Our next blog series reviews Jon Gordon’s The Power of Positive Leadership. This book highlights how positive leadership isn’t about being nice –it’s about how we face inevitable challenges and adversity with optimism and positive energy. The second blog of the series will focus on how we increase positive energy and address negative energy.
Based on an old fable, Gordon shared the analogy that we all have “two dogs” living inside of us, one negative dog and one positive dog, who fight all the time. The dog who wins the fight is the one you feed, so always feed the positive dog. Every day, we have the choice to fuel positive interactions or negative interactions. Our daily choices quickly add up.
If everybody knows the importance of having a positive attitude, why is it so difficult to maintain? Our brain is hardwired to hold onto negative comments because we are always looking for ways to “protect” ourselves from rejection, embarrassment, disappointment, etc. Thus, we must be very deliberate in fueling our brain with positive emotions, starting with the way we talk to ourselves. Gordon shared the story of Dr. James Gill’s advice when he competed a double triathalon (two triathlons back to back with a only 24- hour break). Gill stated that he learned to talk to himself instead of listen to himself. Listening is a passive process that unfortunately can tend to thinking of the worst case scenario and how we can avoid feeling disappointment. When you are active in your self-talk, you have the opportunity to fuel your brain with energizing, confident feelings. Our lesson on productive self-coaching highlights the importance of being active in your self-talk and deliberately flooding your brain with positive comments.
Gordon discusses how energy vampires drain the entire team with their negativity. It is critical that you don’t allow these energy vampires to affect your individual or team performance. Catch negativity quick and address how it is keeping your team from reaching its maximum potential. As a leader (and everyone is a leader), you must model the very behavior and attitude you are holding others accountable for. Gordon reminds us that “being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed but being negative will guarantee you won’t.”
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