Thirty Days of Positivity: Week One

This is the first week of my thirty-day challenge of being positive at work. I began this challenge with a post from last week (Thirty Days of Positivity). I found that I was being such a negative source of energy at work that I was coming home every night disgusted with either my behavior or a conversation that I started that didn’t need to even happen. So I started out on this journey of changing all that. This post is what I’ve learned from the first week. 

After the first day, I realized that being positive-only at work was not just a switch I could turn on. It is not something that I can just say “hey, I’m doing this now!” It is going to be a process. Not only will I have to physically prevent myself from saying negative things, but I will have to mentally change my mindset. This isn’t just about changing the outside appearance of how I think, this is changing how I take in information, how I perceive other people, and how I exclude stereotypes and past negative experiences with individuals. 

I woke up on Monday ready to begin. However, I was hit with the worst case of Mondays I’ve ever had in my life. For some reason, nothing was falling into place. I woke up on time, but my workout was hard and my chores took longer than expected so I ended up running late for work. Then when I got to work, my car cover was not folded properly because of the rainstorm we had had on Friday so it took me twice as long to cover my car, leaving me twice as sweaty when I finally was able to walk into work. 

I sat down at my cubicle and was in an awful mood. I thought I had no way to get out of it. I began working and did everything I could to stay in my cubicle. I avoided eye-contact with coworkers and put on my headphones so no one would ask me the routine questions of “How was your weekend?” 

In the back of my head, I knew this was not a mature, professional way to act. I knew that this was precisely the behavior that I was trying to curb. I don’t want to be in a bad mood at work. 

I somehow got out of my fog and started talking with some of my friends at work, my positivity came back. I was finally ready to be at work. 

The rest of the week went a lot smoother. I started saying hello to every person I passed in the hallway and made a conscious effort to use their name as well. I made eye contact, greeted them with a smile, and made it an actual conversation, not just a way to get around the awkwardness of passing people in a narrow corridor. 

This first week turned more into an inventory of my feelings and exact behaviors that I will have to work on. “Being Positive” for a month is a very vague and grandiose goal. After this week, however, I have three small goals to work on. Once I achieve these I will be able to build on them. 

Say Hello to everyone.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Every single person I run into in the hallway I will greet, with their name. If I don’t know their name it is my homework this week to figure it out. I have found that the more people I can say hello to at work, the happier I end up being. I thought I was a total introvert, however, this type of interaction (small, but still there) really does boost my mood at work. My job can be very isolating, it is production-based and in a cubicle. If you aren’t careful you can go your whole day without seeing a single person. Some people like that, but I don’t think that my personality is cut out for that, and I don’t think I’m being much of a team player when I don’t at least greet people. 

Don’t Gossip. 

This will be my hardest goal to achieve, but the most worthwhile. Somehow I know most of the gossip around the office, anything from who is dating who to who is quitting or transferring to another agency.  I am good at being professional, but I tend to say information that is not confidential. I know the line, but I shouldn’t be saying anything. If people want others to know who they are dating they will make it public. When people in the office want to know they are leaving, they will send out an email. I am not getting any raise for being the first person to know that someone is quitting. Spreading rumors and gossip is the most unprofessional thing that I could be doing if I want to move into a management role at work. I always thought that I wasn’t a gossiper, but then I realized that it is a lot easier than you think to fall into the trap of telling people something about someone else, just out of boredom or as a source of bonding with other coworkers. 

Wait before you judge. 

I jump to conclusions before people even finish their sentence. This makes me prone to having a negative feeling about a policy change or a personnel change before it even happens. I never stop to think about the big picture, or how this will all be better for the agency. I immediately think of all the bad sides of a pivot and then begin voicing my opinion around the office. My goal this month is to take in information and actually allow myself to process it before I begin to point out my view or start motivating people to oppose whatever change is happening. I need to concentrate on the fact that we are all in this as a team, and the choices or changes made are for the benefit of the whole, not for any short term gain or individual achievement. 

So next week I have my three smaller goals to hopefully achieve my higher goal of total positivity. I know that being 100% positive will probably not be feasible and that it will always be something to work on, but I want to work on it. I want to put my foot in the direction of team building, rather than making work a place that I really just don’t want to be at.