Written by 4:18 pm SheHandlesIt Mindset • 46 Comments

Are You Keeping It Positive?

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The world is flooded with negativity. It’s exhausting. We’re hardwired to focus on the bad and with good reason. The problems have to be addressed, or they will build up. The truth is, the bad is always out there, but we need to change our mindset regarding how we perceive negative situations. 

Let Me Set the Tone 

When I was a child, one of my responsibilities was to clean my dad’s truck. I would clean out the garbage, Armor-All the inside, clean the truck bed, and wash down the outside. Seems pretty clear-cut right? 

Well, That Depends on Your Perspective

I specifically remember one weekend when I finished cleaning the truck, my dad came out to inspect my job. He glanced around at the vehicle, opened the car door, closed it again, and then got down on his hands and knees. Yes, he looked at the undercarriage

He knew that the truck had been in the mud, so he felt it was important the mud was removed. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t clean the undercarriage. I remember how frustrated I was that I had spent hours cleaning the car, and my dad still wasn’t happy. 

All I Wanted to Hear Was “Good Job.” 

What I didn’t realize was my dad wasn’t unhappy with my job, he was dissatisfied with the portion I neglected. He provided me with constructive criticism, but I wasn’t willing to accept it. Instead, I was defensive. I felt as though I had accomplished nothing at all in his eyes.  

The Scientific Truth

Negative information causes a large wave of activity in the “critical information processing area” of the brain. How we interpret bad news impacts our behaviors much more than positive news. This doesn’t mean our mindset needs to be negative. It means we need to be willing, ready, and able to deal with negative situations. 

It Can Be Positive

Get on your “SheHandlesIt” hat, because you need to change your mindset when you engage in conversation with negative situations. You need to make the cognitive choice to focus on the solution, the resolution, and the positive outcomes from working together to solve the issue.

Something I strongly believe in and teach my staff at 1SEO is to not to bring a problem forward without having a few potential solutions. 

With the media dumping so much negativity and everyone being hyper-sensitive to constructive criticism, it makes it harder but more necessary to maintain a positive mindset. 

Let’s Take a Real-World Workplace Situation

I’m going to give you two scenarios. In the first scenario, you show up to work on a Monday morning and sit down at your desk to prepare for your day. Your coworker sits next to you and starts complaining about how tired they are and would rather not be in the office. As you listen to your coworker, you begin to think about your weekend. How busy you were, what you needed to get done and what you didn’t. Your response is, “ugh, I agree. I’m exhausted. I don’t feel like doing any of it today “. 

Now Let’s Look at the Better Scenario

You show up to work on Monday morning and sit down at your desk to prepare for your day. Your coworker sits next to you and starts complaining about how tired they are and would rather not be in the office. Your immediate response is, “well, how about we make today a better day for you?”. Then you proceed to tell a joke or talk about a TV show you watched Sunday evening. 

What is the major difference between those two scenarios? In the first scenario, you allowed the negativity to spread. Essentially you fed your coworkers negativity by agreeing with it. Most likely, this small conversation was followed by more negative talk. Negativity can breed negativity.

In the second scenario, you attempted to create a solution that would hopefully have a more positive outcome. You didn’t allow the negativity to spread and even offered a helping hand to boost morale for your team. This conversation most likely led to more discussion about fun events of the weekend or funny parts of a show you and your coworker have in common. A positive mindset swayed the negative mood.

It’s No Secret That Negativity Spreads Like Wildfire

It’s also no secret that negative people want to surround themselves with other negative people. It makes them feel validated. The best thing you can do is focus on what you need and the outcome of a situation. If you’re doing the right things, that’s great. That means that the outcome should match your desire. If something is going wrong, it doesn’t mean the result can’t be positive. It just means that you need to change course to reach the desired outcome. 

Constructive Criticism

One of the major issues I see in the current workforce today is the inability to accept constructive criticism. Instead, you hear terms like “micromanagement,” which means the desire for autonomy outweighs the willingness to take responsibility and learn from mistakes.

I can honestly say had my dad not gotten down on his hands and knees and told me that the truck was still dirty, I would have assumed I fully completed the task. The truth is, I didn’t.

I would have made the same mistake again, which eventually could have caused a major issue. Essentially, I learned from my mistake and was able to do my job better the next time around.

Two Times for Constructive Criticism

There are times when constructive criticism is necessary, and to receive it properly, you have to let down your defenses. You have to understand that criticism is coming your way to improve the outcome of what you or your team is trying to accomplish.

Had I not been told that the undercarriage was still dirty, it would’ve still been dirty the next time I washed the truck. Unintentionally, I missed a critical step in completing the task. Now that I know better, I was able to do better.

That is why constructive criticism must find its way back into the workforce. If we don’t know where we’re lacking, how can we take a step forward? 

There are a lot of self-help books out there that talk about the importance of a positive attitude and a positive mindset, but that’s not what this blog is about. I’m not saying that everything should be positive and hunky-dory, but when we focus on the positive outcome, we remove the negative and focus on the goal. 

When we allow coworkers to spread their negativity to us, it doesn’t help anyone or anything. It’s incredibly important that we learn how to navigate the negative by focusing on the positive outcome we are looking for.

I know you can handle it. 

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Last modified: June 1, 2022

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