Attitude will figure in every equation of performance and if you are honest with yourself it may be time for a change. Faced with three alternatives for action: Stay with the status quo, get on the right track, or find another vocation–which do you choose?

There is only one wrong choice: Stay with the status quo.

Under-performance is one thing. Acceptance of mediocrity is a whole new ball game. Nothing can cause your attitude to get worse than failure to reach your goals. And the worse your attitude becomes, the more you will tend to under-perform. It is a vicious cycle. No one ever went from failure to success by sticking with the status quo. The time to break this cycle is now–if you really want to succeed.

How to break the cycle. The first step in breaking a cycle of under-performance is being honest. If you really want to succeed, you will take the actions necessary to bring success. If you don’t really want success, you will tend to stick with exactly what you are doing now. If you really want success, take an accounting of what you really need to do–

•Do you need to change a negative attitude to positive?

•Do you need to go from being hampered by call reluctance to surpassing all obstacles?

•Do you need to find out where the business really is and continuously attack on all fronts?

If you are not succeeding and you don’t think that you need a change in these three areas, you are not being honest with yourself. It is now time to enlist the help of others. Elicit mentors–your boss, top producing peers, family and targets.

Ask them to be painfully honest. This is important because your inner circle will not want to hurt your feelings. Just because you are not a top producer does not mean that they don’t like you. You must convince them that you want only feedback which will improve performance. You are not interested in affirmation of any positive aspects of your execution. Any positive affirmation will point you back to the status quo. You may even choose to abandon positive aspects of your game plan to accomplish more in the long run.

If people are being honest, you will hear statements such as:

•You seem to miss larger opportunities that are presented because of smaller obstacles;

•You focus on the negative aspects of your job;

•You don’t seem to be able to solve complex problems;

•You seem to hang around the office too much.

Using the information. The purpose of this research is not to make you feel bad and cause your attitude to get worse. The reason that we ask an alcoholic to announce their disease is to begin the road to recovery.

The solutions for your recovery are quite simple. If you need to go where the business really is, then find out where it is. If you don’t know, ask your boss or top producing peers. Most offices or companies have top producing individuals from whom the information is readily available. You do not have to reinvent the wheel. The process of bench-marking uses the knowledge of those around us. Take a top producer out to lunch. Spend a day with them. Volunteer to be their assistant for one month. If you don’t know the answers, become a sponge for good information instead of a mediocre complainer stuck in the muck of the status quo.

What if you really don’t want success? If you really don’t want success, then the time for honesty is now. Salaried workers in the government sector may be able to reach retirement by coasting. Not so for commissioned sales personnel or business owners. There is nothing wrong with recognizing that you are in the wrong industry–or wrong aspect of the industry. It is wrong to not recognize that fact and continuously be miserable because you are under-performing with regard to your expectations.

If you can be happy in a salaried job with delineated responsibilities–then take action to achieve that position. The key is happiness. If your happiness comes through accomplishing independent successes in a self-directed career, then take the actions necessary to achieve your goals. There is no greater reward than that.