Positive thinking

Buddha said, “What we think, we become.” In difficult economic times, this wisdom is more important to dwell upon than ever. I’m not suggesting that you can wish away bad circumstances or that thinking something will make it so. Rather, I’m saying that our internal dialogue affects our attitude and performance.  And that can mean the difference between being viewed as an asset or a liability at work.

Have you ever stopped to listen to your inner dialogue about work? If it’s full of negativity and pessimism, undoubtedly that is leaking out through your behavior even if you’re unaware of it.

If you’re unhappy in your job, you might be a clock-puncher – someone who shows up every day but does the bare minimum to get by. Or maybe you like your job but don’t relate to your colleagues. Your individual performance is great, but you’re a terrible team member.

If you think that people aren’t noticing your attitude, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.  Attitude matters in the best of times. And in times like these, it matters even more.

Let’s face it. Who do you want to work with – the person who is upbeat and positive or the person who always puts a negative spin on things? In boom times, there may be room for everyone. But in down times, it’s the people with the bad attitudes or the half-empty perspective who will likely be the first to go.

I realize that it can be hard to maintain a positive attitude in difficult times. People are afraid, and negative energy permeates the culture. But remember, bad times don’t last forever. Try to look at a down market as an opportunity to show leadership. When everyone else is going through the motions, maintain your passion. Keep up your work ethic and be optimistic. Find ways to improve the work environment.

If you manage a staff, it’s especially important that you set the mood for the department. If you’re scared or pessimistic, your staff will be too. Soon you’ll have the perfect breeding ground for rumors and gossip, and productivity will go out the window. So sit your staff down. Have a frank, calm discussion about the health of the company and how people are feeling.

Then, make it clear that you are going to work at your highest level and that you expect the same from them. Keep a vigilant eye for slipping productivity or decreased morale and nip it in the bud quickly.

As a leader, you set the tone. If your employees see that you are positive and productive, it will help them to remain focused. Now is the time to give your best performance. Be the person who others want to work with – the one who is steady, focused and calm. Your performance during the worst of times will put you in a strong position when times improve.

Pay attention to your inner dialogue and make sure that your thoughts bolster your performance and your attitude. You’ll feel better, you’ll do better and others will take notice. 

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