The Attitude Influence, Part 1

“If you don’t like something, change it.
If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
—Maya Angelou

I recently read The Attitude Influence by LeAnn Shaw. It’s her first book. And it’s good. I can appreciate the process she went through to give life to her thoughts, wisdom, and to her words. She talks about choosing the people we’re around, people with positive attitudes. People who project healthy energy. This mindset can be the difference between succumbing or overcoming any type of adversity. 

The “Right” People
LeAnn says that it’s important to understand what is and is not acceptable to our well-being, and that a lot of that has to do with surrounding ourselves with the right people. I interpret “right” as those who build up, not tear down, as in collective grit (see April 1 post). As much as I get what she’s saying, surrounding ourselves with those who build up isn’t always so black and white. To add more insight, I asked LeAnn three follow-up questions. Today, I share my first question and LeAnn’s answer.

Debby: You talk about surrounding yourself with the “right” people. What are your determining factors in whether or not you work on a difficult relationship or exit it? 

LeAnn: I think everyone has different criteria for defining the “right” people to surround themselves with; and at times it was an emotionally draining process for me to discover my criteria.

In my book, I talk about an interview I heard with Dr. Maya Angelou. In the interview, Dr. Angelou compares toxic people to ducks that peck away at your soul. That was such a powerful visual for me to reflect upon in my relationships. I asked myself, when I am with this person:

  • Do I feel as though they peck away at my soul?
  • Do I spend a lot of time defending myself?
  • Do I have moments where I feel “less than” (less worthy, less happy, etc.)? 

If I consistently answer “yes” to these questions, I believe it is a clear indication that it is time to exit the relationship.

When I started paying closer attention to how I felt around others, I knew that for me, the “right” people were those who built me up, and whose intentions I did not question when they told me a painful truth. These are the people whom I instinctively know to create joy, peace of mind, and a connection that matters. I know that my life feels fuller because they are a part of it. These relationships provide the freedom to be authentic. I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not when I’m with the “right” people.

See tomorrow’s blog to read LeAnn’s answer to:
How do you recommend people discern between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors/habits/challenges?

In the meantime,
stay well,
stay tuned,
and stay momentous.


I dedicate this month’s blogging in support of April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. See for resources and to learn how to provide positive support to survivors.

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