I originally wrote this post back in June 2016 and it was titled “#chooseyourattitude”. Recent events though have made me think about the words that I wrote back then because they’re so appropriate to the situation I find myself in now, especially at work but also in a situation outside of work. So I’ve updated it a little to bring it back to life and bring a bit of positivity back to my thoughts.
I’ve come to learn over the past few years that pretty much everything in life is a choice. Of course there are some things that happen that are completely out of our control, whether they be good or bad. But how you choose to deal with it is what matters.
This has never been more true for me than at the moment. The past 18 months at work have been particularly challenging due to a combination of various things, most of which involve significant change to the environment that I’ve been so used to and really enjoyed working in. And it’s something that I haven’t had a choice over. It has been totally out of my control.
So how should I deal with it? Be miserable, angry and difficult? Or choose to accept that it’s out of my hands, and continue doing things to the best of my ability, even in the face of the ongoing uncertainty? I mean, you never know what might come of it, right? It might turn out in the end to be a good thing?
A couple of years ago, the company I worked for ran a series of motivational speaker sessions, where speakers were invited in to give us talks on how they’ve overcome adversity and such similar things.
I attended a few of these sessions and the one that sticks in my mind the most is one by Debra Searle. And from that session, three words have stuck with me and are now the words I choose to live by.
Her talk was about a boat race across the Atlantic her and her husband had embarked on many many years ago. Her husband was taken ill a few days into the race and he had to be taken off the boat, leaving just her to row her way across the Atlantic on her own. She went on to explain all the challenges she faced rowing a boat solo across the Atlantic (it’s not like there were many of course……!!) and how she had dealt with them, both physically and mentally.
She talked about how she was on the brink of quitting, being both mentally and physically exhausted (understandably!) but a phone call with her sister changed her whole attitude to the desperate situation she found herself in. Her sister simply said to her “choose your attitude”. It was either a case of she chooses to accept defeat and gives up on all the hard work her and her husband had put into the preparation for the race etc, or she chooses not to. She chooses to dig deep, think of all the positives of what she’d already achieved, and focus on what she needs to do to get to the finish line.
She chose not to give up and made it to the finish line, on her own, after several weeks at sea. What a legend!!
But since I listened to her tell that story and since I heard her say that those three words are what got her through, those same words have resonated with me and have definitely changed my overall attitude to life.
I’ve always considered myself a positive person, but we all have times that challenge us and we all react to things very differently. And when something bad happens, whatever your first reaction happens to be is, in my opinion, natural. You can’t necessarily help that reaction. But what you do after it, is something you can control.
So you can choose to react positively to a bad situation, or you can choose to react negatively. It really is a choice you make. Ultimately, that choice is likely to determine how things possibly pan out.
So for me, I will now always try to remember those words whenever I’m faced with a challenge of any kind, because for me, it works.
Much love! x