Attitude is Every Day
For those of you who just took a chewing from the boss, or experienced a spectacular fail, or got crushed under a huge Rock Of Unrealistically High Expectations, coming in to work the next day (or the next minute, depending on the circumstances) can be an ordeal. Sometimes, it’s even worse if you have had a weekend to think, because the human mind left to its own devices is a pretty powerful thing. It can talk you out of every good idea you ever had, convince you that you are unappreciated, and lure you into a position of righteous anger that can only be addressed through a powerful rant to the truth that you are convinced is the right way to go. And on a good day, it will invent the light bulb.
It is under these circumstances that people might be prone to doubling down on their misery and turning a bad situation into a fiery explosion of Even Worse. In contrast, the leader takes stock of the situation and starts by making out a list of stuff to do the next day. First on the list: Be Awesome.
Being awesome literally means to inspire awe. For the leaders in the room, inspiration as a job skill is our wheelhouse, our go-to move, our comfortable sweatshirt. We already come in every day motivated to get the best out of people, and grow them along the way. Now, it is time to turn the laser on ourselves. Being awesome is not a gift. It also doesn’t occur naturally. It is a choice. We make it consciously every day we walk the earth.
Your first step to being awesome is to own life, specifically, yours. Things happen because of you, not in spite of you. You are not a passer-by, or a bystander, or a witness, to your world. You are a player, a do’er. Bad stuff happens and you own it, you deal with it, you fix it. Blame is for others, who have no answers. You have the answers, or you know how to find them. You want people to respect you the first time you happen to open your mouth. Don’t make that harder.
Next, know what you know. Find out what you don’t know. Be the expert. Don’t be a tourist. When you invest in your job, or your hobbies, or your life, go big, or go home. I have mentioned Gladwell too many times in the past to draw out another story but suffice to say, if you think you are the expert on something, do the math. The hours it takes aren’t arbitrary. It takes hard work and commitment to be awesome. Just do it. And if your leadership IS your job, enough said.
Awesome people have command of many things. High on the list is language. Specifically, the one you speak every day. Mastering this element of humanity takes practice and homework. Read a new book. Learn a new word. Your thirst for knowledge should be unquenchable. Slake it.
Awesome people set high standards for themselves and would rather eat a burning matchbook than compromise them. Your standards tell everyone who you are, what you are about, and most importantly, how you see yourself. If you have no sense of that, there is very little that is more discernible to the people you orbit. Would you put your life in the hands of someone who has no bar? Neither will they.
Smile. Smile when you are scared, when you are angry, when you want to cry or when you feel you are inches away from choking the life out of someone. Your smile should be both reassuring and terrifying to the people that know you because it has no relation to what you are thinking. People who can’t tell what cards you are holding are freaked out by that because deep down, the non-awesome are dying to show you their cards. Politely look, and decline to show yours.
Energize everyone around you. Confidence is contagious, especially when you feel it from another. Inspire, and speak from your heart. Leaders don’t talk about the future as if it scares them or that it somehow can be avoided because we are close to perfecting time travel. Leaders talk about the future because they can’t wait to get there, to see the next challenge or opportunity that is there. The attitude of leaders towards the future compels those around to want to see it too. Think Columbus or Magellan (or their crews,) thought their trips were a waste of time?
Awesome people do awesome things and make any career awesome. Find the meaning in what you do, celebrate accomplishment, learn from failures, and choose to exist in a network of positive relationships made up of terrific awesome people who find each day better just a little bit because you are in it with them.