When I was in my early – mid 20s I worked in a high stress sales position for a commercial finance company. While the rewards of success in that position were amazing, few actually attained them. There were on average 150 other men and women that had the same job within the company and I was #1 and also the youngest in the company to ever attain that rank. We were given aggressive goals, and thus had a high failure rate and by extension, a high turnover rate. I wound up staying there for five years, which was much longer than most. Extended time in an environment like that afforded the opportunity to study my colleagues. I began to scrutinize. What made one guy succeed, and another fail? Was it dedication? Hours sunk into the job? Natural charisma? Turns out it was none of those things. Far and away the largest predictor of success at that company was attitude. If someone had the innate belief that they were good enough to do the job, then they were going to do the job.
Having the right attitude did not guarantee success. You have to support that with work ethic, maturity, strong leadership and paying close attention to details but attitude was by far the most important element in the equation. It did not take me long to begin to place my peers in one of two categories. One group (the minority) woke up with the expectation of doing great; the second group woke up each morning fearing failure.
It’s kind of like that old motivational poster, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right.” You are in control of your success. You manifest your own result.
The good news about waking up ‘on the right side’ is that it is something you can control. The bad news is that you have to do it every single day. Visualizing larger goals is fantastic, and certainly has become popular following the runaway success of “The Secret”, but I would challenge you to put the distant future out of your mind, and to focus on smaller, more immediate goals. Take everything day by day, and know that every day presents an opportunity to fall to the wrong side of the fence.
Every morning I do a gut-check. Do I believe that I’m going to accomplish something, even if the path isn’t clear? Or am a paralyzed by fear of accomplishing nothing? I have seen people fall into a negativity trap. I have been there myself. It is so subtle at the beginning, but a tiny crack in your foundation of confidence quickly becomes a huge divide.
So check in with yourself every morning. Every single morning. And don’t let more than a day go by with the wrong attitude.
Attitude – it’s the small thing that makes the biggest difference.