The bright side of life.

Among the recent bombardment of New Year’s messages instructing us on how we can change ourselves to become fitter, slimmer, more organized, nicer, more sober and just plain better in 2014, I read that one of most consistently popular resolutions is a desire to be more positive.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? It made my list too, but what do we mean by ‘more positive’, and how can we actually make it happen? In order to succeed, we need to break it down to specifics and make a plan. Here are three things to consider:

  1. Who is getting your attention?
    Life is short. To make yours sweeter, be sure to spend it wisely, surrounding yourself with optimistic people who love you, believe in you, and support you no matter what. Sharing your ideas with these friends or colleagues recharges your energy and opens you up to your true potential. They give you new perspective on yourself and your capacity as a person.
  2. What are you focused on?
    Being more positive is also about how you spend your time and energy. As a friend said to me recently, “It’s sort of like you are what you eat.” She’s right. It’s about the information and media we consume and the activities we pursue. They have a significant effect on us, and how we impact other people in our lives. As a wise man once said, “crap in equals crap out.” He may have been talking about manure, but I think you take my point…
  3. How are you communicating with others?
    What about the messages and content you produce on a daily basis. Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, all of your output – emails, Facebook posts, web content, chatting with friends over coffee – affects other people, and influences how they perceive and interact with you. When you engage with colleagues, are you focused on what’s working, or complaining about what isn’t? Try framing your messages in a more positive light, and focus on the bright spots.

Of course, communications have even greater effect at the organizational level. Positive leaders can have an enormous impact on employees, clients, stakeholders and partners. When you deliver feedback to staff, are you accentuating the positive? Are your communications with others in your community uplifting and engaging? Is your message being properly conveyed? Are you even reaching out to the right audiences with the right tools to deliver your message and start a positive dialogue?

To become more positive in every aspect of your life, take time to consider what you are consuming and producing. A communications audit could be in order. Consider how you can make changes to become more positive, and look on the bright side of life.