Choosing Your Attitude In 45 Seconds Or Less

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I’m the sort of person who has to “warm up” when he gets to work. Failure to properly warm up can lead to a double dose of sarcasm or even unfriendly and antisocial behavior. Lately I’ve actually been taking a deep breath and making myself smile before I walk into the office and then intentionally saying something kind to someone as I walk in.

The truth about choosing your attitude

In the customer service world, we management folks love to tell our staff that they can choose their attitude and answer every call with a smile. We go so far as to tell them to put a mirror at their desk so they are accountable to smile. Let’s cut the crap for a minute and admit that the whole choose your attitude thing is a whole lot easier said than done.

Choosing your attitude in 45 seconds or less

My large family was together last weekend for the first time in a few years as we celebrated my dad’s retirement.   It was great for my boys to see their older cousins. Apparently, this game Minecraft is all the rage now and it didn’t take long for my son Zack to develop a fairly strong addiction.

Come Monday morning, he woke up early and we let him play it for a bit. When it was time to turn it off and go to school, he entered into full melt down mode. It took everything I had to get him into his classroom that day.

Determined not to repeat this on Tuesday, we cut him off. When he came into our room at the ripe hour of 5:30am asking to play Minecraft, we said “No.”   His response was something along the lines of “NO MINECRAFT? NO MINECRAFT? HOW DARE YOU! YOU DON’T LOVE ME!”

Realizing we had created a monster, I rolled over, grabbed my phone, and started my stopwatch. I then gave Zack the choice that he needed to choose a better attitude fast. Every minute on the stopwatch meant a day that he would not be able to play Minecraft.

Faced with that choice, do you care to venture a guess as to how long it took him to cool off and show us a smile? Try 45 seconds!

Translating for adults

I realize this illustrates how a 6-year-old chose his attitude when faced with consequences. The point I would like to illustrate however is that if a kid can completely change his attitude in 45 seconds, so can you! If you are waiting for the feelings to come, they may never. No one feels good about showing up to work on a Monday. No one! This is 100% choice– but if you make that critical choice, the feelings will follow.

The Exercise

My challenge to you today is simple. If you feel a bad attitude coming on as you approach the office, pull out your trusty stopwatch or stopwatch app, press start, and see how long it takes you to choose a better attitude. I guarantee that you will be better equipped to face the challenges of the day and you won’t be one of those challenges for all of your coworkers!


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