Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” ~ Zig Ziglar
Sitting in my office five days a week, working with clients who desire to change the trajectory of their lives, since it isn’t always heading in the direction they might like, I notice that this concept comes into play regularly. Some are children, some teens, some adults. Each one has a limiting belief that holds them captive and through our work together the intention is that may break the chains.
I ask them to tell me what they have going for them. What are their skill sets? What are they good at? What do they enjoy? What lights them up from the inside and feeds their soul? What feedback do they receive from family, friends, teachers, supervisors, and co-workers? What is it that they ‘can’t NOT do’? Usually, they can come up with a few items, even reluctantly. Sometimes there is a ‘yes, but,’ attached to it. “Yes, I like to draw, but I’m not very good at it.” “Yes, I like to learn new things, but I get too easily distracted to stick with any one thing long enough to see it through to completion.” I refer to them as, the king or queen of ‘yes but’. I tell them about a line from one of my favorite authors, Richard Bach, who said, “Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they’re yours.” Sadly, many would prefer to go that route since it is familiar territory. Far less frightening than taking the leap of faith into the unknown even if it could land somewhere substantially better than where they are now.
That’s when we shift into attitude mode. I was speaking with a teen recently who has big dreams for a particular career that is not likely to turn out as he anticipates. Still, he is viewing it from a 13-year-old’s perspective. Rather than burst his bubble, I asked him to do two things. The first is to research as fully as he can, the various aspects of this career so that he can enter into it informed. The second is to have a Plan B, just in case, it isn’t all that he imagines it to be. Not sure he will follow through, even as he says he is passionate about it. He may have all the skill in the world but without the willingness to put his heart and soul into it in preparation, he is likely to be disappointed in the outcome. His attitude is not on par with his aptitude.
When I have a vision that dances before me, there are times when I fall into fear mode. What if I flounder? What if I miss the mark? I remind myself that I have stretched my comfort zones so many times that I am like Silly Putty that once outside the little egg-shaped container, has room to expand. I make a list of accomplishments over the years and can hear myself saying, “See, see…you got this.” Even though I have indeed floundered and missed the mark, I have still regained my footing and taken steps far beyond anticipation. I can feel myself getting excited in advance of the dream coming true and it is that powerful energy that fuels my imagination. My attitude is that of a resilient thriver and not a victim of circumstance.
I wear glasses and if I didn’t clean them they would remain smudgy and what I see would be distorted. Same is so with attitude. Many people walk around with symbolically smudgy lenses, so life appears distorted.
I differentiate between ability and aptitude; the former being skill or proficiency that can be learned and the latter being a special gift. I have discovered over the years that I am naturally adept at communication, either written or verbal. I have cultivated skills and techniques over the years that help me put them to use. Some things don’t come naturally, such as organization. In order to be as successful as I would like to be, I need to wrangle together what I can to maintain a sense of structure to contain my wild ideas.
What are some clear cut ways of performing attitude adjustment?
- Ask yourself what your vision is for your life. Fast forward and observe yourself living it.
- Make it a full sensory experience. What would it look, feel, sound and taste like to have it?
- If doubts arise, ask yourself what they are attempting to protect you from.
- What have you allowed to stand in your way?
- Have a conversation with the naysayer in your head. What do you want to say to it?
- Who are your accountability partners who will call you on it if you fall short of your desires?
- Do you look at life through smudgy glasses?
- Are you willing to clean them?
- Are you ready to soar into the Wild Blue Yonder?
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”- Maya Angelou
We celebrate Gay Pride all year long. But this year, we’re doing some special programing for a large-scale campaign #LoveEqually. We’re looking for both sponsors and contributors. Check it out! https://t.co/tkraXFPxLL pic.twitter.com/X2FlBEZb8Y
— The Good Men Project (@GoodMenProject) March 11, 2019