In the rapid-read book, Orchestrating Attitude, I discuss practical actions for orchestrating your thoughts, words and actions. One of the keys is to choose your view.

Our experiences are much less important than how we choose to think about them. The way we interpret our experiences shapes our beliefs about the past. Furthermore, our interpretations either limit or enable our future success. When we change the way we look at things, things change the way they look.

We need to control our own internal weather, like a thermostat, instead of absorbing the conditions and circumstances around us. Hot or cold outside, you set your thermostat to 72 degrees and it maintains your house at that temperature whether it’s a cold night in New York or a hot summer day in Dallas. We can set our own internal thermostats to “Joy” and choose a positive view.

For example, a mission-critical project you are leading has “promotion” written all over it, but it bombs- it’s over budget, past its deadline… the works. How you choose to interpret those facts is where you can shape your future. Are you a failure, a poor leader who is maxed out and on her way out? Or, are you a great leader in the making who is learning some tough lessons that will help ensure success on the next project when your true colors will show? Facts are facts, but the view you take is your choice.

If you find yourself having a negative thought, say “STOP!” out loud, and replace it with a positive thought. Saying “STOP!” out loud is important so that you can actually hear yourself controlling your own thinking. Let’s see how it works.

A friend told me about a situation that used to drive him crazy. He would drive home after a hard day through rush hour traffic and find the driveway to his garage impassable, blocked by his children’s bicycles and toys. He reacted something like this: “These kids have no sense of responsibility. They never pick up after themselves and it’s a hassle for me to move their junk just to get in the driveway.”

Then he said, “STOP!” out loud. He decided to choose a more positive view and he responded with, “My kids are still kids. It looks like they had a great time today. Boy, how time flies… I had better seize the moment with my kids.”

Sure, the driveway still looked like a yard sale after a wind storm and his children did not put their toys away. Nothing changed except his interpretation of the facts. He substituted gratitude for anger and changed his mind for good.

Here are four steps to turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones:

  1. What is currently your single biggest challenge or problem?
  2. Write down three positive things relative to this challenge?
  3. Considering the three positive points you wrote down, restate your challenge as an opportunity you would want to embrace.
  4. Start using this new description to think about your opportunity!

Set your internal thermostat on “Joy” today. The choice is yours.

Take FREE on-line Attitude Tune-up and get a real-time feedback report from my website. As Zig Ziglar would say, “It’s a check up from the neck up to get rid of that stinkin’ thinkin’.”

Make everyday a JOYful one!