10 Women…10 Strategies on Staying Positive

17Feb12
 successful-women-in-business1
I asked a group professional women to respond to this question, “What are your strategies for staying positive when a lot of negativity surrounds you?”
Here are perspectives from ten of those accomplished professional women…
 
Marj Hammon • I have often found the simple advice of Don Miguel Ruiz in his strange but (in parts ) insightful little book: The Four Agreements, massively helpful in dealing with this and other dilemmas. The 4 agreements with yourself are fundamental and so applicable to all sorts of negative situations:
1: Be Impeccable with your word
2: Don’t take anything personally
3: Don’t make assumptions
4: Always do your best
It’s even possible to remember these simple promises to oneself in the thick of it!
Kim Perkins• I have gotten a lot of traction from being relentlessly positive, therefore outlasting and wearing down the negative people. A quick story: I was an elite athlete in a small individual sport. My first year competing in the elite class, the other athletes were absolutely horrible to me. The mocked, insulted, or snubbed me at every opportunity, and went out of their way to demonstrate how unwelcome I was. I kept a smile on my face – not engaging directly, but treating them with friendly respect, as though they were already my friends and were just having a bad day. The first meet of the next season, they welcomed me with hugs.It was not the easiest path in the moment, but it kept MY head focused where it needed to be for me to compete at my best. And it became very motivating to notice that by doing this for myself, I was really bugging my opponents! We never got to be best buddies, but I got to make my contribution to the sport I loved. And win a lot.
Angela Buick • I have faced and I am facing some challenging times which could very easily turn into a black, negative state but I won’t allow that to happen. Using my life experiences I can tolerate amazingly stressful and negative states. My method, I have named the aquarius factor is to think about one your best days or successes, go into detail remembering how good it was, make the colours brighter, the sounds louder and embelish it in every sense then think about the worst moment of your life, make it smaller give it respect and go back to the best moment. I have been surrounded be negativity in life and in business but I amaze myself with my resolve, facing family illness head on, very sick children and real poverty believe I don’t jest. However, every day there is positivity and negativity just depends which one you give your attention to. The strongest people I know deal with negativity daily!!
Terri DeNinno • Have you read Donald Clifton’s “How Full is Your Bucket”? We have the gift of choice. We can engage in negativity, or assertively choose to keep a better attitude. We can be compassionate and protect the relationship, but not get sucked in. Boundaries, honesty, positiveness, altruism, and mature all are skills and values that allow you to choose a more positive environment for yourself and others. And a great list of coping skills is really beneficial as well! I would be happy to send you a list I compiled via email if you send me a note at tdeninno@msn.com!
Rebecca Ulyatt • It is important to understand the source of the negativity and try not to make it personal. By understanding the person, their past, their thoughts then it is easier to rationalise and disassociate that negativity from yourself. As in coaching, it is important not to transfer the monkey from their shoulder to yours. At best you remain positive and put alternatives out there for others to join in if they wish. I found “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” by Stone, Patton and Heen invaluable. It truly highlights that at the end of the day the only thing we can control is ourselves. 🙂
Patricia Browne • For many years I tried to deal with negative people by trying to change them, help them see the light. I now appreciate that we all see and do things in our own way in our own time. We have no control on how others feel or behave. Once I let that go I was able to appreciate my own positivity and with that came confidence and further appreciation for my life and all the good things in it.
Joanne McAlpine • Although I’d like to change what is happening around me, that is not always possible. I can change the sad feelings within myself.Exercise and eating healthy. I also like to follow positive pages on facebook – runners particularly have a can-do attitude. (Workout Girl on fb is great), I’m so proud of her. You don’t have to be a runner to be inspired. Biggest Loser is a very inspirational show to me.Here are some other ideas: Going outside, even if it is just for a short walk, the vitamin D from sunshine helps, this is hard to get in the winter months. Remember even when it is overcast out – the sun is 100 times brighter then inside.Standing on your head has been thought to help with mild depression. Remember if you cannot stand on your head try hanging your head off the side of the bed.Changing your language, for instance from “I should” to “I need to” and reading positive books.And lastly, this one I cannot prove and have never seen as research (I just stumbled across the idea when I was working on meal plans for my family) but for some reason when I lay off the saturated fats (just sticking to the RDA) I am less moody and aggravated.
Katherine Shepherd • What really works for me, is taking time to step away from the situation. Working through it in my head and/or discussing with a colleague or friend acts like a form of supervision. Training can be quite lonely, particularly when faced with a barraged of negative people so it’s important to establish and make use of supportive networks (like this one!!). Usually, when I have had a chance to reflect I can understand the reasons for the negativity, and it always tells me much more about the person who demonstrated the behaviour, than my failings as a trainer.
Ana Rodrigues• I just joined this group and I’m already learning so much!!If in a training situation, I could share a story of mine where I started with 25 participants and I ended with 12. After doing so many trainings, this was the very first time it happened. The country where this happened has also a closed politic environment and things from outside are not so welcomed.What I did: After the first day realising the negativity in the group and identifiying some trouble makers, I asked them what was the problem.
I revised the agenda and tried toi incorporate some of their needs. They were happy about it, because they didn’t want only a hands-on training, but they really wanted a theoretical explanation, so I brought it!Some of the trouble makers stayed, some participants used that excuse to not return to the training the next day, and in the end, some of the trouble-makers even said sorry for all the bad energy they brought to the training. The ones that stayed, are the ones that will really implement the project with motivation which is great!So my tip would be, even in a training where you just feel like running out of the door, stay positive that the training is worth it, try to address their needs, if it doesn’t work at least you tried, if it works then it was worth it trying!!Good luck,
Ana
Stacey Olson• Address the negative or it takes root in your shadow.Negativity means something is not right somewhere. Negativity is an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve. Of course not everyone sees it that way. Not everyone is ready to see it that way.If it’s a negative reaction inside yourself, assess your feelings and your ego. Is a red flag being waived about potential danger or fear ahead? Evaluate: Is it REALLY a fearful or dangerous situation?If it’s another negative person, assess the situation from their point of view. What might they be afraid of or unhappy about? Is there any action you can take to help to restore the balance and regain their respect and trust? If there’s no external solution – no way to repare the deeper issue, the problem then lays within them so try instead to negotiate some boundaries with the individual and express your needs (privately and with reverence) for more positive relationship/environment.Everyone has the right to a respectful (ie positive) work environment. Everyone also has the responsibility to support and model a respectful work environment. (A note to optimists trying to eradicate pessimism with heavy doses of positivity – avoiding or ignoring the issues is perceived as disrespectful.)If your approach to Be the Change does not have the desired effect, then yes, respect your own boundaries by accepting the things you cannot change and move on.
Al Bagocius


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