During a men’s bible study session, a friend was telling a story about how he has developed a bad habit of looking for what is wrong in others. He finds himself constantly criticizing and complaining about what others are doing and not doing, and this habit is spilling over into his family life.
When he shared this story with the rest of the group, another member noted that he had done the same thing for many years, but had recently adopted a new approach to help him keep a positive perspective on life, and here’s the advice he shared …
“It was time I learned to turn up the good!”
As I listened to this conversation, I realized how much I could learn by engaging in as many positive actions as possible. The point here is I sometimes occupy my mind with negative and unproductive thoughts, which invariably leads to unhealthy actions.
After this meeting, I took some notes on how I could create positive energy in the various settings where I participate, and here is a partial list:
- As a professor, I’ve answered the same questions from students for 30 years. In some cases, students ask me the exact same question in the same class. When I am good, I show patience and respond to students with kindness. It is possible they did not hear my response or failed to understand it. Also, there are times when students are anxious about returning to college, and they want to make sure they are clear regarding the assignments. It’s important for me to make them feel safe in this environment, even if it means repeating the instructions.
- As a friend, I need to improve my listening and caring skills. A long-time friend recently called me and mentioned that he and his wife would be unable to continue participating in a church ministry because they were struggling with their marriage. In the past, I would have understood and wished them luck. However, wanting to channel my good energy, I followed-up with him for several days in a row, and asked how things were coming along, and if there was anything my wife and I could do to help. Eventually, they took us up on the offer, and we met for lunch. While they will take time away from the ministry for now, they are in a better place and were grateful we had gone the extra mile to help them in a time of need.
- As a leader, it’s important I create a workplace where my employees feel valued. In many of the companies where I have worked, I often heard the “our people come first” message, but most of us knew it was mostly lip service. The fact was a few of the people were valued and the others were expendable. Turn up the good means I provide opportunities for growth within the company, so employees continue to feel valued and productive. It also means I allow mistakes to happen. I need to reinforce the importance of learning from these mishaps while being careful not to criticize or penalize employees who fall short of expectations while trying to make the company better.
I would like to leave you with important advice shared by a mentor, and the person who recommended the men’s bible study group.
He said, “To be an authentic person, surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable, especially when it comes to making sure you practice your values.”
I’m not where I want to be yet … but I am showing up to meetings where my friends remind me that love, respect, and humility should always be on the top of my mind. The more we practice these values, the more we spread positive energy to create encouraging and productive environments around us.