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The Power of Harnessing Positive Thinking to Achieve Your Goals


The Power of Harnessing Positive Thinking to Achieve Your Goals

Did you ever wonder how positivity and enthusiasm can help you achieve your goals? It sounds a little “Pollyanna” but it actually works.

I have always been a pretty positive guy. My friend Lisa calls me the “can do” man. When we worked together I would always say we can do that, or that should not be a problem or let’s get right to it.

Just like everyone else – I have times when negative thoughts creep into my brain. It’s only human. The secret is to identify the damaging effects of that line of thinking and reframe them.

Negative thoughts dangerously limit you in the workplace

I’m a skier and early in the ski season when I am at the top of Elevator Shaft – a very steep run with a sheer drop off – my heart races, I get butterflies in my stomach and my palms sweat despite the freezing conditions.

This is my body telling me that I am still too rusty for this particular ski run. The human response of fight or flight kicks in. My brain focuses on the fear and the negative emotions of crashing down the mountainside and being laid up with broken bones.

Not so bad when skiing – but horribly limiting in the workplace.

When you’re afraid or you foster negativity for whatever reason, your brain prevents you from seeing other options and solutions. The fear created by negative thinking limits you. You look at everything as limiting – even those things that were not negative to you before.

And once you’re deeply entrenched in negative thought it’s hard to pull yourself out. You become ineffective at work, your production decreases and very likely you’re not offered new and exciting work. Your co-workers may begin to avoid you and you become isolated. 

With Elevator Shaft looming in front of me I have two choices:  Ignore my negative thoughts and very likely put another dent in my ski helmet, or reframe the negative into something positive. I actively choose to rethink those negative thoughts with a positive spin and remind myself that there are still many ski runs I can ski and I’ll have the entire season to enjoy them instead of recovering from a bad crash.

I take one last look at the sheer drop off and ski off down the much easier ridge line. I make the conscious choice to embrace the positive.

Positive thought increases your options and productivity

Positivity broadens your sense of possibility. As I ski down the much easier ridge I feel joy and excitement for the next run, fresh snow, and my next day on the mountain. I see options all over the place.

When I adopt the same line of positive thinking in the office – when negativity creeps in either in my own head or from other co-workers – I provide myself the ability to move forward.

I elect to see choices and opportunities, and my production increases because I am not afraid to try new things. I am open to all the options and, with that, new opportunities come my way. It could be added responsibility, a highly coveted project or even a new job.

Perhaps the best benefit of embracing positive thoughts is the ability to build skills and better yourself in the process. As I continue to ski this season, I will work hard on getting to a place where Elevator Shaft no longer gives me butterflies. I will sharpen my skills and soon that ski run will be back in my rotation, instead of remaining one of my limitations.

Actively embrace positivity

I will be the first to tell you, it can be a struggle to embrace positivity. The key is to actively move forward. Here’s how I reframe the negative and embrace the positive.

  1. Acknowledge the negative – take a moment and think through it. Don’t gloss over negative thoughts or push them away. If you allow them to linger in the back of your mind it is only a matter of time before they sabotage you.

  2. Educate yourself on what is bothering you. Learn, grow and change.  

  3. Visualize the outcome you want. I can see myself bombing down those double black diamond ski runs!

  4. Surround yourself with enthusiastic, positive people. Positivity breeds positivity. Negative people are toxic. Avoid them if at all possible.

  5. Make the active choice to embrace the positive. We all have a choice on how we react to negative situations and thoughts – choose to be positive.

Give positive thought a try. We all have bad moments, bad days – we’re only human. Take those moments, acknowledge them, and then choose to adopt positive thinking. You’ll be glad you did.

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