To be a leader and successful in life you need to be positive. Of course things don’t go your way all the time but the bottom line is you need to be glass half-full at all times. It is very easy to fall into a “woe is me” mentality. In order to seize on opportunity you need to be positive and take the necessary seven steps I layout in the “Opportunity Pyramid”. If you are negative, you are clouding your judgement by being so insular in thinking how can you ever achieve success if the fog of negativity is shutting out the light of opportunity?
What got me thinking about this was a question I got at a speaking engagement this weekend. She asked how she could seize on opportunity after being out of work for five years. She spoke about the challenges of being out of work but then said something that perked up my ears: She was just about to finish up and graduate from paralegal school. But she automatically went negative saying she didn’t know if there was opportunity out there because she was out of work for five years.
I told her to start focusing on the positive. She went back to school to better her life. She was already creating her opportunity pyramid. She had a goal, building her knowledge by going to school. She then said once she graduates, the school was going to help place her for a job. I said, that’s the positive she needs to focus on and that there are millions of people out there who are out of work just like her but she should be proud because she took control of the situation by getting an education for a new career.
I explained to her the true unemployment rate is really closer to 12%, not the 6.3% the BLS came out with in May. Why? Because not everyone is counted in that job pool measurement. A number of economists look at what’s called the “U-6,” which takes into account the “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part-time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.” Plainly stated that number is the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged. When I broke down the unemployment picture her face brightened. I told she yes it will be tough to achieve her goal but she is trying and she needs to continue to stoke that passion and be positive to move forward. (another two critical layers in the pyramid)
Will this women succeed? I don’t know, but she has the tools to do so. It’s a matter of her believing in herself, staying the course and being positive to put the best foot forward. A culture of positivity starts with you at home. If you are not positive, why would an organization hire you? A crucial piece in building your first level of the pyramid- Knowing Yourself is loving yourself and being positive and supportive of yourself to achieve your dreams. There are enough naysayers in the world- why pile the negative on yourself? Acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead, but don’t chain those challenges to your ankles so you drown.