My speaking company trains thousands of students and professionals every year. Every December we have over 1,200 Oklahoma FFA members for two weekends for the Made For Excellence conferences. This year is The Attitude Experience. As you are winding down your year and preparing your 2012 leadership goals, keep in mind these four key lessons from our training:
1. The Rubber Band Principle - When you stretch a rubber band, you physically change its composition and it can never go back to its old size. We are the same way - once we are stretched in life, we can never totally go back to who we once were. If you want to change your attitude, stretch yourself. Experience new things, travel to new places, read new books, meet new people, think about situations in a new way, etc.
2. The Stages of Self-Confidence - There are three stages: be you, be okay with you, believe in you. Our attitude about life grows from our own self-confidence. It starts with understanding who you are - your strengths, weaknesses, personality, values and beliefs. Then you must decide you are who you are for a reason and be okay with it. Stop trying to be someone you are not and start owning yourself. If you are able to do these two things, you can get to the final stage - owning a sense of self-confidence and carrying a clean, powerful and positive attitude through life.
3. You Find What You Focus On - If you look for the bad in life, you will find it. If you expect poor performance from others, they will be more likely to deliver it. Once you decide something or someone is boring or a waste of time, you have negatively changed the reality of your interaction with it. People who carry a positive spirit do not have perfect lives, they have simply learned to look for, encourage, highlight, emphasize and thus grow the good. Our attitude is a garden. If you let the weeds grow, they will choke out the vegetables. And the opposite is true as well.
4. Challenges Fill the Gap - Most people are perfectly fine with living an average life, having average relationships and carrying an average attitude because excellence in life requires too much hard work. Actually the gap between average and excellence in life is filled with challenges. Failure, stress, difficult conversations and falling down (when handled correctly) are all building blocks to reaching an excellent life and an excellent attitude.
Good luck and happy holidays.