Shifting To A Victory Mindset: Why Attitude Is Everything

I had a client show up 20 minutes late to a coaching session today. (I texted him when he was 5 minutes late, and he told me that he would be another 15!) This was a significant miss – a 20-minute delay for a session that is supposed to last only 60 minutes. Initially, I was a little miffed. After all, I have always felt that showing up on time for someone is a sign of respect. . . and if my client doesn’t respect me enough to show up on time, or even to call proactively, can I really provide him with effective coaching? Even if he does respect me and what I have to say, with only 2/3 of the allocated time remaining, can I actually provide a full session’s worth of value? Surely I wouldn’t be able to cover everything that we had planned for today. I had already spent a minute or two complaining (to myself), and I could easily have spent the entire time doing just that, twiddling my thumbs and getting more and more frustrated.

But then, I hit the pause button on my negative thinking before it could spiral, and made a concerted effort to shift my mindset. I forced myself (or really just “caused” myself) to seek out the positive aspects of this delay. An extra 20 minutes of “found time” would enable me to get started on the blog I had been meaning to write. (THIS very blog! Good thing I brought my laptop with me!) And I also began to realize that this would give me a good “way in” to a time management topic that has actually been a larger issue for the client, but was lacking a specific example to drive home. And further serendipity: my intended topic for the month for this blog is how “Positive Attitude” drives great performance, so what better way to introduce this then to show how my own positive attitude shift allowed me to turn a setback into an opportunity!

It isn’t always that easy, of course, and sometimes the setbacks are more significant than a tardy client. But this is indicative of a larger truth – our daily reality is largely determined by the things upon which we choose to focus. If I dwell on all the negative aspects of my current situation (whether it is a late client, a missed financial opportunity, a prime prospect saying “no”, or what have you), then THAT is the reality of my day. If, however, I literally ignore those things for a minute and instead allow myself to focus on the opportunities, the little gems that I might not have found if I weren’t looking for it, then suddenly, the content of my day and what I’m working to accomplish is entirely different. The setbacks and issues are still there, of course, but they’re not dominating my perspective, and I’m focused on making the most of my time. When I focus on sawing the wood in that’s front of me, instead of lamenting the great logs that aren’t nearby, I get a heck of a lot more done.

This doesn’t just work with “micro” examples like the ones above, but also with the “macro” aspect of an overall business, a career, a personal relationship, etc. Attitude shapes, or at least strongly contributes to, just about any aspect of your business. My colleagues at Brian Tracy International often refer to the “Carnegie Triangle”, a power principle that summarizes a series of management studies undertaken by famed steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, way back when business was first being studied as a science. Carnegie’s team studied the factors that determined individual performance, and concluded that excellent performance could be predicted by three primary factors (often represented visually as a “Triangle”). These factors were 1) Knowledge (core technical knowledge related to one’s job), 2) Skill (the ability or aptitude to be able to apply this knowledge in practice, and 3) Attitude.

Perhaps a bit surprisingly, when quantifying the degree to which each of these factors could predict individual job performance, the first two legs of the triangle, “Knowledge” and “Skills”, only accounted for 15%. “Attitude” accounted for an astounding 85% of the variation in job performance. Said differently, two people with the same Knowledge base and Skill set might perform very differently from one another. The key differentiator is Attitude – as true today as it was in the time of Carnegie, the most successful businessman of his day.

Often, though, when I see clients struggling with employees that sometimes have less than ideal attitudes, or when they struggle with it themselves, I focus on an even simpler power principle, one we call “Victor / Victim”. Here it is at a high level: People divide themselves into two types, who see the world in two different ways. Sometimes we are “Victors”, confident in our ability to achieve victory in a world of opportunity. We take ownership for our actions, we don’t make excuses for external circumstances that are plaguing us, and we focus on moving the ball forward, even when facing setbacks. Sometimes, though, we behave as “Victims”, quick to blame and make excuses, quick to say “it’s not my fault” or “it’s not my job”, and failing to take ownership for getting ourselves out of any crisis. Many of my clients, well versed in this principle, have educated their employees to think and act as “Victors”, not “Victims”. A simple shift in mindset, almost as simple as flipping a light switch, may be all it takes to make the difference between allowing a setback to derail us, or merely having it be a small pothole on a fast-moving superhighway.

If you’d like to spend 20 minutes on the phone discussing some techniques to channel a positive attitude to ensure that you always perform at your best, feel free to book a gratis time slot on my calendar at CoachEllisMass.YouCanBook.Me . I’d love to hear what you’re dealing with, and what you’re doing to rise above any day-to-day setbacks!

And, as always: Whatever you’re going to be. . . Be Outstanding!

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