Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Leaders Take Charge of Change

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~ Maya Angelou

The times are unprecedented and uncertainty is everywhere. From high gas prices at the pump to high level politics in Washington DC, everything is vastly different from just a couple of years ago. The resulting negativity is also unprecedented, and coming from everywhere and everyone.

Talk to the average citizen and the feedback will not be rosy. But we make things worse for ourselves because of how we are used to “giving in” to status quo. We escalate our own frustrations by defaulting to the position that all of the circumstances are beyond our control and/or influence. Some of the circumstances are indeed unchangeable. Our armed forces are trained to adapt to their environment in order to survive. Civilians need to do the same, whether they are business owners, CEOs, or just an average citizen. Failure to adapt is often the root cause of both business failures as well as personal failures.

Maya Angelou’s words resound with a realistic common sense. When circumstances are dictated by forces outside of your circle of influence, adapting might mean an attitude adjustment. Frustrations, anger, resentment, and all the other negative emotions will only serve to slow down finding an alternate approach or solution. Leaders will adapt their attitudes and hence will facilitate adapting their approach so they can maximize their results.

Leaders exhibit a positive attitude that leads to positive behavior. They do not let anything stand in their way—circumstances within their control or circumstances beyond their control. Attitude is a state of mind and if you are focusing your life on negative aspects, you will experience negative results. Leaders focus their attitude on the positive and will naturally lead to positive action, and positive action will lead to far better outcomes. Rather than focusing on what cannot be accomplished, leaders will focus on what can be accomplished.

Your attitude plays a role in everything that you do from your interaction with the global community, to your business, and to the people that surround you daily—your peers, clients, family, and community members. Leaders recognize the role attitude plays and this key to their achieving success. Do you want to be known as the highly successful person who exhibits an impeccable attitude of positive behavior or the neighbor, dad, wife, husband, mother, or business owner that exhibits a dark and dismal attitude? With whom would you want to interact? With whom would you want to do business? The answers are fairly obvious as most people prefer to be associated with positive and optimistic individuals.

Here are ten questions that if answered honestly will demonstrate whether your actions reflect an attitude of a leader and highly successful individual, or if your actions represent the doom and gloom of a pessimist. Take a moment and address each statement with one of the following answers.

No, I do not do this.
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, or
Yes, I do this consistently.

(Remember, honesty keeps you from fooling yourself!)
1. I take full responsibility for how my day turns out.

2. I am confident that I can succeed at whatever I do as long as I simply take the right actions.

3. I spend time visualizing tremendously rewarding success instead of picturing failure.

4. I maintain a positive expectation of every action I take.

5. I look for the best in every situation and the opportunity in every problem.

6. I focus more of my time on seeking solutions rather than staying absorbed in the problem.

7. I see myself as someone who is capable, enthusiastic, and committed.

8. I speak in a positive, powerful, and uplifting manner.

9. I persist with passion until I succeed at whatever I do.

10. I embrace change, and love to learn and grow from new ideas and experiences.

If you answered yes to every one of the ten statements, congratulations, you have the leadership qualities of a highly successful person. However, if you had to answer just one question with sometimes or no then you have room to grow, work, and develop. Just about everyone will have room to grow and develop. This should not come as a shock to anyone, as keeping a positive frame of mind is now more of a constant challenge than ever.

Change is here to stay. The things that are changing around us today will be fixed, repaired, modified, and replaced by other changes in the future. The only thing that is guaranteed is change will continue to accelerate and come at us faster and faster. However, the key to successfully navigating change is determining the focus of your attitude!

The choice is yours, so choose whether you focus on what can’t be accomplished, or what can be accomplished.


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