Development Highway

Your attitude determines your altitude – in business and in life. You can’t change someone else’s attitude for them. But this powerful adage is a great reminder that you can put in front of anyone who needs an attitude adjustment. I want to talk about a few of the many ways each of us can develop a winning attitude every day. It’s what leaders do.

Marcus Aurelius, the great philosopher who ruled the Roman Empire, said it simply: “Our life is what our thoughts make it”.

Dale Carnegie, speaking to that quote said: “Yes, if we think happy thoughts, we will be happy. If we think miserable thoughts, we will be miserable. If we think fear thoughts, we will be fearful. If we think sickly thoughts we probably will be ill. If we think failure, we will certainly fail. If we wallow in self-pity, everyone will want to shun us and avoid us”.

Am I advocating a Pollyanna attitude toward all our problems? No. Life isn’t that simple. But I am advocating – in the strongest terms – that we assume a positive attitude instead of a negative one.

Mental attitude - the power we hold in our heads. Reality can be changed dramatically by a single thought. In nutrition the adage is you are what you eat. In terms of leadership, it’s more likely you are what you think. Contrary to what people want to believe, outside influences don’t usually determine your happiness or success, rather it is how we react to those influences – good or bad. So how do you change your reactions to those outside forces?

"The miracle power that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance, under the promptings of a brave determined spirit." - Mark Twain.

Many motivational experts like to say that leaders are made, not born. I would argue the exact opposite. I believe we are all natural born leaders, but have been deprogrammed along the way. As children, we were natural leaders - curious and humble, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge, with an incredibly vivid imagination; we knew exactly what we wanted, were persistent and determined in getting what we wanted, and had the ability to motivate, inspire, and influence everyone around us to help us in accomplishing our mission. So why is this so difficult to do as adults? What happened?

As children, over time, we got used to hearing, No, Don't, and

Most people in life are happy to follow the lead of other people, to sit on the fence in a debate or have the attitude of hiding at the back of the class. The most successful people are leaders and make things happen for themselves by taking a positive attitude and through working very hard to reach their goals. We are all able to become leaders and this article may help you to achieve this status.

I grew up as a very nervous person, who had very little self-confidence and who was very shy. I was not happy being this way and often felt jealous of other people who were happy to speak up and take control of tasks and situations. I wanted to be one of these leaders and not the follower that I certainly had become.

In my early twenties, I decided that the time had arrived to

If you were to build a house, you would begin with a blueprint. This blueprint proves useful because it contains more than directions on how to build a house. It also describes the finished house.

So, what does this have to do with leadership?

Last month I asked an audience of leaders to tell me the characteristics of an ideal leader. Their answers were (in the order collected): A good listener, enthusiasm, passion, shows appreciation, a visionary, role model, trusting, integrity, organized, knowledgeable, credibility, persuasive, charisma, team building, clarity of purpose, problem solver, attitude of service, leads by example, patience, willing to act without complete knowledge, understands followers, consistent, empowers other people, and adapts to change.

I'll add that this is essentially the same list that I receive from other audiences when I ask this question. From this comes some useful insights.

1) Notice what the list contains. All of these characteristics

An important part of success in life is the ability to lead. It is important that we not only be able to lead others but be willing to lead ourselves. No one succeeds in life by simply following others. Sometimes we simply must strike a bold new path for ourselves.