Sunday, April 13, 2008

Attitude: Jerry’s Story

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to “hate.” He was always in a good mood, and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

He was a unique food service manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because he was such a powerful motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it. You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, Each morning, I wake up and say to myself, ‘Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept the complaining or I can point out the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right. It’s not that easy,” I protested. “Yes, it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how to react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.”

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in the restaurant business—he left the back door open one morning and was held up by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery, and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the incident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins! Wanna see my scars?” I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back
door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered I had two choices. I could choose to live or I could choose not to live.” “Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But, when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. I realized that I had to take action.” “What did you do?” I asked. “Well, there was this big, burley nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. . . I took a deep breath and replied, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.’”

Jerry lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him, that very day, we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

You ARE Good Enough!

You ARE good enough! Last week several peers and I attended a seminar on High Performance Thinking, notably how to act/react to events that require very good decision making. It is interesting how we are negatively "TRIGGERED" by a comment or question that pushes our "NOT GOOD ENOUGH DRIVER" , which is a BIG FAT LIE, but which we are subject to hold in our script of "BEING PERFECT, BEING RESPONSIBLE, and BEING GOOD ENOUGH". Thus, we should react with the "Nurturing parent" and not the "Critical parent", which causes much better responses and leads to productive dialogue and not CONFLICT, which is destructive. I have allowed myself to fall into this trap since last summer with negative emotional responses in the NGED world which are just now settling down from a high anxiety state, emotions are not rational, but they are real.Push away from the NGED lie and your focus and results, and LIFE, will be much better! Remember, there are no mistakes or failures, simply lessons.

In the final analysis, your attitude determines your effectiveness in everything, every time! LGL