Control Your Attitude, Control Your Effort

One of the key tenets I teach and coach is that circumstances happen to us, everything after that is for us to control.  There is a lot of power in the belief that others don’t control my thoughts, feelings, or actions.  I did, however, have a hard time when trying to explain the idea to kids.  One day, as I was talking to a friend, I stated “I have to find a way to have them control what they can control, to focus on their attitude and their effort”.  It hit me, “Control Your Attitude, Control Your Effort.”  This one saying has helped me reach more kids, and as a result, their parents, than any other concept. Let’s unpack that a bit.

Control Your Attitude

Attitude can be defined as a “mental position with regard to a fact; a feeling or emotion toward a fact”  Fact are just that, facts.  They can be argued in a court of law.  Fact are, by their very nature, neutral.  They “just are”.  However, how one responds to a fact, that is one’s attitude, and it can be controlled.  For example, let’s say you are out at a very nice dinner with another couple, and a glass of water is knocked over, getting you wet.  How would you respond?  Same scenario, almost – now you are at home, and your son knocks over glass of water onto you, how do you respond? Was your answer the same?  I know my responses used to be different – sometimes still are, I am getting better, not perfect. 🙂 Let’s look at both scenarios, because they share the same facts, namely, a glass of water has been knocked over.  That is a fact, right?  However, in each scenario, how did you CHOOSE to respond?  What was your attitude in those scenarios? 

Control Your Effort

If you can place yourself in those two scenarios, what is your effort?  How are you choosing to act?  Are those actions getting the results you want?  Are you helping to clean up the mess?  Are you yelling at someone?  Are you insisting it is “No Problem.  Accidents happen.”  Are you choosing to extend more courtesy and compassion to a total stranger than to the person you are trying to shape into a young man?

I use this concept in almost all of my coaching, both sports and life coaching.  I use it especially in working with kids.  If you want to know more, or want me to speak with your teams or league, let’s talk.  In the meantime, “Control Your Attitude, Control Your Effort”