Two critical skills to make yourself more successful

“Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.”
-John N. Mitchell

A friend of mine has a favorite saying. “If you think it, you act it.” This means if you dislike your job or coworkers it WILL be reflected in your performance.  If you want to be successful, you need to enjoy what you are doing.

When I mention this to most people they start to tell me how unrealistic it is to suggest they quit their job and go looking for something they love.   “I’ve got a family to support and bills to pay!”

They’ve misunderstood my meaning.

I’m not suggesting someone throw a way their salary and follow their bliss.  That isn’t a comfortable solution for the majority of us.  Instead, I’m suggesting they find a way to create bliss right where they are.  And, while it might be harder to accomplish, it is one of the surest ways to create success.

One of the most significant lessons I’ve learned is that we create our own emotions.  This is such an important point, I’m going to repeat it.  WE… CREATE… OUR… OWN… EMOTIONS.

To me this is hugely empowering.  I no longer need to play the victim.  If I feel myself getting angry I just need to create calm.  If I feel myself getting sad I just need to create happiness or gratitude.  If you hate your job and don’t have something better lined up you just need to create a better attitude.

This skill is called by many names.  Reframing is what I have heard most often.  Reframing is the skill of taking a step back from a situation and asking yourself if there are other reasons why things turned out the way they did.

For example, let’s say your boss asks you to work on the weekend, for the third week in a row.  There are many other people on your team, but none of the others have been asked. Only you.  If you are like most of us, you may assume you are being asked because he’s punishing you or doesn’t like you.

That may be true, but that attitude and emotion isn’t helpful.  To reframe, you would ask yourself “what other reasons might there be for his asking me to work, again?”  Perhaps he’s asking me because I’m the most trustworthy?  Perhaps it’s because I have a special skill he believes is necessary to complete the work?  The number of alternative answers is limited only by your imagination.

In my experience, just generating this list helps me improve my outlook.   Others have told me the same thing.  Thinking about positive causes for actions, even if they turn out to be untrue, allows us to stop wasting energy playing the victim and focus on creating value for ourselves and our organizations.

Zig Ziglar outlines a similar approach in the attached video.  His message is the same.  Stop the “stinkin’ thinkin”!  Instead, create positive energy and use it to drive yourself forward.

Mr. Ziglar also provides a second gem.  In the video he notes “In his experience, 100% of the people who don’t take the first step toward improvement will never take the second.”  In Swimming in Quicksand, I put it differently, but the message is the same.  “A plan without action isn’t worth squat!”

Attending seminars, watching videos, reading blogs, magazines, or whatever you do for training is all worthless until you use that information to take action and make a change.  So, stop playing the victim.  Find the good in your current situation.  Be grateful for the things that are going well.  Then, get off your butt and take action to make things even better!

I would love to hear from others what your experiences were?  Did this help? Please comment!


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