Most people think that their attitude is based on what the world throws at them or gives them. Wrong. It’s not what happens to you. Attitude is what you do with what happens to you.
Like communication, I believe attitude is a skill. I would even go so far as to say that attitude is a communication skill. Your attitude projects who you are for the world to see. Your attitude also strongly influences how you respond to the attitudes of others. This may be a good thing or a bad thing.
My wife Doris and I were at one of our favorite restaurants recently. We go frequently enough that we know several of the staff beyond just names. In a discussion about service, one of the staff commented that in the service industry, it did not matter how you felt or what your day had been like, you had to be happy to see customers. This waiter knew that his choice of attitude would lead to greater success. How many of us miss this simple point in business and life?
We naturally absorb attitudes. Think of an inspiring movie. Or a depressing one. I bet it changed how you felt. The same goes for time with friends, family, colleagues, and customers. The collective mood often becomes our mood.
I’ve read that we are a product of the five people we spend the most time around. Whether that is the right number or not, the point is on target. And almost all of us have a choice in who we spend time around, selecting our own collective attitude.
Do you know one of those exceptional people that always seems genuinely happy? Not a fake, back-slapping performance, but a person who seems to understand themselves, finds joy in most things, and is appreciative of each day. They’ve learned to communicate with themselves. They know how to defend their attitude from those who would bring them down. They fuel their spirit with the right things, whatever those may be for them and their situation.
Attitude is either something you control, or you allow it to control you. It can be a tool or an excuse. It will be your image, your brand, and your reputation. And it is not what happens to you, it is how you respond that will craft your future.
Glenn S. Phillips is the author of the book Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself. You can email Glenn directly at email@example.com.
Glenn is also the president of Forte’ Incorporated, a consulting firm that works with business leaders to understand and address the often hidden technology and business risks lurking within their organizations.
© Copyright 2012. Glenn S. Phillips, Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111