“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”– Charles R. Swindoll
Recently, I was on a plane seated next to a woman who so clearly screamed "professional athlete." The walk-the confidence-the tan... She introduced herself as we both buckled in. As we exchanged small talk she shared that indeed, she was an LPGA Professional (she had competed for a short time and now was a very successful head teaching pro at a club in Florida and on Cape Cod). I asked her about her journey from competitive golfer to top teaching professional (she had just made it to the final round of top teacher for a very well respected golf magazine). She shared, "I had taken up golf late. I was a really good athlete from the time I was young. When I took up golf, I just loved it. I had two children, and I decided I wanted to teach golf. So I decided to get certified as an LPGA teaching professional. When I called to find out how to enter my first "certification" tournament, they sort of laughed. They told me I could enter but to expect to finish at the bottom of the field. They kept saying how hard the road would be and asked if I was sure I wanted to bother." She continued, "You know, hearing them say that made me more determined. I knew what I wanted and wasn't planning to let them pull me down. I did finish close to the bottom in that tournament, but I finished. And that was the first big step to my gaining my certification to be a teaching pro." She then added, "And recently, I lost my husband to cancer. It was brutal. So I decided that I needed a change of scenery--to shake things up a bit. So instead of just teaching in Florida, I decided to try to teach up in Cape Cod. And now I am a pro at two clubs, one in Florida and one on the Cape, and I just love what I do."
When I asked her what kept her going-how she was able to move forward throughout-she was very clear-attitude. She made a conscious choice to:
1) look forward,
2) not dwell on the negative or the past,
3) embrace an attitude of gratitude as well as curiosity, and
4) never give up trying.
While at times exhausting and overwhelming, making these choices helped her to stay in positive and optimistic energy and to thrive in a career she absolutely adores.
When people feel trapped, it’s often because they feel like they don’t have a choice. Remember, you always have a choice. It may not be an easy one and it may feel unnatural at first--but it’s definitely there. And that choice is attitude. Realizing this is a game-changer. It helps shift you from negative, self-defeating energy into a positive, can-do, get-it-done energy. Embrace this great opportunity and watch your energy shift.