In his book Attitude 101, Dr. John C. Maxwell tells us that a good attitude does not promise our success, but a bad attitude guarantees us of failure.
So what is attitude? Sometimes I say to my kids, “Don’t give me attitude,” which shows a general negative definition of attitude. But clearly, we can have a good attitude, a bad attitude, or anything along the continuum.
Attitude is closely connected to our personalities, it is shaped by our past experiences, our present and our outlook for our futures. And in a sense, it shapes the experiences we have along the path of life. We can have different “attitudes” for the different aspects of life, e.g., one for our job, another about our ministry, yet another in our marriage, or our relationships, toward our kids, and the list goes on. However, when we work on consistently bringing a positive attitude toward every area of our lives, it works like a high tide to lift our enjoyment of and for life in all areas of our lives.
One area that has been particularly challenging for me is keeping a positive, encouraging, and fun attitude in relating with my 12-year-old daughter. She is navigating the challenging transition into adolescence and over the last several months has had several issues associated with being responsible, staying focused, and following directions. I found myself projecting expectations of disobedience, irresponsibility, and conflict in relating to her. My attitude was not helpful and eroded her confidence that this “crazy” season that she can’t make sense of will eventually pass and she will be ok. As her mom, I realized my attitude has the power to lift her up or tear her down. I’m learning to adjust and check myself when I feel my attitude deteriorating.
A better attitude from me already started to bring the benefits – she is calmer, more responsive when I ask her to do something, and more open in sharing with me. She was able to share how stressed she felt when we got into conflict; she said it made her feel badly about herself and helpless to change… That yanked my heart and was an eye opener for me to see I have a great responsibility to model a good attitude for her. I want to be a positive influence on my daughter – and that requires me to follow the same advice I give her and make an attitude adjustment!
Our attitudes shape our experiences and our successes. And it is a critical ingredient in how well we connect with others and the quality of those relationships.
If you have an interest in improving the way you communicate and relate with others join me (Coach Shivana) for this virtual group discussion on April 26th at 12.00 pm CST.