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Counteract the Negative with the Positive

Sit long enough in front of a newscast and you're likely to hear how terrible things are, were, and are going to be. We need daily doses of what's good to counteract that.

Some of the best leadership advice anyone ever gave me was this:

When constructive criticism is necessary, remind the person they are more than their growth opportunity by starting and ending with what is going well.

That piece of advice has served me well in multiple ways over the years. It has helped me discipline my children, bring about growth and learning with my students, and even renewed companionship in my marriage.

The biggest blessing has been the mindset shift that thinking in this way has created in me. In order to be able to bring opportunities for growth, I needed to also be mindful of all the greatness that person has too.

It's powerful to think of the positive in the midst of the negative. It keeps emotions calm, focuses on truth, and gives the leader the opportunity to lead well and the recipient the opportunity to receive feedback in a constructive way.

In much the same way, this leadership principle can also be applied to what we are experiencing in our world.

If we balance focusing on all that needs to be fixed with all that is good and right and positive and wonderful, we can give ourselves the opportunity to face the truth much more constructively, rather than let emotions like fear, anger, and worry take over.

I believe that there are thousands of wonderful things happening in our worlds on a daily basis and that actually paying attention to them is a way we can all make it through this unexpected, difficult, and unknown season of loss.

I do not believe we should hide from the truth of the facts, but sandwich them between all that is good and right and wonderful.

Here are a few ways we can do this every day:

  1. Wake up and spend time thanking God for the day you have been given, the opportunities you do have in front of you that day, and the blessings He has bestowed upon you already.

  2. Make "appointments" at least twice in your day (this is especially beneficial before and after watching the news or reading news articles) to seek out goodness in your life, the lives of your family, in your neighborhood, community, state, and nation. One of my favorites is SNG (Some Good News) with John Krasinski

  3. Celebrate at dinner all that has gone well that day for you, your family, your friends, your neighborhood, your community, and your state and nation.

  4. When processing fears and worries sift them for the truth and ask questions like: What am I able to do about this? What control do I have here? What effect is being afraid or worried having on me, my relationships and my work? How can I make something positive out of this?

  5. As you try to fall asleep each night, go over your day and thank God for each opportunity you had to be blessed by Him, trust Him, and rely on Him.

Join the Conversation: These are just a few ways to focus on the positive while remaining aware of the facts of the circumstances we find ourselves in. How do you bring positivity into your life?


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