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Motivation Article

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Success Starts with a Can Do Attitude (Three Secrets to Creating More Success)
By Ed Sykes

"If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad."
-Denis Waitley

Recently, I was watching a women’s professional tennis match on TV. One of the players, Nadia Petrova, was having a spectacular tennis season, either winning or playing for the championship in several tournaments in recent months.

The TV interviewer interviewed Nadia’s new coach and mentioned that Nadia, who was rated in the top twenty players in past years, was fast becoming one of the top five players in the world. The interviewer asked Nadia’s coach about this, and the coach said, “In the past, Nadia had people around her that concentrated on what she ‘can’t do.’ So Nadia would concentrate on what she couldn’t do, especially in challenging situations on the court, and it would frustrate her. I am concentrating on what she ‘can do,’ and she is a much better, confident player and is mentally much happier.”

So I ask you, do you concentrate on the “can’t dos” or the “can dos?” The following are three secrets to creating a “can do” attitude that produces positive results and more success in your life, business, and career:

  1. Set Can Do Goals
    Set goals that move you toward successful results. People fail because they don’t know what they want or what they don’t want. Ask a friend, family member, or associate what they want in life. In most cases, they will pause and really think about what they want. Sometimes they can’t come up with an answer. Sometimes they may come up with a weak response. However, ask the following question, “What don’t you want in life?” and, in most situations, you will receive multiple, clear, and quick answers to your question. That’s because we concentrate on what we don’t want to happen instead of what we want to happen. In life, as in sports, we concentrate on “not losing” instead of concentrating how to “win.”

    Set S-M-A-R-T-E-R (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely, Encouraging, Rewarding) goals that create a crystal clear roadmap for your success, and work to achieve these goals everyday.
  1. Take Care of Your N-E-T-S
    N-E-T-S stands for Network with Everyone Today for Success. Fill your NETS with positive people that will support your positive “can do” attitude. These people, while supporting your goals, will also help you pass roadblocks to achieve your goals. You will also make your NETS stronger by supporting their goals to create a mutually supportive situation.

    Joy Fisher-Sykes always says, “Clean your NETS of people who have a “can’t do,” negative attitude, and who don’t support your quest to achieve your goals.” The more junk (negative people) in your NETS, the less room you have for more treasure (positive people). Take a close look at “friends,” family and co-workers and ask, “Do they support me and my “can do” attitude?” If they don’t, remove them from your NET. Keep your NET strong with positive people.
  1. Concentrate on the Positive
    Recent research shows that 75-80% of daily communication is negative. This would include negative self-talk, conversations with others, or the media (TV, radio, the internet, etc.).

    Take back control of your mind and be responsible for your “can do” attitude. You can start with the following:

    • Concentrate on self-talk with positive solutions
      Start your mornings with meditation. Concentrate on positive thoughts with positive results. Visualize, involving as many senses as possible, to intensify the visualization and make it real for you. Ask, “What does your success feel, look, sound, and taste like?” Be aware of negative self-talk, and replace it with positive self-talk.
    • Control the Communication
      If it is a conversation, reframe the negative conversation into a more positive conversation. If someone is complaining endlessly, say, “Mike, I hear what you are saying. What solutions to you see to this problem?”

      If the media is negative, tune it out or turn it off.

      You can always walk away. You have that right.
    • Walk the Talk
      Be consistent in your behavior, and act on your “can do” attitude.
    • Fake It Till You Make It
      Act like you are already achieving your goals, and you will rise to a higher level. Others will also see you as achieving your goals and interact with you accordingly.


    Follow these “can do” techniques and you will also achieve more success in your life. I know Nadia does. As of this writing, she has won two additional tournaments, with no end in sight. She has a “can do” attitude that creates success, and you can, too.


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Want to achieve greatness? Our motivation programs can help you lead others to the next level.  Also read our articles on motivation, goal setting, etc. Call us at 757-427-7032 or e-mail us at to schedule a motivation event or get additional information.

Ed Sykes is a professional speaker published in the areas of leadership, change management, customer service and teamwork. He works with business and government organizations who want to reach the next level of success and individuals who want to perform at their best. You can email him at, call him at (757) 427-7032 or visit his Web site at

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Last modified:
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