Most days I am known for my good attitude. It has become a part of who I am and the emotional work of adjusting to life's chaos with positive, constructive thoughts. But it all fell apart last week in the Philadelphia airport. As I rounded the corner to the TSA pre-check lane on my way to the gate, the agent stopped me to measure my carry-on bag. The bag that had accompanied me on my trip to Philadelphia and, literally, all over the world in the last few years was suddenly non-compliant and I would have to pay $25 to check it. This was an inconvenience, but not a crisis. I had plenty of time, my client would cover the bag fee and I would not have to haul the bag through the airport on my layover. But I was angry and I let that emotional state remain and grow in my mind. Instead of acknowledging how I felt and deciding not to foster negativity, I decided to do nothing and let it take control of me. I didn't rant or say anything rude, but my bad attitude was on display loud and clear and it tainted every interaction.
And that's the thing with bad attitudes--they are contagious. Emotional Intelligence expert, Daniel Goleman says "When my mind is full of anger, other people catch it like the flu." You've probably noticed this in others, but it can be a useful exercise to consider in yourself. How is my current attitude impacting the people around me? Your attitude affects the mood of others--employees, residents, vendors, etc. This isn't just an old wives tale or a helpful principle, it is science.
So, want to increase the positive interactions in your office? Good news--you can. It begins with self awareness which can be as simple as deciding to smile.