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3 Can-Do Attitude Killers

Photo by Japheth Mast on Unsplash

Can-Do attitude is a quality difficult to define. My grandma would say, “Tough to stick a fork in it.”

Yet if I had to identify one quality I am most drawn to in a volunteer leader. It’s their attitude. And attitude is shaped by perspective.

Perspective is everything.

Perspective seems to have less to do with what’s real yet it holds great power in our lives. Our perspective shapes our reality. And in the ministry world, I need a leader’s reality to be defined by what CAN happen… not by what can’t.

Why do I think a Can-Do attitude so important in leadership?

I think people want to follow it.

Don’t get me wrong. We have an affection for the negative. Reality shows, pop culture and celebrity news feed an addiction our culture has for drama & conflict. Yet, when it comes to following a leader, a Can-Do attitude is what we want.

Look at it this way. If we are going to follow someone, we want to believe that what we set out to do is achievable. No one enters a game hoping to lose.

Yet leading with a doubt-filled attitude is no different.

So, we can agree that a Can-Do attitude is important to leading people. But if it’s so important, why don’t more people have it? I think it comes down to three Can-Do killers. Three things that can erode the idea that what you set out to do is possible to accomplish.

Past Experience
Personal history might have taught you that what you’re about to attempt is impossible. If every year for 5 years you make the same New Year’s resolution to lose that final 10 lbs. Yet every year you fail to meet that goal the more you believe you can’t. Past failures can taint your ability to believe in future success.

Action Step: Work to remember your wins. If you’re anything like me, you remember more failures than wins. (Truth be told… I’m bad about dismissing my wins and only focusing on my failures. But that’s another Oprah moment.) Here’s my best remedy. Put pen to paper and write down the last 20 wins you’ve had. That’s right. 20. Don’t get to 5 and decide you’re over it. Don’t stop at 10 and think you’re in a good place. Document 20. You see, we can condition ourselves to only focus on the misses and never even see the hits. Don’t be that leader. Believe enough in yourself to invest the time necessary to come up with 20 times you won. I think you’ll find that you hit more often than you miss. But you only operate under the truths you choose to acknowledge. 

Deficit Mindset
The “not enough” mindset can squeeze the potential out of every situation. Whether it’s time, budget, man-power or something else, when you believe there is not enough, you’ll struggle to believe you can accomplish the goal.

Action Step: Creativity comes alive when resources aren’t readily available. Choose to view your situation in a different light. Bring other people around it. And trust that creative minds can fill the gaps. 

Lack of Trust
When you lack trust in the team you work alongside, any Can-Do attitude you attempt to conjure will be half-hearted at best. Life isn’t a solo sport. You’re always working with a team. Whether it’s family, friends, roommates, pets, you are rarely operating in a bubble. In ministry, you are working with a team of fellow volunteers. The ability to believe something can be accomplished is directly linked to how much you believe those around you can help make it happen.

Action Step: Is there someone on your team you don’t trust? Have you had a conversation with them? Don’t underestimate of the power of a personal conversation. It could be the one action that changes the game. Pull them aside, talk about the goal, give them space to share their concerns & find a game plan to work through them.

When I consider terms I want to define my leadership, Can-Do attitude is at the top. But it has to come from an authentic place within myself. And that takes work. It requires that I cultivate the the right actions over and over again. It means I choose to acknowledge wins, lean into creative solutions to fill the gaps and address lack of trust early.

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