Archive for February, 2011

“The Optimist Creed”

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

The Optimist Creed was authored in 1912 by Chistian D. Larson, appearing in his book, Your Forces and How to Use Them. It was adopted as Optimist International’s creed in 1922. Many have found inspiration in The Optimist Creed. In hospitals, the creed has been used to help patients recover from illness. In locker rooms, coaches have used it to motivate their players.

The following version is quoted from Science of Mind 71 (June 1998):

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you. (more…)

The New Power: Pure, Passionate Positivity for Life and Career

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Serious, mainstream discussion about the power of pure, passionate, positive energy is becoming more prevalent everywhere I go – company/client meetings, schools and universities, health clubs, churches, book clubs, you name it. Organizations of all shapes and sizes are indicating a high need for an infusion of positivity throughout their ranks. Meetings, correspondence, water cooler talk, clients/customers, and overall corporate cultures are increasingly becoming infused with negativity in attitudes, demeanors, vocabulary, and rhetoric. Whether the context is personal or professional, pervasive negativity can sabotage all of your other efforts.

As an executive recruiter and business consultant focused on the recruitment of positive leaders, as well as on the development of powerful, positive corporate cultures, I have repeatedly witnessed first-hand the command and influence of pure, positive energy. Whether I am placing an individual into an executive role, or working with an organization to plant the seeds of a more positive, productive culture, the corporate need in this tough economy has been the same for several years: recruit the most positive, resilient, and inspiring leaders possible, and develop initiatives, programs, and job profiles that will engrain a more positive attitude — and more positive results –throughout the organization.

The collective consciousness, or culture, of your organization – its intrinsic values, attitudes, rhetoric, and behaviors — infuses the business and its employees. Positive, affirming corporate cultures are dynamic, energized work environments that proactively drive employee behavior creating better teamwork, and, overall, a more productive, engaged state of mind for all of your employees. Your leaders and managers set the tone for your organization’s culture. And if they are not putting forth a conscious, clear, and consistent effort to be positive these days, the slide will inevitably be toward negativity.

Through Thousands of Conversations…
In almost 15 years as a retained executive recruiter, I have had the privilege of interviewing and assessing literally thousands of the globe’s most successful, purposeful, passionate, fulfilled, and joyous individuals. A guiding, intrinsic positivity and passion for what they do are defining traits of the “best of the best” executives — their work is more to them than a job. It is also interesting to note that the executives in “transition” who tend to rebound the fastest — not only securing a challenging and personally fulfilling role, but building an impressive and lasting network along the way — are innately positive individuals with a strong sense of resiliency and faith that they will land on their feet. People – including potential employers – are attracted to them and want to be around them.

Defining Positivity
Specifically what constitutes positivity and positive energy as I describe here? Well, this is about a great deal more than merely smiling, posturing, cheerleading, or repeating positive affirmations. This has more to do with a palpable optimism, confidence, faith, encouragement, empowerment, vision, and resiliency in your interpersonal and communication skills, values, beliefs, actions, demeanor, relationships, expressions of gratitude, and overall leadership style.

Profound positivity and positive energy – the kind that carries with it the potential to transform lives and organizations — is substantial, inspiring, and contagious, even in the worst of times. It can’t be faked. It is intrinsic to who you are and how you live your life, personally and professionally.

And it all starts with feeling passionate and purposeful about what you do.

If you are in a leadership role, ask yourself: Do my thoughts, choices, emotions, attitudes, approaches, actions, and belief system all positively align every day in the pursuit of my passion and potential? Does every day bring for me the opportunity to optimize my greatness and success? It is through the daily, personal application of an integrated, positive alignment between your purpose and passion with your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and expressions of gratitude that you will create a life of great reward and fulfillment.

The Power of Living All Aspects of Life with Positive Energy
Despite the depressed economy and market conditions, there are those people and organizations that are not merely surviving, but thriving. According to a Stanford Research Institute study, 88 percent of success is about attitude and only 12 percent is about education. Those people who live and work from a baseline of pure, passionate, positivity live fuller lives and enjoy myriad other benefits, including improved health, affirming personal and professional relationships, enhanced joy, productive choices and decisions, effective leadership, greater resiliency, enhanced professional accomplishments and success, and more effective problem-solving abilities.

Your ability to maintaining a positive mindset in both your life and work is a determining success factor, particularly in the toughest of times when so many people are being asked to take on added responsibilities and work longer hours. Everyone has felt the pressure brought on by restructuring, downsizing, upside down life-work balance, external uncertainty, and reduced budgets. The repercussion of these business adjustments is a resultant pervasive attitudinal and cultural slide toward apathy, pessimism, and outright negativity.

The demand for positive leaders has never been greater. You will always be challenged and tested, and an innately positive mindset serves as the bedrock of an iron will and the ability to prevail. To live a truly productive life and have a successful career, you must consistently rise to the occasion when faced with adversity, roadblocks, or negativity. Yet finding individuals, teams, and organizations that have at their core an unwavering positivity is rarer than one might think.

Without the internal fire provided by living and working everyday with purpose and passion, you won’t have the fuel to keep moving forward in the toughest of times. This is the secret of life-long positivity, fulfillment, and joy: irrespective of your specific circumstances, if you first believe that your own life has purpose, you follow your passions, and you live with an abiding faith and perspective that a master plan exists for your life and its inherent lessons, then you tap into a self-actualized personal power and internal certainty that empowers every aspect of your life, including your career.

What Does It Mean to Live with Certainty?
I am frequently asked to define what it means to “live with certainty.” It means that the internal faith, belief, authenticity, purpose, passion, and positivity with which you live ignites an internal certainty, power, and influence greater than any fears or anxieties you may have. Self-actualized, high-achievers live and work each day with purpose, passion, and gratitude which serves to further fuel their positive attitude and productivity. Positive leaders understand that while they cannot control every aspect of their lives, they can control their mindset and attitude. They possess an unyielding faith and confidence in their vision and ability to ever-create a better future, personally and professionally. They trust in themselves and their abilities. Pessimism and negativity are not part of their mix.

Make no mistake; this is not the Pollyanna-Sunnyside view of life. Rather, it’s one of the most profound and effective ways to “cowboy-up” — when things get tough you must have the positive belief in yourself and your ability to prevail to get back up, dust yourself off, and keep trying. And as a leader, you must model this approach for your employees every single day.

Positivity as Key Leadership Trait
In this challenging business environment, positivity as a key leadership trait is a highly sought after attribute that is increasingly finding its way into every job description I write. Increasingly, when I am retained to replace a senior executive, it is because the incumbent was not a transformational conveyer of positive belief within the organization, but rather was perceived as entirely focused on the financials, unapproachable, overwhelmed, overstressed, and underwater.

Positive leaders generally tend to be more motivated and productive than less positive individuals. They inspire others with their belief and faith in a better future in a way that is contagious. A truly positive leader first believes in the grand potential of his/her own life, which only then can transfer to his/her career through the expression of a passionate and achievable vision for their company, employees, and customers. Whether personally or professionally, the positive leader believes that he/she will successfully tackle the next challenge, climb the next mountain, make that next sale. 

Your goal as a leader should be to uplift the beliefs of your employees. As a leader you establish your personal style and “brand,” in part, based upon the level of positive energy in your actions, reactions, vision, beliefs, interactions, relationships, progress, and expressions of gratitude. If you truly want to set yourself up for the next big job or promotion, begin by being the most positive, optimistic, faith-fueled visionary in your organization, particularly during the most challenging times.

Without question your demonstrated belief that you can succeed in a down market will go a long way in bringing out the best in others. This belief should be palpable in everything you say and do, so that when you do have to make the tough calls, your employees will have greater trust that your actions are in the organization’s best interest. The great contributors and great leaders have the ability to remain optimistic and fueled by positive energy even in the worst of times. Particularly when the going gets tough, they maintain positive energy through an optimistic attitude that they control much of their destiny and the best is yet to come, as well as an unflinching belief in a greater purpose which inspires powerful action.

The level to which you feel and express positive energy will directly affect the depth of your relationships and, as a leader, the ensuing level of respect and credibility you receive. Throughout my career working with organizations of every size and sector, I have witnessed the tremendous impact one positive leader can have on an organization. This is especially true with sales leaders where it is said that a lack of positive attitude plays a role in the failure of up to 50 percent of all salespeople. If you can’t successfully overcome rejection and navigate the left turns, hurdles, and roadblocks, you’ll never really understand your own resilience and personal power (or inspire anyone else), nor will you achieve your greatest potential and success.

Do you as a leader, or do the leaders in your organization, understand the impact you/they have on the beliefs, confidence, and goals of your employees? Do your employees believe that you care about them? Do they find you to be inspirational and positive? Do people love working for you? Do you have a reputation for bringing out the best in others? What you personally believe and project — and the limits you set — are contagious and affect the degree to which your employees actually engage and feel loyalty toward you and your organization.

Positivity Begets Positivity
I know for certain that positivity begets positivity. As you extend the best of yourself and release positivity into the world, you invite more positive energy into your life, and goodness will ensue. I recently heard Oprah Winfrey say that you must believe that great things can happen in your life. When you are the recipient of goodness or positivity, recognize it, give thanks for it, and hold it in your heart. And then with every opportunity – how you live, how you give, what you do, and who you are, release that goodness and positivity back out into the world as it was given to you.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead about the power of positive energy and how to inject more of it into your relationships, leadership and team-building approach, and corporate culture. Whether in your career, family, school, sports team, or church group, you can become the positive difference-maker who characteristically reveals your best self and shines. The results will be inspired and engaged family members, children, friends, co-workers, team members, and customers who will in turn feel unleashed and inspired to allow their own best selves to shine. This is the stuff that transformation and success are made of. I invite you to become an active participant in my Positivity Blog — strategies for life and career — by sharing your comments at http://www.livingwithcertainty.com/blog.

Kristi LeBlanc is an Executive Vice President with DHR International, a top-5, retained, global executive search firm, and is based out of Minneapolis and Denver. She is also the author of “Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy,” which was named Best New Non-Fiction Book of 2010 by USA Book News,  and the founder and CEO of Living with Certainty LLC where she is a workshop presenter, keynote speaker, and organizational consultant with a focus on developing positive leaders and positive corporate cultures. To learn more visit http://www.dhrinternational.com/consultants/consultantsviewbio.aspx?consultantid=329,  http://www.Livingwithcertainty.com or call Kristi at 303-997-9328.

Work can provide the opportunity for spiritual and personal, as well as financial growth. If it doesn’t, we’re wasting far too much of our lives. — James Autry

Positive, Inspirational Poem by Langston Hughes Recited by Oprah Winfrey Climbing Sydney Harbor Bridge

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The Langston Hughes poem, “Mother To Son,” captures a positive life perspective, aspirations for the future, and a dream that every child’s life will have its full measure of “crystal stairs.”

Mother To Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

- Langston Hughes, 1922