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The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 09, 2009 • Issue 09:02:01


Ditch the dark side

If you're lucky, you work at an ISO that employs one special person. Maybe it's the president of the company or a colleague in the call center who brightens the mood in the office just by entering the room. That person has a bounce in his or her step, smiles readily and radiates positivity. From what reservoir do these rare individuals draw their infectious good natures? Are they making conscious efforts to buoy sullen coworkers nearby, or are they just exuding natural inner joy?

Luckily, it isn't essential to figure out why one person is sunshine and another rain, but it is useful to note that positive people share certain characteristics. They exhibit:

  • Compassion
  • Optimism
  • Self-confidence
  • Enthusiasm

You may look at this list and say, "I've got one, maybe two of these characteristics, but all four? Not on my best day." Well, join the crowd. But that doesn't mean you can't aspire to the examples set by truly positive people.

While inner joy cannot be acquired overnight, you can become more mindful of your moods and actions, develop better habits, and learn to do those little things that spread joy and peace.

Cool the reactor

It is a human tendency to react instinctually to difficulties rather than respond reasonably. In a stressful situation, it is important to not snap at colleagues angrily, burst into tears, stomp out of the office or binge on junk food. Instead, cultivate a delay mechanism that allows a more controlled, sensible response to arise.

Delaying your reactions can prevent the utterance of harmful words. That is what "counting to 10" is about - playing for time, letting the anger, grief or fear subside, overriding that gut instinct to lash out or withdraw.

You can employ that same practicality in other areas. If you find yourself arriving at work in a bad mood every morning, take a step back and try to understand why. Is it because that agitating talk show you listen to in the car on your morning commute makes you grumpy?

Or perhaps it's time to cut down on the morning caffeine. Whatever the case is, changing your mood may be as simple as listening to classical music in the car or choosing orange juice over coffee at breakfast.

Share the love

Just as changing unproductive, habitual responses can be achieved with minimal effort, showing compassion can be easy, too. It's about the little things, like:

  • Letting someone else go through the door first
  • Listening to someone else's ideas
  • Adopting a gracious tone
  • Praising others for their accomplishments

As the bullet points suggest, the basis of all forms of compassion is putting aside selfishness and taking other people into consideration.

Keep it real

While positive people may be self-confident and self-assured, they are not self-absorbed. They don't spend time:

  • Dwelling on their own problems
  • Trying to impress others
  • Acting the part of someone they aren't
  • Making jokes at someone else's expense
  • Taking the odd harsh word personally

Make it happen

There's no way to keep track of your every reaction and demeanor throughout the day, but you can increase your general self-awareness.

In time management procedures, the usual starting point is keeping an activity log. You can employ the log to remind yourself how you can achieve exemplary comportment at work.

Jot down goals in your task program, or put "sticky" notes in your pocket calendar. They might be something like:

  • Respond, don't react.
  • Encourage someone.
  • Listen with full attention.
  • Look for humor.
  • See the positive.

Over the rainbow

Life, of course, can be rough. That life is often difficult and trying for all of us makes the few of us who really shine, shine even brighter.

They set the standard. By emulating them, you add to the brightness in your office, making it a more enjoyable place in which to work. end of article

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