Guest Wake-Up: How much is in your glass?

This recession is an economic storm that just doesn’t seem to pass. We keep hearing and reading about in the news. Most of us have never experienced anything like it. Pay close attention to those around you and you’ll observe some interesting behaviors. Tough times bring out conduct indicative of the dominant dispositions that we possess. What is your dominant disposition? Are you naturally a pessimist or an optimist?

What is optimism? Webster’s dictionary defines optimism as a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome. On the contrary, Webster’s defines pessimism as the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.

Which one are you? And more importantly, how does your disposition affect those around you? How we behave, the words we choose, the opinions we share and the conversations we have, energize and shape our company’s culture. Leadership sets the tone for company culture. How do I know this? Well, I was one of those leaders that was always harping on what wasn’t working. The leader that always questions why our numbers aren’t good enough. The leader that always points out the flaws, the mistakes, and the reasons why this won’t work, or why that won’t work. It’s a mindset that can poison a company’s culture faster than you can imagine. Before you know it, you find yourself surrounded by a sea of people whose morale and dispositions mirror your own. It’s a kind of behavior that we often criticize our team members of possessing. We find ourselves asking, “Why are they so negative?” And then we wonder, “Why is no one motivated?” We wonder, “Why is morale low? Why isn’t my team engaged and full of energy?” It’s a vicious downward spiral for a company that’s on the path to self-implosion.

If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “Wow, that’s me” or, “Hmmm, that accurately describes my company’s culture”, then I’m here to tell you that there is hope! The truth is, our disposition (optimism or pessimism) is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our dominant disposition will automatically set us up for success or failure. Think about it for a moment. Is the glass half full or half empty? People who share an optimistic disposition never give up! Because of their positive nature, they keep trying. Sure, there are roadblocks, dead ends, and obstacles. But those aren’t perceived as buzz killers or failures. Instead, they’re seen as problems in need of a solution. And because optimists keep trying, their chances of success increase. And what happens to those that don’t give up? They eventually hit goals!

Here are a few suggestions to help you turn things around:

  • Be aware of your negative self-language: What negative thoughts and scripts are programmed in your head that always consume your attention? “We can’t do that. We’ll never hit that number. I can’t remember the last time we hit goal. We never sell enough retail. That makes me angry. That will never work. Why is there so much negativity around here?” When you find yourself thinking this way, replace it with a positive thought. “How can we make this work? What will it take to hit our goal? How can we have more fun at work? What can we do to celebrate our wins?” I bet that there are great things going on in your company. When was the last time you chose to celebrate all the good that’s happening? Watch what happens to the mood in those around you when you focus on the positive. It’s infectious – practice it daily.
  • Establish your team’s values: How do you do that? Ask the team what’s important to them. When you find out what’s important to the team, what ends up being revealed are the underlying values that the team shares. What are your team’s shared values? Is it teamwork, flexibility, trust, success, happiness, creativity, fun, relationships? The key is that your company’s shared values have to come from the team. Many companies make the mistake of defining company values at the top and handing them down to the rest of the company. Find out what your team’s shared values are and then live them. Every day. It’s one thing to have values posted up on a wall, but yet another to actually live those values. Your company’s culture is the one area where no other business can compete with you. Yet, it’s surprising that this is often the one area on which we fail to focus.
  • Hang out with optimistic people: Yes, it sounds incredibly simple. Positive energy is just as infectious as negative energy. Positive people are forward focused. They see the possibility in everything. Problems are viewed as temporary with limited impact. Tough times force us out of our comfort zone and drive us to innovate.

Yes, we can choose to change. Yes, we can choose to begin today.

Chris Murphy, Certified Strategies Coach

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click the Comment button above.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


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