Do you know the elevation where you live? Florida’s Emerald Coast is where I work and play. Local coastal locations have an elevation of about 10 feet above sea level. Not an ideal place to be when hurricanes make landfall. Our home is on 20 acres inland with a 60-foot elevation – giving us a good margin of safety. Hurricane Harvey went ashore just a few days ago near Corpus Christi, Texas. Corpus Christi, at only 7 feet above sea level, suffered devastating damage from the category 4 storm that packed 130 mph winds and torrential rains. The low elevation and record-breaking rains have dealt Houston and the entire Gulf coast of Texas a heavy blow with an economic toll in the billions. It’s gut-wrenching.
Here’s a deep question: What’s the elevation where you live in your head? If you want to make a positive difference in the world – you have to constantly be growing, changing, and improving. It’s a constant process of elevating your thinking, perceptions, and ability to discern. Leadership requires vision and the ability to see beyond daily challenges and frustrations. It’s often been said that your attitude, not your aptitude determines your altitude. As I work with business executives, we often discuss how it’s much more effective to hire based on attitude rather than particular skill sets. Skills can be taught. Attitude – not so much.
You become what you think about. That truth is packed with the motivation to stay on the road to higher ground – to elevated thinking. My dad was a deep thinker – an intelligent man who enjoyed stimulating conversation. He had little patience for gossip or drivel. His motto was “great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people”. You can immediately separate yourself from the crowd when you choose to focus on ideas and solutions rather than complaining about people and problems.
Whenever you need to be refreshed, stimulated, and renewed, go higher. The way up varies among individuals. I recently wrote, How to Strengthen Your Heart – describing some of the well-traveled paths to a better attitude. It is vital to mark the way that leads to a positive attitude so you can find it readily – even in the dark. If I asked, “Tell me your three “go-to” ways to elevate your thinking, mood, and attitude” – you should have a ready answer!
As a native Floridian, it’s easy for me to describe the feeling I get when I go to high elevations in a physical sense. It’s euphoric to move from a totally flat topography and arrive in the mountains. I gasp in wonder at the overlooks offering spectacular views of peaks, valleys, and waterfalls. The breathtaking majesty of nature is inspiring. The air smells amazing – the low humidity is refreshing. Hiking in the mountains is something my husband and I have always enjoyed. Every time you reach a summit, you are rewarded with a fresh view and can see beyond what you imagined.
The best view often comes after the hardest climb. I’ve been known to wonder if the climb would be worth it. I’ve been tempted to find a spot along the trail and just rest and wait while the others climb all the way to the peak and then show me pictures. It’s not the same. Experience tells me it’s worth the energy expended to press in and push on – despite the degree of discipline it takes to grit your teeth through the difficulties.
If you need a renewed attitude, it’s time to go to a higher altitude. It requires elevation to see over the obstacles and get the big picture. Elevation allows you to see and understand that your purpose transcends the frustrations you might currently be facing.
Zig Ziglar was one of my “remote” mentors. I listened to countless hours of his wisdom over a period of many years. He always ended his talks with, “I’ll see you at the top.” It’s from within you rise. A higher elevation and a better attitude are calling.
Note: I am hosting an event in October called “Elevation”. This particular conference is for Women of Faith (sorry, guys – I’ll catch you on the next one) who desire to step into the fullness of their high calling. Consider whether you are one of those who will experience a defining day on October 28th.