I've been listening to Gretchen Rubin for the last few months and I adore the way she blends hard science with personal commentary. Within her 'Happiness Project' Gretchin identifies her '12 Commandments' and with clarity explains how these simple rules help guide her life and business. I thought it was a brilliant idea, so here are the simple truths I've found about positive business people.
1. The days are long but the years are short - Many people in business fall into the trap of feeling overwhelmed and focus in on the daily tasks at hand. The trouble is, the years pass by regardless of where you focus, so taking time to make a master plan helps you to see the bigger picture and work towards it.
2. Lean in when it gets uncomfortable - There are not many business people I know of who have had an easy path to success, in fact, I can't think of one. Those who are truly successful know that when things get difficult the fastest way forward is to lean in, to work harder and to find a way through. The people who avoid confrontations, failure and the mess that business can be, generally don't stick around for long.
3. Always leave it better than you found it - Regardless of what context your thinking of, the same rule applies both in business and life. When you walk into a meeting make sure the people leave feeling valued and inspired, when you walk into a messy office, do what you can to tidy, improve or organise it. If you live this truth you'll go to bed every night knowing you've made the world a little better.
4. Stop deliberating - Either make a decision, make a plan or get some advice. Positive business people know that time spent deliberating is time wasted (it also has a negative effect on both our willpower and self efficacy). I'm not talking about thinking through, I'm talking about worrying over things. Thinking and planning is brilliant, but you know when you get to the point where you should have made a decision. Positive people push through that, others... well they stay stuck in worry and inaction. I heard a beautiful sentiment on clutter recently "Clutter is simply decisions postponed."
5. Other people matter - In fact, other people are the only way you'll every create the business you want. Give out gold stars regularly, praise and acknowledge your suppliers, staff and clients and take every opportunity you get to lift and elevate the people around you. When you start living this truth you'll draw in the most amazing people into your life and things will start clicking into place.
6. Never put off till tomorrow what can be done today - My Dad instilled this value in me and yes it certainly keeps me busy, but I also feel like I make massive progress most days. If I walk past something that needs to be done rather than deliberating, I get it done (or add it to a system to get done.) Now, I know this is contentious, and for some of you (with over flowing in-boxes and a line at your office door) I appreciate this isn't achievable. But, what you will find is that the more you achieve today, the easier tomorrow is. Yes, it's a double edged sword, and the more you achieve, the more is expected of you. But fundamentally, once you tick it off your list, you feel great, your confidence grows and you get to move forward.
7. Consciously create fun - Fun at work? Yes, positive people find ways to create fun and moments of engagement and joy. Why? - Oh, I could bang on about the science for ages, but essentially people who have fun and are playful at work create positive moments, that puts your brain into a super productive state, opens you up to new opportunities and helps you engage and connect with those around you. It's those times that your able to do your best work and find the flow.
8. Simplify - Mostly, we overcomplicate things in business. I constantly ask myself, how can I make this more simple? It minimises distractions, reduces people involved, decreases costs and generally makes everything more efficient. The challenge is wading through the complexities to find the simplicity underneath.
9. There is only this moment, and it too shall pass - This was my mantra when my kids were little and I've found it works in every walk of life to keep me grounded in the present moment. When business is going well, I try to remember, it won't always be this easy, and when business is at it's most challenging, I try to remember, it won't always be this tough. Either way, when I keep that perspectice it makes being in the moment easier.
10. Follow your passion - It's an old cliche but when you follow your heart and the things that light you up, the path forward becomes clearer and often things seem to magically click into place. (Not very businessey of me, but you know it's true.) When you're passionate about your business and the difference it makes in the world, the work pales into insignificance when compared to the impact you're creating.
11. Develop a growth mindset - Positive people have a minset that believes learning is more important than achieving and growing is more important than winning. Look around your business and the people who are life long learners always stand out. They are sparking interesting conversations, open to new ideas and the first to take a chance in business. They know that failure is the birthplace of crativity and innovation.
12. Invest in yourself - What you know will be the foundation of your business. Investing in your education and personal and professional development will always pay off and positive people are prepared to back themselves and invest in becoming better in their chosen field.
So, there happens to be 12.... but I'm positive you can think of a few more that apply to your business. Hopefully it's sparked some ideas and inspired you to adopt a more positive way of doing business. If you have any thoughts, questions or additions to the list I'd love to hear them.