“The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.”
Norman Vincent Peale
A positive attitude is contagious! Do you believe that? I certainly do as I’ve seen it in action throughout my life. So we arrive at our fifth stop on our journey through SERVANT leadership. As a leader, it is amazing the impact you can have on your organization with your attitude; either positive or negative, you set the tone. Have you ever worked around someone with an unpleasant attitude—oh come on be honest? Did you like it? Of course not, so here’s the challenge—don’t be that person! If you are, you will foster a negative environment where people survive but don’t thrive!
“If You don’t Enjoy What You Do; Maybe You’re Doing The Wrong Thing!”
The good news is the opposite is also true! Think of that person you really enjoy being around … that person who always has a smile on their face … always has a positive and encouraging word to share … always has a positive perspective regardless of the circumstances. This is the person to emulate. Now I am not talking about a fake sense of pleasantry, but a genuine love for life and a desire to share the blessings of a positive approach each day with those people in your daily circle.
As I did in my last post, I am going to again turn to one of my favorite movies, Remember the Titans. You might recall this scene when Bertier and Big Ju are trying to get to know one another at training camp to avoid three-a-day practices:
After arguing for a bit, Big Ju comments: Then why don’t you tell your white buddies to block for Rev better? Because they have not blocked for him worth a blood nickel, and you know it! Nobody plays. Yourself included. I’m supposed to wear myself out for the team? What team? Nah, nah what I’m gonna do is look out for myself and I’ma get mine.
Bertier responds, “See man, that’s the worst attitude I ever heard”
To which Big Ju delivers those memorable words “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.”
That last line was the kicker as the reality hit Bertier right between the eyes, because it went right to the heart of the matter. You might remember that this was a turning point in the movie as Bertier became the leader the Titans needed to turn the team around. If your organization has a negative atmosphere, all you need to do is look in the mirror.
It’s About Attitude
Imagine this scenario: You set your alarm for 0530 in the morning because you need to be at work tomorrow bright and early for an important presentation. During the night there is a thunderstorm and the power goes out. At 0555 you roll over look at your watch and gasp as your alarm clock is flashing—now comes the frantic race to get out of the house quickly. Of course as you jump out of the shower, you realize you’re having a bad hair day. Try as you might to get dressed quickly, that zipper just doesn’t want to cooperate. Finally, you head out the door and fumble with your keys—off to work you go. Then you have to slow down, because as soon as you get out of the neighborhood you realize the traffic is heavier than usual. You finally get to work and now it’s raining—where is your umbrella—in the trunk of course! You get your umbrella and as you head into the office the wind catches it and it flies up so now you’re getting soaked. Finally, you’ve arrived. So you have a decision to make—what kind of day is it going to be? Everyone has bad days, but at times like these when you are the leader I challenge you to dig deep and turn it around. Only you can control what type of day you make it from this point on. You’ve heard all the sayings: turn the frown upside down, when your given lemons you need to make lemonade, have a coke and a smile! Whatever works for you just do it!
Speaking of Coca Cola, personally I like to think of the glass as half full. When I was growing up my drink of choice was half coke and half diet coke. People would ask me why, so I would kindly tell them—it has twice the taste and half the calories. Now the opposite is also true—it also has twice the calories and half the taste if you chose to look at life that way, but why would you want that to drink? This is a negative approach and we don’t have any time for that so be positive.
As I write this post, I am currently deployed. The other day I needed to do my laundry—I only had a short amount of time between meetings. So I rushed to grab my dirty clothes and run to the washing machines. Just as I was about to put the detergent in, my co-worker Meg politely let me know that the water was turned off for repairs for the next few hours. Decision time: do you get mad because you rushed all the way to the other side of the compound for nothing, or are you glad because someone informed you before you wasted a cupful of expensive Tide. I chose to take the second approach—I thanked Meg, went back to work, and did my laundry later that night.
“The key is to look for opportunities to be positive as you go through life’s journey.”
The key is to look for opportunities to be positive as you go through life’s journey. I recently was sick—nothing too bad, just a common cold. Imagine my surprise as I unwrapped my cough drop and found these sayings printed on the wrapper: “A pep talk in every drop, Nothing you can’t handle, You can do it and you know it, Go for it, Dust off and get up, Elicit a few “wows” today, Be resilient!” All these are pleasant reminders to be positive as you go through your day. We were talking about blood types in our office the other day and a co-worker said she was “B Positive”—I chuckled for a second as her blood type certainly matches her personality!
Sing Along If You Like…
I will close this post with the lyrics to a popular song out called I Smile by Kirk Franklin —it begins like this:
I dedicate this song to recession,
depression and unemployment.
This song’s for you.
Today’s a new day, and there is no sunshine.
Nothing but clouds, and it’s dark in my heart
and it feels like a cold night.
Today’s a new day, but where are my blue skies?
Where is the love and the joy that you promised me
you tell me it’s all right?
(I’ll be honest with you)
I almost gave up, but a power that I can’t explain,
Fell from heaven like a shower now.
(When I think how much better I’m gonna be when this is over)
I smile, even though I’m hurt see I smile,
I know God is working so I smile,
Even though I’ve been here for a while (what you do)
I smile, (come on and) smile…
It’s so hard to look up when you look down.
I sure would hate to see you give up now (God’s people)
You look so much better when you smile, so smile.
Remember: You Are In Control
You control your attitude! Live each day to the fullest and keep a positive outlook and you will lift the spirits of those around you. Make it a point as you walk around to say “hi” to people and have a smile on your face when you do, wait for the response when you ask someone how they are doing … really this does make a difference, and encourage your co-workers … you will be glad you did and so will they so they not only survive, but thrive under you’re leadership!
Incredible leadership; true inspiration!
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[…] It is easy to feel negative when you are surrounded by problems. However, leaders need to try hard to remain positive, because a positive attitude can be contagious. […]