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As you read the title of this article, you might be doing a bit of eye rolling and thinking to yourself, "Oh no, here come some tired platitudes of 'fake it 'til you make it,' 'plaster on a veneer smile,' or even, my favorite, 'pooping rainbows.' That is not what this article is about. Instead, you will get some simple tools to polish up the positive in your organization.
Think about this. There is a lot of discouraging activity happening in the world right now. But, there are a lot of positive things happening in the world, as well. However, what we are bombarded with on a minute-by-minute basis is the negativity. If you think that does not take a toll on you, your staff and your loved ones, that is simply naïve or perhaps denial. Many of you in your organizations are going through mergers, acquisitions, cost cuts, job cuts, etc. All of these actions add up and can have a distracting and negative impact on you and the staff. Thus, we all need to take time to "Polish the Positive" on a regular basis to combat the negativity.
Think, again, about the following: How are you feeling right now, positive or negative? What does that feel like? Take a minute and articulate how you are feeling, either positive or negative, to yourself. Next question, are you at your best when you are positive or when you are negative? Most people answer that they are at their best when they are positive. To prove that point, why do so many high performing athletes psych themselves up with positive energy before their event and eliminate any negative energy from their focus? Because it works! We are at our best when we are feeling positive.
To that point, who do you like to be around the most, positive people or negative people? That is not a trick question. I ask some obvious questions, because with so many organizations that I consult and train with, I witness that they tolerate negativity. We will address that in a moment.
When I am doing a training on eliminating negativity with my clients, I start with an interesting experiment. I ask them to respond to a series of photos aloud with whatever emotion the photo elicits. The initial photos are very joyful happy photos, and everyone is engaged with shouting out their emotions, smiles on their faces and connecting with each other. We then progress to more indifferent, angry, negative photos of people. The response is dramatically different. Participants are withdrawn, not smiling, not even offering their observed emotions. The experiment shows what the power of negativity does to us versus the power of positivity. With photos of positive people, we are engaged not only with the photo but with each other because we like sharing positive things. The photos of the indifferent, angry and negative people make us withdraw; we become quiet and disconnected. It is such a perfect activity/experiment to make the point of how both positive and negative energy impact us that I encourage you to try this with your team as well.
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