Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Having A Good Attitude vs. Reality

Growing up in an Amway pop-up house, I was forced to have a positive attitude at all times.  Negative statements were as banned as Brand-X products. Negative emotions - like sadness and anger - were an abomination. My parents stood on stages in Amway rallies around the world and gave heart felt talks about over coming adversity and stern advice on how to change your thinking.   Mind over matter meant mind over reality.
It has taken me a long time to sift out the useful parts of my Amway upbringing.  I tossed it all away after my father’s Amway dream collapsed along with our family.  But after a while I started to miss my positive attitude and slowly realized that many of the teachings my father inherited from Amway weren’t the problem. It’s what he did with them that became the issue. 
Having a good attitude is necessary for any kind of success.  But when that attitude becomes a round the clock personality, then it stops being real.  Since my days in Amway I have met people who use this overzealous attitude to dominate a conference room or hide parts of themselves they are ashamed of.  I can smell a sales technique coming a mile away and I can feel when someone is being inauthentic or using a learned positive attitude to overcompensate for some kind of insecurity. 
The entire network marketing sector and life coaching industry is saturated with techniques on how to work with people.  Rehearsed spiels and over-caffeinated presentations with a bulldozing “I’ll win you over” approach annoy me.  I agree that good energy is infectious, but only if it comes with a fully equipped human being.  It’s when the Stepford Wives syndrome takes over that scares people into thinking that a positive attitude is one step away from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  I watched my father use this side of the self-help movement to avoid reality and run from his feelings.  I’ve done it myself.
I believe there is a healthy balance in this area.  I am a freelance writer and therefore self-employed. I never escaped the entrepreneurial gene passed on by my father and am grateful for that. I rely on my people skills and good attitude to attract work and interest in my work.  But I am not going to sell it to you twenty-four hours a day.  I'm not a machine.  There's a human being behind these words you're reading and that is my first priority: to be human.  I meet people everyday and after twenty years of trying every sales spin and technique out there I've realized that the best sales pitch in the world is sincerity.  Authenticity and sincerity clears away the negative attitudes all on their own, exposing the natural God-given beauty that is our personalities, on good days and growing days.  
 That’s my reality, and I have a pretty good attitude about it. 

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