When I was in the fourth grade the hula hoop was a big craze.

My teacher allowed us to bring them to class and encouraged us to enjoy them during recess.

Well, I was horrible at it.

I tried, but I simply couldn’t do it. So, I proclaimed it was stupid. I didn’t want to do it anymore.

Then my mother suggested I take another view of the situation.

She explained that some people learn things more quickly than others but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily the ones who will be the best at it. She suggested I look at the hula hoop as a new, fun challenge to be conquered and I could practice privately and see what happens.

So every day after school I’d go into our basement and try that darn hula hoop.

Before I knew it, I was getting pretty good. I even found myself enjoying it. So when our teacher announced a class hula hoop contest — with all the confidence in the world — I signed up. I knew I could win. And I did.

If my mother hadn’t encouraged me to shift my attitude, I probably would have thrown that hula hoop out the door and never known how much fun it could be.

A couple of decades later…

I attended a computer industry trade show when I was vice president of international marketing of a Fortune 100 company. One of the evening mixers hosted a hula hoop contest. Being the only female in my group, the guys cajoled me into entering having no idea I was really good. I hung in there until there were only two of us left and in the final round, I dropped it. Oh well, it was fun!

Attitude is everything.

Just like with the hula hoop, if you hit a bump in the road and you throw in the towel, then that’s the end of your story. But if you change your attitude, look at the situation from a different perspective, who knows what you can achieve.

(FYI — I still have my original hula hoop in my home gym. It’s great exercise.)