Attitude is Everything: 10 Life-Changing Steps to Turning Attitude Into Action

Attitude is Everything: 10 Life-Changing Steps to Turning Attitude Into Action

by Keith Harrell

Paperback(1st HarperBusiness Paperback Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060954901
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/06/2002
Edition description: 1st HarperBusiness Paperback Edition
Pages: 222
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.63(d)

First Chapter

Chapter One

Attitude Is Everything


Understand the power of  "attitude."

The first thing you need to do, to turn your attitude into action, is to tap into the power of your attitude. This key step is the foundation on which the other nine steps in this book are built. Attitude is everything; it impacts everything you do.

As far back as I can remember, I've heard about the importance of a positive attitude and the powerful effect it could have on my life. I heard it from my parents, teachers, coaches, and supervisors over the years. How many times in your life have you been encouraged to have a positive attitude? Although attitude plays an important role in everyone's life, many people don't know its meaning or realize the influence it has on their performance at work and on their relationships. What, then, is attitude?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines attitude as a state of mind or feeling with regard to some matter. For me, attitude can be defined in one word: life. The attitude that you carry around makes an incredible difference in your life. It can be a powerful tool for positive action. Or it can be a poison that cripples your ability to fulfill your potential. Your attitude dictates whether you are living life or life is living you. Attitude determines whether you are on the way or in the way.

I spent most of my young adulthood chasing a dream to become a professional basketball player. In high school, I was an All-American and the Most Valuable Player of our state championship team. I accepted ascholarship to Seattle University, where I was the team captain for three of my four years. I averaged more than sixteen points per game in my senior year. In June 1979 1 expected to be drafted by a National Basketball Association team. It was a dream that I had shared with everyone I knew. My family, friends, teammates, and others who had followed my career had come to expect that it would happen, based on my success as a player in high school and college.

On the day of the NBA draft, 1 waited and waited and waited ... but the phone did not ring. I was devastated. I had devoted myself to the sport and to my future as an NBA player. It was tough to give up on that dream. I felt cheated when it didn't happen.

In the days and weeks that followed, the bitterness was revived every time someone commented on my failure to be drafted. It didn't help when strangers would note my six-foot-six-inch height and say, "You must play pro basketball." For a long time I fought the bitterness. Finally I decided to let go of the negative feelings. I found a way to embrace this major change and focus on being positive instead. I realized that to grow inwardly I had to move on with my life.

I developed a new attitude and a new response to questions about my height. Not long ago, a woman seated next to me at a luncheon asked if I played with the NBA.

"Yes, I do," I replied. "I'm a first-round draft choice. I'm the most valuable player. I'm owner of the team, and we win the championship every year!"

"So you do play with the NBA?" she asked.

"Yes, I do. I play with my Natural-Born Abilities, and I'm slam-dunking every day!"

I did recover my positive attitude, but it took a focused effort to reframe my perspective, which is one of the key things I'm going to teach you in this book.

Failing to be drafted by the NBA was one of the greatest disappointments in my life. It affected my attitude adversely, throwing me off track for months. I'm sure you have dealt with similar circumstances in which an emotionally charged change in your life throws you off course. It happens to everyone, and often during such challenging times, we develop a negative attitude without being aware of the effect it has on our actions.

After my name was not called in the NBA draft, I felt disconnected from life. My self-confidence and self-esteem took a dive. Worse yet, I didn't have a contingency plan. So after college graduation, it was Welcome to the real world, Keith. Whatcha gonna do now? I had been a high-profile athlete in my hometown. Many people had followed my career through high school and into college. It seemed that everywhere I went people wanted to know what I planned to do with my life. They shared my disappointment, and that further zapped my sense of self-worth. I'd been secure in my role as an athlete. Suddenly I didn't know what I wanted to do.

I did decide that I had to get away from Seattle, where everyone seemed to know me and my disappointments. So I did what every warm-blooded African-American male does when he's feeling down and out and needs to return to his roots.

I went to Alaska.

My Aunt Sue was working in Anchorage. She offered to get me a job with her boyfriend, a painter who had a contract at Elmendorf Air Force Base. Instead of going to the NBA rookie camp, I joined the painter's union as an apprentice in Alaska. But a rookie is a rookie. I'd never painted with anything but my fingers in kindergarten. It showed. I was so bad they wouldn't let me do any real painting. I just did the prepping. I was an apprentice paint-prepper and not a very good one at that. If I'd come to Alaska to build up my self-esteem and improve my attitude, it wasn't working. I hadn't really escaped all the questions about my future, either.

One day, I was slopping paint on myself and getting a little on a wall when an older guy in coveralls came up to me with a look of concern. "You don't know me, but I know you. I followed your basketball career ever since you were in high school," he said. He then asked me what I was doing in Alaska working as a painter�



Attitude is Everything. Copyright © by Keith Harrell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Editionvii
Chapter 1Attitude Is Everything1
Chapter 2Attitude Is a Choice23
Chapter 3Bag Your Bad Attitude47
Chapter 4Change Your Bad Attitude for Good67
Chapter 5Turn Attitude Into Action!85
Chapter 6Warning: Attitude Hazards Ahead111
Chapter 7Your Attitude Tool Kit127
Chapter 8Build Your A-Team155
Chapter 9Develop a Whatever-It-Takes Attitude175
Chapter 10Make a Mark That Cannot Be Erased199

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