Our destinies in life will never be determined by our complaining spirits or high expectations. Life is full of surprises, and the adjustment of our attitudes is a lifelong project.
The pessimist complains about the wind.
The optimist expects it to change.
The leader adjusts the sails.
We choose what attitudes we have right now. And it’s a continuing choice. I am amazed at the large number of adults who fail to take responsibility for their attitudes. If they’re grumpy and someone asks why, they’ll say, “I got up on the wrong side of the bed.” When failure begins to plague their lives, they’ll say, “I was born on the wrong side of the tracks.” When life begins to flatten out and others in the family are still climbing, they’ll say, Well, I was in the wrong birth order in my family.” When their marriages fail, they believe they married the wrong person. When someone else gets a promotion they wanted, it’s because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Do you notice something? They are blaming everyone else for their problems.
The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.
—Developing the Leader Within You – John Maxwell
CHOOSE TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU VIEW YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.
Psychologist Henry H. Goddard conducted a study on energy levels in children using an instrument he called the “ergograph.” His findings are fascinating. He discovered that when tired children were given a word of praise or commendation, the ergograph showed an immediate upward surge of energy in the children. When the children were criticized or discouraged, the ergograph showed that their physical energy took a sudden nosedive.
You may have already discovered this intuitively. When someone praises you, doesn’t your energy level go up? And when you are criticized, doesn’t that comment drag you down? Words have great power.
What kind of environment do you think you could create if you continually affirmed people when you first came into contact with them? Not only would you encourage them, but you would also become an energy carrier. Whenever you walked into a room, the people would light up! You would help to create the kind of environment everyone loves. Just your presence alone would brighten people’s days.
—25 Ways to Win with People – John Maxwell
DO SOMETHING TODAY TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT OF AFFIRMATION.
If you lead a team, then you must convince your teammates to sacrifice for the good of the group. The more talented the team members, the more difficult it may be to convince them to put the team first. Begin by modeling sacrifice. Show the team that you are:
•Willing to make financial sacrifices for the team
•Willing to keep growing for the sake of the team
•Willing to empower others for the sake of the team
•Willing to make difficult decisions for the sake of the team
Once you have modeled the willingness to pay a price for the potential of the team, you have the credibility to ask others to do the same. Then when you recognize sacrifices that teammates must make for the team, show them why and how to do it. Then praise their sacrifices to their teammates.
—The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork – John Maxwell
WHAT SACRIFICE WILL YOU MAKE TODAY FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR TEAM?
Most of the time we recognize the influence we have on those who are closest to us in our lives—for good or ill. But sometimes we overlook the impact we can have on other people around us. The anonymous author of this poem probably had that in mind when he wrote,
My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done,
Leave countless marks for good or ill ere sets the evening sun,
This is the wish I always wish, the prayer I always pray;
Lord, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.
As you interact with your family, your coworkers, and the clerk at the store today, recognize that your life touches many others’ lives. Certainly, your influence on your family members is greater than that on the strangers you meet. And if you have a high-profile occupation, you influence people you don’t know. But even in your ordinary day-to-day interactions with people, you make an impact. You can make the few moments that you interact with a store clerk and a bank teller a miserable experience, or you can get them to smile and make their day. The choice is yours.
—Becoming a Person of Influence – John Maxwell
TOUCH SOMEONE’S LIFE FOR GOOD TODAY.
Success doesn’t mean avoiding failure. All of us fail. As we travel, we all hit potholes, take wrong turns, or forget to check the radiator. The only person who avoids failure altogether is the person who never leaves her driveway. So the real issue is not whether you’re going to fail. It’s whether you’re going to fail successfully (profiting from your failure). As Nelson Boswell observed, “The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views mistakes.” If you want to continue on the success journey, you need to learn to fail forward.
Unsuccessful people are often so afraid of failure and rejection that they spend their whole lives avoiding risks or decisions that could lead to failure. They don’t realize that success is based on their ability to fail and continue trying. When you have the right attitude, failure is neither fatal nor final. In fact, it can be a springboard to success. Leadership expert Warren Bennis interviewed seventy of the nation’s top performers in various fields and found that none of them viewed their mistakes as failures. When talking about them, they referred to their “learning experiences,” “tuition paid,” “detours,” and “opportunities for growth.”
Successful people don’t let failure go to their heads. Instead of dwelling on the negative consequences of failure, thinking of what might have been and how things haven’t worked out, they focus on the rewards of success: learning from their mistakes and thinking about how they can improve themselves and their situations.
—Your Road Map for Success – John Maxwell
TRY TO SEE FAILURE AS A LEARNING EXPERIENCE TODAY.
A Chinese proverb states, “Behind an able man there are always other able men.” The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievement. The question isn’t whether teams have value. The question is whether we acknowledge that fact and become better team players. That’s why I assert that one is too small a number to achieve greatness. You cannot do anything of real value alone. That is the Law of Significance.
I challenge you to think of one act of genuine significance in the history of humankind that was performed by a lone human being. No matter what you name, you will find that a team of people was involved. That is why President Lyndon Johnson said, “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.”
If you want to reach your potential or strive for the seemingly impossible, you need to become a team player. It may be a cliché, but it is nonetheless true: Individuals play the game, but teams win championships.
—The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork – John Maxwell
PLACE A HIGH VALUE ON TEAMWORK INSTEAD
OF ACHIEVEMENT AND YOU WILL RECEIVE
NOT ONLY TEAMWORK BUT ALSO ACHIEVEMENT.
This may sound too simple, but it really all starts here. You have to show people that you care about them by taking an interest in them. Many leaders are so action oriented and agenda driven that they don’t make people a high enough priority. If that describes you, then you need to turn that around.
I don’t mean to sound crass, but it helps if you like people. If you’re not a people person, that may be the first step you need to take. Look for value in every person. Put yourself in others’ shoes. Find reasons to like them. You won’t take an interest in people if deep down you care nothing about them. And if you care nothing about them, that flaw will always be a hindrance to your ability to lead people.
If this is an area of challenge for you, then you may want to take a look at 25 Ways to Win with People: How to Make Others Feel Like a Million Bucks, which I coauthored with Les Parrott; or read the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. However you go about developing people skills, just remember that people always move toward someone who increases them and away from anyone who decreases them.
—The 360° Leader – John Maxwell
TAKE INTEREST IN OTHERS BEFORE THEY TAKE INTEREST IN YOU.