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ATTITUDE CONTROL: THE KEY TO SUCCESS

Managers, CEOs, Purchasers, Sales Reps, and Customer Service personnel are expected even
under the most difficult of circumstances -- to maintain a professional attitude. This highly
elusive state, however, is nearly impossible to achieve when your supplier fails to meet a
deadline, when a strike keeps you from arriving on time for a meeting, or when venture
capitalists withdraw their interest as the stock market turns bearish. Forget about
maintaining control of your attitude at such times. You’re more likely to shout, "Why do I
always have to do everything myself? Why can’t other people just do their jobs? Am I who has
to show up on time?
I give up."
Whether you’re closing a sale, completing a report, or making a presentation, losing control
of your attitude can divert you from achieving your objective and can damage the health of
your business. In a training program on "Peak Performance on the Job," a leading trainer
found that language barriers and the stress of having flights cancelled at the last minute
magnified the usual logistical problems that people face everyday doing business. His task was
to work hard to avoid slipping into a negative attitude.
He advised his audiences: "Remember, the real pros consistently perform at their peak, not
because they’re always in control of logistics and their personnel, but because they’re in
control of their attitude."
Attitude control involves the practice and application of three peak performance skills.

1. Effective Self-Coaching

When Michael Jordan quit basketball to fulfill his father’s wish that he play baseball,
reporters asked him: "How can you quit basketball after being voted the most valuable
player? What if
you fail at baseball?"
Michael Jordan, a master at playing in The Zone where nothing distracts him from giving his
best performance, said: I’m strong enough as a person to face failure and move on. If I fail, I
won’t feel bad. I can accept failure. What I will not accept from myself is not trying. In that
one statement Michael Jordan tells us that -- regardless of the odds and regardless of the
outcome -- he will be there for himself, on his side all the way through the game. Effective
Self-Coaching means that we offer ourselves safety rather than threats, criticism and worry.
Like Michael Jordan we need to be strong enough as a person to be an effective coach in our
lives — keeping ourselves focused on core principles, helping recover from setbacks, and
making ourselves feel safe enough to take the risks that make us champions in our field.

2. Shifting to a Leadership Perspective

The gremlins inside our heads complain and whine, distracting us from doing our personal
best.
Identify the specific words and feelings of these gremlins and be ready with alternatives that
shift your attention to effective, goal-oriented actions. Use your usual or "default" reactions
to stress and setbacks to wake-up the Leadership role and perspective in you. From this
perspective and role -- of leader, CEO, executive, coach or project manager — we are can
take charge of our attitude and our life.
Ellen, the CEO of a technical editing firm in Silicon Valley, used this technique to double her
income in 3 months. She says: I used to work with my nose to the grindstone, faxing at 3 AM,
totally out of touch with my commitments to my health and my family. Now, I’m doing the
work that relates to the bottom line and I’m done before 7 p.m. I’m working from a project
manager’s perspective where I see the big picture, focus on getting results, and maintain my
commitment to my personal life.
3. Choosing to Show Up.

When we’re in charge of our attitude we don’t use the victim’s inner dialogue: "I have to
show up but I don’t want to." Instead we speak about "choosing to show up to do our best."
Choice is an executive function that involves considering the risks, consequences, and one’s
commitments before deciding how to act. Choice is an act that ends ambivalence and
procrastination and calls for a united team effort to achieve an objective. It automatically
puts you in a leadership role and perspective.
When the computers crash (again), when there’s another delay in production, or when loss or
illness disrupts your personal life, you’re still expected to carry on. To consistently deliver as
a true professional -- regardless of the setting and circumstances — you’ll need something
more powerful than the old "grin and bear it" technique. You’ll need to support yourself with
the safety of “Effective Self-Coaching”, rapidly shift to a “Leadership Role” and perspective,
and
“Choose to Show Up” to demonstrate that you truly are a peak performer. When you use
these skills you’ll be in control of your attitude.