By Robert E. Quinn
Is negativity contagious? Sometimes it seems like it. The good news is that positivity is just as easy to spread. Finding a way to transform your negative feelings into positive ones before going into situation you dread can make the difference between a good outcome and a disappointing one.
A friend recounted this story: “I had a really busy day at work, and in the afternoon I had a meeting with the general manager of one of the companies I work with.” She went to his office and was asked to wait in the reception area. “When I sat down,” she said, “I had a feeling of dread and annoyance and wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.”
As she waited, she became aware of how much negativity she was carrying. She realized that the negativity would probably be projected out into the world and return to her in a way that would make her even more negative.
So she decided to change herself. She reflected on her personal life mission and commitment to positive interaction.
In an instant, she felt love for “the GM, for the people I was sitting in the lobby with, and for this whole town.” Even her posture (and the body language it conveyed) changed. What happened next is remarkable:
When the GM came to get me, I greeted him with every bit of love and joy I could. He said, “Wow, what a warmth you have.” Our meeting was incredible. Instead of being 30 minutes, it turned into a two-hour meeting. I can honestly say that it is now a defining moment in my life. I learned so much from this man. He opened his heart to me and shared his fears. I asked him what result he wanted to create within his organization and he got emotional. He shared core story after core story on why he is pushing his company in a certain direction. As our meeting came to a close, we stood and he said, “I feel like hugging you, but I know that may not be appropriate” and laughed. We shook hands and I left.
What are you dreading? If you supplant that dread with openness and joy, what do you see as possible?