By M. Jane Garvey
Attitude can make or break you. We all have times in our lives where it is tempting to doubt ourselves and our abilities. Many of us also fall into the trap of externalizing control. It may be tempting to think we are a victim when people do something, intentional or not, that harms us. When others, or even circumstances, force a change to our routine our immediate reaction is sometimes to feel angry or put upon. No matter what is happening, you have the choice of your attitude. You have the ability to do better.
As Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” This quote has stood the test of time. Attitude is of the utmost importance in doing our best. We need to believe in ourselves and our abilities and avoid the limitations created by self-doubt.
We can take this process of adjusting our attitude to another level when we examine our feelings about the difficult things we are facing or have faced in our lives. Looking for the benefits and the opportunities in everything will be eye-opening if you have never tried it. This process can take you to new heights.
When something you perceive as bad happens in your life, start looking for a different way to perceive it. A friend of mine suggests the question – What is right about this that I am not seeing? I tend to ask myself what opportunities does this present? These and other similar questions take your mind out of the victimhood mode and put you back in control. It is not about what happens, it is about what you make of it.
For instance, my internet provider was recently acquired by a new company. That new company is forcing its customers to change their emails from the old company email to their new brand. My initial thoughts, what a huge waste of time. I also have concerns that there will be problems created if I am not totally thorough and successful in getting my email changed everywhere it is used as a “user id” or is the sole contact info someone has for me.
In looking at this situation, there is no doubt there is work to be done and lots of it. It is also on their timeline, not one of my choosing. It is annoying to not be in control. Where are the opportunities? First, I acknowledge that I should have known better when I chose to use the internet providers’ email, rather than setting up my own brand. So, this is forcing a change, and I can do better. I set up my own URL with email service so that I can control this as I move forward.
The second opportunity this presents is that I will soon be free to change internet providers. I was captive while using their email. Their prices have gotten outrageous, and their service is sometimes lacking. I have not made a move because this didn’t seem to be the best use of my time. Now that it’s being forced, they will be losing a customer. Unintended consequences for them, but I have found opportunities that are helping me approach this change with a better attitude. One other side benefit is the elimination of tons of spam emails that have crept into my life over the past 20 or so years since I last changed email addresses.
There are benefits to be found by going through times in your past where you still have feelings of being a victim, or any other negative emotions. If you can rework your thoughts to look for what was right about these times and the changes you were forced to make, there are still opportunities to be captured. The more you do this, the more you can free yourself from the control the people, events, or circumstances involved have over your ability to prosper.
In my life I have a treasure trove of these types of things. Each time I investigate them, I am rewarded with insight, opportunities, and growth. It always amazes me what I find out about myself. The more you do this, the easier it will be to pull yourself out of depression, fear, anger, and other emotions that come from feeling out of control.
Jane Garvey is President of the Chicago Creative Investors Association.