4 Keys to Maintaining a Good Attitude in Bad Circumstances
I sure do like it when things are going well. It is so easy to have a positive and healthy attitude when things are going my way. When I am healthy, my family is healthy, nothing is in disrepair, my kids are behaving, my bills are paid, the sun is shining, a vacation is right in front of me, and God is blessing me, it takes no effort to have a good attitude. However, when you reverse even one of those factors (and the list is not exhaustive, but illustrative) it is easy to fall prey to a bad attitude. When that happens, it affects my family, my work, and even my faith if I do not watch my thinking. That is really what an attitude is all about. A good attitude is the result of healthy thinking and a bad attitude is a result of unhealthy thinking.
John Maxwell addresses this in chapter eight of his book, The Winning Attitude: Your Key to Personal Success. He suggests four rules that I try to live by and I thought they might be encouraging to you. They are…
- Maintain the right attitude when the “going gets tough.” Anyone can have a good attitude when things are going well. Jesus shares a good example in the Sermon on the Mount. He said that if you love those who love you and despise those who hate you, then so what? Anyone can do that. He went on to say that one of the qualities that distinguishes His followers is that they love those who love them and they love their enemies as well. How? Because they base their actions on healthy thinking rather than fickle feelings. The challenge here is not to be fake or inauthentic. It is not a matter of always having a smile on your face. However, leaders, and more specifically spiritual leaders should model that a good attitude can be displayed even when things don’t go the right way.
- Realize that the “rough weather” will not last forever. If it is not raining where you are today, you can count on the fact that it will eventually. It may mist, sprinkle, fall lightly, pour down, thunder, flood, and might even spawn a tornado. You never know how severe but you do know that it will rain. Here is what else you know. The rain or the storm will not last. The sun will shine again. It may not seem like it when you are in the midst of the storm. Everything is temporary including your present circumstance. Maintain the right attitude even in the storm and you will be an inspiration to others. When you show you can get through your storms you encourage others that they will be able to do likewise.
- Try to make major decisions before the storm. This is a key point that separates effective leaders from others. They do not wish for storms or look forward to them. But they do prepare. You do that by developing standards, procedures, good budgeting, building strong team members, and contingencies for the worst-case scenarios. My wife and I just recently purchased a long-term care policy as the next step in preparing for a future that will soon be in the senior stage. I don’t ever plan to use it by the way. But, if that storm comes it sure will be easier for my kids or my spouse or for me. Those are the kinds of things leaders do. They make major decisions in advance of the storm that provides safeguards and stability when the storms inevitably arise.
- Keep in contact with the control tower. That is what pilots do and even more so when they encounter difficulty. They allow someone else with a greater perspective to take control and give guidance. One of the keys in this regard is to “keep in contact.” Too many leaders get desperate and call upon God when things begin to crash. It is often too late. If you truly want to maximize your leadership, be sure to develop and maintain a relationship with the one who is a master of leadership. This is a great time to consider who that is. I write this in the midst of the Christmas season. And I believe that it is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you in contact? I am and that is the key thing I do to maximize my leadership!