Next Year Part 2: Our Attitude Determines Our Altitude
I know, this headline is straight off of a motivational poster featuring an eagle soaring above the mountains. However, that doesn’t make this aphorism any less true.
Ever wonder why some days are exceptional – those days when you feel your best and you’re in the zone, making good decisions, connecting with people in a meaningful way, getting everything done and just generally feeling terrific?
Contrast that to the days when nothing seems to go right: you’re off your game, there’s friction that seems to slow you down at every turn, and you can’t wait for the day to be over.
Most days are somewhere in between: some ups and downs, generally okay but not exceptional.
We have lots of reasons we attribute to why our life works the way it does, why things turn out as they do, and why we think and feel as we do.
I know people who say that the weather influences their mood. Maybe it’s the people you encounter at work, how much sleep you had, the quality and duration of the daily commute, or maybe even how we look and if it’s a good hair day.
The list of external factors that we can blame or claim to determine how well our days and weeks flow are many. But none compare to THE essential factor that determines the outcome of our life: our attitude.
Each of us wakes up every day with a decision to make – a choice. The choice is how we will answer this one, three-part question: how will I enter each encounter of my day, how will I act and react to everything that comes my way and how will I exit each interaction?
First, how will I enter? You may know that I love the line “center before you enter.” I recently asked an attending physician, surgeon and department head how he can interact with forty patients a day and support the residents that accompany him with each patient. He said he paces his energy and is deliberate in how he allocates this energy over the course of the day. He centers before each interaction and is focused on that interaction only. Smart.
The next decision we make is how will we address each interaction once we’re engaged. If our attitude is one of “seek first to understand,” the odds of a good interaction are high.
And finally, what is our exit attitude? What impression will be left when our interaction is over? Saving a dose of positive energy and leaving the interaction with the next step in mind goes a long way.
At the conclusion of 2018, we will all want to look back knowing we did our best, and that we chose how we entered, dealt with and exited the big and small things that defined our year. For me it’s an everyday thing: to wake up, make a decision about my attitude and to fill up my tank with the emotional energy for everything that I’ll face that day.
What will serve as your daily reminder that your attitude is the ONE THING that you can control that day? There’s little we can do about the daily curve balls thrown our way. There is everything we can do about how we enter, address and exit every interaction. Attitude is a choice.
What choice will you make?