"It's the angle your nose meets the wind" - that was the answer I was given by the US naval pilot, Curt, who answered my question 'what does the word attitude really mean?' The famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said: "My altitude depends more on my attitude than my aptitude' and that phrase has stuck with me since I first heard it about 10 years ago.  How far you go, how successful you are at something, how high you reach up whichever ladder you might be climbing, depends more on how you approach it than how skilled you are.  It's your attitude that counts. I'd always thought attitude was something that described a person and their general way of being, you've heard it so many times 'Oh, he's got a bad attitude' and 'You need to change your attitude', 'you've got the wrong attitude' - you can hear it as an everyday phrase.  I hadn't realized that there was a more powerful, useful meaning.  Words are like that, aren't they, they're often 'just words' until you get under them and into their meaning. So it's your angle of approach.  Think about it.  How you approach something; the angle your nose meets the wind as you approach it. When you think about a tricky situation, a fun plan you have, an interview, a meeting, a match - whatever, your attitude is going to determine your success more than anything else.  More than that outfit you wear, the training you've done to prepare, the list of points you've made - more than all of those things.  Your attitude to getting ready will have already affected all the other things anyway. You decide how you'll approach something - the angle your nose is going to meet the wind - and that's your attitude. Let's imagine 3 typical, everyday, scenarios:

  • A meeting with a potential new client:  It could be scary and a lot of time-consuming preparation or it could be an opportunity to meet new people, share information and find out if what you offer is a fit.  Different angle of approach.  Different energy.
  • A long plane journey:  It could be a pain with lots of time spent surrounded by strangers and in uncomfortable seats.  It could also be an opportunity to catch up on reading and writing with a break from your day-to-day routine.   Same thing happening, different experience.
  • An interview:  Obviously, it could be an anxiety-inducing experience being in the firing line with people who want to catch you out.  It could, of course, be a two-way conversation with people who are interested in your skills and experience.  You too, are interested whether you're a fit for their organisation, you might be, you might not.  That's OK and that's a different attitude and, again, a different energy you'll have.

Simplistic examples I know.  What you can tell though is that depending on your attitude to each example, your result will be different.  Your language will be different, your preparation for each experience will be different and, ultimately, how you feel will be different.  "The orientation of a plane dependent on it's direction of travel" is my Mac dictionary's definition of attitude. Francesca Riegler says it well:

"Happiness is an attitude.  We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong.  The amount of work is the same."

I know it's just a word, like so many words you'll use today, but words have the power to change your thoughts - that's where the power in your language really is.  Winston Churchill famously said "Attitude is a little word that makes a big difference."  Enough said. How do I learn more about Kay? To have the opportunity to discuss any blind spots you know you have or things that are slowing you down or holding you back as you connect, persuade and compel people at work; click here to apply for a complimentary conversation with Kay. Article reproduced with permission of Kay White, Communication Specialist and Mentor at www.wayforwardsolutions.com. Kay shows professionals how to be understood. Get quicker, faster and better results by becoming a more effective, influential and savvy communicator - everywhere in your life. Kay's first book, The A to Z of Being Understood is a Number 1 Amazon Bestseller for Customer Service. In addition, you can listen to an exclusive interview with Kay where she shares several exclusive tips on how to immediately make your communication more powerful and persuasive: http://www.maximisepotential.co.uk/how-to-develop-effective-powerful-communication/