Your attitude is a window to your character

image courtesy of shutterstock.com

My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

Action Summary

  1. Take an attitude audit
  2. Tune into why your attitude is what it is
  3. Understand when your attitude is working for you and working against you

The WHY:

How would you personally describe your attitude, most of the time, in your personal and professional life? Are you excited, challenged, confident, content, comfortable, concerned, apprehensive, inspired?

My wife Liz has a ‘Daily Mood’ desk flip card set that sits in direct eyesight of us both as we are working in our home office. Right now, as I look at it, it’s turned over to a card that reads “Splendid” (with a big smiley face). On the reverse of each card it gives a definition and an example (I’ve got to admit, I rarely look at the reverse of the card).

Other ‘mood’ cards which are arranged in alphabetical order include some ‘moods’ that I wasn’t even aware of. For example; “Addled”, which according to the reverse of the card apparently means to be confused, ditzy or slap-happy (whatever that means); Another example is “Copacetic” which the back of the card explains to mean very satisfactory or A-OK (the back of the card also suggests it may be a made up word – go figure); and yet another is “Quixotic” which is apparently meaning you’re feeling extravagantly chivalrous or romantic (I still haven’t seen that card on display in our office).

The importance of our Emotional Intelligence was certainly highlighted by Daniel Goleman in his best-selling book Emotional Intelligence1 published way back in 1995. Put way too simplistically, emotional intelligence is the ability to not only recognise and empathise with the feelings of others, but to be aware of and take ownership for our own emotions and the impact, not only on ourselves, but on others when we express those emotions through our words and actions.

If you really want to understand the impact of your attitude or feelings about what you’re doing, experiencing and achieving in your professional and personal life, tune into your inner voice.  Do an attitude-audit. Ask yourself why you’re feeling the way you are?

What I’m not saying here is that you ought to be constantly challenging yourself to be happy, motivated and ‘up’ all of the time. What I am saying is the more aware you are of why you’re attitude is what it is, and why you’re feeling the way you feel, the more positive steps you can take to do something about it, should that be the best thing for you to do.

There’s a great book on this by Russ Harris2 that I highly recommend. It’s called The Happiness Trap, and he outlines a practical blueprint on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy which he describes as a “revolutionary mindfulness-based programme for overcoming stress, anxiety and depression”. It’s a relatively easy read, in conversational style, and even if you’ve never suffered from stress, anxiety or depression, it gives fascinating insight to strategies to help us move in positive directions toward living a meaningful life.

The reality is, you control your attitude – no one else does.

When things are going great for you, you control your attitude.  When things aren’t going so well for you, you can choose to control your attitude which will have a direct impact on the results you achieve, and your confidence required for self-trust, the courage you require to trust others and your combined sense of character and competence to earn others’ trust.

I’d like to finish today with what I understand is an Italian Proverb that encapsulates the idea of taking control of how we feel about certain situations:

“Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves.”

My best to you for now and remember when you intentionally improve the life of others in your professional and personal relationships, you set up the power of reciprocity … what you give out, you get back.

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman
  2. Russ Harris’ website is Act Mindfully and well worth a visit
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