Professionalism in the Workplace

Positivity and Professionalism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Workplace – The place where one is employed or customarily does one’s work; one’s office, laboratory, etc.

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Every company possess its share of imperfections.  No business can boast of 100% employee satisfaction.  No company can avoid employee disgruntling and turnover.

All positions entail their share of unpleasant duties.

While some employees enjoy their jobs and are passionate about them, others hold significant distaste for their professions.

Regardless of whether you love your occupation, can barely tolerate it, or somewhere in between, one thing is for certain.

You are guaranteed to fall on troubling times and endure difficult days.

One should refrain from setting the unrealistic goal of enjoying a flawless work presence.  It is simply not possible to completely avoid bad days at one’s place of employment.

As the old saying goes, “You take the good with the bad.”

Instead, it is how one handles a difficult workday that defines his or her character.

As noted in previous posts, it is important to halt and manage negative thoughts before they accumulate and, ultimately, consume your mind.

If unable to control negative thoughts once they’ve sneaked in, your infected mood will be revealed in your work.

Your submitted results will indicate a lack of professionalism, thus diminishing your character and damaging your reputation.

It is a very dangerous domino affect that must be avoided.

Regardless of what is thrown your way over the course of your workday, it is imperative to maintain a positive attitude.

Your attitude will be reflected in your work.  A positive attitude will promote a professional mindset, which is essential while handling projects and working with people.

The goal is not to be perfect.  Nobody is perfect.

The goal is to remain aware of your attitude.  Attitude dictates character and, ultimately, impacts performance.

Your best performance will yield quality work.  Quality work reflects professionalism.

Positivity and Professionalism: Professionalism in the Workplace

Find Your Silver Lining

Positivity and Professionalism

Silver Lining – A prospect of hope or comfort in a gloomy situation [From the proverb “Every cloud has a silver lining”]

Definition provided by Webster’s Dictionary

It is human nature to concentrate on the negative components of a situation.  A negative thought process is likely to ensue in the midst of a bad situation.

We are conditioned to dissect our situation, attempting to determine what has gone wrong and why.

Then, in an attempt to prevent further damage, we brainstorm ways in which we can put an immediate halt to the situation.

Often times, we first search for a temporary fix before considering a long-term solution.

From there, we formulate a defense strategy, should we encounter a similar situation in the future.  Our brains are wired this way as a defense mechanism.  This thought process is designed to better prepare us to handle negativity.

While simply trying to make sense of and survive a negative occurrence, it can be extremely difficult to concentrate on its positive aspects and find a silver lining.  The trick is to physically stop, take a deep breath, and mentally remove yourself from the situation for a moment.

As mentioned previously, at the onset of a bad situation, it is perfectly normal for us to immediately begin brainstorming a defense strategy.  However, our first priority should be avoiding a state of panic.  If we’ve already begun to panic, we must take a deep breath and remove ourselves from that irrational state as quickly as possible.

Once palpitations have ceased and thoughts are flowing more clearly, consider the following:

  • The situation could be a lot worse.  Any situation could ALWAYS be a lot worse.  Begin listing ways, to oneself or aloud, in which the situation could be worse.
  • There is always at least one positive transpiration in the midst of any negative occurrence.  Even if it’s a simple matter of personal growth through a difficult learning experience, there is always a positive to be found.  Again, begin listing the positives, either to oneself or aloud.
  • Consider what you’ve accomplished from a perspective of positivity.  Acknowledge the ways in which you’ve controlled your thought process and remained rational while making the best of a bad situation.  Give yourself a pat on the back.
  • Understand that this thought process will require practice for perfection.  This silver lining mentality will not become second nature after just a handful of survived negative situations.  However, once a part of one’s mental makeup, this thought process will help to combat negativity in the future.

The next time you feel negativity swirling around you, consider the above-mentioned coping mechanism.  It is certainly within your power to find a silver lining within even the most bleak of situations.  However, the silver lining won’t reveal itself to you.  It is up to you to take that first deep breath, begin your controlled thought process, and dig to find that silver lining.

This process requires practice, patience, and, of course, positivity.

Combat Negativity, Promote Positivity, Find Happiness

Positivity and Professionalism

Negativity – the quality or state of being negative

Positivity – The quality or state of being positive; actualness; certainty; confidence; peremptoriness; dogmatism

Happiness – An agreeable feeling or condition of the soul arising from good fortune or propitious happening of any kind; the possession of those circumstances or that state of being which is attended with enjoyment

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Negativity is all around us.  It is an unfortunate inevitable component of society.

Negativity is as much a part of our world as the air we breathe or the water we drink.

Negativity occupies the side opposite to positivity on the proverbial attitude coin.

Though negativity is not a tangible item, it sometimes feels as though we could slice negative tension with a cleaver.

Negative minded people and external circumstances are often to blame for the spread of negativity.  However, there is not always a finger to point or blame to place for the presence of negative energy.

Negativity is an aggressive, fact-acting emotion which buries itself in one’s subconscious.  Negativity will often work its way through one’s surface and into his or her core without the person even realizing.

One’s goal should never be to avoid negative thinking altogether.  Such an impossible goal would cause stress to mount and guilt to ensue.

Instead, at the onset of negativity, one’s goal should be to productively manage and overcome such thoughts.  When negative thoughts seep into one’s subconscious, he or she can practice positive thinking as a combatant.

The secret to happiness doesn’t lie in an unrealistic plan of eliminating personal imperfections and avoiding any possible wandering negative thought.  Happiness is achieved via a three-step process which requires practice and determination before becoming habit.

  1. We must recognize and acknowledge negativity as it begins its aggressive attempt to take us over.
  2. From there, we must search for, find, and focus on all positive aspects of a negative situation.  There are ALWAYS positive components of even the most unfortunate situations.
  3. Once we’ve focused on the existing positive aspects, we must ultimately use the negative energy to create a silver lining.

The energy is already there.  We’re just using a practiced thought process to convert the energy from negative to positive.  We are simply turning over the proverbial attitude coin.

“If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.”
-Bradley Cooper as Pat Solatano, Silver Linings Playbook

Positivity and Happiness; One and the Same?

Positivity and Professionalism

Positivity – The quality or state of being positive; actualness; certainty; confidence; peremptoriness; dogmatism

Happiness – An agreeable feeling or condition of the soul arising from good fortune or propitious happening of any kind; the possession of those circumstances or that state of being which is attended with enjoyment

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Though these two terms carry similar definitions, they are not one of a kind.

Though not identical in meaning, positivity and happiness build off and complement one another.  The two share a ‘Yin-Yang’ relationship.

It is possible to maintain a positive mindset without truly feeling happiness.  However, it is not possible to feel genuine happiness without the help of a positive attitude.

I’ll use a water-related analogy to depict the importance of positivity.  When I’ve been thrown into the lake without warning, I rely on my positive attitude to help me temporarily tread water.  Though it’s perfectly normal for me to have irrational fears of drowning, I know I’ll one day remember how to swim again.  At that point, I’ll swim to shore and safety.

That being said, I can’t claim to be happy while treading water and running low on energy.  However, it is my positive attitude that is helping me to maintain sanity and serenity.  I choose to not fixate on my current unfortunate situation that could drown me.

Instead, I look forward to the greener pastures that I will most certainly find.  I remind myself that I’ve survived this predicament before, and will survive it again.  I will regain my ability to swim and bring myself to land.

On the flip side of the coin, one cannot experience true happiness while not maintaining a positive attitude.

Think about it.  How is it possible to feel genuine happiness without clinging to positive undertones?

By now, you may have played “Devil’s Advocate” and considered the following scenarios:

  • One is “happy” that a long-winded peer has finally stopped talking.

This person is impatient and egotistical, feeling as though his or her time is too valuable for said peer.

  • One is “happy” that an arch nemesis has fallen on difficult times.

This person is merely spiteful and practicing the exact opposite of positivity.

  • One is “happy” that the spring semester has finally ended.

This is actually a feeling of relief, not happiness.  Though perfectly common, this person may hold a negative perception of his or her coursework, instructors, and semester in general.

The human mind is an imperfect creation.  We are humans, not robots.  We never have 100% control over the thoughts we think and the feelings we feel.  After all, it can be difficult enough to control the things we say without worrying about passing thoughts.

That being said, it is inhuman to completely refrain from experiencing negative thoughts.  It is impossible to enjoy happiness at all times.

However, being aware of negative thinking is the first step in working towards a positive mindset.  The more aware we are of oncoming negative thoughts, the easier it becomes to combat them.

On my next post, I’ll discuss ways in which we can actively fight negative thoughts, promote positive ones, and strive for true happiness.

“Good Grief…”

Negativity and Positivity; How Easily they Spread

Positivity and Professionalism

Negativity – the quality or state of being negative

Positivity – The quality or state of being positive; actualness; certainty; confidence; peremptoriness; dogmatism

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Negativity and positivity are, essentially, opposite sides of the same coin.

The dangers of negativity are just as strong as the powers of positivity.  The two are equally contagious and easily spread.

We are all products of our past life experiences.  While some have been conditioned to view the glass as half empty, others were taught to see the glass as half full.

Many people carry negative attitudes with them because it is all they know.  Such people may have been raised by cynical parents, or perhaps were surrounded by pessimistic siblings, classmates, or teachers.  Inbred negativity causes people to consistently focus on the cons of any situation.

On the opposite end, positive people will typically attempt to find the best of a situation.  Such people may have been surrounded and influenced by positive thinkers.  They were likely taught to focus on the good and not dwell on the bad.

Though it is important to acknowledge the negative aspects of a situation, there is no need to allow for such aspects to affect your attitude and cloud your judgement.

Let’s envision a hypothetical scenario involving a negative-minded person and a positive-minded person, both of whom have accepted new positions with companies.

A negative person is likely to immediately begin fixating on negative components of his or her situation.  Such a person is quick to judge coworkers, criticize the company for perceived flaws, and complain about his or her salary.

This type of person will generally concentrate on negative aspects, and is likely to share unhealthy thoughts and feelings with his or her peers.  While some are able to remain quietly negative, many feel compelled to speak their minds and spread their displeasure.  Is this venting, or public self-pity and wallowing?

This employee is setting a bad example and, consequently, may cause his or her coworkers to chime in on the negativity.

On the flip side of the coin, a positive person will view his or her new job with a much healthier mindset.  A positive person will likely view a new career position as a fresh start, a chance to learn crucial information, and an opportunity to network and establish relationships.  Such a person will have a positive affect on others, who are apt to jump aboard the optimism train.

Though we are products of our pasts, we are also significantly influenced by our current surroundings and situations.  People brought up in positive environments can be negatively affected by present negativity.

The same holds true for those who grew and developed in negative atmospheres.  These types of people can be positively impacted by favorable current situations.

Though we develop through our life experiences, we need not let forgettable past situations define who we are and who we become.  We can all make conscious efforts to surround ourselves with positive people in healthy settings.

As you enter your next situation requiring social interaction, ask yourself one question.  Is your glass half empty, or half full?  Remember, your attitude will have a direct impact on the attitudes of those around you.

“So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it.  So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”
-Ron Livingston as Peter Gibbons, Office Space

Welcome to Positivity and Professionalism!

Positivity and Professionalism

Positivity – The quality or state of being positive; actualness; certainty; confidence; peremptoriness; dogmatism

Professionalism – The skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well

Definitions provided by Webster’s Dictionary

Though positivity and professionalism are individual terms containing separate definitions, the two are often interconnected in society.  However, one could argue that the two are not interconnected nearly often enough.

It is possible to carry a positive attitude without maintaining a professional nature.  One may own a “Glass is half full” mentality while not understanding the importance of carrying him or herself with dignity and class.

It is also possible to hold a professional persona without the help of a positive attitude.  One can essentially go through the motions on a daily basis, being sure to say and do everything from a politically correct standpoint.  However, this type of person may simply be a very good actor while secretly carrying a pessimistic, negative attitude.  These types of people are their own worst enemies, as they living lives built on fraudulent character.

Though it is possible to maintain positivity sans professionalism and vice versa, it is important to use both simultaneously as common practice.  However, such a two-tiered mindset will not develop overnight.

The first step is to make a conscious decision to use positivity and professionalism as personal templates.  From there, one must actively work to maintain the double-tiered mentality on a daily basis, in various types of personal, social, and professional situations.

It will surely take practice, though such an attitude is certainly attainable.  However, it is something that one must continue to work at.  Though practice makes perfect, there is no point at which practice can be abandoned.  No matter how much progress is made, the path to positivity and professionalism is one that is long-winding, ever-changing, and never-ending.

This blog will be a springboard for anyone looking to develop and strengthen his or her mindsets from both positivity and professionalism standpoints.  Again, these themes can be used and practiced individually.  However, they are far more effective when conjoint.  The two feed off of and strengthen one another, essentially making both more effective.

When you prepare breakfast in the morning, how do you prefer your toast?  Do you prefer to only use Peanut Butter?  Do you prefer to only use Jelly?  If so, that is your prerogative.  However, why use one over the other when the two go together so well?  After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Welcome to Positivity and Professionalism.  Best of luck.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”

Willie Nelson