How to Get an A+ Attitude

This may not be the first time you have read or heard these words: “Your attitude determines your altitude.”

The difference between those entrepreneurs who dream about success and those who are successful is clarity on what attitude means and choosing the actions necessary to transform challenges into the success you truly want to experience.

Here are a few strategies for improving your attitude to score a grade of A+:

Picture a new you – Picture yourself in various situations where you haven’t been too pleased with your attitude or outward behavior. Say, for instance, you want to become more enthusiastic. Try imagining yourself in settings that would require that behavior-such as giving an oral report in a business luncheon or interviewing for a part-time or summer job-and envision yourself as positive and enthusiastic. What would you be saying? How would you be acting as the “new you”?

Feed yourself supportive self-talk – That’s right. Talk to yourself! Psychologists call this cognitive therapy. Identify your negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.

Here are seven categories of self-put-downs to look out for Exaggerated or catastrophic thoughts-”I didn’t have time to answer my angel investors question, so I probably would not get funding.” Absolutist thinking-I never dress right for business.” Jumping to the wrong conclusion-”The committee didn’t give me a tour of their plant, so I guess they already have decided not to do business with my company.” Incorrect assumptions-”I felt so nervous, I’ll bet everyone knew.” Discounting the positive-”I got a B on the strategic planning test, but it was marked on a curve.” Taking responsibility for something you didn’t cause-”It’s all my fault-I should have known you were leaving early and given you the letter.” Assigning negative labels to yourself-”I’m a born loser.” If you find yourself using any of these self put-downs-stop. Think of all the positives about yourself!

Set up an action plan to strengthen any weaknesses in attitude – Read self-help books (for instance, on motivation). Ask your mentor or a coach for ideas; browse the self-help section of the library or bookstore. Brainstorm attitude-building activities you can practice. For example, if you want to improve your motivation, think of a way to get through that dreaded white paper you have to write: Practice self-talk by saying, “This paper will help me with marketing my business; it will help me to become more analytical and knowledgeable; and it will count for 25 percent of my marketing effort this week, so I need to give it my best shot!”

Pretend you’re more positive than you are – Weak in confidence? Fake it. Smile, agree to do new things, talk about your accomplishments instead of your failures. Take a deep breath, and suggest a few interesting ideas. After a while, this new habit will retrain your brain to think more positively.

Find a role model – One of the best ways to shape a positive attitude is to emulate someone whose attitude and behavior you admire. This person can be famous or not famous, living or dead, smart or just average-as long as the person demonstrates a positive attitude. England’s Princess Diana was admired for her caring attitude. The Princess exuded so much enthusiasm and energy for humanitarian causes that she was able to raise thousands of dollars for charities all over the world. And how about Christopher Reeve? Do you remember him?

Despite facing possible life-long paralysis, he continued to work and contribute to society, and we never heard him complain. Today there are many people whose positive attitude helped them rise to prominence in their careers-from sports great Michael Jordan, to General Colin Powell, to feminist/author Gloria Steinem. Look around you. A friend, a parent, a grandparent-any one of them could be a role model, not because they are famous or wealthy, but because they face each day with a positive attitude.

About the Author: Dr. Ken Odiwé is the Founder and CEO of Waterstone Management, a boutique consulting firm helping entrepreneurs and companies reach their peak performance. He is also the founder of The Entrepreneur Success Institute. Dr. Ken is on a mission to share the secrets of The New American Millionaires with as many people as possible, so that they can experience the transformation that comes with increased wealth.
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A change agent who successfully led and supported HR transformations across a variety of industries, making significant progress in reducing costs and improving operating effectiveness through HR system and process improvements, organizational excellence programs (EFQM Model), shared services, centers of excellence, outsourcing and employee self-service. Commercially oriented and capable of driving the best practices in the areas of HR business partnering, talent management, total rewards, performance management, talent acquisition, HR information systems and localization.