President's Message September 2017
Setting your own context
Yesterday I got to do one of the things I find most enjoyable and rewarding! I was invited in to speak to a number of employees at a local business about setting their own context and determining their own pathway to success both in their professional and personal lives.
Whilst my own sporting and professional career provided the backdrop to my presentation, the main focus of my message was derived from an old and very good friend of mine who once told me that he is entirely unoffendable. As you may imagine, I was somewhat sceptical and when he told me this, I tested his assertion thoroughly and was surprised to find that he was indeed completely right, he truly was unoffendable.
As a result, he navigated through life with a smile on his face and a positive attitude toward everything and everyone no matter what the context. So how was this possible? The answer to this is quite simple. Rather than accepting the context of any given situation foisted upon him by others, he chose his own narrative which in turn gave him control over how he felt.
The best example I can provide to explain this approach relates to driving a car. When you are on the morning commute and grid locked in heavy traffic, occasionally you might choose to do your good deed for the day and let another vehicle in to your line of traffic who has been waiting for ages to join the flow. And then, disaster strikes! Having committed your act of kindness, the recipient fails to thank you. Emotions quickly change from self-satisfaction to anger and resentment as your kind deed goes utterly ignored. And then you find out that the vehicle you have let in to your line of traffic is carrying a sick patient to hospital and the last thing on their mind is to thank you for your kindness.
Knowledge of this vital information immediately changes the context completely and you are of course much more understanding of the situation. The great news is of course is that the choice of narrative for any situation is entirely yours. The context of any given situation is for you to decide and you do not have to accept the situation as presented. Choosing the positive is entirely within your own control and once you realise this, being unoffendable and seeing the positive in every situation becomes a habit.
Similarly, the impact of taking such positive choices in your professional and personal life has huge benefits both to yourself and those around you and the results can be truly remarkable. As we all strive to be the best friend, colleague, employee, employer, parent and partner, I believe that setting our own context is essential to maintaining a positive mental attitude and getting the best out of ourselves whilst giving the best of ourselves to those around us.