This Trick Can Help You Boost Positivity

This Trick Can Help You Boost Positivity


The more we complain, the more we cloud the positives in our lives.

This past week, I had several conversations with Cameron-Brooks Alumni.  They ranged from people who made the transition within the last year to those who have 20+ years of business experience.  A common thread came from these conversations.  Those who had transitioned recently talked more about the negatives of their current situation and those with more experience acknowledged the challenges of their current situation and followed up with several positives.  What can we learn from this?

First, we are not Prisoners of Our Thoughts (excellent book by Alex Pattakos and Elaine Dundon).  While we may not be able to control everything in our situation, we do have control over our response, outlook and thoughts.  In the book Prisoner of Our Thoughts, they have an exercise where they ask people to list 10 positive things about their current situation.  They even gave a class to inmates at a detention center and asked them to list 10 positives things about being in jail.  They ranged from, “People are safe from me,” to “I get to work out every day.”

Second, experience and perspective help.  I was speaking with one tenured alum who has been working from home since early 2020.  He acknowledged that working from home was great at first but after a while, he missed his colleagues, the collaboration, lunch out and was tired from video conferencing.  He looks forward to the day they will be back together.  Then, he followed up with these positives: 1) I have a career and the company is doing well despite the pandemic; 2) I have more time in the mornings to read and workout; 3) I see my wife and children every night; 4) I am learning to play the piano with the extra time; and 5) When we go back to in person, the company has learned they can give us some work from home time so I will get the best of both worlds.

I also spoke with someone who started the career within the last year who has been working remotely.  I want acknowledge that immediately starting a new role as a remote employee is challenging.  However, our conversation was mostly tinged with negativity.  When I finally asked him to verbalize the positives, he responded, “I haven’t really thought of that.” When I prodded, he listed these things: 1) “I have learned to be more proactive in reaching out versus waiting for others to connect with me; 2) “I taught myself how to use advanced features in Excel and now I am more confident in my capabilities”; 3) “It has been easier getting settled into my new place and the neighborhood”; and 4) “I like the work, actually.”

Yes, the pandemic has been and is still hard.  There is uncertainty out there and some of us may still be separated from co-workers and family.

So, what can we do?

We can start by acknowledging the situation and take time to list the positives.  That will help us change our mindset.  Why is this important?  First, it helps get perspective and makes life more enjoyable.  Second, if you are a leader, people are looking to you and will follow your attitude.  They will follow what you resonate.  If you resonate negative, they will be negative.  If you resonate, “Yes, this is hard/a pain/I am tired, BUT look at these positives … we are going to focus on these things and make our way through,” your team will model your lead. You can almost guarantee an increase in productivity and happiness.