March 2009

Having a tough day? Week? Month? Year? Well, congratulations, you are alive and human in 2009.

So what are you going to do about it?

I didn’t ask what the Government, the economy, the stock market, the media, your clients, your suppliers, or your dry cleaner is going to do about it – I asked what YOU are going to do about it!

It’s up to us, and we should want it that way. Here are two reasons our attitudes belong at the highest possible altitude:

First, we can make a difference. We can be a source of inspiration for others, and for ourselves in the process.

The “altitude” imagery is inspired by watching our firm’s co-founder and Managing Director Rod McDermott demonstrate yet another extraordinary talent – flying his own airplane and thereby helping our firm be even more nimble in navigating around the Southwest. While it takes a ridiculous amount of mental agility to fly a plane, and Rod has it, I think it is also a way that Rod keeps the “altitude” imagery active in his life and our business.

I’m equally inspired by watching Rod and co-founder Chris Bull guide our firm through these admittedly strange times with inspiring and “high altitude” creativity and positivity.

I believe that I have a responsibility in the business community to help raise the confidence and spirits of everyone I encounter – really, we all share this responsibility, and each of us can make a difference.

The second reason I believe our spirits should naturally soar is simple human nature. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, a recent book with inspired clear thinking much like The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell) and Freakonomics (Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt), captures this idea brilliantly:

“So if the question is ‘why should we want to control our futures?’ then the surprisingly right answer is that it feels good to do so – period. Impact is rewarding. Mattering makes us happy. The act of steering one’s boat down the river of time is a source of pleasure, regardless of one’s port of call.”

It just makes sense … we feel better when we have control over our future.

But, you may say, we don’t have control over everything that is affecting us. What, then, do we control? Well, each of us is entirely in control of our own attitude. We can be victims and feel miserable, but who wants that? Among the people I admire every day for pressing on and continuing to build the future, I find that most are sick and tired of feeling uncertain and worried – thoroughly sick and tired.

Each of us has an opportunity to be THE CRITICAL INSPIRATION for the next person we meet, and we never know when it will matter, so why not assume it always matters? The altitude of our attitude is the greatest gift we have to give right now. Let’s give it with all our hearts.

Thanks for sharing time with me; as always, I welcome your feedback and please feel free to pass this message along to others who may find value.

Requested Feedback: Please email me back with a saying or thought that keeps the altitude of your attitude flying high. I will compile them and send the responses back as an inspiration to each of us. Thanks for your involvement.


Jeff Black
Managing Principal Consultant, McDermott & Bull Executive Search
Cell: (714) 356-1949 Office: (949) 753-1700 ext. 310
2 Venture, Suite 100 Irvine, CA 92618