Anna Russell: Why is attitude everything?

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Anna Russell’s passion is to inspire and energise those people around her - to reach their potential and become true high performers.
A skill that I learnt from a previous coach was to have break-points at certain times of the day where you can re-set yourself. Photo / Scottie T
A skill that I learnt from a previous coach was to have break-points at certain times of the day where you can re-set yourself. Photo / Scottie T

In my article outlining what makes someone a High Performer, one of the key elements is to 'Control the Controllables'.

I believe there are two factors in your control, whether it be training, racing, or at work - the effort you put in and your attitude.

In sport effort can be measured through biometric data, heart-rate, power output, GPS etc. In a work environment it is measured through KPIs and performance reviews, albeit perhaps less clear-cut. There are no shortage of slogans on having a good attitude, sayings such as 'Stay Positive', 'Attitude is everything', 'Keep Calm and Carry On' are everywhere. But how do you actually maintain a good attitude day-to-day, and why is it important.

How to maintain a good attitude

It is easy to start the day with a good attitude but interactions with people, environmental factors such as traffic, or challenging circumstances can very quickly erode your state-of-mind into being one of negativity and anger.

A skill that I learnt from a previous coach was to have break-points at certain times of the day where you can re-set yourself from what has already occurred and prepare for what is coming up. A good example of this is using your commute to and from work.

Having a terrible day at work and then inflicting that attitude onto your loved ones is not going to help anyone. Therefore use that commute home to process what happened at work, what you need to do to fix the situation, then re-set into what attitude you want to walk in the front door with.

I would often sit in the car for 5 mins before going to swim training, using positive self-talk as a way to ensure I started the session with the right attitude.

Break-points are often used in sport to re-set attitude and resulting performance. For example a tennis player on a losing-streak may stall the game with shirt or racket-changes, and a basketball team could call a time-out when play is going against them.

Why is it important?

The way you interact with people and deal with situations is not discrete but rather has a cumulative and long-lasting impact on how you are perceived.

This perception influences how effective you can be, your ability to reach potential, and essentially the degree to which you can live a life of enjoyment, energy and passion.

This is easily recognised in the workplace where you see those who consistently have a negative or bad attitude being side-lined from new opportunities, promotions and exciting work. This further entrenches a bad attitude, propagating out into other areas beyond work, cementing a certain perception of that person that may in fact not reflect who they truly are. If you can maintain a good attitude, using the strategies listed above, then the reverse culmination can have extraordinary positive effects on all aspects of your life.

Relationships are more meaningful, opportunities arise frequently, and life becomes a much more vivid experience.

- NZ Herald

Two years ago, while working full-time, Anna Russell left the corporate world to pursue her dream of becoming a professional athlete, competing around the world in Ironman triathlons. Anna now writes about her experience as a professional athlete and how her learnings can be applied to drive high performance in both individuals and teams.

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