Finding the Good

Do you focus on the good or the bad? Think about the last time you went out to dinner and had excellent service. Did you take the time to compliment your server or was it expected? As a customer, we should get great service, but what we often fail to compliment the good. If something goes awry or if we do not get the service we desire, we are all too often quick to jump and alert the authorities.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with pointing out when a business could do better. That information is extremely useful. I do think we tend to focus too much on the negative and wonder what might happen if we put more focus on the good. What if the next time a co-worker, employee, spouse, or your child did something that was less than favorable, you pointed out what was done well? This could prove challenging especially given what the action was. Let’s say you have been tirelessly working on bringing on a new account when one of your co-workers does something to negatively impact the relationship. It’s likely that they are fully aware of what was done and already beating themselves up. You certainly could focus on all the missteps or you could find some good in it and strengthen the relationship with your co-worker.

Years ago, I worked at a non-profit that taught leadership. After a training session, all of the instructors would gather to discuss what worked, what didn’t work and areas of improvement. Each of the presenters gave an evaluation of their performance as well as the others. I remember the first time I participated in this activity. I was very nervous to be presenting in the first place and then to critique myself felt extremely intimidating. While I was presenting I kept focusing on breathing. It might seem obvious but those deep breaths helped me to calm down. There was a lot I could have done better, so identifying what didn’t work and specific areas of improvement was a breeze. Pointing out what I did correct was quite a challenge, until I thought about my breath. I managed to breath nice and easy and while doing that I didn’t hyperventilate. I took control of my breath and kept calm. It may have been a little thing, but it helped. There was a success!

What might happen if you pointed out more of the good things that those around you do as well as yourself? I’m not saying don’t look at the things that didn’t work. You should look at that because then you can learn.