Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

“We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

Knowing and believing that you can choose your attitude and how you react to things is truly a blessing and a life-saver. Knowing that you can choose to focus on the positive things, even in the face of negativity is empowering.

I’d like to tell a story, mostly because it will be cathartic for me, but also because it will hopefully be empowering for you.

I recently reconnected with an old friend on Facebook. He has a habit of posting status updates that, as a recruiter, I find inappropriate. Last week he actually reached out to me and inquired about an open job I had posted. I asked him to send me his resume… and then last night he posted another inappropriate status update on Facebook. As a recruiter, and frankly, as a friend, I suggested that he not continue to post things like this if he wanted to find a new job. (See, for example where they say that "one out of 5 hiring managers conduct background checks on candidates using social networks and that 34% have dismissed a candidate based on what they found."**) I was simply trying to be helpful.

What resulted was astounding to me. This person proclaimed that I was “un-American”, was refuting the first amendment, that I epitomized everything he hated about “Corporate America”, and so on… He went as far as to say, well, never mind. THAT is not the point. Needless to say I un-friend-ed him, removed my comment from his post, and will have nothing further to do with this person.

At first, I was deeply disturbed. I began to second-guess myself. Am I in fact self righteous? Am I unreasonable? Did I deserve at least some of this backlash? The answer is NO! I instead chose to focus on all the good I know I do. I chose to reflect on the large number of people who have sincerely appreciated all that I teach them in my social networking seminars geared towards job seekers. I recalled all of the great feedback I have received, and the recommendations I have been given, and chose to change my attitude from one of distress, to one of serenity. And, I felt sorry for this person.

Again, I tell this story hopefully to empower you to choose your attitude. We can’t control the things that happen to us all of the time. Even the best of intentions can turn into challenges. But we can choose how we face these challenges, and as long as you know that you are doing the best you can, you will come out on top.

Today, I am thankful for my true friends and for my dad, who was the first to teach me that I had the power to choose my attitude.

**Thanks to Steve for this timely statistic!

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