn’t seem as intimidating when you know someone else has navigated it successfully.

Since life is so unexpected, it’s wise to view change as a constant and become as adaptable as possible. That goes for all of us, no matter what season of life we’re in!

In the end, we all have a choice how to respond to change. We can either withdraw in fear or we can embrace it as an opportunity for growth, adventure, and preparation for even bigger things down the road. Sure, change will be unsettling at times, especially when it involves relocation and “starting from scratch.” However, there are countless examples of people who have endured enormous upheavals that proved transformational and purposeful.   So, encourage the young people in your life to be confident and courageous—and take it to heart yourself. Take change by the reins and make the most of it!

                                               

How do you react to change? Do you view it as a time of fear or as an opportunity to shine and learn? Why? Share your experiences and insights with us by commenting below; we’d love to hear from you!