Thursday, 23 October 2014

Be The Sunshine

Many years back I went through a training workshop on leadership by Marcus Child and Mark Robb, that deeply influenced me. And in this training there was a section on positive thinking. It would suffice to say that since participating in the program, I am a changed person. Thinking and speaking positively is something that I have strived to do ever since and now I don't really have to try any more.

However every now and then I do hit a roadblock. Even after so many years I still have a strong urge, at times, to tell people what they may be doing wrong. Because my deeply ingrained logic reasons 'what could be a better way to help people improve themselves, than to tell them what they are doing wrong?' But this logic couldn't be farther away from the truth. What I have experienced over the years is that when we criticize people, they become defensive, tense, and unhappy; they wilt like a plant would, in harsh winters. Generally the effect of criticism is the exact opposite of what we intend.

I must also share what does work with people, again and again and every single time. When I notice something good about people or their behaviors and point it out to them, something happens - it is like someone directed the sunshine at them, they bloom, feel happy, validated and their brain stores that information so deeply that they repeat the behavior again and again. Of course this is as true for me as it is for others. When someone points out something positive about me I feel no different. I feel energized, my spirit lifts and I tend to repeat the behavior over and over, each time remembering those nourishing positive words. It could be as simple as telling someone You have a lovely smile or I love the way you write your emails so carefully, always grammatically correct and without a single error! All we need to do is make genuine observations about what people do well and learn to admire these. I had no idea that just by noticing what people do well and sharing it with them, I could play a part in people's lives, in helping them see how good they are and in helping them believe in themselves more. Not to mention that pointing out positives in people helps me admire their capabilities and nourishes me as much as it nourishes them.

Like Ken Blanchard rightly said ’Catch people doing things right’ and watch how they light up!

By Divya Thampi

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