It drives me crazy to have to endure BO in the gym. It is so unnecessary. One of my old coaches said that he expected us leave practice a sweaty mess, but insisted we show up clean.
It’s the same thing when we show up for work. But I am not talking physical hygiene, I am talking mental hygiene. It is hard to create an effective, game-changing day if our thinking is already stinking.
This rule applies whether we go in the office or not. Stinking thinking can ruin virtual work too. Do you really think emails and zoom calls aren’t affected by a bad attitude?
Leaders can have a general bad attitude (feeling like they are in a funk). They can have a bad attitude about a specific circumstance (that same customer issue that just won’t go away). Leaders can also be negative about specific people with whom they just don’t seem to get along. Leaders can also be negative about themselves by having an overly active inner critic.
Negative attitudes make for ineffective leaders. They alienate people. They distract from important issues. They sap vital energy that could otherwise be used to improve the business.
Don’t risk being that leader. Show up as your best self from the very beginning of the day by:
Getting physical. Get out and work that body at the gym or outside. Move around. Stress those muscles and that heart. Your body is designed to move, and movement works as a natural mood stabilizer.
Getting consciously grateful. Many people start off the day with a couple minutes in a gratitude journal. Before we go to sleep (and when we remember to), my wife and I will list three positive things that happened to us during the day. We have so much and we should not forget it.
Getting some enrichment. The TV shows about zoos talk about the need to keep things interesting for the animals. Caretakers don’t just give them food, they try and think of things that will make their day interesting. Humans can read (and not just business books). We can get hobbies. We can take time for a coffee or lunch with interesting people.
Getting a life. Not all jobs (or at least not all jobs at all times) are 100% fulfilling. There are times when the job might be a little boring or tedious. Keep things in perspective and make sure you create a life, not just a living. Get hobbies. Connect meaningfully with family and friends. Travel and learn on a regular basis. Find your fulfillment in a life well-lived, and not one simply defined by the job.
Getting to the forgiving. It is easy to get wrapped up in the failures and shortcomings of others. People have and will disappoint us. A good attitude requires that we let these things go. If you feel slighted, just let it go and move on. Road rage violence can start with a small interaction. It blows out of control when a person takes the action as a personal offense and cannot let it go. You can only control you. Aspire to not let petty or judgmental thoughts sway you or your relationship with others.
Getting to like yourself more. Low self-esteem makes for distracted, defensive people. When we are defensive we are not in the moment and using our talents. We are wasting our time with wondering what other people are thinking. Remember your strengths. Remember your accomplishments. Remember what you like about yourself. You will see more options and will feel more in control of the day.
There is lots of advice about how to start the day off right. A popular general says to make your bed every morning to get a sense of accomplishment. Fitness gurus will say to chug 16 ounces of water when you wake up to get hydrated. I think anything that gets your head in the right place is where you want to start.