My Morning

I woke up early Saturday morning walked into the kitchen and brewed myself a cup of steaming dark roast coffee
(Keurig brewed it)  . As I made my way to my desk, I looked out the window and saw it was a cold, foggy and misty morning. I had just gotten comfortable at my desk, logged into the computer and thought about how wonderful it was going to be to enjoy a Saturday of writing. 

Then I heard some familiar noises behind me. I turned around to see my wife brewing her a cup of coffee. I said “good morning dear,” and was greeted with a smile and, “we need to go to Walmart this morning.” I remember hearing what was said, but thinking it was a nightmare. I took another sip of my coffee and turned back around to see if she was really standing there. I was hoping she was still in bed. But as I turned around, I saw her there, waiting for my response. I now knew it was real. Without words, the look on her face made it very clear, “you have no choice, you’re going!” There was no way to get out of it. We were going to Walmart, and I was just going to have to deal with it.

“we need to go to Walmart this morning.”

Well, we left the condo and headed for the car in this cold, foggy, misty morning. As we got in the car, I knew my attitude wasn’t right. All I could think about was having to deal with WALMART people. I could see it now; people getting in my way, bumping my basket, putting their basket in the middle of the aisle, so I can’t get my basket around, etc. 

Entering the War Zone

As we entered the war zone (store), my thoughts were immediately justified. I was walking by a register when an employee hocked a massive loogie and spit it in the trash can right in front of me!  In my total disgust, I ran toward my wife, when I was hit by a basket from a person turning from a side aisle into the main aisle. I grab my leg and continue to hobble to where my wife was. When I finally met up with her, she looked at me and asked, “what’s wrong,” I simply said, “nothing, let’s keep moving.”

After about an hour and a half of basket bumping, aisle space fighting and hardcore looks and grimaces, we finally finished our shopping. We headed to the Christmas/Garden area to check out. We were number two in line, and I was so excited that we were going to get out of here fast.

Then I overheard a conversation between the cashier and the customer in front of us. Apparently, the customer saw the same pots and pans online at a competitors site for $3 cheaper. Their discussion and banter went on forever. The customer would not relent. I came very close to saying, “Oh my gosh, I ‘ll give you $3 if you’ll just finish and leave”! Instead, I told my wife, “come-on lets go check out at the regular lanes.” We left and headed over to the other end of the store. As I was walking (maybe slightly running), I saw an empty lane, so I moved a little quicker to make sure no one got in front of me. Yes! I made it! The cashier greeted me and began to check us out. Then she noticed we bought a pizza. As she scanned it, she began to tell us how she and her husband “did something last night they hadn’t done in 20 years.” I thought to myself, I’m not sure I want to hear this. She said they had a pizza delivered along with breadsticks and two 20 oz cokes! My wife responded, “we hadn’t had a pizza delivered forever” and looked over to me and said: “isn’t that right?” I nodded, yes. By this time, the cashier was talking more than she was scanning and moving very slow. Then she saw a toy we bought my grandson and started commenting about she hadn’t seen that toy for years. I felt my ears beginning to catch fire, and my blood pressure busting through my arteries. All I could think was; quit running your mouth, speed up and finish my order so I can get the heck out of here!

Reflecting on the Moment

As we were finishing up, I caught a glance of the cashier’s face and saw how happy she was to be talking with us. I immediately told her to have a wonderful rest of the day and to have a Merry Christmas. She responded with a huge smile, “Same to you.”

We left the line and headed out of the store. As we came out, we were greeted by a Salvation Army Volunteer who greeted us with, “Have A Merry Christmas” with a huge smile.

These two instances immediately melted my heart and made me think about what makes people happy. I started to reflect on my negative attitude and stupid interactions with some of the people.  I began to think about how a real leader would be acting right now and realized that leadership should be a way of life all the time, regardless if you are at work or in a non-desirable situation. As we were walking to the car, my wife looked at me and said, “she (referring to the cashier) was so sweet.” I agreed and said that “our Walmart trip wasn’t all that bad.”

After we got home and unloaded the groceries, I started to reflect on the attitude I came into the store with and how that influenced my actions. I realized that I  learned several leadership lessons from my shopping experience.

“our Walmart trip wasn’t all that bad.”

Leadership Lessons Learned

While shopping at Walmart is not my favorite thing to do, it does offer many opportunities to influence and learn. Here are the leadership lessons I learned:

  1. Leaders are consistent in their thoughts and ideas about people regardless of where they are.
  2. Leaders value people for who they are and the hard work they perform regardless of the type of work they are doing. 
  3. Leaders make a difficult and challenging atmosphere, fun and enjoyable.
  4. Leaders listen with their eyes and ears and encourage responses.
  5. Leaders inspire others through their encouragement and influence. 
  6. Leaders are humble and relatable in all situations.
  7. Leaders keep a good head and an open heart in all situations, regardless if it is ideal or not.
  8. Leaders realize they are responsible for their own attitudes and take the initiative to change it quickly.

While I left the house with a negative attitude and a strong resentment to shop at Walmart, I learned a lot while I was there. By reflecting back on my experience, I was able to identify the fact that a leader is a leader all the time, not only when they think they need to be a leader. 

We all make mistakes, but it’s the leader who learns from their mistakes which has the most significant influence on others.

Leaders are also learners. We all make mistakes, but it’s the leader who learns from their mistakes which has the most significant influence on others. I encourage you to reflect on the eight leadership lessons I identified above and consider them in your leadership journey.

To Improve Performance, Change Your Attitude


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Life has its ups and downs, its turbulence and its smooth flying. We sometimes stall, but hopefully, we change our attitude and recover to make a smooth landing.

I love flying. I am not a pilot, but I have been interested in flying for most of my life. I love watching pilots perform their pre-check routines. I study every move they make and try to identify every instrument on the panel; altimeter, airspeed indicator, vertical speed indicator, magnetic compass, attitude indicator, heading indicator, turn indicator, etc. If you ever see a nerdy guy sitting up front watching the pilot(s) perform their pre-flight checks, it’s probably me.

I’ve had the privilege of flying in private planes and charters. One of the coolest things is most of these planes have open cabins. You can watch out the front window and every move the pilot performs. I notice that pilots are always watching their instruments. While we gaze out the window trying to identify landmarks or enjoy the scenery, the pilot is intently focused on his instrument panel. One particular instrument, the attitude indicator, seems to be one they refer to and watch most often. In fact, it is placed in a prominent position within the panel, typically right in front of the pilot. While there are other instruments of importance, I believe the attitude indicator is placed in the most prominent part of the panel, because of its significance to the safe operation of the aircraft.

attitude indicatorThe Attitude Indicator depicts the position of the airplane in relation to the real horizon. It shows whether the wings are level and if the plane is climbing or descending, or flying straight and level. A pair of wings represents the attitude of the aircraft in relation to the sky (blue) or ground (brown). Basically, if the wings are in the blue, the plane is climbing, if they are in the brown, the plane is descending. The attitude of an airplane indicates its performance. To modify the performance of an airplane, you must change the attitude.

Through my recent studies on personal attitude, I realize there is an analogy between the performance of an aircraft to the performance of a person. Just as an airplane’s attitude determines its performance, the attitude of a person will determine their performance.

What happens when a person attitude dictates unfavorable results? How can that attitude be changed? I believe the key to having a good attitude is the willingness to change. To change, one must choose to change.

If you want to achieve and maintain a good attitude, do the following:

  1. Evaluate your present attitude – Identify your problem feelings, behavior and thinking. Clarify the truth, secure your commitment and act on your decision immediately and often.
  2. Realize faith is stronger than fear – To succeed, one must have faith from the beginning knowing he/she will succeed.
  3. Want to change – When all else fails, desire alone can get you on the right track and keep you there.
  4. Live one day at a time – Success and failure follow us. Forget yesterday and focus on today. For what we do today, has an impact on tomorrow.
  5. Change your thoughts – What we focus on and remember, determines our actions. Our attitude is developed through our thoughts and feelings. Change your thoughts and feelings, and you will change your attitude.
  6. Develop the right thoughts – Our attitude is nothing more than our thoughts. It is as easy to form a thoughtful habit of success as it is a failure. Work to develop the habit of success through positive thinking.
  7. Choose to have the right attitude – The choice of a good attitude is just the beginning. Attitudes have a tendency to revert back to their original pattern. You must deliberately choose to have the right attitude.

The only way a person’s attitude can change is through their personal desire to change. As leaders, we can influence those we lead to change, but ultimately they make their own decisions. Just as an airplane’s performance changes with a change in attitude, so will the performance of an individual. But remember, attitudes can be bad or good. Make the wrong attitude adjustment in an aircraft and the results can be catastrophic. The same could be said for people. Make a bad attitude change, and the suffrage can be devastating.

Airplane Attitude.jpg


ATTITUDE, A Quick Insight For Influence

INSIGHT FOR INFLUENCE – Attitude, “it is a little thing that makes a big difference.” For some people, attitude presents a difficulty in every opportunity; for others, it presents an opportunity in every difficulty. Simply put, attitude is how one feels about something, what ever that might be. It is an inside thing that manifests itself throughout our outside actions. Some try to mask or hide it, but it will present itself in our actions and words. Leaders have a tremendous influence on others. In fact, our attitude will have a positive or adverse effect on those we lead. Consider your attitude and influence for positive leadership.

attitude 2


What a week!  This has been one of unexpected personnel change.  Being a senior leader in the oil and gas services industry, I’ve learned to be flexible.  The current market has created a daily sense of the unknown.  It seems every day I’m walking through a jungle.  Mired deep into the unknown.  Everyday seems to be an adventure to maintain a positive attitude. Sleepless nights are normal.  If five hours of good REM sleep is achieved, I am satisfied and elated.  Worry and anxiety become a normal routine. Our attitudes can take a big hit in an uncertain environment.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way, because we have control over our thoughts and attitude.


Attitude is dependent on your feelings toward something, someone or a situation.  Each person has an inward voice that encourages either self-promotion or self-defeat. Yes, there are some things that happen beyond our control. We all experience disappointment, heartache and difficult situations. However, what we do have control over is our response. Someone once said, “it’s not a matter of what’s happened to you, but rather how you respond to what’s happened.” It’s important to note here, there is a distinct difference between a response and a reaction. A reaction is “a feeling experienced in response to a situation or event.” Reactions are often quick, emotion filled responses. A response, on the other hand, involves more reason. It is a thoughtful, more appropriate answer to a certain situation.  Worry and anxiety will create the negative attitude and the inability to properly view the situation.  It creates a cloudy view.  In doing so, we are unable to properly asses the situation and take the necessary steps to correct it.


So how does one keep a positive attitude and maintain their sanity in an uncertain environment?  I think the answer is easy, but the reality is hard.  As a person of faith, I personally look for my strength through my Lord, Jesus Christ.

However, I supplement my faith through these six (7) practical principles;


  1. STOP, What just happened? I get an email.  There have been personnel changes.  Your phone rings, informing you of something negative. Things are going downhill fast. You’re in a tail spin, making reactive decisions that, unfortunately, compound the problem.  Things are said, actions are taken and regret begins to set in.  What do you do?  Take some time to just step back from the problem and think. This will enable you to rationally deal with the issue at hand, instead of emotionally reacting. Just remember, you don’t have to do anything.
  2. When things go in a direction I didn’t expect, I turn to prayer.  Prayer creates a mindset of humbleness.  Worry and anxiety are turned over to him. I am reminded the circumstances are out my control, why worry and be concerned?
  3. Stick with your goal. Regardless of the situation, stick with your goal and what you know. When trouble hits, it tends to steer our focus off from where it should be. When a pilot encounters trouble, they immediately move into a systematic process to try and solve the problem.  However, they are focused on the goal of landing the plane safely. If they lost sight of their goal, disaster would certainly be imminent. One of the best things to do is to write out your goal(s).  Write out what steps are needed to achieving them.
  4. Analyze and Identify a solution. Sticking with the example above. The pilot will analyze the problems and determine the best solutions.  He/she is not sitting idly by, but rather analyzing the problem and aggressively identifying solutions and next steps.
  5. Surround yourself with encouragement. We all need encouragement.  Especially in a time when situations don’t go our way.  I’ve learned if I continue to dwell on the negative, worry will begin to take over creating a slippery slope downward.  My attitude changes and I have a negative affect on all.  When our backs are against the wall, we must surround ourselves with those who love and care for us and who will encourage our next move.  I look to the scriptures for my encouragement and seek out the wisdom of those I trust.  The book of Psalms has always been a source of encouragement.
  6. Find the good. Count your blessings.  I have a new grand daughter.  My wife and I are a month from our 30th wedding Anniversary.  Things are great.  However, the negative began to creep in.  Was I next? What would we do?  My thoughts began to run wild.  I enjoy my job and my life.  How would it be without it? My thoughts controlled my analysis  I began to panic somewhat.  I immediately stopped myself and focused on the good things.  I have been here before. In 2008, I lost my job.  I was weeks from loosing my house.  I made it through that.  Spend time dwelling on the good things about your life or career instead of the problems. There is an old childhood song that says, “Count your blessings—name them one by one.” That’s great advice! Let your positive attitude develop from within as well as from without. This makes all the difference!
  7. This isn’t forever.“This too shall pass” is a common saying I typically hear from people in difficult situations.   Remember that difficult times are only a season.  Some are longer than others, however it is a season.  We all go through them.  Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  There will be a future where circumstances will change and you will be on top of the mountain instead of down in the valley.

First Sun Light over Mountain Valley - Panorama.  Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

I hope none of you will ever go through anything negative or experience uncertain times.  Unfortunately the reality is you will.  We live in uncertain times.  It is becoming the norm.  There will always be upheaval in life. This will create worry and anxiety and have a negative affect on our attitudes. However, how we handle these times and our reactions will determine the outcome with others. A good attitude in difficult times will encourage others.