August 31, 2012

My top five #strengths: #4, #Positivity (blog)

Some years ago, I did this thing called Strengths Finder 2.0.  I am slowly blogging about my top strengths and perhaps about the least strengthful parts of me. For the other posts, check out the Strengths tag on this blog.

Strength #4:  Positivity
People strong in Positivity have a contagious enthusiasm; they are upbeat and can get others excited about things.

source unknown
When people who know me want to think about happy, positive things, they seek out puppies, rainbows, cupcakes, and Peter. Well, okay, that's probably overstating it, but the point is that I tend to see the good side of nearly every situation, and that rubs off on people.

While clearly there are some things that are bad and others which make me sad, I generally believe that all things turn out well in the end. If things aren't good, then it's not the end.

I also believe that (in general) things work out best for those who make the best of things.

I've been "let go" from jobs three times in my 23 year career. The first time was the hardest because even though the job market was decent, being laid off after seven years at one company carried with it many unknowns. Within days, however, I had a contract with one of my former company's big clients, so not only was I getting a decent severance, I was also making out on the contract.

The second time I was let go, so was everyone else. Yup, they shut down the company. I will never forget the CEO coming into the meeting room and saying, "The good news is we can pay you through yesterday." Such is life in a startup. While some of us panicked, I looked at this as the opening of opportunity. And it was. Six weeks later I was at a new job making more than I ever had before.

After the third layoff (another startup), I landed another contract in two weeks. That contract turned into a full time position and has led to where I am today, ten years later. Despite what Thomas Edison said, you never really know what opportunity looks like until you've missed it or grabbed it.

And so it goes. Sometimes change happens to you. I know worriers who try to plan for every contingency. Inevitably, something happens they never anticipated and didn't plan for, and suddenly their world falls apart. If you're one of those people, find someone like me to be your stabilizing influence during the rough patches. We can't fix your problems, but the first step is remaining calm. The second step is finding the positives. The third step is building on those positives.

The flip side of positivity is that I tend to be a very poor planner. Sometimes I go somewhere without complete directions and have to wing it. Or I'll be in a meeting and be asked a question I should have researched beforehand. (I'm working on that.) My positivity tricks me into thinking that no matter what happens, it will all work out okay in the end.

So far, it always has.

Come to think of it, it always will. Because if it's not okay, then it is not yet the end.


Joni said...

I tend to be a worrier, which I know is mostly pointless. Worrying is suffering about something that has never happened. If it does happen, you've suffered doubly, and if it doesn't, you've suffered needlessly. While I understand this, I'm hard-wired to imagine all the possible outcomes of any given situation. My husband is a positive thinker, thank goodness, and helps keep me grounded.

On the flip side, hasn't he been grateful that I had plastic bags in the car just in case a kid got carsick, and extra socks in my purse!

PJD said...

Joni, I know, right? Complementary strengths. :-)