Ask Barb: The Secret to Staying Positive

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Nov 7, 2012

Dear Barb:

I have seen you speak live several times and I own your tutor training program. I have to ask you three questions. Where do you get all your energy? How do you always manage to be so positive and motivated? How to you motivate your people to stay positive?

When I participate on your live weekly calls, I can’t get over how you present your ideas. I wish I could sound like you or present things the same way you do. I’m finding myself grumpy and almost waiting for the next shoe to fall. It obviously does affect the people who work for me because they are not that motivated either. There is just no energy in our office, and I’m stumped on how to turn this around. Ironically, sales are okay but I’m sure they could be better. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Simon G.

New York, NY

Dear Simon:

My energy I believe is God-given, and the result of juggling all the responsibility of being a single mom for 15 years while owning my business. My attitude is by choice. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my life is that you can choose how you react to situations, people, disappointments, crisis, stress and anything that is thrown at you. I often chose not to react at all.

In our profession we work with people on all sides. We have our clients, candidates, co-workers, split partners, managers and owners that we have to please. Each person in the equation cares primarily about what’s in it for them. To stay positive and motivated I’ve removed “noise” from my life. My definition of noise is anyone or anything negative. When I can’t eliminate some of the noise in my life, I choose not to react to it.

It’s also important for you to realize you can’t motivate your team. People do things for their own reasons, not yours. You may announce “I want to have a record year,” and your team could be thinking “Good luck” and rolling their eyes.

Have your team members write down 10 non-negotiable goals with action items that are dated. This is in all areas of their life (i.e. personal, career, financial, health, spiritual, philanthropic, education) anything that is important to them. You then customize your contests to help them attain goals that they have set. You won’t need to motivate them; they will motivate themselves for their own reasons. Attitude depends 10% on what happens to you and 90% on how you react.

Early in my career I realized my attitude was critical to my success. Do whatever it takes to get yourself pumped up before you get to work. It could be exercising, meditating, taking a walk, playing loud music, or listening to motivational tapes. You need to walk in your office positive and happy because this type of persona is contagious. As soon as possible, mandate the list of goals and dated action items, and watch what happens when your team realizes they are producing to attain what’s most important to them and the people they love.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS