Developing a Positive Mindset to Improve Your Results

Your leadership career depends upon you developing a positive mindset - but that doesn't mean ignoring problems! People who think being positive is about meditating in the park have got it wrong...

Don't underestimate the power of developing a positive mindset. It is definitely not about being pollyannaish (is that a word) and ignoring problems. It is not about sitting in the park under a tree chanting ohhmmmm and hoping for the best!

Thinking positively means you acknowledge reality, BUT then you turn your undivided attention to where you are heading.

If you are thinking, "But I've got to be focused on my problems. I can't just be all positive about the future" you've got the wrong end of the stick.

When you are driving and you see a car accident happen just in front of you - do you turn your entire focus on the car accident or do you look for an escape route to ensure you safely navigate your way around the problem? Leadership is no different.

You MUST acknowledge the problem. You can't ignore a car accident in front of you, however, nor should you give it your undivided attention. Use either of these tactics, and you'll plow right through it and create an even bigger problem!

As a leader, you are responsible for finding problems.  Despite that, your more significant contribution is when you find solutions. And that's why you have to master developing a positive mindset.

Seriously, do you think you can be at your creative genius when you are negative, cynical, pessimistic and disheartened?? That one question there provides you with a clue as to why it is essential to get your thinking where it needs to be.

Developing a Positive Mindset in Your Professional Life

Here's a quick example of how not developing a positive mindset could limit your career success.

Imagine you want to ask for a salary increase. You know that you deserve it. You and your team are delivering great results. Unfortunately, you've recently found out that you aren't being paid on par with some of your peers, and you haven't had an increase for a while. All good reasons to ask for that raise!

However, you start to focus on 'reality'. There's a global economic downturn.  Your boss seems to be having a 'bad hair year.'  The last guy that asked for an increase got refused and then was fired a month or two later for 'performance issues.' Looking at 'reality' you decide asking for a raise is a waste of time... if not downright risky!

Instead, what if you looked at that reality, and then decided to focus on finding a solution to those problems!

Maybe you might find solutions like:

  •  Finding ways other groups are recession-proofing their businesses and adopting similar tactics
  • Asking your boss to consider a bonus/profit sharing scheme
  • Finding a way to lead your boss to offering a raise without having to ask for it.

When you give more focus to solutions, than problems, you are more likely to get the results you want. Focusing on the problems, you are more likely to give up and move into a spiral of helplessness.

There's a very powerful model that I use when I'm coaching and when I'm just getting 'stuff' done. It's called Solutions Focused Coaching. This coaching model uses people's positive mindset to help them keep moving around challenges that are getting in their way of success. Check it out it's well worth putting in your leadership arsenal of tools!

Lou Tice

One of my very early mentors/role models ... was fond of this saying

"Worry is Negative Goal Setting"

Make use of this compelling statement to improve your life!

Think about this for a moment, if your leader got up and said something along the lines of, "We've got this goal to achieve, and here are all the obstacles to overcome and I'm not sure if we can get around them, but I guess we can have a go". You wouldn't be all that fired up would you?

Contrast that with a leader who says something like, "We've got this goal to achieve, and there are the obstacles. It will be challenging, but let's start brainstorming some solutions now and also keep our eye open over the next few days and weeks for ways that we can succeed. We are a bright, talented bunch of people and I know we have it within us to work our way around these problems".

Same scenario. Different expectation.

Developing a Positive Mindset in Your Social Life

Eeyore or Tigger

If you want to make a massive positive dent in the universe, who would you rather have in your network, giving you inspiration? Tigger or Eeyore?

Developing a positive mindset has a favorable impact on the people with whom you have a relationship - be it business, dating or marriage. Thinking negatively runs counter to your desire to have quality time, and experiences, with those people you care about and want the best for.

Negative thinking creates self-doubt and insecurity which leads to diminished self-worth .. and this leads to fractured relationships. Because people who don't feel good (in other words have low self-esteem) try to bring those around them down to their level - so they can feel better. Read more about self-esteem.

People Who Are Upbeat Are Nicer To Be Around

Whom do you know who is generally a positive person? How do you feel after you have spent some time with them?

Contrast that with a person who is more a doomer and gloomer - how do you feel after you have spent time with them?

Here's a Few Easy Ways to Develop a Positive Mindset

Visualizing is an integral part of positive thinking. For example, visualize yourself

  • Having exactly the right response during a tense/high impact meeting
  • Making higher risk decisions, confident in the knowledge that you can handle any hiccups either before, or as, they happen
  • Talking with your manager in a calm, confident manner about the value you are bringing to the organization and why an increase in your salary is justified
  • Inspiring team members to give of their best, even in challenging circumstances

Visualizing is about preparing yourself to perform at your best form. Getting your mental attitude in proper perspective and moving toward what you want - rather than focusing on what you don't want. Do this well, and you will find life flows better. You'll feel frisky, alive, engaged and overflowing with confidence.

When you keep your attention on:

I can guarantee that you will naturally become a hub that people will be drawn to ... simply because you feel good to be around.

The best part about developing a positive mindset? You will really like you! Your self-esteem will soar. Simply put: it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of success.

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