SOMETHING POSITIVE TO DO/A PURPOSE (in your life):
Let’s approach this first from what we do professionally. Our positive attitude is affected greatly by what we do in our jobs. If you “have to go to work” then chances are you will be negative. But if you find the purpose in your profession then you get to go to work and sometimes can’t wait to get to work because of how you are helping others in life.
Here are examples in finding the purpose in your life. Fed Ex founder Fred Smith has told his drivers that they just aren’t driving trucks around every day. No, in those trucks could be a machine part that is critical to get an assembly line back on track. In those trucks could be a medical part that is vital to helping a person recover from a health challenge. With that perspective those drivers have a purpose and their attitude can’t help but be more positive.
Three workers were cutting stone. When asked what they were doing, the first answered, “I am cutting stone.” The second said, “I am making a wall.” The third replied, “I am building a cathedral.” The third one had truly found purpose in his work.
I remember taking two of my children to a local minor league baseball game. The game started at 2 and we got there very early. They said we had to wait about fifteen more minutes because the ball park was being used for a private party for a local company. As we stood outside the gates I realized the company inside was Elkhart Brass. They make innovative fire fighting equipment. They had brought all their employees to the ball park for a Sunday afternoon social gathering to show appreciation for them. As it wound down and the park was about to be opened to the public, I heard their company leader take the microphone and speak to the workers. He thanked them and reminded them that each day they came to work they were making equipment that kept fire fighters safer and helped them to put out fires faster. I vividly remember thinking to myself, ‘What a purpose in a job!”
It wasn’t long after that I read a local magazine story on a successful real estate agent named Jan Lazzara. In the article she stated that what kept her on fire was that she was not just helping people to buy and sell houses. She was helping them find HOMES. That gives her powerful purpose each day.
I was in the gym working out one day and had a deep conversation with the lady next to me about finding meaning in work. I said someone that worked at a fast food restaurant would struggle with meaning because the food was not a positive thing for the customers. She corrected me in the sense that she said someone working there could focus on being encouraging to customers and looking to give a warm smile to that person that seemed down.
In his book “Authentic Happiness” there is a story by the author Martin Seligman about when he visited the hospital and was in the room of a friend that was in a coma. There was a Ward Orderly in the room who was focused on achieving a task. Now, in the scheme of doctors and nurses you would think Ward Orderly would be down on the pecking order. To some it might be, but not to this man. He had a purpose. He was fixing the paintings and flowers up to where they were positioned just right in the room. Seligman asked him what he was doing.
“My job. I’m an orderly here, but you see I’m part of the team responsible for the health of these patients. Even though Mr. Miller hasn’t been conscious since he arrived, when he does wake up I want to make sure he sees beautiful things right away.”
The orderly was able to find a deep purpose in his job behind what others would think of as mundane orderly tasks. I bet he couldn’t wait to get to work so that he could do things to help patients. His attitude had to be so positive compared to the person that looked at their shift that week and thought, “Well, working 2 to 11 today…..”
Did he come to that realization of his own accord, or was it a leader who inspired him to see the import of his work? We don’t know the answer to that question, but the question it begs you to ask yourself is, “How can I help my people to create such a positive attitude about the work that they do?”
Another word to use here is ‘meaning.’ Viktor Frankl wrote ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ in 1946. In 1991 the Library of Congress and Book-of-the-Month Club listed that book as one of the ten most influential books in the U.S. The book is about Frankl’s experience in Nazi concentration camps as a Jewish psychiatrist. He writes about his observation that what separated those that lived and died in those camps was ‘meaning.’ For example, there were two men there that were giving up on life. What Frankl did was help them find their meaning, a purpose to go on. With one man it was his son, who lived in another country. For another it was the books that he had started to write. He became determined to get out and finish them!
“In both cases,” Frankl writes, “it was a question of getting them to realize that life was still expecting something from them; something in the future was expected of them. A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how.”
Regarding attitude, he writes: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
In the popular movie ‘City Slickers’ the grizzled cowboy played by Jack Palance, Curly, has that famous mini speech where he explains the meaning of life. While holding up a finger he says it is ‘one thing.’ They key, he says in gruff fashion, is finding out what that one thing is for you. An entire book could be dedicated to the analysis of ‘one thing’ but it is good to take time to reflect what that one thing is for you. Is it the pursuit of a high level position and the financial rewards that come with it? Is it making a difference in the lives of young people? Is it loving God with all your heart and soul? Is it dedicating your life to service? What is your ‘one thing?”
Let me take ‘one thing’ one more step. What is it that YOU do better than anyone else in the world? It doesn’t have to be something “famous” like LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world or Meryl Streep is the best actress. It could be that no one else is better at untying a knotted up fishing line. It could be the ability to make a grandchild feel better that is sick. It could be making the best pancakes in the world.
This has been an in depth look at the first of the Four Needs we have to be positive and content. Next week we will go deeper into the second one.
(from ‘How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing! Corby Books, 2013)
|The new book is out!
How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!
For those in the South Bend, IN area, it is at the Hammes Notre Dame bookstore.
For information on the keynote, 2 hour or half day seminar that goes with it, contact me and I would love to talk to you about working with your people and/or event. One of the things that has been booking a lot lately is where I come in for a day and do multiple 2 hour forms so that people on various shifts can attend.
|Charlie Adams Motivation
“How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!!”
This 2 or 4 hour experience (or shorter keynote form) equips your people with the attitudes to be more positive, team oriented and solution centered.
click here for more information on the How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing seminar or keynote
* Stoke the Fire Within (keynote)
* The Spirit of Customer Service (2 hour seminar)
Direct line: 574. 807. 2279
I will be sharing insights from my new book while hosting a Colorado Rocky Mountains Family group tour July 28 – August 3, 2013. This trip will include whitewater rafting, hiking, horseback riding, the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Air Force Academy, Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak and more.
(photo – Royal Gorge, part of this summer’s group trip)