Recently on a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, I snapped a quick photo of a small street filled with shops. I posted the photo on Facebook where a friend liked it and commented that, from his perspective, the photo looked like a postcard and that I was truly living a blessed life. I am very blessed, and I make choices every day that lend themselves to positivity and keeping a sense of perspective. My entire life gets the “postcard” treatment, in that I always try to see the best in a situation, and share those moments with others.
His comment got me thinking more about perspective and the role it plays in my own life and what we teach at South Carolina Federal Credit Union. I believe that how we choose to approach a situation fundamentally impacts its outcome. I believe that when we are committed to changing our perspective on a situation, we open ourselves up to the possibility of new questions, new knowledge, and ultimately better outcomes. Positivity is equally important for a leader. When you are trusted by a team to lead, the impact of a positive attitude cannot be understated.
Everyone has problems, and it can be easy to focus on those issues. A leader focuses on the solution.
When we approach problems with positivity and change our perspectives, many things happen, including;
- You often discover there is more than one solution to a problem. When we look at things from a positive perspective, we set ourselves up to explore possibilities and find a solution.
- You may discover a problem is not as complex as you initially thought; you may also discover that what seemed like a simple problem may, in fact, need closer inspection to solve. Changing perspective can help us see the details we missed initially. It can also help us understand that what seems like an overwhelming issue may actually have a simple solution.
- You build stronger relationships with your team members because they feel valued. When people are asked for input to solve a common goal, it builds trust and establishes a sense of belonging.
- You gain clarity on a situation that you otherwise wouldn’t have. When problem-solving, clarity is everything. This also allows us to stay focused on the most important things in our lives without getting bogged down in unnecessary worry and details.
- You make more effective decisions because you’ve included each person’s knowledge about the problem and their suggested solution. There is a saying “two heads are better than one” for a reason. Including others when making decisions in life and business gives you a deeper understanding of your impact.
Keeping a sense of perspective and a positive attitude is ongoing and necessary work. Our lives and time are precious and need to be treated with the utmost care. Let me share with you some tips on how to give your life the “postcard” treatment.
Understand that circumstances do not determine your happiness or how you should respond in this world.
Choose to think and act with positive energy. One of the greatest examples of this in my own life is my experience with my mother, affectionately known as Fanny. Even when she was in pain from Parkinson’s and suffering from dementia, we celebrated every moment with her as a blessing. Mom encouraged us to see the best in life. She described it as the hope for the future.
Be intentional about who you choose to be around.
Time is your most valuable asset. Surround yourself with people who positively impact your life and work. People who contribute to making you a better person. Who are you investing in? Who is investing in you?
Any circumstance can reflect happiness or sadness. It’s a matter of what you choose to see.
This is more than just a glass half full or empty perspective. At an art exhibition in London, I was looking at a black & white photo of a small child sitting in the rubble of the street. For one moment it was sad until I heard a young woman beside me comment that if you looked close enough you could see a smile in the child’s eyes.
Even when I traveled into the countryside of the Philippines and saw living conditions worse than anything we’d ever see in the US, these people were happy. They were grateful for life and shared with me that every day for them was a blessing.
I am not dismissing the unfortunate hardships of life nor the hatred that exists. I simply choose to celebrate the positive aspects of life.
I encourage you to take a look at how you are choosing to see the world. Are you someone people would consider a positive person? Are you making it a point to change your perspective on a situation to open up possibilities?
What is a time when your perspective changed and it helped you solve a problem? What are the “postcard” moments in your life? Please share in the comments below!