Positivity: Silver Linings


Me and my mom sharing some Positivity 


Talents are defined as naturally recurring thoughts, feelings or behaviors that can be productively applied.  When it comes to the "naturally recurring" part of this equation, there is plenty of debate about how much of it is nature - in your genes - and how much of it is nurture - influenced by outside elements.  Most studies conclude that 50% of the way you naturally think, feel and behave is determined at birth and the other half is curated by outside influences like peers and life experiences.

In his book, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Tom Rath sites a study of 1,000 children whose personalities were tested between the age of 3 and the age of 26.  Remarkably, many of the outcomes were similar at the early age and the adult age.  Although people do change over time, core personality traits - namely the ways we think, feel and behave, are less likely to change.

Of all of my Top 5 Signature Talent Themes, the one I know for certain I can trace back through my DNA is Positivity (#4 for me).  It is a lasting and cherished gift handed down to me by my mom, Maureen.  My mom passed away unexpectedly in 2015.  I am sure that had she taken the assessment, that Positivity would certainly be within her Top 5, if not her #1 Talent Theme.

My mom not only provided me with her "silver lined" genes, but also nurtured my pathway towards Positivity through genuine support, praise and personal example.  A child of the Great Depression, one of twelve (yes 12) kids and parent-less by the age of 13, you might not think my mom's environment was conducive for optimism.  The fact is, her own predisposition to Positivitiy likely provided her the resilience to make it through many of life's experiences, providing her and those around her hope, humor and energy.

People with strong Positivity talents are always on the hunt for the sunny-side of every situation.  They are generous with praise, quick to smile and bring enthusiasm to people, groups and organizations.  They like to celebrate achievements and make everything more exciting and vital.  They live life to it's fullest, believe work can (and should) be fun and never lose their sense of humor. 

My mom was an unselfish giver.  Even posthumously, she gifted me with the strength to endure her passing through the power of Positivity.  This talent has helped me to weather many storms with an eye for the brighter side of everything I've faced.

Through me, my mom continues to give.  My two adult children have taken the StrengthsFinder assessment and there is one Top 5 Signature Talent Theme we all share - you guessed it...Positivity.


People with Positivity talents have an infectious energy and enthusiasm that affects everyone around them.  Here are some ways to aim these talents towards positive results in the workplace;

* People with Positivity love to encourage others.  Allow them to be liberal with their general praise and encourage them to tailor their recognition towards the needs of each individual.  When they remind others of the positives they see, they are as encouraged and rewarded as the people they are recognizing.

* People with Positivity are enthusiastic and energetic cheerleaders.  Their behaviors can lighten the mood and inspire coworkers to keep moving when they become discouraged or reluctant to take calculated risks.

* Don't let their enthusiasm and "glass half-full" outlook make you think they are naive.  People with Positivity know that bad things can happen - they just prefer to focus on the good things.  Pessimists may at times seem wiser and occasionally they might be right, however they are rarely achievers.  Put your money on the optimists!




Dan is currently serving 20 years to life as the Sr. Director of Destination Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort.  He prefers white-water rapids over data lakes and lists Ideation, Futuristic and Positivity amongst his signature talents.    Find him on Twitter @dpddonovan 


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