This month’s Inner Fitness topic is about attitude, and I love that this spirited New Yorker gets to write it!
When I learned the due date for this article, my initial attitude was, “Holy crap, I don’t have enough time! What was I thinking?!” In addition to my full coaching roster, I am managing an apartment renovation and juggling our summer guest calendar. My energy immediately shifted to feeling stressed and overwhelmed, and this newly minted morning attitude completely hijacked my day.
Sound familiar? What thoughts and attitudes do you wake up holding? Are you congratulating yourself for all you accomplished the day before? Do you tell yourself you are fully prepared for today’s big meeting? Or love and accept yourself despite your additional pandemic pounds? How quickly does your energy shift?
The truth is that we are not even conscious of most of our thoughts and attitudes. Cognitive neuroscientists say only about 5% of our brain activity is conscious. Most of what we think, feel, say, and do depends on 95% of subconscious brain activity (aka auto-pilot).
Luckily, there is an easy way to identify where we are operating in this conscious continuum by asking ourselves, am I playing “Above the Line” or “Below the Line” right now?
ABOVE THE LINE attitudes & beliefs:
– Are rooted in love and creativity
– Come from a place of openness, curiosity, and a commitment to learning
– Come from a place of abundance (of time, resources, support, etc.)
– Are energizing and create a sense of connection with ourselves and others
BELOW THE LINE attitudes & beliefs:
– Are rooted in fear and reactivity
– Come from a place of being closed off, defensive, and committed to being “right”.
– Come from a place of scarcity (of time, resources, support, etc.)
– Are draining and create a sense of disconnection from ourselves or others
At this moment, are you playing Above the Line or Below the Line? It all starts with awareness:
1st Accept & Reflect
Simply notice if your attitude has you operating Above or Below the Line. No judging! Do not make your attitude or belief wrong. If you find yourself Below the Line, replace any judgment or rationalization with a big dose of curiosity and compassion. I say go for a reassuring smile and wink at yourself. Just press pause to accept and reflect where you are – nothing more.
2nd Consciously Choose
Again, coming from a place of self-love, self-compassion, and curiosity, consider:
– How do I react when I hold this attitude or thought as true?
– How would I show up differently if I weren’t holding it?
Asking these questions – and answering them honestly – shows us clearly that we are at choice in what we hold as true. What is the pay-off in reprimanding yourself for not getting everything done on your to-do list? It allows your negative ego to be “right” and boy, does it love to be right. Here is where we get to consciously choose instead. Is your attitude serving you and others well? How might it be limiting the results you want for yourself or your relationships?
Your attitude determines your experience in that moment.
3rd Attitude Informs Behavior
When we play Below the Line, our behaviors follow suit. I may shoot off a very curt email response or not reply at all or be that cranky person in line at the check-out wondering loudly what’s taking so long. On the flip side, when I am operating Above the Line, it is amazing the abundance of love I have to share! I will write generous and thoughtful emails or chat up strangers on the street (not common in NYC!). Wherever you are, own it. Take responsibility for the energy you are putting into the world. If you do not like your energy, check in on your attitude.
Turbulent times can require attitude tune-ups
In these particularly turbulent times, it is easier than ever to fall Below the Line. Going back to caveman days, our brains have been hard-wired to protect us, constantly scanning for danger. Our brain does not like uncertainty; it can put us in a threat state. A glance at the morning news will show you what I mean.
To find out where I am, I consult my handy “energy meter” each morning, which I keep taped up in my office. Again, no judgment! This allows me to have clarity about where my energy is, what I can create for myself from this place… or whether I need an attitude tune-up.
Guess what? Despite such an inauspicious start, I wrote this blog firmly planted in the energy meter’s upper left yellow area. I got clear that I dropped well Below the Line and if I wanted to access my playful and creative side, I needed to shift. I allowed myself to reconnect with my many rewarding and fun experiences at The Ranch over the years. All the amazing people I have met and learned from. I cannot wait to see you back there this fall!
Julie Fotos, PCC, CPCC
As a leadership coach, Julie works with individuals, pairs and teams to expand their range so they can access their full potential and reap all the benefits that come from it. Much like a trainer at a gym, Julie works with clients to strengthen muscles they did not realize they had, while giving over-developed muscles a rest. Julie believes people can achieve greater success by recognizing and “unlearning” their own self-imposed beliefs – which frees them up to realize their growth edge. Julie has extensive experience in designing and conducting programs on cultural/team development, communication effectiveness, leadership development, and managing through change. Recent clients include: CNN, Hearst Corporation, Oliver Wyman, Pfizer and Wieden + Kennedy. Julie lives in New York City, but maintains her sanity at her little Catskills lake house.
See when Julie is presenting next as part of our Inner Fitness program.