Practice Positivity to Optimize Your Career
Does being an optimistic person give you an edge in getting hired or being promoted? Research says yes.
Optimists make more money, outsell their counterparts, and are less stressed (Gielan, Harvard Business Review). They also find jobs more easily and are more likely to be promoted, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (Forbes).
But not everyone is naturally optimistic. Some of us are complainers, eye rollers, and naturally more negative. If optimism is so great, can it be learned?
Looking Inward: Start with Self-Talk
People gravitate to others who say positive things and express the bright side of life. Whether it’s a quick laugh around the water cooler or an uplifting text, little things matter. People who consistently demonstrate these outward expressions of optimism have mastered the art of positive self-talk. The Mayo Clinic describes self-talk as “the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head.” Self-talk comes from logic and reason, but also from misconceptions that your own mind creates due to lack of information. If your self-talk is negative, it’s likely that the words you are saying and how you are coming across is pessimistic. You may even be inadvertently creating a toxic work environment for others.
Listen to yourself. What is your own “output” around others? Think about your texts, phone conversations, the tone of your emails, social media posts, etc. If it is negative, you may want to purposefully practice making a change. Healthline says that to break a habit, one should: 1) identify triggers, 2) focus on why you want to change, 3) elicit the help of others. “If you tend to have a negative outlook, don’t expect to become optimistic overnight,” says the Mayo Clinic. “But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you.”
Practical Steps to Optimism
A study done by Dr. Michael Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania found that optimistic sales professionals outsell their counterparts by 56% (Gielan, HBR). Studies also show that employees respond better to positive managers. Optimistic managers who regularly give encouragement and positive feedback increase employee motivation (Arakawa and Greenberg). Employees with a positive outlook cope better with stress and can reduce its harmful effects (Mayo Clinic).
There are many practical things one can do to become more optimistic. It takes self-awareness, daily practice, and reflection.
- Listen to your own “output” and self-talk. Become aware of any negativity. Be happy with where you are right now and focus on practicing being content.
- Practice gratitude daily. “Instead of grabbing your phone first thing to check the headlines or your email, create a “media moat” and start your day by listing three things you’re grateful for and why. This two-minute daily practice rewired elderly pessimists to become more optimistic after just two weeks” (Gielan, HBR).
- Connect with others as much as possible. Don’t talk about someone behind their back.
Express Positivity When Interviewing
When in an interview, it can be tempting to speak negatively about a position you are leaving. But being positive about past employment shows your prospective employer that you appreciate past opportunities (Indeed). “Talk about the skills you learned or improved, the connections you made with coworkers or the opportunities you took to challenge your abilities” (Indeed). During the actual interview, smile and keep your words positive. Focus on words like teamwork, excitement, meeting goals, future, etc.
At Artemis Consultants, we believe that a positive attitude keeps everyone trying new things, feeling brave about brainstorming new ideas, and makes people excited to go to work with their coworkers. Artemis specializes in filling critical hiring needs in SaaS, B2B Tech, and Data Services recruiting.
Positivity certainly extends to the recruiting process. Let us help you take a positive step in your career or in your company’s candidate hunt.