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.
I have always prided myself on having persistence, tenacity. I see both of those qualities as valuable to me creating what I want in my life. When I have come to find though, with both of these qualities, is that they can have a great deal more impact when they have a very clear boundary and focus.
For example, a man is planting new grass in his lawn. He buys the right amount of seed for the job and sets out throwing the seed around his lawn. Over the weeks to follow he notices that his lawn is not nearly as thick as the manufacturer of the seed he purchased proclaimed. So he purchases more seed and repeats the seeding process by throwing the seed around his lawn. Again, the results are negligible compared to the manufacturers claims on the bag. In his persistence he repeats the process all over again.
After his third application of the grass seed his neighbor stops over and she thanks him making her lawn so much thicker and richer. The man did not understand as his only intent along with his persistence was to improve his own lawn. Seeing his perplexed look she goes on to share what she observed.
You have great persistence in trying to improve your lawn, but your boundaries (focus) for applying the seed was flawed. I saw you throwing the seed to the wind. Sure enough, some of the seed went on your lawn, but much more landed in your driveway, on my lawn and in the street by way of the NE wind. Throwing the seed into the wind may have some impact on your lawn but not nearly the same impact you would get with a more focused application of the seed that hits your target, in this case your lawn.
Whether you are looking for a job, additional clients, better relationships, etc., narrow down what you really want, why you want it, learn as much as you can about it (even as you are going for it) and then stick to that specific set of prospective clients, companies, relationship and so on.
Yes there may be low hanging fruit out there, but in my experience, the low hanging fruit comes from the relationship you have developed, which can take persistence but also focus (authenticity, integrity, etc.).
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.
Real giving of yourself takes heart and I would argue soul. It may look different for you than me, but it is there. For me,
writing. I really like to write once I get started. But what I have noticed is that when I write something that really means something to me takes energy and heart. And the more you can tap into those when you are giving – the better the giving. If I am going to “ship” as Seth Godin” says, and I want to ship something that has really value – it will probably be something that I wrote from my hear and soul.
Don’t just go through the motions in your job, marriage, relationship with your kids – put some heart into it. That is real giving.
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.
Ever have that thought, “they’re getting ahead of me”, “they did what I was thinking about doing”, “they are better at it than me”, “I’ll never be as good as them”…the list goes on. You may not say these things, but do you have some parallel thoughts of your own?
So someone is already doing what you thought about doing, great! They are doing it better than you judge you could do it, great! They are way ahead of where you are at – GREAT!
What I experience in my life is continually expanding opportunities. There are so many facets to parenting, to running a business, to growing roses, to making love – the list is endless. Some of those ideas might be an idea that changes how the world works, others may not or may not in a big bang way.
My point is – don’t spend a lot of time comparing. Do a little homework and then follow your intuition. The world is always expanding into new frontiers, from the pony express (days, weeks, months, years?) to electron mail that is in (milliseconds, seconds, minutes).
Move forward. Take the risk. Copy if you have to – but get out there and then really listen to your intuition so you can make course corrections if beneficial to you and the world.
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I feel good things coming my way”, and then wallah, good things start popping up? I had to laugh this morning as I found myself thinking about the “good” things that have been happening in my life. What made me laugh was that recently I have been expecting good things to happen – and low and behold, good things begin to pop up in my life.
What if they were always there but we are continually looking at what could be different, the gap between what is and what we wish or want it to be? What if we just appreciated what is and loved the unfolding process?
I put “good” in quotes because maybe it is all “good”!
It’s a festive time of year. Lots of energy and excitement. Gatherings. Celebrations. Travel. For many this time of year is packed full of activities, events and parties. For others it can be a quieter time, more alone or even feeling secluded.
My point to this post – I find being in relationship and spending time with people I want to be around can be very enjoyable and nourishing. Can you imagine relationships as being nourishing?
If you can, set an intention and make a commitment to connecting with others over the holidays.
If you can’t, why not take a chance and give it a try this month. Set an intention to spend time making a phone call, getting together for coffee, for dinner or for a hockey game.
The point is, go for connection this holiday with individuals you want to connect with. You will be giving to yourself and others at the same time.
Last week my 2 daughters were in a play at school called Nanny Claus. Our older daughter got the lead role and our younger daughter got a total of 9 words to say. Our younger started with 3 and she was proud when she was able to get more.
In addition to the entertainment, or maybe because of this it was entertaining, I saw something in how both of my daughters participated in the play. They both had presence. Not only were they there on stage, but they showed up. You could see a playful intention and commitment in the participation.
I can see this being the case with our older daughter who had the lead role, but it would have been easy enough for our younger daughter with the 9 words to check out. She could have dismissed her contribution because of the number of words she was able to say. And yet she did not, she was engaged just as much as her older sister – and I could see how that impacted the play. She was on and she had enthusiasm to do her best and it was obvious. She added to the energy, joy and entertainment of the play.
I write about this because we all have a chance to show up. Regardless of our part in the play of life – we can all add to the energy, joy and entertainment of each others lives.
Stand. Step forward. Show up – fully. Let others see you. Let you see you.
What can you do today or tomorrow to show up? Make it simple and easy. And then do it again.
Five Tips for Maintaining Your Sanity
Last year I introduced our then 8 and 10 year old daughters to Christmas Vacation. It was fun to see the look on their faces during all of those crazy antics. I still love that movie. So much drama which no one in the movie seems to escape unscathed.
One of my favorite parts is when the brother-in-law is standing out in front of the Griswold’s house in his robe, a beer in his hand, draining his sewage into the rain runoff drain with a huge smile on his face – the look of bliss! The look on the neighbor’s face was priceless!
Ok, most of us won’t experience this level of chaos during the holidays. And yet, with all the energy that can surround this time of year many of us will find ourselves considering some type of escape from reality (like grabbing a beer). So I want to share some tips I included in an article I wrote for the Boulder Center for Conscious Community (BC3) newsletter.
Speculating I am not alone in my experience of big feelings during the holidays…I have five tips to share with you in support of your self care during the holidays. Reminders to…
- Take time to envision with intention the experiences you want to create over the holiday season.
- Take time for self care; time out for yourself in the midst of busy schedules and celebration.
- Allow yourself to have and accept whatever feelings you are experiencing, to acknowledge them with tenderness and care.
- Create a space, a pause in the midst of high emotions (when we are triggered?) to feel and be present with your feelings before you respond or react.
- Hold all of your feelings as an experience, not good or bad, but feelings that are like passing clouds, letting them pass along with any stories that may be triggered.
Here is wishing you the best this season, whoever you are and wherever you are!