One of the key factors in doing anything successfully is your attitude, even in your change efforts. As I read and study more I am finding that this is even more important than I thought. It has been studied scientifically and has been measured and quantified. Having a positive attitude opens up our minds and our creativity giving us the ability to accomplish tasks, projects, goals and change. Without the positive attitude we often get caught in the quagmire of what we call life. But life is what we make it. So why not enjoy it at look at things from the bright side.
It sounds easy but sometimes we have to discover how to have a positive attitude through trial and error. It is not the same for everyone. This is the challenge for managers. What some look at as an opportunity others may see as a chore. I, for example really dislike making or receiving cold calls. If my business had to survive by making cold calls, I would starve. Some see cold calling as a way to generate business and can easily have the attitude that they just need to get through so many no’s before they get to a yes. For me, it is torture.
Occasionally we need to start small. In “The Kaizen Way” by Robert Maurer, Ph.D. the main message is that small steps can lead to big change. Often tasks or projects seem very big and can be intimidating. By taking a few small steps, we can be on our way.
My daughter plays trombone in the middle school band. She was getting ready for a playing test, part of which required her to play scales. Her process had been to memorize the slide positions and she wanted my help to help her pass. My approach was to think of the notes in her head and remember which ones were sharp and flat. This way she could play any scale and not have to memorize a different pattern for each scale. This way she really only needed to remember the one to three notes that would be different. To my daughter this was a too hard. She did not think that she could picture the notes in her head.
So we started small with something that I knew she could do. The C scale with no sharps or flats. This she could do quite easily. We did this a few times picturing the notes in her head. Then we moved on to another scale, the F scale, which has only 1 flat. The F scale, for those who do not play music, starts and ends on an F. For my daughter, picturing these notes in her head was a bit more of a challenge. We started slowly. She said that she needed to play them more quickly for her test. She played the scale a few times and was able to pick up the speed as she played it over and over. Picturing the notes in hear head came a little easier. After playing the scales about 10 times each she was able to play the scales, picture them in her head, and play them to proficiency.
Two lessons here: 1) First she have to change her attitude from I can’t picture notes in my head fast enough to pass the test, to I will give it a try. 2) We started small with something that was familiar. Something that she knew and could build from. Hopefully, she and I can remember these lessons and use and build on them in the future.