Growing up, I can recall my dad telling me not to complain because things could always be worse. He would ask me to consider how another child may not have food to eat or a place to sleep. He’d ask me to compare that to my situation. Conversations with my dad like those are what helped shape a “the glass is half full” attitude. An attitude in which I viewed myself, others, and the situations I found myself in.

When things didn’t go my way, I had two options; I could choose to complain about the situation and blame someone else for what I was going through or take ownership of it and look at the positive side.  What I learned is that complaining and blaming forces a person to live in the past. It causes you to look for all the things that led up to the situation and it stops forward thinking and creativity.

The book, Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Program by Urban Meyer, helps you think about how the attitude you show up with impacts your performance and those around you. Your attitude and behavior put you above or below the line.

How do you know when someone is below the line? They might ask questions that start with “Why” or “Who.” “Why did you do that?” or “Who told you to do that?”. The person using those types of questions is looking for something or someone to blame. You can also identify a below the line attitude by looking “for those whose first reaction is to blame (others), complain (about circumstances), and defend (yourself) or BCD.”

Below the line, toxic cultures are created where everyone is out for themselves. Above the line, the culture is thriving. Team members work collectively and collaboratively, staying focused on serving the client and each other.

Using Urban’s model is one way to help yourself or someone else move from below the line to above the line. When you are unsure of your own attitude, ask yourself, “am I blaming, complaining, or defending?” If someone comes to you and is blaming, complaining, and being defensive, share Urban’s model and then ask, “are you above the line or below the line?”

We get to choose the way we view ourselves, others, and the situations we find ourselves in. What do you want your view to be? Is your glass half-empty or half-full?

Stay curious and have a great week!


Photo by p_ponomareva