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Who is Influencing You?

My last post concerned your level of influence with the people you lead. This post is about who is influencing you.

You are shaped and influenced by the experiences of your life and the people you share them with.

If you have ever responded to someone by saying, “I had never thought of it like that,” then you have been influenced by that person. If you’ve ever changed your thinking to match someone else’s then you have been seriously influenced by them.

I don’t think I’m going to like how this sounds but here’s the thing….if you want to be more successful then don’t hang around with less successful people. It’s a sad reality that you just can’t afford some of the people who may be in your life.

You, your life and your level of success are very likely the average of the five people you spend the majority of your time with. Many things and many people can bring you down but they need a whole lot of help from you to keep you down. Don’t help other people keep you down, stay away from those who do not have your best interests in mind. 

Now, there is an argument to be made that you help less successful people by hanging out with them. That may be true…IF your influence on them is greater than their influence on you. In every relationship you are involved in you had best be very honest with yourself about who is the greater influence. The other person’s negative influence may be more powerful than your positive influence, especially if your own success and self-confidence is a bit immature.

The key to determining who is influencing you is to realize that most everyone you interact with is influencing you to some extent. There are virtually no neutral human interactions. Every interaction causes you to feel better about yourself and your circumstances or it causes you to feel worse. 

You are a product of your environment, there is just no escaping that fact. If you want to be more positive and successful then place yourself in a successful and positive environment. You may need to leave some people behind but it’s not likely that they were true friends anyway.

It’s a hard but true fact.

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The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

The iPhone just turned 10. Happy Birthday iPhone! 

Lots of people, actually lots and lots of people, who supposedly are experts, or were experts, on technology kind of stuff said the iPhone wouldn’t see one year much less ten. 

There were a wide variety of reasons including touch screens don’t work, multi-use gadgets will NEVER be popular, and of course it fills a need that doesn’t exist. 

Until the articles starting showing up recently in conjunction with Apple’s big anniversary I had forgotten just how negative many people were about the new technology. Some of the experts just clearly didn’t have the vision of a Steve Jobs and some I think didn’t like Apple. Some were just negative about anything new. 

Some people are just negative period. 

So be careful when sharing your plans and ideas with others. Apple had the courage of their convictions to press on with the unheard of idea. Many of us do not. We are too easily talked out of doing what we believe in by negative people who see our success as a threat to their negative views. 

If we succeed at doing something that they could have done but choose not to do then they think that makes them look bad. Negative people would prefer we fail because that supports their tormented view of life. 

The heck with them! 

Do not let negative people talk you out of trying to improve. Whether it’s improving the world, improving your workplace or even and perhaps most importantly, improving yourself. 

Most of what we take for granted today the nattering nabobs of negativism at one time said couldn’t be done. Negative people think in terms of “can’t” while positive people, who also happen to be the most successful people, think in terms of “can.” 

You can, you can, you can and don’t ever let anyone tell you anything different!

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Negative Voices

Stephen Curry is a professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors. He was recently selected as the 2016 Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association (NBA). With his selection he became the first player in NBA history to be selected unanimously for this very prestigious award. 

Most of his fellow professionals were effusive in their praise of his abilities and agreed with his selection for the award.

Most.

One fellow NBA player said that while Curry was unquestionably a great player whether or not he was of MVP caliber was a little more debatable. 

Curry’s response was …. nothing. He did tell one reporter that he had learned long ago to pay no attention to the negative voices all around him. He added that their only goal was to “mess” with his head. You kind of get the feeling that one trait contributing to Curry’s success is that he controls the thoughts that go into his brain.

Friends, colleagues, co-workers, and even family members will sometimes tell you that you cannot succeed. They will say “that” was tried years before and didn’t work. They will say “don’t reinvent the wheel” or “if it ain’t broke don’t fit it,” and even more negative type statements. Some may have your best interests in mind but many, even most, will not.

You need to be very careful when listening to those comments because you may start to believe them if you’re not.

There will always be people who think you can’t succeed but here is an absolute key to your success; make sure you’re never one of them. Do not, never ever, talk negatively about yourself to yourself. Never never never tell yourself that you cannot succeed.

Always, always, always believe in the incredible power of you!

It’s easy to focus on the negative because negativity can seem to be everywhere. It requires discipline to see what’s good. Virtually every problem brings with it an opportunity and successful people find that opportunity. Successful people know that just because something “ain’t broke” doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be broke and rebuilt…. better.

All that matters at the end of the day… well nothing really matters at the end of the day so long as you have another day to do better, to be better, and to appreciate all that you have received, both the bad you’ve learned from and the good you’ve been able to share.

There will always be negative voices trying to mess with your head, make sure you don’t add your own to the noise of negativism. When you control what goes into your brain then you also control what comes out.

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That Will Never Work

Have you ever heard those words? I certainly have and I’ve heard them many times in countless meetings.

I’ve heard this idea will never work, I’ve heard that idea will never work, I’ve heard we tried that before, I’ve heard every variation of it’s just not going to work.

It’s amazing, just how many people know something won’t work. But I wonder how they know it won’t work? And if they know it won’t work then they must know how it will work. But they never seem to suggest how it will work, they just say it won’t work.

That’s a negative attitude. That’s a can’t work attitude. That’s a I’m not going to succeed mindset. That’s a I don’t get much done mindset. That is most certainly not the mindset of successful people.

I’ve heard it said that success comes in cans and failure comes in can’ts.

As you go through this week check yourself, check your words and check your attitude. See how many times you say can’t vs how many times you say can. When you hear an idea that you think won’t work don’t say it can’t work, say it CAN work if we  _________.

Don’t allow yourself to say something won’t work unless you’re willing to say how it will work. If you don’t know how to make something work then don’t say that it can’t. Maybe you should consider holding on to the negative thought until you can back it up with something positive.

When you continuously say that ideas won’t work, without saying how they can work, people may begin to think that you have a negative attitude. They may just be right!

Think about it…

 

How Negative Are You?

Attitude 2Are you a negative person? Do you know a person who is negative? As we begin this post let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don’t think there is such a thing as a negative person.

Yes, I know many, many people will disagree with that. Let’s see if I can change some minds.

Think about it, for a person to truly be negative they virtually have to wake up, stretch and say to themselves, “I’m hoping today really sucks and if it doesn’t I’ll do whatever I can to make it suck.” They would almost have to want their day to be full of problems and mishaps.

It doesn’t make sense for a person to be negative. I think people wake up hoping for a good day, wishing for “things” to go well and then stuff happens. They spill their coffee, traffic is horrible on the way to work, they realize they are wearing one black sock and one blue one. Then they react negatively to that. Then they interact with you. Then you think they are negative.

These seemingly negative people are just like you except they have, at least momentarily, lost control of their attitude. Sometimes these people lose control of their attitude often and easily. Those are the people we think of as negative.

They really aren’t, they just do a poor job of controlling the attitude.

Now, here’s some hard truth: If you’re one of those people who can’t, or won’t, control your attitude then you will be thought of as negative. People will whisper about you behind your back. They will more carefully measure everything you say. Your credibility will be called into question because of your attitude.

You don’t get a vote in this. You can say you’re a positive person until the cows come home but if enough people think of you as negative, then YOU are doing something to cause it.

You need to have a serious, honest conversation with the person who stares back at you from the mirror each morning and decide that YOU will do whatever it takes to keep your attitude under your control. You must make the decision that you will not let things or people outside of your control rob you of one of the greatest assets a person can have: a positive attitude.

It’s your attitude and if you don’t control it you will be perceived as negative. Whether you believe you’re negative or not.

Now, a word to the leaders who are reading this.

If you have a member of your organization or team that you have classified as negative then you may well have some work to do. At minimum you should have a conversation with the person you believe is negative to determine if you can help them control their attitude. Telling them to change it is not coaching, asking them how you can help is.

You may also want to take a look at yourself. You are the “model” for your organization’s behavior. If you behave negatively or say negative things, then it’s a good bet your people will too. When you criticize people for doing what you do it frustrates them.

Frustrated people usually struggle to maintain control of their attitude.

Authentic leaders don’t merely dismiss a person as negative. They invest their leadership skills to determine if and how they might help. They have compassion for the person because they know that no one wants to be perceived as negative.

Are you a strong enough leader to coach a person to positivity? If you are then you’re an authentic leader indeed!