Six Steps to Positive – By Russell Zwanka
You know how you feel when you spend the day with someone with that “can-do” positive energy? It’s contagious. It makes you feel more energetic, more productive, and even more successful. You look forward to being with that person. Can’t we all be that person?
We can all be forces for positive change, forces for enthusiasm, forces for looking at the bright side of every situation? We can! All it takes is the right attitude and the determination to follow a few steps:
Assume positive intent. Sounds easy enough, right? But, what about that person who just cut you off in traffic? What about the co-worker who took the project in the wrong direction? The human nature assumption is usually that the person meant to do it. For once, and hopefully it will stick, assume that the other person only had positive intent, and really has no personal vendetta against you. They are just another person in this world just like you.
Thank the waiter. “Thanking the waiter” is a metaphor for ensuring that we recognize everyone around us as important….at all times. How many times during your lunch does a waiter or waitress re-fill your drink? Sure, they are getting paid, but don’t you think they would love to hear you say, “thank you”? Every time. Look around you. There are bus drivers, policemen, utility workers, teachers, or even your team at work. These are people who make your life a little easier. Just saying thank you can go a long way. You know, I’m sure even the President of the United States would like to hear someone thank him once in a while.
Be appreciative of what you have. For most of us reading these words, we are able to walk to the pantry and grab something to eat. If we want to drive down to the local grocery store and buy some special cut of meat, we can do that as well. Want to drive to the other side of the country? Go for it. We have freedoms that many do not enjoy, and we can sometimes take them for granted. You have a system that allows for a teacher to be there for you every day and pass on knowledge. Be appreciative of your current situation, not always what you wish you had. When you really take time to look around you, things are pretty good.
Develop a moral compass. You can’t go through life making decisions on a whim, making decisions on emotion, making decisions on impulse. The most positive individuals make decisions based upon their moral compass. How does this decision affect others? Is it the right or wrong thing to do? Would I do it if my Mom were watching? A moral compass is a guide. It’s a guide to doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Think of the impact on this world if all decisions were made under the direction of a moral compass.
Think of the other person first. When you are talking with another person, are you listening to respond or are you listening to learn? It is second nature to blurt out how you feel, how you acted, how you would do things differently. You have to train yourself to listen with the intent to learn what the other person is saying. It’s not all about you. People want to be heard. Remembering the “two ears and only one mouth” ratio is paramount to positively impacting others.
Do what you enjoy. Yes, it is called work because it is a lot of work….but, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you are doing. If you are in retail, and every store you pass in every country you visit is another opportunity to see the neat creative ideas that someone else might have thought up, you are in the right job. If you are a web designer, and you have to constantly review other sites for great ideas and inspiration, you are in the right job. Do what you love. Do what brings out the passion in you. Life’s too short to do anything else!
We can do this! We can be a positive force on this world. We can be the encouraging and passionate impact for change. All it takes is the right attitude and the desire to be the magnetic pull that unites those around us in a positive manner.
Russell Zwanka is CEO and Partner at Triple Eight Marketing. Russell has led the merchandising, marketing, advertising, procurement, and all customer engagement areas for multiple organizations in the United States and Canada.