For the past 17 years, the month of August typically fills up with speaking engagements for Teacher in services and all district conferences – something fun and energizing to kick off their New Year. I would say about 99.9% of the groups that hire me, someone saw me speak at a conference and thought, “We need to get this guy for our next event.” That is how it works most of the time. It’s the first day back for educators and most of the staff, after a seemingly short summer break. As I wait to be introduced to an audience that has filled up the back rows in the auditorium first, someone always informs me “Sam, we are glad you are here and fair warning, this can be a tough group.”
I laugh, the tougher the better. If you have ever seen me speak, you know that I am an expert on breaking through tough audiences. It took years of practice to master it, but I have it down very well. As I am introduced, I look out to what looks to be a sea of blank stares, arms crossed and some leaning back displaying that non verbal attitude, “The last thing I want to hear is a speech on attitude. Let’s just skip this and get to work.”
It is rarely a warm greeting as I grab the microphone, and I am ok with that. But, it doesn’t last long. In less than a few minutes, you can visually see and hear their hesitation about my speech crumble as they let their guard down, gather some trust and hop aboard The Attitude Bus.
Attitude is a choice that nobody else can make for us. We either choose our own attitude or we let whatever is going on in our life at the moment choose it for us. But, if you think about it, what attitude drives your bus? What I mean by that is, you are equipped with higher education, specific skills, unique talent, abilities, gifts that make up who you are, but what drives the bus that makes those things reach their full potential and have the maximum positive impact? It is the driver we choose every day to put into the seat of our attitude bus.
Think about this example from the NFL. It happens every year. You hear a story about a qualified, athletic, skilled and talented player who has an attitude problem and the team eventually trades them or releases them. Why would a team do that? They don’t want a negative attitude driving the bus. It is dangerous to have a negative attitude behind the wheel in your life and work. A negative attitude always has negative consequences and never gets you the results you ultimately desire. In fact, a negative attitude is something that works against your best efforts. You learn the hard way, its just not worth it to have a negative attitude.
But, in the world of education I would say our educators have their hands full and need more encouragement and recognition of efforts that ever before. Why is this important to me? I am a new parent and I want my kids to develop their abilities, skills and education, but I also want them to learn how far and how great they can become when the right attitude is driving their bus. Educators are examples in which young minds model after. I don’t want my kids to stop at learning just the ABC’s, but how to make the ABC’s work for them and how to use the ABC’s to make a positive impact on their life and in the life of others. I want them to learn how to choose an attitude that works for them.
To summarize, it boils down to having awareness of your attitude and how it is steering all the greatness you have. Education that makes a difference starts with educators who believe in the value of having a positive outlook. So, in a simple and fun way, just think of it like this when you wake up tomorrow – who do you want driving your attitude bus? By doing this little step every day, will ensure that your attitude is determined by you and not left to chance.
If you want to learn some other great ways how to use your attitude to make a difference, check out Sam Glenn’s book, The Gift of Attitude at www.SamGlenn.com
Sam Glenn is an award winning keynote speaker and is often the highest rated speaker at every conference he speaks at. If you are looking for an uplifting speaker that your audience will absolutely love and gain value from, then contact Sam Glenn’s office about booking him. – Sam@samGlenn.com