Today we were touring Pompeii with our son and daughter in law. As we made our way to our tour bus, we realized we were placed on different buses. Not a good start to our excursion!
When we realized our tour parties would be separate, my husband interceded with our tour guide and arranged for all of us to be on the same bus.
This is my fifth post on leadership lessons learned from tour guides during our summer vacation cruise of the Western Mediterranean region.
Our tour guide, Ornella, was very accommodating as we made the changes. After we were settled on the bus, I began to relax and turn my thoughts to the ancient city of Pompeii. While I don’t have a “bucket list”, Michelangelo’s David and Pompeii were on my “must experience” list. In addition, our son, a history major in college, and I share a love of history, so the tour was an opportunity for us to create memories.
Mt. Versus is majestic and imposing as it soars over Napoli and Pompeii. The city of Pompeii reflects life in Ancient Greece. While the buildings were simple in design, the functions of the different rooms were advanced. The wealthy homes had a hot and cold room for bathing. The fresco’s and pottery were exquisite. The villas were built around beautiful gardens and pools.
Pompeii life was similar to today’s life. The paved city streets were lined with bakeries, fast food restaurants, hotels, and entertainment houses (we didn’t see a McDonalds). An elaborate aqueduct system supplied water to the city. The public fountains were the life source of the city and are still in operation today. Like most Roman cities, several bath houses were located throughout the city.
The most important buildings in the city were located around the Forum. The Temple of Apollo, Pompeii’s most important religious building, as well as the city government buildings lined the forum. Due to its location on the coast, Pompeii was a major trading post for Rome. As we walked the streets and gazed at the surrounding beauty, it was evident to me why Pompeii was also a Roman vacation destination.
As you can imagine, Pompeii was crowded with tourist and the weather was not helping the situation. Europe was in the middle of a heat wave and I found myself thinking about how our tour guide was managing to remain cool and calm while many were whining and complaining. In spite of the heat and crowds, Ornella was pleasant and patient. Her attitude never changed during our half day walk through Pompeii.
Our attitude determines our level of success. Why is attitude so important? Because it is the difference maker. According to Maxwell (2004) “all things being equal, attitude wins. All things not being equal, attitude sometimes still wins.” So who controls our attitude? We do! Our situation does not determine our attitude. We choose to have a positive or negative attitude.
As the leader of our tour, Ornella understood the importance of a positive attitude. She knew we would follow her lead. If the leader acts as if the sky is falling, then everyone will act as if the sky is falling. Therefore, if the leader has a bad attitude, his or her attitude will set the tone for everyone. Our attitude is contagious!
So how do we improve our attitude? The following six actions from Maxwell’s book, Today Matters, can help us:
- Make daily adjustments to your attitude
- Find something positive in everything
- Find someone positive in every situation
- Say something positive in every conversation
- Eliminate negative words from your vocabulary
- Express gratitude to others daily (2004)
If you will incorporate these six actions into your daily routine, you will not only see a significant improvement in your success but also in the people you lead.
Like any discipline, your attitude will not take care of itself. You need to attend to it daily.”
– John Maxwell
As we returned to the shopping area outside Pompeii, Ornella congratulated us on our patience. She thanked us for following instructions and encouraged us to enjoy a refreshing lemon gelato. As we boarded our bus, we all agreed, in spite of the heat, our day in Pompeii was enjoyable and memorable.
What will you do today to improve your attitude?
Dr. Kim Moore
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