There’s an old saying, "Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it." Have you ever considered how much your mindset matters to your success?

A major challenge agents face today is creating and maintaining a positive mindset. This is harder than ever as we see people lose their homes in foreclosure. Making matters worse, we are bombarded by horrific images of earthquakes, nuclear power plant meltdowns, and tornadoes wiping out entire towns.

It’s even more difficult when we face personal challenges, whether it’s our health, the loss of a loved one, or financial difficulties.

What’s particularly challenging about maintaining a positive mindset is how easily it can be undermined by a simple comment, especially if it comes from a friend or a loved one.

To illustrate this point, anyone who knows me well has heard the stories about my great travel karma. In all the years I have spent on the speaking circuit, American Airlines has never failed to get me to my speaking engagements on time. There were a couple of times when I didn’t get home from the trip on time, but I have never missed an engagement.

Part of the reason for this is I have a very positive mindset about traveling. One of my favorite affirmations: "I’m blessed in my travels." Furthermore, always thanking the airline personnel goes a long way in navigating difficult travel days.

Recently, I bumped into what most travelers would call a really bad travel day. My husband and I were flying to Washington, D.C., for my niece’s graduation. My travel day started at 1 a.m. when I was awakened by my cell phone (which I forgot to turn off) with an automatic flight update saying my flight would be 90 minutes late.

I called the airline and they rebooked me on the 1:30 p.m. flight. Unfortunately, that was the end of my sleep for the night.

The next morning, the lines were the longest I have ever seen at our airport. The bad weather the night before in Dallas had resulted in hundreds of canceled flights. Because I had already rebooked, we waltzed through security in less than 10 minutes.

Our original flight was delayed due to a strong line of thunderstorms, with nearly 4,000 lightning strikes in the one-hour period prior to our flight time. When the storm finally blew through, there was a narrow time frame to make our connection in Dallas. We missed it by 10 minutes.

I contacted reservations. The agent informed me that there were only four seats on the 6:30 p.m. flight to D.C. I asked her to book us. She thanked me for not yelling at her about the weather delays. She said, "These people seem to think that I personally created this bad weather just to aggravate them."

Unfortunately, our 6:30 flight had a mechanical problem. While we were waiting for the plane to be repaired, a number of people were grousing about how they would never fly American Airlines again.

I was reminded of what the agent said earlier, that people seem to blame the airline personnel for the bad weather and mechanical difficulties. I was grateful our plane was going to depart and we would eventually arrive in D.C.

The flight finally departed at 8 p.m. At that point my husband said, "I guess your travel karma wasn’t so good this time."

At that moment, what would you have done? Would you have agreed?

This is a great example of how easily a single negative event can undo years of experience to the contrary. It also illustrates how powerful a throwaway remark from a loved one can be.

The choice was to view the events of the day through a positive or a negative prism. My response was this:

"We missed all those lines this morning. We were on the first flight leaving for Dallas in 15 hours. We had the first soft-shell crab of the season for lunch. Dinner was terrific. We were rebooked four times and still made it in time to attend the graduation. Are you trying to tell me that my travel karma has changed?"

Psychologists call this phenomenon self-fulfilling prophecy. What we expect to happen will happen. If you expect negative things to happen, they will. If you expect the best, that’s what you will experience provided that you keep your attention on what is positive and are grateful for it. The gratitude component is critical. As one coach put it, "How can I ask for more when I don’t appreciate what I already have?"

If you haven’t done so already, take a hard look at your mindset. What kinds of self-talk do you engage in about your clients, your office and your business? Do you constantly focus on how tough the market is?

Are you grateful for the clients who are closing transactions with you? Do you surround yourself with those who are positive and upbeat or are you spending time with people who constantly wallow in the negative muck about everything that is going wrong?

You are constantly at choice in terms of how you create your life. Staying positive takes a concerted effort. Nevertheless, when you maintain a positive mindset, many of the trials and tribulations seem to melt away. It is well worth the effort.

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