What’s the weather where you are? Not just in your city or neighborhood, but in the 10-foot radius around you personally. In Charles Dickens’ beloved classic, “A Christmas Carol,” Dickens describes Scrooge as someone who “carried his own low temperature about with him, and he didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.” In several coaching conversations recently, I’ve asked my clients what kind of personal climate they’re spreading at work or wherever they happen to be.
The subject has come up because they’ve been distressed about “stormy” conditions in their work places. As their coach, I’ve reminded them that none of us controls the entire climate where we live and work, but we can control the climate we bring to life, work and situations we encounter.
How about you? What is your personal climactic zone like? Do you bring sunshine and blue skies wherever you go? Or do you leave behind clouds and rain with complaints, negativity and pessimism? Do you bluster and blow with your opinions and high intensity emotions so that people are knocked off balance by your presence? One of the hallmarks of emotional intelligence is being able to monitor our emotions as well as our emotional impact on others, and moderate them to achieve positive results.
You may be wondering how you can create a positive personal climate when others around you are being negative, pessimistic or spreading gloom? How can you stay sunny and relatively cloud-free when it feels like you’re in the midst of a storm at sea?
There are two ways (I’m sure many others as well) that will allow you to spread more sunshine than rain: The first and perhaps most important is to CHOOSE how you want to think, feel and react to the circumstances around you. Ask yourself whether the thoughts you’re thinking and the emotional baggage you’re carrying around are improving your circumstances or making them worse. If you’re around someone who is spreading showers of doom and gloom, either change the subject or, if necessary, remove yourself from the situation. If you find yourself regularly in the company such folks, it’s time to set some boundaries so they don’t continue to rain on your parade. A boundary may be as simple as asking a question: “Do you think this is really helping our situation here?”, or assertively requesting that the person not use you as their dumping ground.
The second key to spreading sunshine instead of gloom is to remind yourself to focus your thoughts and energy ONLY on those things you have control over. Griping and complaining about someone or something is the equivalent of spinning your wheels when you’re stuck in the mud. What you focus on tends to expand, so stay focused on that which you can control or at least postitively influence.
Remember: you control your own personal weather zone. And the more consistently you speak and act in ways that spread sunshine instead of rain, the more you become an influence that can positively affect the larger climate of your family, your workplace and even your community. This week, pay particular attention to the weather where you are, and if it’s not warm and sunny, start making the minute-by-minute mood and attitude choices that will change your personal weather conditions.
Abraham Lincoln said it well: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” How about you?