Assume the Positive

Start With The Positive

 

“Leaders start with the positive, always believing the best first.” -Skip Prichard

 

You’re flipping channels on the television when all of a sudden you land on a game show. You hear the crowd shouting answers.  The person playing the game is trying to answer the host of the show, hoping to win big.  In the background you can see a gleaming new car.

You don’t intend to watch, but you want to see what happens. The contestant squints, grimaces, and tentatively answers.

Almost instantaneously you hear a loud buzzer going off.  The obnoxious sound signals the end of the dream.

Game Over.

Some people seem to wait in the wings as if watching a game show.  Whatever you do, whatever you say, they are sitting in judgment.  They wait for the opportunity to hit the buzzer, to declare you wrong, to declare “game over.”

Do you know someone like that?

You never hear a word of encouragement.  You never hear a positive word.  It’s not that it is hard to elicit a positive response; it’s impossible.

But they are quick to point out a misspelling.  They are fast hitting reply and telling you how disappointed they are in something.

I once knew someone who was apt at pointing out what was wrong.  He was in my office, complaining about someone.  My advice to him was, “Assume the positive. Give the person the benefit of the doubt.  Ask some questions.  Don’t be so quick to condemn and complain.”

 

“Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.” –Stephen Covey

Assume positive intent.

What if it wasn’t an attack, but was a mistake?

What if it wasn’t a mistake, but a miscommunication?

What if it wasn’t a miscommunication, but an oversight?

What if it wasn’t an oversight, but was caused by an undisclosed personal issue?

 

There are so many times when we need to step back.  Instead of complaining, blaming and assuming the worst, pause and reflect.

Someone recently sent me a surprising note accusing me of ignoring his email.  What he didn’t know: I was on an international flight and did not have access to email for fifteen hours.

What Three Words Can Shape Your Future?

Photo by Nico&CO on flickr.

A few years ago, Chris Brogan decided to pick three words to shape his year.  He says that the three words “sum up what you want to work actionably on changing/improving in the coming year.”  In 2006, his words were “Ask. Do. Share.”  This year, he chose “Walt. Ender. Monchu.” I know, not exactly intuitive, but the point is that you select what makes sense to you.

Many others jumped on board and picked three words.  Recently, I was reading Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation and noticed he picked three words (starvation, beyond, student).

MY THREE WORDS

This year, mine are health, love and listen.

1.  Health

True health is not only physical.  Health is something that encompasses the full you:  physical, spiritual, social, mental, and emotional.  It is something you pursue, a state where you keep negative forces at bay.  It’s more than the absence of sickness.  It’s also the presence of well-being.

2.  Love