Be A Positive Force
January 5, 2016
Founder & CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group
TopicsLeadership, Management, Wellness
Amidst the resolutions we make at the start of the new year are the old standbys. Lose weight. Quit smoking. Exercise more. See the world. Be kind.
Our mind is made up. We make these resolutions clearly and intentionally. Yet too few of us change our behaviors to ensure those resolutions come to fruition. We don’t do the hard work, so the results we desire don’t happen.
Yet success is within reach. All we have to do is tweak our habits a bit and refine our actions a bit so we do enjoy a better way. I suggest that each of us needs to add one more resolution to our list - to be a positive force in our home, community, and workplace. I’ll help you with some proven behavioral tweaks.
First off, why be a positive force? Why invest time in your positive well being? What’s in it for you?
The benefits are quite astounding. People with high well being are 31 percent more productive than people with low well being. They have triple the creativity. They are ten times more engaged. They generate 37 percent more sales. They are three times more satisfied. (Tom Rath & Jim Harter, The Economics Of Wellbeing, Gallup Press, 2010; Shawn Achor, Positive Intelligence, Harvard Business Review, January-February 2012)
There are five pillars of well being: five areas that we humans need to invest time and energy in to boost positive well being regularly. (Lisa Zigarmi & Chris Edmonds, Positivity At Work, ThinkAha, 2012). They are positive emotion, positive relationships, meaning and purpose, positive accomplishment, and positive physical health. Let’s take a brief look at each pillar.
- Positive Emotion - When we express positive emotion, stress is reduced and optimism increases. Positive emotions include appreciation, gratitude, inspiration, awe, joy, and amusement. Laughing with colleagues, not at colleagues, is a powerful emotion - as is expressing thanks for peers’ efforts.
- Positive relationships - They enable us to experience trust, kindness, support - and even challenging conversations to push us higher. Humans are wired for social connection. Positive relationships are the single most important source of well being. Nurture relationships with those you trust - and repair poor relationships where you can. Getting those to civil is a big gain on the well being scale.
Meaning & Purpose - This is the extent to which people perceive their actions - at work, at home, in their community - create lasting worth for everyone, not just for themselves. Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, explains the power of purpose as the yearning to do what we can do in the service of something larger than ourselves. One of the best selling books of all time says that, “Without vision, the people perish."
How can you craft meaningful purpose? Create an avenue for people to volunteer in the community - ten hours a year isn’t much but will do a great deal of good. They don’t have to volunteer as a team, though that’s a powerful relationship benefit. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or a local soup kitchen, every month.
- Positive Accomplishment - This is about developing mastery and demonstrating competence in service to others. People who know their strengths and deploy them daily experience greater well being than those who do not. Doing your best matters - your fingerprints are on everything you do. Focus and apply your skills intentionally so you are proud of your products and services daily.
Positive Health - Thisis more than the absence of sickness. It’s a foundation of energy, vibrancy, resilience, stamina, and fitness. Physically fit people live longer, happier, more successful lives. Exercise improves your immune system and fends off stress, dementia, and depression.
What's a good gauge of your positive health? Check your body mass index. Get a step counter to track your daily activity. Monitor the calories you burn and those you take in daily. Fuel your best self with a slow carb diet, eating lean proteins and vegetables.
Start small. Embrace some of these practices in your home, workplace, and community. It’ll take some time to embrace this new positive force strategy and embed new habits.
You’re going to be at work, at home, and in your neighborhood anyway. You may as well boost your well being while there.
Absolute bulls-eye, Chris! Being positive is sometimes the only thing that helps push us past the crud, then once we’ve passed it, being positive looks forward and not back.
I love the ahaBooks. I will unlock this one for sure so I can easily tweet the messages.
In my quiet time yesterday, I realized this to be true of me last year and I am not going to let that happen this year. “Doing your best matters – your fingerprints are on everything you do. ”
Proverbs 29:18 – How about the HCSB translation? “Without revelatio people run wild,
but one who listens to instruction will be happy.”
We mustn’t let the crud win, Jane! Trust, respect, and community are so much more invigorating for us each day –
Thanks for your comments & insights!
Thanks for bringing this topic forward. I see the effects of positivity everyday and find the opposite to be so draining.
Positive Physical Health has been on my mind for the last 18 months or so and it continues to be a focus area for self-improvement. I have found that it impacts all the other areas you mention and is, therefore, immensely important. I have made much positive progress, but have more work to do. Thanks for the reminder of why I’m doing it.
The opposite is indeed draining, Alan! Thanks for your thoughts about this –
Best to you on your positive physical health targets! I’m still working on mine but – man – much progress has been made in the last five years. Getting stronger every day!
Hi, Chris – as usual, your thoughts are spot on and very timely:)
I particularly like your inclusion of these five somewhat disparate areas. Each requires some different strategies and tactics to reach specific goals, but taken together, you have hit on just about every important area that a person needs to address in order to thrive.
Too often, I see folks emphasizing one area to the exclusion of another – the gym rat who is in fantastic shape, but has no strong or meaningful relationships in their life, for example.
Thanks for some motivating words at the start of the year. I’m not into New Year’s resolutions per se, but there is something about the beginning of a time period that opens the door to contemplation of change … and that’s a necessary first step.
Thanks for sharing:)
Thank you, John! I learned a great deal from Lisa Zigarmi through the research for our book – she’d brilliant. She helped me realize that these pillars of positivity must be in dynamic tension – all tied for “first place” – in order for us humans to flourish!
Contemplation of change is a vital first step, as you say. I’m grateful to hear that this post struck a chord with you (and hopefully, others).