The Power of Demeanor

We may not be able to control the circumstances that occur in life, but we can definitely control our response to and our attitude about them. 

A few years ago, I developed a leadership course that I currently teach at UT. Each time I teach it, I kick off the program with a section about the power of demeanor that contains several exercises about attitude. Students always agree that they can’t be inspiring to others unless they are feeling inspired themselves. As leaders and aspiring leaders, they are influential. People notice and emulate their examples – good, bad or indifferent.

You don’t have to be a leader to be influential to the others in your life. You are constantly influencing others, whether you mean to or not… that is your attitude is constantly influencing them.

Have you ever walked into a room with people laughing and then noticed yourself starting to smile? You didn’t know what they were laughing about, but you suddenly felt lifted up.

Maybe you’ve also walked into a room with people sitting around quietly or talking in hushed tones, and the thought crossed your mind, “What happened? Did somebody die?”

Attitude Is Contagious

Here’s an easy exercise that will help you realize just how contagious positive AND negative attitudes can be.

1. Describe a time when yours or someone else’s negative attitude negatively influenced the mood of another person (or a whole group).
– What was the mood/attitude?
– What happened and what was the result?

2. Describe a time when yours or someone else’s positive attitude positively influenced the mood of another person (or a whole group).
– What was the mood/attitude?
– What happened and what was the result?

Take Care Of Your Internal Landscape

Take care of your internal landscape before it escapes and shapes your external landscape.  List 3 ways that you are regularly inspired or that you will do to become more inspired personally.

Out for a walk with our goofy dog, Paddy.

Out for a walk with our goofy dog, Paddy.

By the way, here are my top 3:
1. Music. It’s an instant mood changer for me.

2. Spending a few minutes with our dog. He’s so goofy, he makes me laugh.

3. Taking a brisk walk outside. Seeing trees and natural scenes helps to shift my mental state, and walking helps me think. If I’m stressed or upset, the energy of that leaves my body after a block or two. (And it’s great when I take our dog along for the walk, too.)

I have a few other things I like to do, such as reading or watching inspiring stories, journaling (which is like giving myself a pep talk), pondering wise quotes or great poems and talking to my sister, who has serious chronic health issues and knowing that if she can persevere, so can I (she was supposed to croak years ago, much to her doctors’ surprise).

I also ALWAYS get a boost of inspiration when I am helping/teaching/advising others, whether through my professional work or volunteering.

What are your top 3?

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Angela Loëb helps people rediscover and use their gifts so they bring who they really are to what they do in life. http://about.me/angelarloeb
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2 Responses

  1. Briana says:

    1. Take a shower!
    2. Read something lighthearted.
    3. Indulge in ice cream 🙂

    Sometimes, all at once… I think Amy’s Ice Creams ought to invest in shampoo-flavored ice cream. (or maybe shampoo should be ice-cream flavored…Also, I think I need to invent water-proof books…)

    Enjoyed the post 😉

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