Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand for the past nine months or so (and who would blame you?) you’ve probably felt the effects of the big black cloud of negativity that’s looming about. I see it hovering in the buildings of the organizations I work with, reflected in the grim expressions of people on the street, and bolstered by the politicians and pundits we hear every…single…day. Even Pollyanna might have difficulty finding something to be glad about today.
So what are we to do? Give in to the negativity? No! Despite what’s going on around you, you have a choice as to how you respond to it, just like in this Native American legend.
One evening an old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."
"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
I’m here to suggest that you feed the right wolf. Make a conscious effort to focus on the positive, and increase what Shirzad Chamine calls your “positive intelligence” (PQ). Not only will you be happier, you’ll improve your relationships, increase your success at work, and, let’s face it, be a lot more fun to be around!
Here are some ideas for feeding the right wolf.
• Think about one thing that is causing you a lot of stress. Now think of three ways you can turn that into an opportunity.
• Practice saying “Yes, and…” instead of “Yes, but…”
• Keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down something positive about the day.
• Surround yourself with positive people.
• Turn off the news and turn on a comedy.
• Get away from your computer and go for a walk, a hike, a run or some other activity OUTSIDE.
• Watch kids at play.
Let’s make positivity “trending…”
“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” – Joyce Meyer
Till next time,
This year I will celebrate PeopleThink’s 16th year in business. I like to think we’ve beat the odds, considering that, according to the Small Business Association, only about a quarter of sole-ownership businesses survive 15 years or more. When I reflect on what has helped me stick around, three things come to mind: 1) I listen; 2) I build strong partnerships; 3) I am continuously learning and adapting.
Listening. In my last blog I talked about the importance of listening. It really is fundamental to building trust and developing lasting relationships. In my work, where many clients have the same or similar issues, it would be easy to tune out and simply recommend what’s worked for others in the past. But here’s the thing. Although the issues may be similar, every client, every organization, every particular situation is different. Goals are different. Personalities are different. Specific challenges are different. Tune out for a second, and you may miss that one critical piece that will separate success from failure. Never assume you know what to recommend until you’ve asked all the questions and really listened to all the answers.
Partnerships. I have to admit, I’m pretty uncomfortable with “selling.” So my approach has been to build partnerships with my clients – it’s about “we” and not about “me.” How can I help my clients achieve their goals and be successful? I’m happy to say that I still hear from clients I worked with years ago who reach out to seek my counsel and coaching on a new challenge or opportunity. They know that I will listen, and give them honest feedback based on their needs. They also know that they can trust me to: do what I say I’m going to do, always be on time, keep them accountable, and infuse a bit of fun into our work.
Continuous learning. Continuous learning means that in this rapidly changing world I strive to keep up-to-date on research and best practices in leadership, team and organizational development. Over the years I’ve adapted to and incorporated new assessment and learning tools, such as Lumina Spark, that provide my clients with more robust, evidence-based, and actionable information. And continuous learning also means that even though I’ve been doing what I do for 16 years in PeopleThink and in the corporate environment for many years before that, I learn something new every day…from colleagues, from people in my workshops, from partners. Having an open mind and heart and knowing you don’t know it all is essential to building and maintaining the types of relationships that will make your business thrive.
Please join me in raising a toast to 16 wonderful PeopleThink years! I’m looking forward to many more!
“Most of the successful people I know are the ones who do more listening than talking.” - Bernard Baruch
Till next time,