By Graham Acreman
Maintaining a positive attitude is an essential character trait for any business owner or entrepreneur.
Earlier in the year I wrote an article, 10 Powerful Business Tips for Owners and Entrepreneurs and staying positive was the #5 on the list. Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper on this item.
Did you ever notice how it’s much more fun when you’re in the company of someone who is positive? A positive attitude is contagious and energetic.
Contrast that to spending time with someone who is always focused on the negative. They’re no fun to be around – and they’re draining.
As a leader, your mood sets the mood for your entire company. If you want a culture that fosters positivity, then it’s essential that you’re leading by example. You set the tone.
I’ve seen many amazing owners. When they walk into their place of business or visit one of their locations, everyone they encounter lights up. Employees feel energized!
I’ve also seen the opposite – where the arrival of the owner puts everyone on edge. The employees walk on pins and needles; they act and speak defensively.
A big part of what good leaders bring to the table is that they’re inherently positive. They’re looking for and re-enforcing the good that they see around them.
Now most of us know that staying positive is sometimes easier said than done. And by putting a heavy emphasis on, “Staying positive”, I’m not suggesting that you take a Pollyanna view of life and pretend that bad things don’t happen. In life and business, there are going to be events that you wish didn’t happen. The key here is to extract the lesson from the outcome. Then move on. Dwelling on the negative will do you no good. It provides no value.
It’s also worth considering that there is a bright side to everything.
When my twins were younger, maybe 10 years old, we used to play a game called, “Find the good”. The intent of the game was to help them learn about finding the good in any situation. I started by challenging them to find the good in different scenarios:
- You forgot your homework. – You just learned a lesson on preparation and planning.
- Your car needs new tires. – You’re car will now be safer for you and your family.
- Your dog died. – He’s no longer suffering and is in a better place.
- You’re in slow traffic. It gives you an opportunity to practice your patience.
My kids also challenge me with different scenarios – it was a lot of fun and really helped re-enforce the lesson of looking for the good.
A week or so after playing this game, I was driving the kids to one of their activities. I seemed to be catching every red light and I was getting increasingly frustrated. Upon hitting the 5th one on a row, I exclaimed, “Crap!” in frustration.
My son Max asked, “What’s the matter Dad?”
I replied, “I’m getting every red light and we’re running late.”
Max advised, “Look at the bright side Dad.”
“What the bright side of getting all these red lights?”, I asked?
He replied, “It allows you to spend more time with us.”
Boom. Lesson learned.
Everyone makes mistakes and experiences outcomes that didn’t go the way they had hoped. Good leaders will take the time to identify the lessons that they learned from these outcomes. They use these to drive forward on their journey to success. They don’t dwell - they move on.
Winners learn from their mistakes. They ask themselves, “What could have been done differently?” and, “What will I do next time?”
People who get hung up on the bad won’t be able to learn from the lesson and then are destined to make the same mistakes again.
Good leaders know that sometimes you succeed and other times you learn.
- Look for the good in every situation. Sometimes it’s hard.
- Don’t dwell on your mistakes, learn from them.
- Attitudes are contagious. Make yours worth catching.
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