We have all had days where seemingly everything we do, see and say is laced with negativity. A month ago, a morning of mine began with a similar theme. I woke up late on a day that started with an early morning meeting, Mother Nature’s icy temperament caused traffic to move at a lethargic rage-inducing pace, the restaurant I stopped at to pick up the breakfast order for the aforementioned meeting was late on packaging it and their parking lot was littered with ice which resulted in me falling flat on my back while the contents of my frozen drink created an abstract painting on me from head to toe … the whip cream topping from my drink landing on my face was the literal icing on my chaotic morning.
After peeling myself off the pavement, removing as much coffee and caramel mess off my person as possible and touching-up my makeup, I gingerly got back on the road to work. I utilized the remaining minutes of the drive orchestrating the montage of events into an amusing tale. That story kicked off the meeting with a laugh and twisted the remainder of my day into a positive one.
Possessing a positive attitude is a choice.
It would have been easy to allow all the negativity from that morning to ruin the rest of my day. That negativity would have weaved its way through every task, meeting, conversation and moment — if I chose to let it. Instead, I turned it into something positive — and that day has turned out to be one of the best of the year, thus far!
So, I’m sure you’re wondering, how does this affect me? Studies show that spreading positivity in the workplace correlates to more productive teams, improved employee engagement, increased retention, and, put simply, a better work environment. If we all choose to be more positive, not only will we increase our own well-being, but we’ll inspire and bring out the best in others as well.
Below are seven ways I sprinkle positivity into my professional life:
1. Learn: show gratitude and call on others for their strengths. Reminding others of the value they generate and spending moments to learn from them boosts self-confidence for everyone.
2. Listen: be supportive and offer kindness and compassion when others are struggling. We all have stress and sometimes need to vent, need to be listened to, and need to talk out our thoughts and frustrations. Be a rock for others to lean on. Be present in the moment, undistracted, unjudgmental, and listen.
3. Recognize: publicly acknowledge and share your appreciation and excitement for others’ accomplishments and achievements. Recognizing the good work of others increases satisfaction and excitement to continue contributing to the goals of the team.
4. Revere: decorate the workspace of a co-worker in celebration of a promotion, their birthday, recent nuptials, birth of a baby … any life milestone. We spend a considerable amount of time with our co-workers — treat them more like friends and commemorate more than their professional skills.
5. Search: find the silver linings in the mundane or challenging aspects of your day. Tackling an undesirable assignment is daunting. Finding a positive reason for completing it fuels the need to finish it so you can focus on more exciting things.
6. Surprise: when possible, do something unexpected and for no other reason than to brighten someone’s day. Have a treat delivered or leave a handwritten note of kindness. We all need the occasional pick-me-up to realize we’re not in this alone.
7. Simply Spread Cheer and Smiles: don’t take everything so seriously — be a goof, make someone laugh, wear a ridiculous costume — spread some cheer. And if nothing else, just smile a genuine smile — they’re contagious.
Possessing a positive attitude is how I choose, and continuously try, to live every day. To some, it may seem as though I’m fake or that I sugar-coat my life; this is 100 percent untrue. I live in reality; I have bad days, an occasional temper, unfortunate happenings and delayed schedules. But every day is a good day to have a good day. And when you do it right, your positivity reflects in someone else’s day too.
“When life gives you lemons, make orange juice and leave the world wondering how the hell you did it.” -unknown
So, go forth. Ignite your personal positivity and observe how creativity, enthusiasm and joy will spread like wildfire and smother your workplace woes.
Originally published at medium.com