Inside Disruption Blog

Attitude, Preparation and Effort

Dennis Potter
November 22, 2017

While watching my grandson play soccer, I noticed that he was playing with much more determination and energy than usual. I asked my son about it, and he mentioned he’d been coaching his kids based on a quote from a well-known athletic coach. “We have only three things we can control in our lives – our attitude, our preparation, and the effort we put into doing something.”


His words struck a chord with me. It seems to me that these perceptions not only work on the athletic field, but are they applicable to all aspects of our lives.


Our lives are full of change. Changes at work, within our social life, within our home lives, in our world. When I go into a company’s workplace after a disruptive event to help employees tap into their natural resiliency, could these words of wisdom apply here, too?


Attitude: Research clearly shows that people with a more positive attitude bounce back more quickly from life’s demands. Can we help people have a different attitude about an event? When we show confidence in their ability to cope, let them know they have the skills necessary to bounce back, and provide information that might help, we help keep them from feeling like a victim.


Preparation: Research also shows that the vast majority of people return to pre-incident functioning fairly quickly. I view our role as a way of helping them on that journey. We do this by asking them about other difficult events that they have been through, what they did, or what other people did that was helpful to them. We validate those that are most functional, and perhaps elaborate on them. We ask what did you do or others do that was not helpful.


Effort: Our natural resiliency is not a passive thing. We have to actually work on it. We have to replicate those things that were identified as helpful. We may need to reach out to our natural support network to receive their help. We may need to exercise a little more, eat a little healthier, and take some time to reflect on how the event may change how we live our lives – perhaps for the better.


So take a moment to ponder these words. Reflect on how we can use them in our work helping people. What is our attitude going in? Do we believe that people are resilient on their own, and might only need a little challenge to help them remember? How much preparation have we done? Did we think about what reactions we are likely to hear as a result of the event? Did we ask about the culture of the company? Did we talk with the local manager and explain the various options available for the on-site response? Did we check in to see how they were doing? How much effort did we put in to making this a positive and valuable intervention for the employees?


I know I have been changed by these words. Thank you son, for teaching your old man something.

Dennis Potter