Divorced parents. Deserted by mother who had addiction and mental health challenges. Moved out of Dad and Stepmom’s home before senior year in high school. Mom at 19 years old.
Abandoned by the father. No child support. Dependent on food stamps to eat and medical assistance for healthcare. Married at 22. He left for someone else. Divorced at 24. With only a high school diploma I did my best to provide for my daughter. This is just a small part of my story.
I refused to be the proverbial 1980s “statistic” of the young single parent from a divorced home.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~Viktor Frankl
This quote has been a guiding light for me since the day I read Man’s Search for Meaning. (I HIGHLY recommend it.) The author, Viktor Frankl, is a Holocaust survivor. During his time in the Auschwitz concentration camp, his father died from exhaustion, his mother was killed in the gas chambers, and his new, young wife was also killed in the gas chambers. The Nazi’s could take his loved ones from him, but they could NOT rob him of his strength of mind.
When I find myself in difficult, challenging situations, I remember this quote by Viktor Frankl and I am reminded that my struggles and challenges pale in comparison. I am reminded that I choose my thoughts and my attitude. I choose:
- to not defined by my past.
- to not be a victim of my circumstances.
- to be hopeful, positive, and tenacious.
- to be courageous.
- to be loving and forgiving (myself and others).
Fast forward to 2021.
My daughter made different choices than I did when I was young. She married a wonderful man. They have two beautiful boys. He is a devoted husband and father. She is a strong, grounded woman.
I created a new life story. I too have a wonderful, devoted husband who is an amazing “Bumpa” (i.e., Grandpa), and who is my biggest cheerleader.
So, what does this have to do with success in the workplace?
We know that 2020 has been filled with struggles and challenges, and struggles and challenges aren’t going away. There will always be tasks to do. There will be more bad leaders. There will be lazy coworkers. There will be toxic workplaces. There will be slashed budgets and so on. BUT you have the choice to choose your attitude in any of those circumstances.
I speak from experience. In part, Frankl’s quote has guided me into growing a successful, decade old business. BUT before the end of 2020, I asked myself what do I do with my business in 2021? Taking a page so-to-speak from Viktor’s book, this is what answering that question looked like in action.
Circumstance: I was feeling out of alignment with what I do and some of the clients I was serving, specifically the sub-contract part of my business. There was an increasing disparity in rates for the same services I provided to each organization I sub-contracted with.
- Discontinue sub-contract work.
- Give into fear of change and keep grinding. Do what I’ve done for the past 10 years.
- Announce updated, consistent rates based on market research.
Hopeful Attitude: I will announce new rates and believe the right clients will continue to purchase my services.
THIS IS WHAT IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE IN ACTION FOR YOU:
Circumstance: You are looking for employment and find a position you are interested in, but you do not meet all of the job qualifications.
- Don’t apply.
- Apply and hope for an interview.
- Find a connection in your professional network and apply for the position with their endorsement.
Positive Attitude: Do the work to find the right connection, and if it doesn’t happen, trust there is a better position ahead.
Circumstance: Your boss doesn’t have any idea what you do in your role – he/she/they doesn’t seem to care either. You would like more feedback and opportunities to grow in your role.
- Resent your boss and look for another job.
- Complain about how terrible and out of touch your boss is.
- Request a bi-weekly status meeting with your boss to increase awareness of your contributions and receive coaching.
Solution-focused Attitude: Taking initiative demonstrates ability to solve problems and lead. With regular communication there is more opportunity for skill development.
- What is a struggle or challenge you are facing at work?
- List the choices you have related to the struggle or challenge, then choose one.
- Reframe your attitude to one that is hopeful, positive, or solution-focused.
For other inspirational quotes and how they can help you in the workplace, read these:
“Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.” ~Max Lucado
“You are uniquely something that will never happen again.” ~Leo Buscaglia