Do You Have the "Can-Do" Spirit?

Want to see if you’ve got a “can-do” attitude? Take this easy quiz to find out. Circle the number that indicates your agreement with the following statements.

Choose from a range of 1 through 5, 1 being "Strongly Disagree" to 5 being "Strongly Agree."

I know my strengths.

I know my weaknesses.

I really like doing things that I’m good at.

I’m a good team member in the office because I contribute a great deal.

I really enjoy accomplishing things.

When I’m at work, I make a list of what I’m going to get done each day.

I try to keep up with what’s new when it comes to my job.

I like learning how to do new things in the office.

I make an effort to improve my skills so I can be more effective at my job.

I know what my boss needs done and try to anticipate those needs.

I like job reviews because I learn how others view me.

I network a great deal with people who have jobs similar to mine.

I like to make educated decisions.

It’s easy for me to work in a constantly changing environment.

I like to try new ways of doing things and often adopt new and better methods.


Dr. Mark Goulston, a Los Angeles-based business psychiatrist and UCLA medical school professor, says that people who approach their jobs with a positive, “can-do” spirit are typically people who know their strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. “Self-reliant people get more done because their default mode is to take initiative rather than to wait,” says Goulston, author of Get Out of Your Own Way. “They also recognize when a challenge has the potential to turn into a problem and seek help before that happens.”

Ready to turn “can-do” into “done”? Here’s the good news. You can increase your “can-do” thinking by focusing on what you’ve already successfully accomplished, says Goulston. “Think of two times in your life when you were completely convinced that you would not be able to do something, but then you did. Chances are, when it happened you told yourself, ‘Next time, I’m going to stop worrying about it and just do it.’ This time, take your own advice, knowing that action leads to completion.” Goulston explains that by remembering successful actions with as many of the details as possible, you will re-experience how you went from “can’t-do” to “can-do” to “done.” “You will tap into the wiring in your brain that will help convince you that if you were successful once, you can be successful now.” The psychiatrist says if you remember and re-experience something you did well, you’ll build the confidence that leads to “can-do” behavior.