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January 4, 2011

The Power of Positive Thinking and Business Success

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This post is about to get deep.

On my way to work today, I was listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer. Heard of him? He’s a motivational speaker of sorts. But he’s not so much motivating people as he is helping people to understand the power of the mind, the power of your thoughts, and the life you create.

Every single thought you allow in your mind has a ripple affect on not only the way you act but the things you invite into your life. This principle applies to family, love, health, happiness and even work.

Today, I thought I’d talk about the impact of positive thinking and attitude on your working environment, your professional achievements and the success of your business.

Poison

The Poison of Negativity

Wayne Dyer and others who’ve been able to control negativity in their minds and focus on the positive have reaped the benefits: Happiness. Success. Love. And the list goes on.

The No. 1 rule that people like them tell us over and over again is not to believe in limitation. Don’t give in to negative thoughts. Belief in limitation creates limitation. These false beliefs block motivation and harvest fear.

We all do it. It’s unavoidable sometimes. Every business has faced this at some point or another, whether it’s on a smaller scale or has become a part of the culture.

“Not possible.” “I can’t.” These are all thoughts that literally make it impossible to be successful in your working environment. What I’m about to say might be cliché, but if there’s a will, there’s a way.

If you approach your business endeavors with an attitude of “I can” and “I will,” you can change the path of your success. You can even change the course of your company, the success of your clients and the colleagues around you.

Creating a Successful Working Environment

Sometimes the biggest challenge once you’ve mastered your own belief system, is rallying the people around you. This has been a challenge for professionals and leaders trying to create powerful teams for countless years.

How do you create success in an environment where you have all different types of personalities in one place who are experiencing different realities, while also sometimes dealing with the “system” you’re working in, and the perceived limitations your company, clients, whoever or whatever is opposing on you. Notice I said “perceived” limitations.

Roadblock

I’m not gonna lie and say it’s easy. There are many factors that play into someone’s happiness with his or her work environment. But the change starts with you.

If you take responsibility for your own self, your own actions, your own work, your own attitude every single day, and you make it the best that you can, you are going to overcome roadblocks.

There’s no way you cannot overcome challenges when you take responsibility for being the best professional you can be.

If you ever feel frustrated with the people you work with, your clients, your boss, your company, you are allowing yourself to be dictated by things that really have no control over you. Once you give those things attention, once you give into the notion that things can’t change, they won’t change.

Make a vow not to accept other’s ideas of how things are, and pave the way of how you know it can be. No matter how big of a problem you are facing at work, the minute you believe that there is a solution, and that you are willing to take it on, your professional success will come.

“But the people I work with,” you say.

What if you’re in a poisonous work environment? What if you feel you’re at the end of your rope, there’s no way you can fix the system? You are totally convinced that you’re fine but the people around you are the problem.

Congratulations, you’ve just created another limitation for yourself. Leaders in their work environment will always seek to find a way to motivate people, to find solutions until something works.

And I’m not just talking about people in positions of leadership. Whatever role you’re in, take accountability. Make it have an impact.

Early women cheerleaders at UW Madison

Believing in Others, Too

A funny thing happens when you start to believe in your colleagues, your staff, the people you work with. (Yes, you are believing in them, not just yourself.)

No matter how inexperienced they might be, no matter how difficult they might be, no matter what the circumstances are, when you begin to believe that people can achieve, they start to believe in themselves. They start to achieve. When you reach out from a place of willingness, things begin to happen.

I speak from experience. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by people like this in my working environments.

I guess you could say that I climbed the corporate ladder quickly after college, as I moved from entry-level positions to mid-level roles to management. I believe this was due to not only characteristics of my own, but also because certain people believed in me.

I was green. Very green. And trying to learn the professional world as quickly as it was flying at me. But it didn’t matter to them. They kept giving me new challenges that they thought I could handle. And I did. I might not have believed that I could do it if I didn’t have the chance.

Then, when I became a manager, I was able to extend the support that I had learned to help people on my team grow. It became a positive chain reaction that continues to add value to the workplace. And it just takes one to start it.

Your Professional 30-Day Challenge for 2011

For a whole 30 days, try approaching everything differently with the ideas laid out here today. Go mark it on your calendar. And from the day you start, to the day you end, challenge yourself to be more responsible for your contributions to the workplace, to stamp out negativity and replace it with positivity.

It’s not going to come naturally. You’re going to have to work. But reward yourself when you’ve made a positive step. And when you feel you’ve fallen off the wagon, jump back on and do not let that negative thought that will so naturally come to you win.

Calendar Card - January

The next time you have a negative thought about how something isn’t working in the workplace, don’t give it any attention. It’s that attention that fuels it.

Immediately replace it with a positive statement in your mind about who you are, what you’ve set out to do, what you believe in and what your goals for professional success are.

When you exude an attitude of enthusiasm and willingness, it can create immeasurable value to your workplace.

Lead by example. Do not underestimate the power of your person. But don’t forget the power of two or three or four people all working to create an environment of success.

When someone says “no,” you say “yes.” When someone says it’s impossible, politely smile as you think of all the ways you are going to make it possible. You are what you think you are. You are responsible for the success you create in the workplace and in life.

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14 responses to “The Power of Positive Thinking and Business Success”

  1. Jason writes:

    Yeah i think we all agree that it’s more productive to be positive however sometimes the problem is so big that the best solution is to move on.

    The longer you persist in attempting to stay positive when the company you work for continue to find a way to f*ck it up, the more stressed and frustrated you will become.

  2. Sage Lewis writes:

    Hi Jessica,

    Great article!

    I made a video response here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw1QC4x9sbU

  3. Michelle Lowery writes:

    Great post! This is my favorite part: “But don’t forget the power of two or three or four people all working to create an environment of success.”

    My mom just told me a few days ago she’s reading “Excuses Begone!” by Wayne Dyer. I thought at first it was just another book in the sea of motivational titles. Now I guess I’ll have to check him out. :-)

  4. Jessica Lee writes:

    OK, OK, you have something there. I agree there is a point that you have to decide if your work environment is not right for you. But, have you exhausted every possible solution to the problem first?

  5. Jessica Lee writes:

    Thanks for this, Sage! My first video response ever :)

    I totally agree with your added tip. Oftentimes, we don’t give ourselves enough credit when we accomplish the small things. I think if we learn to celebrate the little challenges we overcome throughout the day, it helps us to build more confidence in tackling the big things.

    Really enjoyed this video, thanks for the thoughtful response. I know our readers will appreciate it, too.

  6. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi, Michelle, glad you enjoyed it and thank you for taking the time to comment. There are a lot of people out there like Wayne Dyer that talk about similar things, but I think they are on to something. You might also want to check out a book called, “Power of Your Subconscious Mind.”

  7. Brett Robbins writes:

    Wow, very impressive, I think I created a monster, a positive impactful monster that is!

    You nailed it and this article has the ability to change the world, keep up the good work and continue to leave your positive tracks. :)

    One thing that should also be noted is that when you sincerely wish well to others, it comes back to you many times again.

    Another item if forgiveness. This is huge because when you don’t forgive guess who ultimately suffers? The one that holds the grudge. Once you are able to forgive, meaning you no longer feel that the person “deserves anything bad that they receive,” you again open the doors to success, plentifulness and abundance.

    Stay true to the ultimate cores in life; balance, harmony, good, peace, joy and thanks.

    Negativity is simply non-existent, it was created by humans. It is our “hell,” whereas we all inheritently deserve and will receive “heaven”.

    All the best,
    Brett Robbins

  8. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hey Brett, thank you for the thoughtful comment. Look what happened from one fateful encounter with an abandoned book on an airplane, eh?

  9. Grace Morris writes:

    Agreed, great post!! I have experienced exactly what you have described early on in my own professional life. I was at a job I loved, but it bred so much negativity (the environment) and ultimately I became a part of that negativity. For me at that point the answer was to move on. However, did I do my best to first positively change my surroundings by simply being and thinking more positively? No, I didn’t and I do regret that.

    It’s no secret positivity breeds happiness and more positivity. I think what skeptics have a problem or shall I say attitude with is “so you’re telling me all my problems will be solved if I simply start thinking positively? yea right!”. That is what I’ve heard so many times over and over again! For me simply put it all boils down to belief, and you can ask anyone that has ever achieved anything great, what was their secret? I think they’d say it was their belief in themselves. It might make more sense to those who have religious beliefs, is there any physical first-hand proof of their belief in the higher being? Maybe, maybe not. More simply put: Is there any physical proof of wind besides the trees blowing? No, but you know it exists!

    Maybe I’m getting off topic, but I also wanted to share one last story. I have a friend that kept complaining to all his friends (including me) about not having any money, not liking his job, not liking his car, not being able to provide for his family; thus putting a lot of stress on his marriage. So he asked for advice about churches to go to for spiritual guidance. I asked him why doesn’t he just start with a better attitude about his life? He then said to me, can you provide the name and number of the person that has had such success using positive thinking?……….I then laughed!! WOW! THAT negative (and literal) huh??! I couldn’t help it!! I said, “Well let me ask you this: If you don’t have control over your own life then who does? YOU have the power to change these things, why wouldn’t it make sense?!!”

    Bottom line, this person is constantly blaming others and events for the misfortunes in his life, never taking responsibility. I believe 100% that if he simply started changing the way he looked at things, the things he was looking at would change (I think this might even be a Wayne Dyer quote). It might not put more money in his pocket or instantly make his marriage better, but I’m certain he would start to live a happier life.

  10. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi, Grace!

    What you are saying about focusing on and complaining about the things that are wrong is exactly what some of these leaders in positive thinking preach against. It only invites more of it in, right?

    I like the way you think. Welcome to BCI.

  11. Boise SEO writes:

    As human nature we sometimes make negative comments about our clients while we are in the office. Well not really negative we just kind of poke fun at some of their expectations like (actual quote “hey it’s been 4 months now and I am only showing up as #2 in Google”) We had to hit the mute button and after laughing for a bit and making some snide remarks we had to remind our client that 4 months ago he was not even on the radar for this keyword. Sometimes (at least in our office, only 4 of us) negativity leads to laughter, which is good.

  12. Jessica Lee writes:

    Ha ha, OK I literally laughed out loud from that scenario. Thanks for that. Poking fun is completely different.

    How can we not laugh about stuff that happens in our bizarre work weeks? Why do you think The Office is so awesome? ;)

    That’s the kind of stuff that also keeps us going.

    Loved your comment, come back soon.

  13. Slide Buddy writes:

    I wish positive thinking came naturally to me. I’m such a realist and a pessimist that it is so hard for me to be all determined and disciplined in keeping my thoughts to stave off from lingering into negativity. I really wish I can change this about myself.

  14. Jessica Lee writes:

    I understand — I consider myself a realist, too. But who’s to say that reality can’t be a happy place to live?

    It’s totally natural to have automatic negative thoughts about something, so it’s a skill to catch them before you start convincing yourself they are real.

    And I’m not saying to live in a make-believe world; if something isn’t working, trust your gut. But on average, the negative thoughts we have should not have any merit.



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