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  • Writer's pictureSaira Valley

The power of attitude

Often, we believe that the biggest obstacles keeping us from our goals are circumstances, environment, health, education, privilege, money, weight, marital status etc etc. It is an external entity that is responsible for us not achieving what we want, or going after what we desire.

In my mid 30's as a young, driven, working mom, I often found myself in this exact dialog with myself. The self doubt, the negative self talk. A million and one excuses for why my life wasn't what I wanted, and how it couldn't be because of things that were totally outside of my control, or seemingly out of my control. I had these silent conversations with myself that usually resulted in a sour mood, demotivation, anxiety and withdrawal from socialization. It also turned into a self fulfilling prophecy and my negative self talk created the realities I was trying so hard to get away from.


So, now I want to tell you a story about grass. Yes. grass.

It all started from a book called Kitchen Table Wisdom. The author talks about her rushed walks to and from work as a young resident in NYC. She was always busy, stressed, get to the next thing, climb the next mountain, get to the next goal. She was racing through her life in fast forward. One day, on the walk she had done a dozen times, she sees something that stops her dead in her tracks. She sees grass growing out of the concrete.

Funny, all of us have no doubt observed this and never stopped to really think about what that means. She stops, and she absorbs the moment and the realization that these small blades of grass had to fight through CONCRETE, to find their way to the surface and meet the sun.

Wow. Mind blowing right? I know I have seen blades of grass breaking through the road and never really understood the power behind what I was seeing.

Will. And a naked truth. Nature will fight hard to survive. Even under seemingly insurmountable odds, it will push, it will fight, it will endure as long as it can. And in this case, it will win and the tufts of grass will push their way through the concrete to drink the sunshine.

How do we become that grass? How do we look up and see no light, no sun, no hope only slabs of heavy weights and still push up and out? Surely if a blade of grass managed, we can too.

The first step for me was to be honest about my addiction to negative self talk, and the comfort I found in hiding behind inevitable failure. In my deep subconscious, if I was preparing for the absolute worst case scenario, perhaps failure wouldn't feel like failure. Maybe by front loading my disappointment, I wouldn't suffer as much if I did fail. It never occurred to me that by doing all this, I was setting myself up TO fail. I was second guessing my own power and my own skills, for absolutely NO reason, other than I was scared of being caught by surprise. The great news is, a poor attitude is not a permanent state of being; it's a habit, and a choice. The first step towards breaking through that slab of concrete holding you down, is to recognize that 9 times out of 10, it was you who put it there to begin with.

It's a hard truth to face. I know for me I had health issues, I had anxiety, I had a million other things going on that could prevent me from achieving. But I also know of friends who battle with cancer, MS, lupus, paralysis, HIV, and yet they find a way to accomplish massive incredible things, everyday. The difference between them and me? Attitude.

I knew I needed to face the fact that my attitude is what was holding me back from taking everything in my life to the next level. Sure, I had limitations, I had roadblocks and barriers. But if that grass can find a way, so could I. This isn't to say that we don't all face very real issues in our workplaces and our lives that can truly lead to lack of efficiency, low productivity and/or poor work satisfaction. But, when we are firmly grounded in an attitude that is empowered and embraces our own internal power, it gives us the courage, focus and drive we need to have the conversations to impact positive change. Mindset and positive self-talk helps us recognize that we deserve happiness in our life and our work, and gives us the platform we need to advocate for better.

If you are ready to change your attitude and embrace you BEST life, BE the grass. Wake up in the morning with positive affirmations. Tell yourself you CAN and WILL succeed at whatever you put your mind to. If you don't know how to do something, ask for help as a show of strength, not an admission of weakness.

Tell yourself NEW stories that you can and will succeed. Life is full of concrete, but that doesn't mean we can't overcome and even thrive around it. It's time to give yourself the opportunity to see the sun.

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