“You’ll never make it with that attitude!” You’ve heard it in sports. You’ve heard it in school. And you may have heard it from your parents. You attitude is the filter through which all the input you receive passes, is judged, and is acted upon.

In business, having a constructive and positive attitude is crucial to success. Having a negative and fatalistic attitude can bring on a self-fulfilling prophecy totally detrimental to business success. If you expect negative outcomes, then situations that hide an ultimate advantage will be judged solely and quickly on their apparently negative surface. You may never look deeper to discover the gold.

When we were delivering the Keynote speech for the International Conference on Entrepreneurship in Dublin a few years back, we had the pleasure of meeting a professor from the St. Petersburg State Institute of Technology in Russia. We got talking about the shape of entrepreneurship in his country. He said the biggest obstacle they faced was the negative attitude of the general public toward entrepreneurship. From their perspective, risk taking is fool hearty, destined for failure, and puts a burden on families who have to support failed entrepreneurs. Ouch!

You don’t have to go to Russia to find counter-productive attitudes that doom business success. We have our own home-grown variety. They are baked into the way we were raised, the neighborhood we grew up in, and the schools we attended. They have to do with whether or not you have seen enough success in your life to believe it’s possible. They have to do with whether or not you have a history of overcoming adversity, solving problems, and seeing things through.

We found it very telling that the largest percentage of Inc. 500 entrepreneurs had parents who were also entrepreneurs. This apparently shaped their attitude. At least they knew more about what to expect and that challenges could be overcome with patience, tenacity, and open mindedness.

Can you develop a “can do” attitude without that environmental support? We think so. But it requires listening closely to your own words, expressions, and comments. Terms like, “It’s just my luck,” and “This will probably fail,” and the ever popular, “Sh*t happens!” can erode your positive attitude and incline you to give up at the first sign of adversity. This can blind you to solutions staring you right in the face.

One of the ways we describe “The Barefoot Spirit” is that it is an attitude that says, “This is possible, and I am going to find out how. Sure, it’s going to require more work, more research, and more anxiety, but I can handle it!” The Barefoot Spirit doesn’t just hype you up rah-rah style like a pep rally. It provides actual tools you can use that help make success happen.

If you believe it’s possible and you have the tools, you are more likely to find success. For instance, “Who gets rich if I get rich?” Those are your strategic allies. “Who benefits when this problem is solved?’ Those are the strong players on your team. “Who has already solved this problem in other industries?” Those are your mentors. In other words, with the right attitude, you are not alone.

It’s easier to change your lexicon to positive self-talk and remarks when you know you have access to the tools that can help you handle the unknown. It’s not about luck, it’s about preparation meeting (and recognizing) opportunity. So, prepare yourself with a positive attitude and grab some time-tested and proven tools you can use!

Who Are We.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse in 1986, to the board room of E&J Gallo, where they successfully sold their brand in 2005. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful and help corporations achieve entrepreneurial cultures to engage and empower their people.

Currently they travel the world keynoting at universities, corporations, conferences and symposiums. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals; along with being FOX News Radio Network’s Workplace Culture Experts. They are also the recipients of the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Award from the Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley University. Visit their popular brand building site at www.thebrandauthority.net. To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact info@thebarefootspirit.com.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders