Is attitude everything? Does our attitude define how we experience life, relationships and success in all areas of our life. I would say it is not everything – but it determines a great deal of what we experience in our lives. A great deal.
I would describe attitude as our disposition, our way of being in the world based on thoughts, ideas and behaviors that are rooted in beliefs about ourselves and the world.
We spend a significant amount of time in school and in programs that teach of the technical aspects of life, which we need as a society to continue to progress. In the area of attitude, the behavioral sciences, we tend to spend significant less time. Learning about our attitude and how to possibly change it is left primarily to the individual.
As adults we can reevaluate the thoughts, ideas and beliefs we have developed that impact our attitude and therefore our life. We can take full responsibility for our attitude. We can choose to become conscious by stepping back to identify our thoughts, ideas and beliefs. In that awareness we have the opportunity to continue to live by those thoughts, ideas and beliefs or choose new ones.
To make these changes in attitude here are 5 steps (based loosely on the Dicken’s Technique, popularized by Anthony Robbins):
- Choosing to Become Conscious – as simple as this sounds, many of us walk around in a state of semi-consciousness. We developed our beliefs at such a young age we are no longer aware of their existence. So the first steps is to choose to be aware. As we go about our day or we taking time out to become aware, we can check in with ourselves. How am I acting. What am I thinking. What is my mood.
- Identifying Beliefs – As we observe ourselves we have an opportunity to ask what must I believe in order to act this way, think these thoughts or to be in this mood. We could ask why we believe what we believe or what happened in our lives to develop this belief but that is less important than identifying the belief itself. What is the belief (e.g., financial abundance is bad, being skinny is good, being nice is good, conflict is bad).
- Evaluating the Cost or Benefit – Once we have become aware of a belief the next question is – does the belief benefit my life. Does this belief make my life better. Do I feel better in my life with this belief. If you are not feeling better by holding this belief then there is most likely a cost to holding the belief.
- Decision on Change – The next question is, for those beliefs that cost you in your life, are you willing to change those beliefs. This is an important point because we can want something different but not be willing to do something about it. Change can take effort and courage. Our beliefs can affect our whole lives and our relationships. The deciding factor though is the cost and possibly the pain caused by the belief. Are we willing to continue to pay the price or would we like our beliefs to serve to make our life better.
- Anchoring the Change
- In order to really make a deep and lasting change to our beliefs we need to replace the existing belief with something new, something that serves us in our lives versus something that cost us. So the first thing you want to do is really get clear on the cost and to really feel that cost. To really feel the cost of that belief both now and in the future. One year from now, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years – what is the cost over time.
- After you have allowed yourself to really feel the cost of the belief you turn it around and do the opposite. What if you changed the belief. What could your life look like if you no longer had the belief. How might you feel. What good things might you attract into your life. Really feel those good feelings.
If you have really allowed yourself to follow these steps, investing particular attention in step 5, you should feel a difference in how you hold yourself and your future. This is a powerful process that you can use to change any belief and thus change your attitude and thus your opportunity for success.
Not Just Your Typical Post!
When I think of “passive aggressive behavior” I think of behaviors between two or more people. It can be a spoken or unspoken attempt to control another individual, with the purpose of affecting the outcome that is wanted or unwanted.
But what if it is possible to be passive aggressive towards ourselves? To try and manipulate ourselves in that same hostile and controlling way.
Consider those situations you want to do something and yet you do not do it. I am talking about things you really want. What I have found is that some or many of the things we want to do but do not do are the outcome of unconscious resistance to ourselves. On the surface we say we want something and yet deeper down, in our unconscious we do not want to risk experiencing the thing or situation.
I can say I want a better paying job, a better relationship, to move to a new area, more clients, etc., but if I am afraid of the outcome, say rejection, I may not move forward to get those things in my life.
So on one hand we are telling ourselves we really want something and at the same time we are resisting and possibly passive aggressively flogging ourselves for not doing it. We have passive aggression interactions with others because we want or don’t want something. We can do the same thing to ourselves. The outcome: we create hurt and pain within ourselves (even if we are not aware of it)!
So what do we do about this passive aggressive behavior toward ourselves? Own it. And I don’t mean the own it in your head, I am talking about owning that we don’t want to do it at the head, heard and soul levels. This level of ownership opens the door to real change (and healing). Sit with your resistance as long as you need in order to fully feel it – not just think it. Own that you want this thing or situation but at the same time and perhaps even stronger you don’t want it (because of the possible outcome that may not be what we want it to be).
Once we fully own, at a heart level, that we are holding ourselves back – then we have taken the power back from our unconscious tendency toward passive aggressive resistance. Now we have a chance of stepping beyond our own passive aggressive resistance toward creating more of what you want in your life. Now we can consciously choose to do or not do something. Try it.
- Look at what “want” you have had for some time.
- Have you been putting it off, if so, look deeper for avoidance which is also a “don’t want”
- Stop & fully own that resistance and speak it out loud.
- Step forward and honor your want
- Now decide consciously if you still want this thing or situation and own that decision
- Now either let it go or decide what step you could take today, tomorrow or next week to get this want in your life.
The trick with visualization is to visualize and then get on with doing what it is that will bring that visualization into reality. Can visualization alone attract what you want into your life? Possibly. But I see a great deal more evidence of success by individuals adding other key ingredients to their visualization, like passion and action.
I have found that passion and action go a long way toward bringing about the future we want to experience. Visualizing a lot of money in the bank or the love of their life standing next to them, but then never taking the risk to get out there is naive to me.
Visualize and then get out there and passionately pursue your vision and allow your intuition to guide you along they way rather than your fear or want of control.
This is a simple post, in length, in concept and presentation. This picture was taken in Colorado on January 2, 2012. Since November we have had 2-3 snow falls and consistent temperatures down into the teens overnight.
Something I have noticed over the years, many Oak trees keep their leaves (dead/dried) through the winter, most Pine trees have needles year round and Aspen trees lose their leaves in the fall.
Why do some trees keep their foliage while others lose theirs? I don’t know. What I do know, a Pine grows to be a pine, an Oak an Oak, and an Aspen grow to be an Aspen. And I would guess that each of these trees is best equipped to support whichever foliage they grow.
Now if we went and started plugging pine needles into an Aspen I am guessing with enough attempts to “change” the Aspen it would wither and die. Chances are, the Aspen is likely to grow into a magnificent tree all on it’s own, if left to grow as it was meant to be.
But isn’t that what many of us try to do, change ourselves (or even change others). We go around trying to plug pine needles into ourselves, trying to imitate others, when the foliage that we have brings out the best in us.
When we continue to hold onto the thought "I don't want", we are investing energy in what we don't want. In affect, we are increasing the likelihood that we will create what we don't want (by focusing our energy there versus focusing our energy on what we do want).
We have a choice to either focus on what we do want or what we don't want, knowing that our focus will move us in the direction of our thinking. If you continue to focus on what you don't want you are choosing to want what you say you don't want.
Below is an exercise to help you become more aware of what you are creating that you say you don't want.
1) Start by listing ten (10) things that you think you don't want (i.e., don't want to do, don't want to experience or don't want to happen). For example, I don't want to miss the date for getting my newsletter article written.
2) Now rewrite your don't wants statements replacing "don't want" with "want". For example, I want to miss the date for getting my newsletter article written. In this way you are taking ownership for the existence of these "don't wants" which are creating more of what you don't want in your life.
3) As you rewrite each statement bring your awareness to what you are feeling in your body. Typically when I fully take ownership of these don't wants in this way I feel them in my chest, a heaviness or sense of self criticalness. After I fully own what I am creating and feel the impact of the associated feelings the need to hold onto my "don't want" thinking and feelings subside.
As I go through these steps, taking ownership for keeping these don't wants in my life, I have found I am much less likely to notice myself thinking in terms of what I don't want. And when I do I can stop and take ownership of how I am creating what I don't want. At that point I can shift to focusing on what I do want – creating more of what I want in my life!
Some suggest that conflict is inevitable. I personally cannot agree or deny that idea.
What I have seen in others and experienced personally, is that speaking our truth – wants, needs, likes, dislikes and feelings about ourselves (versus others) goes a long way toward naturally dissolving what might have otherwise appeared as a irresolvable conflict.
Trying to maintain control might look like: You are always working or spending time with your friends. (The focus is on the other person.)
Letting go of control might look like: I like to spend time with you. I want to watch a moving with you this weekend. (The focus is on the speaker.)
If speaking our truth can be so effective in resolving conflict why don't we speak it? Because it means we must let go of our perceived control of the situation or outcome of the situation. Although it may be exactly what really needs to happen we are reluctant to let go of the known and step into the unknown. And yet, there is a powerful aliveness in letting go of the known.
Do you want richer, more satisfying and loving relationships? Let go of what you perceive to be control and safety and step into speaking the truth about you.
I can sell them on my ideas but am I all talk with no substance. I think too highly of my capabilities so it is bound to fall apart. Ouch. Not a real pick-me-up dialog with one's self in the morning. And yet this type of self talk can be so old, subtle and unconscious we do not even realize we are saying it to ourselves.
Do you know what is so intriguing to me about this self talk? We have chosen it and we continue to choose to keep it going. How?
Our negative self talk comes from our beliefs. If you did not believe what you tell yourself why would you continue to repeat it?
So how do we change our beliefs? First, by owning that it is our belief – no matter how we came to develop the belief, it is ours. No one can force us to create or keep a belief.
And second, by challenging the validity of our beliefs. If your beliefs are punishing you, don't you owe it to yourself to challenge the validity of them?
You are in a business meeting or connecting with friends. Everyone is there and everything needed to make it a successful gathering is done – and it is lifeless.The attendees are there but the energy is low and most people are likely wishing they were somewhere else.
I was on a conference call the other day with another coach and colleague of mine Nancy Stubbs. It was a great call. The energy of the meeting was strong, creative and constructive. Not only did we accomplish a lot of good stuff, the call was also energetic and enjoyable!
Coming back to Nancy. What I noticed about Nancy on the call was her presence. It was strong, clear and present. It was not dominating or controlling. She showed up with her energy. She spoke when she had energy about a topic or idea and that added to the energy and enthusiasm of the call.
When you are in a meeting or social gather and you notice a lack of energy ask yourself if you are showing up. You want to move a relationship or career forward – show up!
Over the last few days I have found myself appreciating you Diana, who you are and what you do. It occurred to me how much I have gained from something you have given me time and again since I have known you – your profound insights and your unabashed willingness to speak the truth as you see it.
As I continue to expand my work with others and grow on a personal level myself, I cherish feedback that is uninhibited and uncensored, which is at the core versus at the surface or focused on symptoms. Not everyone is willing to move from cheerleading, making surface comments or asking indirect questions, to a place of delivering honest in the moment reactions. Yes celebration, encouragement and questions can all be great forms of support and I get that from you, but not at the expense of the truth.
I appreciate when I get the whole truth from your perspective, your intentional unedited reactions that are meant to add to my life. The truth that is deeper. The truth that speaks to aspects of myself that I may not judge as socially pretty, that I may not want to see but deep down know that I need to see. The truth that can cut to the quick with clarity and life changing impact. The truth that delivers a level of love that is beyond what may be comprehended by the individual receiving it and may even be viewed as hurtful, aggressive or devastating.
The beauty of your approach is your ability to deliver your truth without judgment, ulterior motive or for self gratification. It is clean and creates an an opportunity for life changing growth. I judge that your ability to speak the deeper truth has been fostered by your willingness to see the truth about yourself, without bias, judgment or self condemnation.
I don’t always like the truth or want to see it or accept it, but in my experience, the deeper truth like you are willing to speak, has had the most impact on my ability to rise to the occasion and do what I want and need to do in my life.
A mentor of mine once told me that I needed community. I had no clue what he was talking about. I might have even went as far as to say I don't need anyone. I once prided myself on my "I can go it alone", "I'll do it myself", "I don't need any help", etc. Somewhere along the line I developed the story that it was better to go it alone.
Not too long after my mentor suggested I needed community I learned what he meant. In the course of 6 months I started a new career and moved away from a community of friends that I had developed deep bonds. With so much change in my life and so little in the way of supportive relationships, I went from feeling like I could conquer anything to feeling practically helpless. I went from having rich connection and support in my life to feeling like I was swimming in the ocean alone.
There is power in connection, in relationships, in community. They ground us. Our relationships can support us powerfully when we are climbing to that next peak or falling down a slope.
Do you want to make something happen in the world, in your life – connect, develop and cultivate relationships and communities that support you, that enrich your life.
The relationships that made the most profound impact on my life where not always the most comfortable. I sought out individuals that I could respect and trust to see me clearly. I want people in my life that want the best for me and who care enough about me to hold the bar up when I am unable or unwilling to do so myself. Love comes in many forms, tender and strong.