I can’t lie. I have a natural disposition to having a positive attitude. In fact, just recently, I asked a team I was working with whether I could be negative for a moment. They allowed it, but only because it was not a regular habit for me.
Oscar Wilde once quipped, “Some cause happiness wherever they go. Some cause happiness whenever they go.” The question for reflection is this: which am I? Which are you?
Leadership in ministry is dramatically affected by the attitude that we bring to the table. We’ve all seen it happen. We see that one person coming towards us and all we want to do is run or hide. Why? Because their negativity drains us! All of us, whether staff or volunteers, would rather work with someone with a positive attitude then someone with a negative attitude. It makes sense. As leaders in ministry, we should all work hard to have a positive attitude. So here are three thoughts on attitude for you:
1. Look at problems as opportunities
Problems are rarely something to be all that upset about. In fact, a problem, crisis, or concern, is the best opportunity we have to make a change. We do that by looking at what is possible. If I don’t have enough volunteers in my ministry, it’s an opportunity to re-look at my invitation and marketing process. If my leadership training class did not go well, it is an opportunity to evaluate and see how I can make it better next time. This has everything to do with how we look at the problem. If you are naturally inclined to feel down when a problem occurs, change your mind set as quickly as you can.
2. Look at people as gifts.
Each person we encounter has the potential to share their gifts for the benefit of the ministry. As a leader, it is my job to look for that potential in every person I meet. How can I funnel the energy of that inexperienced young person? How can I make use of that one volunteer who has more ideas than I know what to do with? Everyone has great potential. A leader’s job is to recognize that potential. We can only do that if we look at people as gifts.
3. Look at perfection as impossible.
If there is one area I need to work on, it’s this one. I dislike making mistakes. However, I mess up all the time. I am very hard on myself. I expect a lot from myself. Many leaders are the same way. I know I’m going to make mistakes. The challenge for me is to recognize that failing is okay. Failing is also a learning opportunity. When I make a mistake, I need to quickly move past the feeling I have after making that mistake and learn from it. I know from experience that there is more I can learn from my mistakes that I can from things I do well. It just takes an attitude adjustment on my part. Once I make that adjustment, my mistakes become valuable opportunities for growth.
W. Clement Stone said it perfectly. “There is little difference in people, but the little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” I have to work on this everyday.