Staying Motivated

When you're in the business of rewards and recognition, staying positive has to be part of the job

Bringing positivity to your job isn’t about making the proverbial lemonade out of lemons; it’s about making your workplace an inspiring place to be, doing good work and becoming invaluable in the process.

If tough economic times have turned your workplace into a negative place, the experts say there are strategies to save your sanity and transform your daily grind into a more pleasant—and positive—place to be.

Positive people = productive people

Tom Rath, Washington, D.C.-based global practice leader for Gallup and author of How Full Is Your Bucket?, says having a positive outlook on life and work is healthier and more productive.

“Our research concludes that a person with a full bucket outperforms a person with an empty buck every single time,” says Rath, “and nine-in-10 are more productive when they are around positive people.”

In Winnipeg, management consultant David Zinger heads up David Zinger & Associates, training workers how to seriously lighten up to increase productivity and job satisfaction. The University of Manitoba educator has also just penned his latest book, Die Happy Today.

What the experts suggest

1. Don’t Just Paste a Smile. Learn how to accept negative emotions. “Optimists will see events as tough or bad, they just don’t see them as permanent, pervasive, or personal,” says Zinger.

2. Take a Breather. Sounds simple, but remembering to breathe when tensions run high can be one of the most difficult parts of staying positive. “When things are hostile or negative we often breathe very shallowly,” says Zinger.

3. Engage in Your Work. Really getting into your work is a natural stress reducer. “When we fully engage, all other worries and concerns disappear, at least while we are engaged,” says Zinger.

4. Make the Flip. Surrounded by negative Nancys? Don’t waste too much time complaining or listening to others complain. Analyze complaints as a signpost for what area needs some positive attention. “When you hear a complaint, make it a stimulus to action,” says Zinger.

5. Find Your Work Peeps. People who have a “best friend” at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work, concluded the findings of some five million interviews done by the Gallup Organization for Rath’s book Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without. They also have fewer accidents, more engaged customers, and are more likely to innovate and share new ideas. Work alone? Consider joining a work-related social group or industry association.

6. Look at the Big Picture. Take a moment everyday to see the forest instead of the trees, says Zinger. “Always remember, those who laugh, last,” he says.

7. Know When to Call it a Day. If it really looks bleak, and you can’t drudge up a positive attitude at work, take a courageous look at why you are there, says Zinger. “Ask yourself: What comes next? Try to answer it for your work/career. If you don’t like [your] answers, determine how you might change.”

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