Attitude actually ISN’T everything.

Close, but no cigar.

I’ve heard it all my life. Your attitude determines your altitude, attitude is everything, attitude is a choice, etc. Good luck with that. It sounds like a big fake “grind” to me. And I’m certain it won’t make you successful.

People aren’t successful because they have a good attitude. They have a good attitude because they have something much deeper figured out. Attitude is a RESULT of something much bigger. If we don’t have the bigger thing, ginning up a great attitude is like lipstick on a pig.

Emotionalism is Not a Good Attitude
People with great attitudes that aren’t backed by the bigger thing are usually pretty obvious. They’re convinced that attitude is everything, so they rely on emotionalism and “everything is GREAT!” “live is wonderful” statements on the outside while they’re dying on the inside. And they just hope that “fake it until you make it” will get them through. It won’t.

It impossible to have a good attitude by deciding to have a good attitude. It’s like squinting hard to make a wad of bills appear in front of you. At times I do have to “just decide” to have a good attitude, but I guarantee you I would have no motivation to make the decision if it wasn’t driven by something bigger.

The Fourth “S”
The Industrial Age taught us the “Three S’s” – Safety, Security and Stability. The problem with the three S’s is that they are at the bottom of Masloew’s hierarchy – they are just survival mechanisms. The Three S’s will not give us enough motivation to have a great attitude. The fourth S, the one the Industrial Age couldn’t afford for you to have – Significance – that is the driver of attitude.

Clarity on what you want out of your business and your life is what drives good attitude. If you know where you are going, what you want when you get there, and when you want to be there, it will have a transformational impact on your attitude.

The Big Why
In Crankset Group we talk a lot about “The Big Why.” The Big Why is that one big thing that gets you out of bed every morning that gives you the motivation to create a life of significance. If you have a Big Why, you will rarely have to work on getting your attitude straight, and when you do lose it, it will be much easier to get your good attitude back. It’s not about good attitude, but about having the motivation to have one.

Attitude is a Result, Not a Cause
Focus on Significance, not on attitude. Figure out what is really deeply important and run toward it with everything you’ve got. Use your business to get you there. You’re attitude will follow.

The joy of business.

Success is a positive thing.

Those who find joy in business have a clear vision for significance, believe they can actually get there, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, are running toward something, not away from something.

Too many people are in business because they have a mortgage to pay, or a payroll to meet, or to escape the drudgery of the cube and working for the man.

When we are driven by short term needs like these we are always running away from something – running away from poverty, moving away from mortgage default, from boredom, from fear, etc.

Running away from things will never bring you joy in your business and it will never give you enough momentum to move from survival to a really significant business that goes beyond the treadmill of paying the mortgage. The gravity of those things you are running from will eventually wear you out and relentlessly pull you back in. Running away from things is like trying to leave the gravitational pull of a planet. The only way to do it is to eventually begin to be pulled TOWARD something else.

In his book “Shift”, Peter Arnell tells about his business success but more importantly about moving from 407 lbs to 150 lbs. How did he lose 250+ pounds?
1) He says he decided to.
2) Then he said, “From that moment forward I saw myself as a 150 pound man, not a 407 pound man.” And every decision he made going forward was made through the eyes of someone who weighed 150 lbs, not 407 lbs. Peter was successful, not because he wanted to lose 250 lbs., which was simply moving away from something. Peter was successful because he was already a 150 lb. man in his head, and everything he did was to run toward that.

A study of severe heart attack victims called Change or Die” by Alan Deutschman found that, faced with the fear of early death, 90% of them went back to the same bad lifestyle that would assure that result. Running away from an early death wasn’t a strong enough motivation.

Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute, takes a very different and radical approach. He ignores the fear of death and focuses on helping heart attack victims find the joy of living. He gives them something to run to, not away from, and gets them to change everything at once, radically – not in tiny increments. And an astonishing 77% of his patients change their lives, permanently.

“Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear,” he says.

Things to run toward:
1) VISION – People are motivated by a more meaningful life. – not the fear of death, but the joy of life. Vision for where I’m heading and what that can mean to my lifestyle is critical for real change to happen. VISION is more important than anything.

2) INTERNAL CHANGE, not external. Structure, systems, processes, and other external things won’t make for a successful company. The right behavior will. Right behavior comes from a vision that is worth pursuing.

3) RADICAL, NOT INCREMENTAL CHANGE – Change should not be incremental – change everything at once. People who change radically are more likely to stick with it than people who change incrementally. Burn the bridges, sink the ships, shred the parachutes. Radical change with no intention of going back works.

4) COMMITTED COMMUNITY – Community is critical to sustain change. Ornish’s patients had ongoing weekly support groups and 77% of them experienced permanent changes of lifestyle.

A crises won’t change you, not permanently. Paying your mortgage or running from a cubicle won’t sustain you. People change when we have something to run toward, not away from – not the fear of death, but the joy of living.

I do a Lifetime Goals (The Big Why) workshop for business owners every few months. I do it because it is at the center of a hard-core success strategy to know what you are running toward. Everything rises and falls on your Big Why.

I’m running toward “Live well by doing good.” Every breath I take is to get my life and my business to conform with this vision. I can’t fail at it, I can only practice and get better every day. I’ll never fully get there, but I’ll always be running toward something worth pursuing with every fiber of my being. That creates joy in business for me.

What are you running toward? Will you share it with us here?