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RELENTLESSLY POSITIVE: The Constant and Unabating Application of Effective and Productive Optimism by Pamela Jett

This week, we are excited to feature a guest blog from speaker Pamela Jett!  Thanks so much, Pamela!

RELENTLESSLY POSITIVE:The Constant and Unabating Application of Effective and Productive Optimism

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where “choosing to be happy” or any of the other peppy pieces of advice often given by professional speakers from the platform just doesn’t seem to be working? Or, in a serious situation where being perky, upbeat, and a ray of cheerful sunshine doesn’t seem possible. Perhaps you’ve even found yourself facing a challenge or loss where being upbeat and chipper is downright inappropriate.

When challenged to “choose to be happy” or given other motivational nuggets, you might find yourself occasionally even cringing and thinking, “here we go again.”  Or, “I’m a meeting planner and nothing about this event is simple. Things are complicated. There are too many stakeholders involved and expectations are high and the budget is low. My pressures and stressors are real!”

A perky, positive attitude has its place. Exuberant cheerfulness by choice can, without a doubt, help create a positive environment. And, it can help keep your team motivated when you are in the trenches or in the midst of a meeting with many moving parts. For over 2 decades I’ve worked with professionals, including meeting planners, to enhance their communication and leadership skills. I’ve frequently found myself encouraging people to “choose to be happy.”

However, I’ve recently decided that happiness is over-rated. It’s good. It is powerful. And, sometimes we need something more.

In the midst of challenges, and without a doubt we live and work in challenging times, what individuals, teams, and leaders really need is the ability to move forward and be productive while simultaneously acknowledging the impact change, crisis, and serious challenge has on people, teams, organizations, and even cultures. Failing to recognize these very real struggles can cause us to lose credibility and for teams to be less effective. Failure to acknowledge the very real challenges people experience and the struggles they have means we are not very empathetic. Failing to be empathetic, failing to “feel with,” minimizes psychological safety, a key driver of success.

Imagine if you are working to plan an annual meeting that has typically had a robust budget. Since you plan well in advance, some vendor contracts have been signed well in advance, decisions have been made, and plans are moving forward based on those robust budget projections.  You receive a phone call with the news “the budget has been slashed for this year’s meeting.” It would be not only absurd for you to respond to this news all chipper and upbeat; it would be counter-productive for you to do so. Your team members and others involved in planning would wonder “don’t they understand this is a real problem? Don’t they get that is means major extra work for us and some really tough negotiations? Are they that insensitive or delusional?”  You would lose credibility if you were chipper and upbeat. Others would no longer trust you or feel safe.  And yet, you are still tasked with delivering a great meeting and pleasing the stakeholders. That’s a tough spot.  Happy and upbeat is a poor choice. Morose and depressed isn’t good either.

It’s in times like these that what we really need is the ability to choose to be relentlessly positive. Relentless positivity is the constant and unabating application of effective and productive optimism.

Based in neuroscience and with a focus on business application, the art of choosing to be relentlessly positive is something everyone can master. Relentless positivity moves us beyond the power of positive thinking and into the mindset and language crucial for resilience and success in today’s world.

Pamela Jett, CSP is a leadership and communication expert based in Phoenix, AZ. Delivered with energy, humor, and a dash of neuroscience, her latest keynote presentations, The Relentlessly Positive Leader and The Relentlessly Positive Communicator, provide audiences of all types new, evidence-based tools to overcome adversity and challenges.

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