How to be more positive

There are a lot of qualities a leader needs to effectively lead a team. One that is arguably the most important but is often overlooked is positivity. A leader who is able to maintain a consistently positive mindset is able to keep the team culture upbeat and morale and engagement high. 

It’s not easy to stay positive all the time, particularly in the face of challenges and problems, but if it is something you struggle with, it’s certainly worth working on it as part of your own personal growth and development. A great starting point is to get a better understanding of how your brain works.  

All of our actions flow from our feelings and our feelings come from our thoughts. In order to create positive results in our lives, we need to generate positive emotions that will fuel our actions and reactions. Here are two ways you can take control of your thoughts and try to create a more consistent positive attitude;  

  1. Make a conscious choice to create a positive emotion.

    Most of us don’t make a conscious choice about what sort of emotions we want to generate each day. We wake up and see what happens. We leave it to fate. We leave it to external situations. Instead, create a positive emotion, on purpose. The idea is, you can get up in the morning and make a decision about what emotion will dominate your day and actions. This will help you stay grounded despite what the day or the world throws your way. When you wake up in the morning, decide on the base emotion you want to feel for the day ahead; for example; “today I want to feel grateful”. Focus on the connection between thoughts and feelings.  

    Take ten minutes at the beginning of your day, preferably as soon as you wake up, and mediate on the question “what am I grateful for in this present moment?”. Think of three small things that you are grateful for; it’s not raining today, you have holidays coming up, you are healthy, whatever three thoughts come to your mind, focus on the gratitude and the feeling the thought gives you. Thinking about how grateful you are for something will make you feel a particular emotion; contentment, peacefulness, love, happiness.  

    Next, focus on the positive thoughts of gratitude all day long. Look for little things to be grateful for throughout the day. Tell people you are grateful for their contributions to work, appreciate when there is a job well done, or even when someone has failed but tried, their efforts are worth appreciating. 

    Your brain likes to have a job, it likes to create patterns. When you get your brain to focus on this thought pattern regularly, it starts to recalibrate itself to do this without so much intentional effort on your part.  

    Other thoughts you might want to generate are feeling more connected, more engaged with your team. You can focus your thoughts and your actions around how to create opportunities to allow these feelings of connectedness to flourish.  

    Perhaps you want to feel more motivated and productive. Again, look for opportunities to generate these feelings. Get around to starting that project that you have had in the “too hard” basket for way too long or carve out more time to work by attending less meetings.  

    This practice is a great way to generate a more positive way of being, to be more in control of your thoughts and feelings.
  2. Work backwards from the results you want to create.  

    When thinking of something you want to achieve in work or in life in general, ask yourself the question “what do I want to feel when I achieve that goal?”. Is it a feeling of elation, relief, pride, happiness.

    Try to embody the feeling to allow the feeling to propel you to the result. Because feelings are powerful, your thoughts create your results.

    This approach of working backwards helps guide you to choose the thoughts and beliefs (and therefore actions) that actually lead you to the outcome in mind. You work backwards to see what you need to think and do to create that emotion.

    Focus on creating that positive emotion throughout the day. It will help you distinguish between helpful thoughts that will help you achieve the result you want, and those thoughts or beliefs that limit you in reaching your desired outcome.  

These two practices are a great way to be in better control of your feelings and the thoughts and actions that lead to your feelings. By consciously making an effort to be the master of your own thoughts, you can help to become someone who is authentically and consistently positive; the most essential ingredient for a good leader.  

If your leadership team could do with my help, please get in touch today, I’d love to hear from you. 

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