Need to Tune Up Your Attitude? Try Reframing

I’m not sure if it’s the summer heat of Texas that’s getting to me (it tends to make me cranky), but I’ve caught myself thinking in ways that suggest I could use “an attitude check.” When this happens (no, it’s not the first time), I tap into a coaching approach I’ve used with clients – REFRAMING.

When you “frame something up”, it’s about the way you look at a situation. Do you HAVE TO address that customer issue OR do you GET TO resolve that customer issue?

The way you frame a situation in your mind is quite powerful. It makes a difference in your energy level and makes a big impact on those around you. Even using the words, “have to” vs. “get to” can alter the chemicals being released in your brain and affect how you feel about the situation.

If you sometimes start going down the negative path, reframing can shift you into a new way of thinking. It changes the context of the situation and offers a new meaning. 

Consider how you react to change. Even a positive change creates some sense of loss – “Great, I got a promotion, but now I won’t get to work with the same people any longer.”  Change brings risk and uncertainty, both of which can be scary. Fear is a common emotion when it comes to change.

What if you framed change up as opportunity? Opportunity to:

  • learn something new
  • work with different people
  • explore possibilities
  • test new ideas
  • broaden my career experience

Here are a few examples of how you can reframe a situation:

FROM: I can’t do anything about this.    


TO: What is in my control?
FROM: I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake.


TO: Trying something new is an experiment, and you can learn a lot from mistakes.
FROM: I have to work for that micromanager.


TO: I get a chance to demonstrate my capabilities, so she won’t have to micromanage me.
FROM: I have to review every detail of someone else’s work.


TO: I serve as the final quality check to ensure the event is spectacular!

The attitude you carry around makes a difference in how you feel about yourself and your circumstances. Those around you also begin to mirror what they see in you.

We all get through life one day at a time, why not enjoy the day? Look at it this way … while summer is more than halfway over, it’s closer to football season beginning!

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at