The Mental Switch - I've Got a New Attitude!
by Anne Koproski
Are you familiar with the old comeback line to "I can't believe I'm ____ (pick a number, any number)"? What I've always heard is: "It beats the alternative!"
Now that is supposed to be encouraging, right? I'm here to tell you, NOT! I flash back to looking at my now twenty-something son sitting in our kitchen on his fifth birthday. I can't believe he had hit the ripe old age of five. I said something like, "Oh my gosh, you're getting so old!" To which he replied in that long-suffering voice only a child can use on their poor addled parent (complete with exaggerated eye-rolling), "Mom, I'm not old; I'm older!" Hmmm. I recall thinking, I really must remember that for myself in my later years.
Well, the later years have arrived. I am no longer embarrassed to say I hit my 60th birthday (and of course, since this writing - then some!). Slightly embarrassed to say getting to that point was a bit of a struggle. I was lost in visions of physical decline, memory loss, reduced mobility, nursing homes, you get the picture. A bit ahead of myself once again and all triggered solely by a number.
Friends encouraged me with words like "60 is the new 40!" (This from a woman who is in her 50s, so she's be-bopping around the new 30s.) "You're only as old as you feel" (let's not dwell on this one). And, of course, the ever popular, "It beats the alternative!"
Here at Communico, we devote a lot of time helping people develop a MAGIC®
mindset of service — a new attitude. We consider a customer's tone of voice, the words they use and their actions to help uncover their service experience. I decided to apply this approach to how I was viewing and referring to my impending "life celebration."
Looking at oneself in the mirror wondering how gravity could be so cruel, sadly recalling days gone by, sitting down to another helping of whatever fattening comfort food was available, were all my approaches to this new era. Even my use of quotations marks around "life celebration" tells of the ambiguity of my approach to this new milestone. My tone of voice, the way I addressed myself and the actions I was taking were not going to bring about any positive mindset. This needed to change!
Enter my Sensational Sixties List. Sixty things that would be fun or interesting to do in my 60th year. If anything was achievement or goal focused, it did not belong. I started sharing my list with others. Some said, "Oh, your bucket list." After thanking them for their contribution, I graciously informed them a bucket list is comprised of things to do before one kicks the bucket. My goal was to stay away from the bucket — though dancing around the bucket is certainly an option.
This new mindset has been incredible. Coupled with my now looking in the mirror each day saying, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made, thank you very much!", I cannot tell you how wonderful I feel; how excited I am to be doing the things on my list. These things do not have to be huge. So far my list (53 items latest count) runs the gambit:
going to a movie a month (with or without the popcorn)
auditioning for a play (I didn't get the part but, boy, was that fun)
a hike to a childhood camp ground with a family member (shooting for the summer)
a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (with college friends in the fall)
a helicopter ride (still investigating)
zip lining with that twenty-something son (sans eye rolling)
I have friends calling wanting to get on the list. This has turned into so much fun!
I choose to use words that convey the joy I am anticipating, the pleasure that is yet to be had; focusing on the people in my life and the opportunity to spend time with them. I'm talking to myself in a much kinder, gentler way, with excitement and encouragement. I am finally giving myself good service!
How about you? Would you benefit from a Terrific Twenties, Thrilling Thirties, Fantastic Forties, Fabulous Fifties, Sensational Sixties, Stellar Seventies, Exceptional Eighties, No-holds Barred Nineties List of your own? (I'm planning ahead; let the good times roll!)
And while you're compiling, check your word choice, your self-talk. If your experience is anything like mine, your mindset change will alter the way you live your life, the way you enjoy
your life. Now that's something to celebrate!
Anne Koproski, sales & marketing associate for Communico Ltd., has more than 30 years of experience in all aspects of office management, administration, process development, operations and sales support.