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Author Dr. Noelle Nelson on Attitude

Is your glass half-full or half-empty? If it's the latter, you're putting your goals in jeopardy.

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With the ever-present bumps and hurdles challenging you in your business, attitude might be the last thing on your priority list. Clinical psychologist and consultant Dr. Noelle Nelson, however, asserts it should be at the top. As the author of six books-her latest is Winner Takes All: The Eight Keys to Developing a Winner's Attitude-Nelson is a testament to the power your positive attitude has in overcoming the unexpected and walking away a winner. Whether you're a new graduate, aspiring entrepreneur or recently laid-off employee, having a winning attitude can help you weather the rough spots and get on with your life.

In her book, Dr. Nelson reveals eight skills all winners use in their daily lives to achieve their goals, along with numerous "Winner's Circle" accounts of people who have overcome adversity through perseverance, courage and, above all, the right attitude. Dr. Nelson shares how entrepreneurs can benefit from the proper frame of mind.

Entrepreneur.com: Why is it so important to develop a winning attitude?

Dr. Noelle Nelson: In our economy and current financial times, unpredictability rules the day. Technology is changing at a rate so fast, it's almost impossible to keep up with. Entrepreneurs can get very scared, because it seems like something you've developed, which felt like a sure thing, is going to have to be changed. These constantly changing external factors mean that your security, confidence and ability to succeed have to rely on something other than a proven skill. Skill is important, but that's not where your sense of competence can be generated anymore.

"If there's anything that's changeable, it's oneself."

What I learned in my work as a trial consultant and psychologist was that people who were successful (all of whom were in some kind of abruptly changed situation) had some very pretty predictable traits. The very first of those is belief in a positive future. One way to stand steady when the entire world seems to be going [wrong] is to steadfastly believe that your future is a positive one. If you choose to focus on positive probabilities, you'll see opportunities, advantages you may have otherwise not have seen.

Entrepreneur.com: Many aspiring entrepreneurs want to do something, but aren't sure what. How do they realize their dream?

Nelson: When you don't know what it is that you want to do, there are two ways to approach it. One is to go back into your past and [think about] what you loved to do as a child. For some it was taking things apart; for others it was staring at the shape of clouds. Daydream about where this fits in [your] adult life, then pick one [thing] and go for it. The only way you genuinely discover what it is you want to do is by doing something and letting it lead to the next thing. So for instance, if you loved to take things apart, you could now be a systems analyst. But if you find out later that you really like to analyze communication, then maybe you become a management consultant. It's rarely the right thing the first time, but that's OK. What usually happens is people give up or stay stagnant, just because it doesn't work out the first time. You should be constantly pulled forward by intrigue and desire.

Entrepreneur.com: You list several types of negative attitudes that hold one back from moving forward to a successful future. How can someone change their way of thinking?

Nelson: Everything about yourself is moldable. Let's take self-pity. You may never turn into a "everybody loves me" person, but you can certainly start to work on counteracting your own negativity. Just think of one client who appreciates you. You will then start to loosen up the hold the negativity has on you. Prove to yourself that you are wrong. If there's anything that's changeable, it's oneself.

Read some inspirational real-life success stories in Young Millionaires by Rieva Lesonsky and Gayle Sato Stodder.