One of my favorite TaeKwonDo instructors said something to me that, to this day, I still remember, especially when I am having a bad day and my attitude shifts to less than pleasant. It was a day when I was having some challenges. He called me into his office, and I walked in with a look of unhappiness on my face. I put one foot in the office, and he said, "Hey Ramos, go back outside, leave your negative attitude at the door and come back in when you are in a better place; I give you half a minute."
At the time, my natural response was, turn around, roll my eyes and walk away. Of course, I dropped the negative attitude and went back in. The reason why I remember this so often is because whenever I catch myself bringing negative and useless attitudes to my work, I remind myself of my instructor. And, often, when I work with team and facilitate sprint or run trainings, I actually use that line if it is necessary.
What's with the Attitude?
Have you ever tried to do something knowing deep inside that you had no interest or didn’t believe in whatever it was you were going to do? What usually happens when we show up with an attitude of disbelief, annoyance, frustration, lack of commitment, etc., is exactly that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy -- whatever we created in our minds will actually happen.
Naturally, if you show up to your innovation project/session not wanting to be there or feeling that it is a waste of time because there is no way that you can create something innovative or that anyone in your team can come up with an innovative idea, you will get just that: Nothing.
Moreover, when was the last time you showed up ready to work with your team and found that one person just did not want to be there and brought along a toxic, sad, negative attitude? Remember how exciting that was and how you looked forward to seeing that person again and again and you could not wait to share your ideas and thoughts so they could shut them down? You don't remember? Of course not, because no one likes to be around dark, negative, grumpy people.
So, what attitude should you bring?
Well ... how about:
Yes, we can! - Yes, we are not sure how we are going to get there, we are not even sure where exactly we are going but we can do this. We will figure it out. It can be done.
Let's give it a try! - As mentioned above, we don't know what to do, so let's create/brainstorm some ideas and go try them out. See if they work and/or how we can improve them.
I can't wait to share! - Share ideas, listen to others' ideas. Let go of your ego and just work with your team to try new things, to connect your ideas with others' ideas - collaborate, stay open.
Let’s be positive - You know it, that positive attitude, the one that encourages people to approach you, to start conversations with you, to have open and respectful conversations with you. That's the one that will serve you best.
Self-awareness and honesty for the greater good
I've mentioned in previous posts the importance of self-awareness and guess what? It fits here, too. Be aware of what is going on around you. If you are having family troubles, project frustrations or client issues, STOP. Be honest with yourself and with your team; either reschedule the session or give someone else the lead and let the team know you are not having a great day. In the long run, this will benefit all of you. A toxic, negative attitude can create a lot of friction and often will ruin the entire outcome of a session/sprint project.
Self-work: Time to reflect and grow
Let's play with honesty; take some time to reflect on the questions below. Get to know yourself better. Understand what causes or impacts your awesome attitude, and, then, have a plan for shifting it or doing damage control.
What things or situations tend to create a negative shift in your attitude?
Are you more a morning or nocturnal person? Depending on your answer, think about when it is best to participate in team activities.
If you know you are dragging around some negativity, what are the top three things you can do in an instant to make a shift, e.g., deep breaths, push-ups, sketching, watching kitten videos ?
In which situations do you bring a negative attitude to adult conversations with your team or a team member may?
Until next time!
Your Innovision Coach