I am often asked how I stay positive most of the time. In one workplace me being positive was seen as an issue by some at the company. That said, I do have my down moments, however I believe that a Positive Attitude will enable anyone to perform better than a negative one. For example, would you have more confidence in a Doctor who just before operating advised you he is having a bad day or one who smiled and spoke in an upbeat way.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the moment when things go wrong and in some cases this is the start of a downward spiral. Thankfully, most of us developed an array of personal tools to stay up beat or lift ourselves when we start to slide and here are some of mine:
Tool Number 1: Prior Planning
Prior planning for an activity, project or even your day empowers you. It is a simple yet often overlooked tool. Prior planning means that you have received information about your activity, project or day. Therefore when the unexpected pops up, you may have already had a contingency for it or you will at least have more information to make a decision.
Tool Number 2: Create Personal Space
When I am having a down moment or have been given some bad news, I like to have a moment to think. This personal space is important for me to gather my thoughts. I am a pacer and quite often I will either go for a walk or pace. I also like to go to a quiet place to reflect. Another way to create personal space is to “burn off steam” by way of exercise or jogging.
Tool Number 3: Relax the Body
A key thing that I learnt from a book many years ago was about relaxing the body. When agitated or worked up over something the body will naturally tense up. Your muscles will tense and your fist will want to clench. In doing the opposite, lying down and stretching out the body and holding the fingers out straight the body is forced to relax a little. Another way to relax the body is to meditate or do breathing exercises.
Tool Number 4: Positive Music or Podcast
Music has been used to set the mood on many occasions, whether it is a romantic moment for a couple or getting the crowd fired up at the football. Music has a tremendous impact on our mood and outlook. I have certain music and podcasts that help to put my mind in a positive mode.
Tool Number 5: What If?
This is one that I use often. What if….. everything goes wrong and the worst comes to pass? Most of the time the consequence is not that bad and this puts me in a better frame of mind. The other option is that it is bad and so my mind starts to develop plans for what to do if everything goes wrong. Either way I have a better outlook in the end, as it is either not that bad or I have a Plan B
Tool Number 6: Seek Advice
Quite often when we are in a downward spiral it is hard to see a way out. Through the involvement of others we can often receive advice from someone that is seeing a bigger picture than we can. This advice can be from anyone you trust but you will need to have an open mind to receive the advice that you have been given. For me my wife is an important person that I seek advice from and also to bounce ideas off.
Tool Number 7: Approach the team for Solutions
In a work setting, the sooner you involve the team in seeking solutions the more ownership of the solution by the team you will have. It is important though that you structure the discussion with the team about solutions. This is not a pity party where we all go and talk about how bad life is. It is truly to seek better solutions for the problem at hand. Early involvement of the team will also reduce the issues later on. With this tool it is important that the team maintain a “Can Do” attitude.
Tool Number 8: Positivism rubs off
When you approach things from a positive angle, it becomes contagious. It may not initially, however with persistence people will become more positive around you. By being realistic and seeking opportunities and solutions on an ongoing basis, others will follow suit. A whole meeting can be turned around with the right questions such as: “What can we do about it?”
I hope these personal tools can assist you as they do me. I use them on a regular basis and find that they ensure I remain positive in both the good and the challenging times. Yes there are times when we will be down, that is normal, particularly when things go “pear-shaped”. However the trick is not to stay down and get back on top.
What tools do you use? I would love to be able to add to my list.
By Attila Ovari : Attila is a Cause & Effective Associate. His mission is to help people become more effective leaders.