From Joan Burge’s new book, Joan’s Greatest Administrative Secrets Revealed (2018)
I HAVE BEEN SPEAKING on attitude since 1990. What I said in 1990 still holds true today. You have a choice when it comes to your attitude. You are not a victim of your circumstances. It is not what others do or say that matters; it’s what you choose to do with what you have and choose how you want to respond.
Regardless of our individual circumstances, we all have one thing in common—we choose our attitude. That is great news because it means we can change it any time. If we feel the urge to get upset at someone, we can say to ourselves, “That’s not going to help the situation any. I am going to stop, think, and then speak.”
Our attitudes are delicate and fragile. If we do not take care of them, we are sure to feel the effects—everything from the quality of our work degrading to fading relationships. Did you know that your attitude also affects your health and even longevity?
The challenge people face with attitude is they read books, listen to podcasts, watch Facebook videos, or hear motivational speakers on the subject but have a difficult time truly implementing it. That is because motivation is an inside job. It isn’t something that happens to us; we have to create it. So, what can you do?
Listen to what you’re saying to yourself. Instead of saying, “Nothing seems to be going right today,” mentally rephrase it to, “Wow, I’m really being challenged today to think creatively.” You are in control of your own thinking. You can change that old record and stop feeling like a victim. You can get support from family and friends, but you ultimately must take responsibility for your own attitude. Your sister may tell you that you look happy in the company photograph but if you tell yourself … ‘happy’ helps her avoid telling me that I gained weight, you sabotage a compliment. Don’t.
Set goals and make a specific plan for your career
When you measure progress you feel in control. If your company offers continuing education opportunities, for example, and you complete two out of four successfully, ‘notify’ yourself that you’re halfway through the program. The proverbial glass is half-full and not half-empty. Most importantly, this is a solid achievement—one that is easily measured so you can hardly argue the point.
Don’t belittle your job or employer
Work provides you with a purpose, challenges you, puts food on your table, enables growth, and stimulates your thinking. Look at work as a gift. Be happy you have a job. It may not be ideal, but let’s be realistic, no job is ideal. If you aren’t feeling energy from your work, maybe it’s because you aren’t putting creative, positive energy into it.