I recently came across a list of amazing quotes by acclaimed American poet, storyteller, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Since I often write blogs discussing the importance of gratitude and mindset in our personal and professional lives, I found it to be a treasure trove of inspiration. I will be highlighting a few of my favorite quotes in the months ahead, and I encourage you to share with me the philosophies and quotes that guide your life.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
Maya Angelou’s 1969 autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. Certainly most of us reading this blog will never experience the level of turmoil that Angelou faced. But as we confront our own challenges, we can be reminded to work towards positive progress and to recognize that sometimes a change in our attitude will take us the rest of the way.
A small attitude adjustment that had a big impact on others was demonstrated this past summer by my friend and colleague, David Glickman. A large group of colleagues and I attended a conference and many of us subsequently came down with Covid.
There was an email thread where a few of the attendees, as well as those who had chosen not to attend, all of whom had been vaccinated and boosted, were politely discussing what the conference organizers (who are volunteers) could have done to lessen the risk of Covid.
While an interesting question, David wrote in the thread, “I accept full responsibility. I knew the risk and I chose to take the chance.” This shift really changed the tone of the conversation. Perhaps David’s behavior caught my eye because it was exactly the discussion point I used this past Wednesday when I was conducting the program Blame, Shame and It’s Not My Fault.
When have you in your organization shifted the conversation from blame to responsibility?
This article is one in a series discussing the importance of gratitude in our personal and professional lives, the benefits of routinely recognizing the good things in our lives, appreciating others who have helped us, practicing gratitude, saying thank you, trying a complaint-free day, taking a gratitude walk, and recognizing fresh starts.