The Value of a Positive Attitude

foodThe behavior of your employees is contagious. When employees are friendly and outgoing, the entire company will benefit.

By Jim Callahan.

I have long believed that you do not truly know what a good job is until you have experienced the angst of being forced into a bad position. I have been fortunate in my career to have had only one of what I would refer to as a bad job. As such, that one job made me appreciate every other position I have held, and I’m grateful for the experience.

Success and job satisfaction tend to breed more success. I’ve always worked very hard, and the harder I worked, the luckier I got. So I have learned through the years that much of life depends on attitude in accepting your position and the resolve to succeed no matter the obstacles you face.

There are many employees entering the workforce these days that have led sheltered lives. Employers must teach them that they will need to make adjustments if they expect to succeed in a team environment. No one employee should count on his employer—or co-workers—to receive the special treatment he received from his parents at home.  It’s simply not realistic and he will never mature into the team player you need him to be to succeed. If you have a candidate like this, cut ties with him in the application process. But if he does seem a bit spoiled and shows you he has the right attitude to work hard and change, you may have your next star employee. Anything is possible with an employee that maintains a positive attitude.

Lead By Example
This past summer, I was again reminded of the value of a great attitude by an elderly gentleman, named Hank, who goes to extraordinary lengths to get back and forth to work. He is a reminder that while some folks may have a glamorous job or a lot in life, you can be rich in character.

In my daily commute, I like to stop by a few of our stores on the way to my office and, in particular, I like to visit our top-grossing truck stop. Over a period of time I became aware of Hank, who almost always seemed to be walking, with a purpose, in the direction I was heading. I stopped and offered him a ride one day, which he quickly and graciously accepted. He was polite, well-
spoken and extremely prideful. Stopping once turned into a regular occurrence whereby I would drive him to his home or pick him up for work.

What struck me about Hank wasn’t that he had been out of work for some time, but that he was so eager to get to his new job at an industrial warehouse near our truck stop that this extremely admirable 66-year-old man walks more than four miles each way without compliant. To make the situation even more daunting, Hank works a split shift—four hours in the morning and four hours later in the day. That requires walking about 16 miles a day, which he does without complaint because he feels he is extremely fortunate to have, in his words, “this great job.”

Thankfully, I’m happy to report, Hank recently purchased a secondhand bicycle and most days I see him proudly pedaling back and forth to work.

Now, with this backdrop firmly planted, this illustrates the power of a positive attitude. While many people won’t be coming from the same perspective as Hank, always bear him in mind before you complain about your lot in life. There are others that have less, yet their attitude toward life and respect for themselves gives them a whole lot more.

Jim Callahan has more than 40 years of experience as a convenience store and petroleum marketer. His Convenience Store Solutions blog appears regularly on He can be reached at (678) 485-4773 or via e-mail at


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