As my time as a leadership consultant (LC) is coming to an end, I have been reflecting on what has gotten me through the long days, the long periods away from loved ones and the sometimes-dreadful plane rides. I think about all of the chapter visits I have been on and what really got me to give my all each time I got on the plane to go to my next chapter. As I have been reflecting, the things that stand out the most in all of my experiences are positivity, optimism and kindness. These three things are what have brought me to wholeheartedly enjoy my LC experience this year.
Positivity is something I have begun to center my whole life around. When I took the Clifton StrengthsFinder test at LC training back in June, positivity was my number two strength. If you have met me on the road you can probably tell that it is one of my strengths just by the fact that I am constantly smiling and laughing. But there is more to positivity than smiles and laughter. In the positivity description for StrengthsFinder it says, “You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital. Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down. Your Positivity won’t allow it.” I think that this statement is part of the key reason that positivity helped me enjoy my LC experience. Even when a day is filled with meetings, I try and make that experience exciting and an opportunity for personal growth. Some people do have negative energy and that can sometimes pose a challenge, but my positivity helps me pull through those situations and helps me to come out on top.
My strength of positivity also touches on optimism. In the StrengthsFInder description for positivity it states, “Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be. But either way, people want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious… You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit… You celebrate every achievement.” Being in a constant state of optimism has pushed me through the harder times on the road. When I think to myself “Wow I have not seen my family in a month.” I will usually try and turn that statement into “It has been awhile since I have seen my family, but I get to see them in two weeks”. Often, when I am on chapter visits, chapter members will ask me “How do you travel so much? Do you even like it?” I explain that this job is not easy somedays but it is so rewarding. There are some days where I was mentally and physically exhausted but thinking of all that came out of that hard-working day as made me a stronger person. This job is challenging, but when I am in my positive and optimistic mindset, I look at the challenge as an avenue for personal growth. This challenge also helped me to prepare for several of my graduate school interviews and job interviews. The skills that I learned here pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible.
You have the choice if you want to see the glass half full or the glass half empty. I was reading an article from Forbes Magazine and the title was called See the Glass Half Full or Empty? Why Optimists are Happier, Healthier and Wealthier!” by Margie Warrell. Warrell has two great points: “… optimism creates opportunity and pessimism kills it.” and “Expecting good things to happen will lead to taking actions that produce positive results. Expecting only more bad stuff to come your way will keep you from doing the very things that might have minimized or avoided just that!” (Warrell). Although I am relating optimism and positivity back to my LC experience, Warrell proves that optimism can change anyone’s work environment for the better. If you are optimistic, opportunities will find their way to you and you will be more likely to challenge yourself as an individual. These opportunities that life throws at us are an excellent example of personal growth. If you constantly fear things going in a negative direction, you will probably be too scared to confront these new exciting opportunities. Thinking of the glass half full can make a world of difference, I know it did for me.
Lastly, I want to touch on how kindness impacted my LC experience. I think that kindness is so important. We live in a world where hate seems to be all around us. There are times when I am in the airport and everyone on the airport is being rude, pushing and shoving one another, or the flight attendant is being extremely unhospitable. When I get on a plane and have a negative experience, it can sometimes rub me the wrong way when I am walking off. I have to really focus into my positive energy to try and shake off the miserable experience I just had for the past three hours. On the other hand, I will sometimes go on a plane and everyone will be talking to one another, my neighbor will offer me their pretzels, or the man behind me will offer to lift my heavy carry on into the overhead bin. One time the airline put me at the back of the plane and the flight attendant felt bad that my seat did not recline and I was so close to the restrooms. He offered me complimentary snacks of my choosing to make my flight more enjoyable. These random acts of kindness brighten my day and make me leave that experience and give that positivity to the next chapter visit I am going to. The positivity can reenergize me and help me throughout my chapter visit to keep my momentum high. Often, the chapter members I worked with provided me with that kindness and that strong sense of sisterhood throughout my visits. Every chapter I went to made me feel comfortable and content in the new environment I was in. This kindness brought back positivity when times were hard.
Do not get me wrong, sometimes I had hard days. It is okay to experience sadness, loneliness and frustration. Positivity, optimism and kindness got me through those difficult times. I think that if you chose to see the glass half full, you will open up so much opportunity for yourself. If you make those opportunity into a positive experience than you will enjoy doing them that much more. Also, spreading kindness in everything you do is so important. If you can make someone else’s day, do it! If someone else makes yours, thank them! All of our energies are contagious and we get to choose if we want to make them positive or negative.