Thursday, April 11, 2013

Choose Your Energy

Yesterday, as Jan and I commuted into New York City to facilitate the third day of our Positive Leadership series, I looked around at the other commuters on the subway. Of course as a traveler I know that it's important not to look like a victim when traveling around any city. But the next time you are on the subway, bus, or walking through your city or town note what you see. What I saw was mostly negative or slightly bored expressions and it made me wonder: is this the energy we are bringing into the workplace?

Be honest. What kind of energy do you bring into a room? Is the energy positive or negative? I'm not talking about being so cheerful you make people cringe as you walk into the room. But do people cringe when you walk in from fear of your negative energy or worse, your wrath?

You might protest that you work in toxic environments with people you'd rather not associate with. Yet, even in the midst of really negative work spaces we have the choice of what we bring to the situation and to the day. We can choose to be victimized by the negativity around us, or choose to stand in our own integrity and live and act the way we want to.

Positive energy is important to how we are perceived by those around us. We might think that by being stern and authoritative we project a leadership quality. Yet Alex Pentland in the research he did at MIT on charisma discovered that one of the most important elements of charisma was projecting positive energy and being energetic about what you do.

It is very simple. Every day we choose the clothes, the shoes and perhaps the coat we wear. We also choose the attitude. More than the clothes, the attitude makes the man or woman. So think about that tomorrow morning as you prepare for your day. The attitude you choose and the energy you convey can make your day, along with those around you.

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