Strategies for Cultivating an Attitude for Success

July 31, 2014 Abby Herman

The right attitude at work - Sokanu

“Whether you think you can or you can’t—you’re right.” – Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company

Henry Ford was a wise man. Our attitudes and self-talk can determine our success at work and in life. When you’ve decided that you “can’t” do something, you have already talked yourself out of a particular assignment or challenge, which can be detrimental to your future. Because if you’ve already decided that you can’t do something, you certainly won’t put in the effort to do it.

Look at what the Ford Motor Company did recently. Rather than file for bankruptcy or take hand-outs to save its skin like other car manufacturers, it adopted its founder’s words of advice. Ford executives went to work to save the company. It rebounded from record losses and reinvented itself, taking a huge risk but turning itself around. The company decided it would succeed and so far, it certainly has.

This all-or-nothing, go-get-‘em attitude can benefit young professionals. The challenge is adopting a positive attitude and sticking with it—even through rough times. When things go wrong, don’t let it get you down. And certainly don’t take the bait of becoming pessimistic or adopting the toxic attitudes of those around you.

Fake it Until You Make it

This old saying essentially means, if you think you might be able to do something, give it a shot. Tell yourself you can, and you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish. When you display confidence in what you do (even if you might doubt yourself a bit), others will believe in you.

Even if you're not completely sure how to do something, even the slightest inclination can be enough to hang onto it so you can learn about the rest later. While I don’t recommend lying about your skills and talents, there’s nothing wrong with learning something new to further your career.

Approach with Enthusiasm

Employers like can-do attitudes and employees are often rewarded—financially and professionally—when they show excitement for their job responsibilities. For example, agree to take on projects that no one else will. Find something that needs to be done and do it without having to be told. And be confident in your ability to complete smaller projects, and the next big project just might land in your inbox.

Will Yourself to be Positive

“There is nothing that replaces the will to work,” says Scott C. Hammond, PhD, clinical professor of management at Utah State University. He recommends telling yourself that you want to be there—even if you don’t—and putting forth your best effort. You can simply make the choice to have a positive attitude at work and dwell on the things you enjoy in your job. It may take some work to start, but eventually the positive thoughts will outnumber the negative.

That positive attitude can rub off on others. “If people think they are important and doing significant work because of you, then you have the right attitude.” And your superiors will likely take notice.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s well known that exercise can help improve your attitude. Not only do you release endorphins that elevate mood, but you also feel better about yourself. Confidence and high energy ensue, according to the Mayo Clinic. Find a way to burn some calories every day, whether it’s running, walking, playing tennis, finding a pick-up basketball game, or riding your bicycle to work.

Find some attitude adjusters that work for you and reap the benefits! Success Consciousness reports that a positive attitude allow you to achieve goals and be more in tune with your own abilities and talents. This, in turn, can help pave the way to success.

If you're still looking for your calling in life, come on over to and take our free career test. We want to help you find a career that's right for you!

About the Author

Abby Herman

Abby is a writer and editor in the Phoenix area and is always on the prowl for great ideas. When she’s not in front of her computer, you can find her running the streets or nearby mountain trails—usually way too early in the morning to be considered sane.

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