Monday, June 2, 2008

Leader as Coach

ATTITUDE…It’s a Choice!
There is a direct correlation between positive attitude and success. As leaders, we are constantly frustrated by those who don’t take responsibility for their situation. Those who are always looking to outside forces for their destiny don’t have a chance. I ran across this story in one of those e-mails we get all of the time. I don’t always read them, but this one got my attention. I don’t know if it’s a true story or not, but we can all learn something from it!

Michael was the kind of guy we all love to hate. He is always in a good mood and has something positive to say. When asked how he is doing, he would always reply, “If I were any better, I’d be twins!”

He was a natural motivator. One day I asked Michael, ‘How do you do it?’ Michael said, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood, or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something happens, I can choose to be a victim or… I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaint or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side. Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how to react to situations. You choose how others affect your mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.”

Michael and I lost touch. Several years later, I heard Michael had been in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael 6 months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he said, “If I were any better, I’d be twins! Wanna see my scars?” I declined, but asked him what had gone through his mind after the accident took place. “The first thing I thought of was the well being of my soon to be born child. Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to die, or live. I chose to live. The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when the wheeled me into the ER, I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors. Their eyes read ‘he’s a dead man’. A big burly nurse was yelling at me asking if I was allergic to anything. I told her I was allergic to gravity. Among the laughter, I told them I was choosing to live and to operate on me as if I were alive, not dead.”

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

“Choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude is that "single string" that keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there's no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.”

Charles R. Swindoll
Writer and theologian

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