"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude" Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker and writer.

Our attitude as leaders is very important. Why? Our attitude may be the single biggest factor that determines our individual success (or lack thereof). Winston Churchill emphasized the importance of our attitude when he said "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference". The attitude we display at work will greatly influence the success level of our teams. Our attitude speaks more than our words as John Maxwell emphasized by saying "People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude". Colin Powell adds "I think whether you're having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude".
Developing and maintaining a positive and optimistic attitude will greatly benefit us - and our teams. How can we develop and keep out attitude positive and inspiring to others? Keep reading for some ideas that can help.
20 Keys to Having a Positive Attitude
Following is a list of 20 key principles that can help us develop and maintain positive attitudes. I suggest reviewing the list, and then selecting a few to intentionally take to heart and put into practice:
1) Understand that attitude is a choice. Chuck Swindoll was right on target when he said "the remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day". Brian Tracy wisely says "You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, an in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you".

2) Be positive, proactive and seize the day. There are two kinds of people in the world - positive people and negative people. Optimistic, positive people spring out of bed in the morning and say "Good morning, Lord!" Pessimistic, negative people pull the covers over their heads and moan "Good Lord, it's morning again!" What kind of person are you?

I agree with Thomas Jefferson when he said "Nothing can stop the man (or woman) with the right mental attitude from achieving his (her) goal; nothing on earth can help the man (or woman) with the wrong mental attitude".

3) Keep an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful for what we have will help keep us positive. I try to regularly say a prayer of thanks for the relationships, roles and responsibilities that I am privileged to have and for the life experiences that come my way. We all have lots to be thankful for don't we? Marcus Cicero emphasized that "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."

4) Wait for worry. One study found that only 8% of the things we worry about come true. In the long run, problems look smaller. Nido Qubein encourages us to "Cultivate the art of looking at events in their proper relationship to your whole life. Often something appears for the moment to be a tragedy, but it becomes only a minor annoyance when taken in the context of your total life".

5) Have goals and visualize success. Identifying and working towards worthy goals - and taking time to celebrate progress along the way - will help keep our attitude positive. Having goals helps us be successful as Earl Nightingale emphasizes when he said "People with goals succeed because they know where they're going".

It's important to visualize the successful realization of our goals. The quote from Henry Ford applies where he said "Whether you say you can or say you can't - you are right either way".

6) Embrace changes. Change is the one thing that we can count on - and in many cases change is needed to make things better. Try to see change as good and work to help changes achieve positive results.

7) Play the hand you are dealt. You can't control who your parents were, or how much money your family had or any physical shortcomings you were born with. But remember that the cards we were dealt are less important than how we play our hand. Booker T. Washington encourages us by saying "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."

8) Don't be afraid to take risks. To be successful at life we must take some calculated risks and enjoy the successes and learn from the failures. Theodore Roosevelt said "It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." And hockey great Wayne Gretzky reminds us that "he missed every shot he did not take."

9) Don't let mistakes and failures get you down. Do you make mistakes? Welcome to the human race. Making mistakes and experiencing temporary failures are perhaps the best teachers for us. The key is to analyze and reflect on our mistakes and failures and then apply the lessons learned.

10) View problems as opportunities. When problems arise we can let them get us down, or we can step up and look for ways to resolve them and make life better. Work related problems normally need resolution, and by keeping positive and embracing the challenge to make better we often can work problems through. It's also healthy to realize that we can't fix everything in the world around us. I like Saint Francis of Assisi's classic serenity prayer "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to the change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference".

11) Try to find something good in everything. Positive people look for the good in whatever life brings their way. Abraham Lincoln said "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses".

12) Remember that health is your wealth. Gandhi said "It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver". Living a healthy lifestyle will increase our energy, stamina and emotional well-being - and help us be more positive and effective in all that we do. A holistic healthy lifestyle includes developing and using our mental capabilities (read a good book lately or taken a class just for the learning?). We are also spiritual beings, and finding faith and serving others can nourish our spiritual health.

The following are principles we didn't have room to include in the print issue, so be sure to read on!

13) Surround yourself with positive influences and positive people. We can read inspiring books and magazines. We can listen to positive and motivational recordings and speakers. We can attend positive and encouraging seminars and events. Years ago I was inspired by this quote from Charles Jones "You are the same today that you are going to be in five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read."

14) Try to improve someone's day. Mother Teresa encouraged us to "Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier". The more we reach out to help others, the better we feel about ourselves. I agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said "It is one of the beautiful compensations in life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."

15) Take time to do things you enjoy. We all need times of rest, refreshment and recreation. All of us are different in the way we get refreshed and have our batteries re-charged. For me, I like to read, watch sports and get some exercise. I also enjoy listening to music and hanging with family and friends. What do you enjoy?

16) Laugh and have fun. Laugher and having fun is good for us physically and emotionally and can help us keep positive. One of the reasons I like my daily newspaper is to read the comics and get a dose of humor.

17) Learn to say no. It's good to live our lives in a way that benefits other people. At the same time we need to avoid burning ourselves out and therefore be of no good to anybody. One way to avoid burn out is to allow ourselves at times to say no to requests that may be too much for us at the given time.

18) Be comfortable in your own skin. It is less stressful to be ourselves - and not try to be someone we are not. People appreciate transparency and are repelled by phonies. It is important for is to be ourselves - but also to be our best self.

19) Pursue a purpose bigger that yourself. Robert Byrne said "The purpose of life is a life of purpose." Living a life focused on significance is very rewarding and keeps us focused and grounded. For many of us, a life centered on the 3 Fs of Faith, Family and Friends keeps the bigger picture in mind and puts daily events in proper perspective. Part of a bigger purpose includes making a positive different in the world as Martin Luther King encourages when he said "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

20) Use the most powerful force in the universe. There are a number of strong forces in the universe including things like hate, egotism and fear. But the strongest force in the universe is love. And true love goes far beyond mere emotion - love is a verb that includes choice and expresses itself in behavior and actions. Jesus taught his followers to "love your neighbor as yourself" and to "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love another." When we show love to others, we experience the ultimate win-win that Steven Covey advocated for - the recipient feels good and so do we.
Noted psychologist William James said "the greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes." Wade Boggs adds "A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results." I wish you the best in developing and maintaining an attitude that is truly worth catching!

Wes Friesen, MBA, CMDSM, MDC, EMCM, MCOM, CBA, CBF, ICP, CCM,CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR is the Manager of Billing, Credit and Payments for Portland General Electric, a utility in Portland, Oregon that serves over 830,000 customers. Wes leads his teams with the able assistance of Supervisors Eric Houger, Jan DeMeire, Heidi Fouts and Matt McHill. Wes teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at national Conferences like MAILCOM, National Postal Forum, NACUMS, and other regional and local events. Check out his personal web-site for free information (www.wesfriesen.com). He can be contacted at pchefdebi@comcast.net.