The Pursuit of Positivity

The Pursuit of Positivity

Let’s do a quick exercise. Pull out a pen and scrap of paper. Or pull up a new word processor window. List out the 5 biggest problems that you’re facing right now, in life, at work, at home, etc. Now list out the 5 biggest joys. Ready? Go. I’ll wait.

Okay, did you finish? Take a look at your lists? Which one was easier for you to write? For many of us, the list of problems probably came easier. We’re trained to be problem-solvers. We find what’s wrong and we attack it, cut it out, fix it. I’m not trying to say that this is intrinsically bad. In fact, this focus on removing obstacles is what has made a lot of leaders successful. The problem lies in the times when you get so caught up in what is wrong or broken or could be better that we lose sight of what is good and right and well in our lives. We take a fine-toothed comb over our problems, then gloss over our victories.

Part of being BIG is growth. When seeking out personal growth, inevitably we find something that we need to work on. But rather than focusing intensely on the problem, focus on the opposite. Don’t focus on what you’re trying to run away from. Focus on what you’re running toward. Don’t flee the negative, pursue the positive. Rather than simply saying, “I wish I was more confident,” visualize what life would be like if you were more confident. Would you be happier? More bold? Willing to take more risks? Once you have that vision, start striving toward it.

Here’s your homework assignment. Take the list of five problems that you wrote at the beginning of this article. See the negative, and reframe it as a pursuit of the positive. So, if one of your problems was “struggling in my marriage,” maybe you’d reframe that as “bring back the spice”. “Stagnant at work” becomes “seeking (or creating!) opportunities to grow”.

Have fun pursuing the positive!


  1. Christi says:

    This is a great suggestion AND reminder! I love the reframe “bring back the spice”! Thank you for this. :)

  2. bruce polk says:

    Great stuff as always, Kimberly. Very helpful refresher from a great book. Coupled with your client-centered coaching, these thoughts are top-of-mind more than they would be otherwise.

  3. Caroline Sturgeon Kemnitzer says:

    Positivity is never an issue for me, but this excercise got me excited about the areas I am struggling with. I made my lists and will post them in my office! Thanks!

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