In this episode, you learn about a foundational principle of positivity: when you feel good, you do good. You hear two stories that illustrate this core principle: a business story and a personal story. You take aways 3 practices to build up your own reserves of positivity.
Episode Show Notes and Links
One of the tenants of Appreciative Inquiry is positive emotions lead to positive actions, or when you are feeling good, you do good. Positive emotions open us up to be more accepting and inclusive of ideas and people. We “see” more possibilities and options are available to us and thereby we shift to access more resources, leading to greater positive actions.
Unhappy at work
The two stories in this episode illustrate this principle. In the first one, the CEO of a multi million dollar financial company overhears three employees complaining about their jobs. He invites them to his office to find out what's going on. He's very concerned to hear they are unhappy, but together they work on a plan to improve the situation. The employees leave the CEO's office and go back to their desks feeling far more empowered and positive about their jobs. The second story is about a personal friend, a nurse who wants to quit her job after 25 years because she's feeling so overwhelmed and incompetent in a new role. This news was shared with me when she was sobbing on the phone. I was shocked because I know how much she loved her job and it was especially offered to her for her good service. Feeling in this overwhelmed state, she was unable to make any good decisions. Her negative feelings shut her down and everything seemed hopeless to her. She wasn't able to think of any possible good solutions in her dissatisfied, negative state other than quitting.
In conversation with her, I asked how she want to look back on her 25 year career – a career that she had loved. I asked how she would want to be remembered. As she slowly shifted from her negative state to a more positive one she became more open to other possibilities. In a quick succession of ideas, the solution came to her. A solution that was available to her the whole time, but she needed to be in a more positive state in order to access other options and believe them possible.
- Barbara Fredricksen's research into positivity is beautifully explained in her books Positivity and Love 2:0. Highly recommended.
- A host of her research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is available at the PEP Laboratory
- The Positivity Blog has many great resources More about the first story of the CEO and the unhappy employees
- Robyn's TEDxNavesink Talk, “Playful Inquiry – try this anywhere”
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