Career Success Advice on Choosing Your Attitude

Lisa Giruzzi is a friend of mine.  She is known as America’s Leading Communication Authority for Managers and Supervisors.  Recently I blogged about her new book, Bring Out the Best in Your Employees.  In that post, I mentioned that Lisa’s ideas on communication apply not only to managers and supervisors, but to anyone who wants to become a dynamic communicator. Dynamic communication is one of the keys to career success upon which I’ve built my membership site, My Corporate Climb.

I was so intrigued by Lisa’s ideas on communication that I asked her to write a little more about them for this career success blog.  She graciously agreed.  Check out what Lisa Giruzzi has to say about the importance of attitude when it comes to communication…

Successful Communication Begins with Attitude

When you take the case that communication is a far broader topic then merely speaking, listening, writing, reading, verbal and non verbal, when you recognize that communication is happening in every moment because we are always making meaning, then you can see the significance of this assertion, Successful Communication Begins with Attitude.

Our attitude does more than shape what we say out loud; it shapes how we interpret the world.  This goes beyond a positive or negative point of view or glass half full kind of stuff.  It includes that but really is more expansive. I am talking about the attitudes and beliefs we have developed over time, the ones that are so deeply embedded in our thinking that we don’t even question them.  It is just how we see the world. We forget that it is just our perspective and then we relate to the world as if everyone is seeing it the same way we do.

These deeply ingrained attitudes fundamentally are what we are communicating all the time. We may not verbalize them directly but they are communicated in a myriad of ways – in our speaking, our actions, our choices, our likes and dislikes, our judgments, and our opinions.

The first step to having successful communication with others is to identify underlying attitudes and beliefs and begin to question them.  Most importantly, it is essential to own your attitude and beliefs as only one way to see the world.  It is one perspective.  It is not the right one, or the best one. It is just the one that you formed over time.  And just because it makes perfect sense to you doesn’t make it right or mean that it will make sense to anyone else.

The next step is to accept others perspectives as justifiable interpretations of the world they see, from their perspective they cannot in this moment see it any other way. Arguing with their perspective will prevent successful communication.  Adopting the attitude that both your perspective and their perspectives are legitimate will enable authentic, meaningful communication to occur.  That is why successful communication begins with attitude.

I agree.  Lisa is on to something here.  Your attitude goes a long way in determining your communicationsuccess as well as your career success.

Tweet 124 in my career advice book Success Tweets goes directly to the importance of attitude when it comes to communication and relationship building.  It says, “Everyone has something to offer.  Never dismiss anyone out of hand.  Take the initiative.  Actively build relationships.”  To paraphrase Lisa, adopt the attitude that both your perspective and the perspective of others are equally legitimate.

Successful people have a deep respect for the dignity of each individual.  They have the attitude that everyone has something to offer.  It doesn’t matter if the person in front of you is the President of the United States, your boss, a co-worker, a taxi driver, a security guard or the housekeeper at your hotel.

Cathy, my wife, is the best example of someone who values every person she meets.  She is friends with everyone – the pharmacy techs where we get our prescriptions, the couple who own the dry cleaners where we do business, the supermarket checkout people and baggers, the servers at the restaurants we frequent, and on and on and on.

Cathy is genuinely interested in these people.  She knows their names, their spouses’ names and their kids’ names.  She inquires about their lives.  She knows about their vacations, what grades their kids are in school and lots of other things about them – all because she values them as individuals and takes the time to get to know them.  She is one of the least judgmental people I know.  Lisa would say that she has the correct attitude when it comes to communication.

If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, take a lesson from Cathy.  Adopt an open, caring, accepting attitude.  Pay attention to the people around you.  You will learn a lot and your life will be richer for it.  Don’t judge people by what they do.  Get to know others as individuals.  You’ll be surprised at what you learn.

I have had some very interesting conversations with taxi drivers in New York City.  These days, most of them are immigrants.  They love this country and are well-informed about it.  When I get into a taxi, most often the driver is listening to NPR or an all-news station.  I have had some great conversations about local and national politics, the state of the US economy, and sports with taxi drivers.

In Denver, I occasionally use a car service to go to and from the airport.  This service is a cooperative.  The members of the coop are all immigrants from Ethiopia.  They were all political refugees.  They love this country and are willing to discuss it in depth.  I love my rides to and from the airport with them.

And, I learned something very interesting.  Ethiopia was a Catholic country until the schism in 1066.  The Ethiopian Church sided with the Eastern Church in Constantinople and broke with Rome.  I was raised Catholic, but my father’s parents were Orthodox Christian, or Russian Orthodox as we called them.  In that tradition they celebrate Christmas on January 7 because they use a different calendar.

I remember having two Christmases when I was young.  I always got a small present on January 7.  Imagine my surprise when a guy from Africa told me that he couldn’t drive me to the airport on January 7 because he chose to stay at home and celebrate Christmas with his family.  This led to a very interesting discussion on how Ethiopia participated in the schism.  When the Ethiopian community in Denver was building a new church, Cathy and I were some of the donors.

See what I mean about treating everyone as if he or she has something to offer?  I never would have learned some valuable information about how similar the life experiences of a black guy from Ethiopia were to my own growing up had I not taken the time to engage this person in conversation.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people follow the career advice in Tweet 124 in Success Tweets.  “Everyone has something to offer.  Never dismiss anyone out of hand.  Take the initiative.  Actively build relationships.”  Following this career advice will help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.  More important, it will lead to a richer and fuller life.  When you have the right attitude, when you engage people, when you expect to find them to be interesting, you will open yourself up to a world of ideas that will not only help your career success, but will also help you succeed as a person.

That’s my career advice based on Lisa Giruzzi’s ideas on how attitude shapes your communication effectiveness.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  One is 140 bits of career advice, all in 140 characters or less.  The other is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site on September 1.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  To celebrate the grand opening, I’m giving away a new career advice book I’ve written called I Want YOU…To Succeed in Your Corporate Climb.  You can find out about the membership site and get the career advice in I Want YOU… for free by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.PPS : You can get a free Special Report on “The 5 Most Common Mistakes Managers and Supervisors Make and How to Avoid Them,” from Lisa Giruzzi.  It is available at her website:




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