Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? It’s a proven fact that good begets good; a positive attitude will bring huge results.
As a young CPA, you may not know the name Norman Vincent Peale, but you probably are very familiar with his philosophy and five very famous words of wisdom: The power of positive thinking.
According to SuccessConsciousness.com, “Positive thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words, and images that are conductive to growth, expansion, and success. It is a mental attitude that expects good and favorable results. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health, and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds.”
Sounds great on paper, but does it hold up in real life and in the workplace where we’re constantly thrown opportunities and challenges that oftentimes test our most basic beliefs? Learning how to develop and maintain a self-positive personality without sacrificing your integrity is key to survival in your professional and personal life. Here are some ways to do that.
Dealing With Debbie Downer
We all know, and work with, people who see the glass as half empty. You know who they are—your colleagues who never seem to be happy or satisfied with what they have. Pretty soon, their negative attitude rubs off on those around them.
While you want to resist the urge to shake some sense into them, as one person, what can you do? Quite a bit, actually—if you are willing to take the initiative to help them change. It’s quite common to think that you might not want to get involved. If you can maintain a positive outlook despite these negative attitudes, good for you! If not, try to find a way to turn their attitude around.
- Be honest and tell them how you feel. If—and that’s a BIG if—you feel comfortable having this conversation with your co-worker, sit down and let the person know how the attitude is affecting others in the office.
- Don’t tattle on the person. To instill trust and show that you truly care, you may want to approach the person directly instead of telling the person’s manager or supervisor about it. Try to resolve this directly, one on one. Perhaps Debbie Downer doesn’t even realize her outlook is negative.
- Know when to back off. Okay, so you find the person doesn’t want to be helped and tells you to mind your own business. Of course this scenario can happen in any workplace! What do you do? The best advice is leave the person alone, yet still try and remain a positive influence. It may take some time for person to come to terms with his or her feelings about their attitude.
Time to Call in Human Resources?
Again, back to real life. How do you deal with a person who outranks you in your organization, such as your supervisor, a director, or even someone in the C-Suite? Approaching this person could be awkward and what many call “career-suicide.”
If the negative attitude is causing such disruption that work cannot be accomplished or egos are bruised, you’ll have to decide if you want to talk to the person directly or get someone from your Human Resource department involved. If you don’t have an HR department, then you might think about a way to approach your colleagues and decide what to do as a group.
Volunteer your time. Maintaining a positive outlook has a lot to do with the way we spend our time. Serving others through service and community outreach will help reinforce a positive outlook.
You’ll feel good about helping others, so whether you participate in a 5K walk for cancer, read to elementary students at a local school, or serve on a board or committee, you will no doubt get quite a bit of satisfaction for your efforts. The key is finding the kind of volunteer commitment you feel comfortable carrying out. Once you’ve made a commitment to serve, don’t back down. Finish you service, even if you find halfway through that you would rather do something else.
Many firms and organizations have community service projects they do as a company-wide effort. For example, a firm may have an annual service day by helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity. If your company does not have an organized approach to volunteer service, you might “volunteer” to start something like this; your efforts will not go unnoticed by your peers and you get quite a bit out of these kinds of projects.
Above All, Be True to Yourself
Janis Joplin once said, “Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.” While it’s certain that you can’t be happy all the time, you’ll have to find a happy medium in your own thinking in order to achieve results. However, if you do retain a positive attitude, that enthusiasm will help influence others to think positive thoughts. At the end of the day, you will be happier and meet your own professional and personal goals.