Everyone has an attitude. Attitudes can be good, bad, or indifferent, but they can also change hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
– Winston Churchill
However, as we mature we are supposed to gain more control over our attitude(s) so that we can function well as a responsible citizen, productive worker, and a good friend, spouse, or parent. While teenagers have been branded for their infamously “bad attitudes,” the reality is that they are simply learning who they are, what to do with their talents, and how to handle their emotions. Even grown adults regularly struggle with the same issues – just look at the incessantly petty workplace issues that create the toxic environments we’ve all encountered on the job. Clearly, cultivating the right attitude is a life-long learning process. So…
How about you, how is your attitude today?
Does it need a slight recalibration or does it require a major overhaul? Either way, if you’re looking to make an attitude adjustment, check out the Six Steps of Attitude Change below.
1. Identify Problem Feelings
Our bodies have warning systems to tell us if something is wrong, with pain providing the primary alarm. Our nerves highlight flare-ups and soreness which help us identify the problem and address it with rest or medicine.
Feelings often play the same role. Getting our feelings hurt is natural and we all experience it. However, when insecurity comprises the foundation of our life it’s hard to trust our feelings to guide us to the right solutions.
Take out a pen and write down the feelings that creep into your life and cause you pain. Maybe your list consists of feelings about mounting pressure on your business/job, feelings of self-doubt, or feelings of being tired from running so hard in the rat race of daily life. Whatever they are, write them down. Next to each one ask yourself if they are founded on insecurity or if the feelings are valid. For example, your feelings of self-doubt may be real, but perhaps they are rooted in some insecurity or false belief about yourself, rather than grounded in truth. That would make it a “problem feeling” that inhibits a healthy attitude of confidence, productivity, and decisiveness and should be something you target for recalibration.
2. Look for Negative Ramifications of Your Problem Feelings
Throughout our work with leaders, we often find that unsubstantiated feelings of doubt based on insecurity often spread to infect a person’s attitude in the office. Eventually, their team begins to notice a personality change and alarm bells go off for co-workers, whether prompting subordinates to avoid them for fear of contributing to the problem or driving colleagues to distrust their personal capacity for producing results as normal. Any of these consequences, or the many other potential side effects, can prove detrimental to the leader, their team, their workplace culture, or their organizational/departmental effectiveness.
3. Understand Both Reality and Hope
Let reality become your friend, and while you’re at it, reacquaint yourself with that powerful driver we call Hope. When it comes to changing your attitude, reality is an equalizer. By realizing when your negative feelings are based on insecurities rather than reality, the simple act of getting to the issue will give you hope. Reality checks show you where your assumptions are mistaken while hope from that realization resurrects the positivity in your attitude.
4. Choose Your Attitude
Perhaps the most important step in the process is to simply choose to have a new attitude. No change ever happens without actually wanting that change. For some it might involve realizing that you have allowed the weight of the world (your business, expectations, pressures, etc.) to negatively affect your outlook and alter your approach to daily life. So you have to choose to face reality, trust in your hope for a better path, and chose to be you again – or even to find the true you for the first time.
5. Practice Your Target Attitude Daily (Internally and Externally)
The old saying “fake it till you make” always proves to be wiser advice than some would think. Any adoption of a different mindset or attitude will begin with an element of “faking it” because you are having to intentionally choose to think, act, speak, or approach life with a different mentality than what seems to come naturally. Proactive living is always more difficult than reactive responses. And that’s okay. Choose to search for the bright side of a situation even when your mind wants to jump to all the problems. Practice makes perfect and it’s no different with attitude. If you don’t practice being grateful, optimistic, generous, etc – especially in the times when you want to be anything else – then you’ll never actually change your mindset. You’ll just continue to exist as a slave to your circumstances and problem feelings, rather than taking control of your own life. Don’t let life and obstacles squeeze what makes you “you” out of your life. Take back some internal firepower and cultivate the attitude you want. Internally, make time to read, workout, meditate, etc. Externally, focus on smiling, encouraging, showing gratitude, etc. Figure out what helps you find your center and practice those things.
6. Talk About the Change
One of the biggest mistakes people make with any change process is to keep it to themselves. Confidence, encouragement, and accountability come from talking about it out loud, processing it with yourself and others, and letting them know about your goals so they can help you stick to them. Sharing invites validation and makes everything feel more tangible rather than leaving it in the amorphous realm of your inner thoughts. So call it out. Embrace it. Share it.
Will You Choose Change?
At the end of the day, remaining unintentional about things leads to the death of those things. If you are unintentional about your family then you will suffer the consequences of bad relations and a poor family culture. The same is true for business as well as your attitude.
Identify. Understand. Choose. Practice. Share. Attitude change can happen, but only when you are ready to get to the core issues, deal with reality, and decide to do something about it.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your attitude affects your leadership, we’re happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let us know!