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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Kent


We all have been taught that thinking positively will help us get the things we want.

So we try to conjure up all kinds of positive thoughts as we go about our lives believing that they will help us be motivated, or keep us from feeling anxious or impatient.

BUT - not all positive thoughts are helpful. In fact some of them are downright negative!

The most common NEGATIVE positive thought is the Passive Positive Thought. This kind of thought usually involves “hoping” that something will happen.

It looks like this:

Jane, one of my clients, wants a promotion from Manager to VP. She works hard and thinks the positive thought:

“I do a great job so my boss will recognize me when there is a promotion available”.

Now clearly this is better than a purely negative thought like “I will never get a promotion”.

But this type of positive thought results in motivating Jane to keep her head down and keep working hard. Unfortunately this is not what will get her that promotion, or at least it is only part of what will make that promotion happen.

It is passive, and assumes, no, actually requires, SOMEONE ELSE to act on her behalf for her to achieve her goal. She is the passive recipient of her boss’ ability to notice her hard work, to connect it to her viability in a better role and his desire to advocate on her behalf.

Jane needs an Active Positive Thought. This type of thought is often in the form of a question which requires Jane to come up with the answers and then take action herself.

This looks like:

What can I do to be sure I am the one who gets this promotion?

When we brainstormed some answers to that question Jane came up with many ideas (in addition to working hard) that would make her promotion inevitable.

Here are some of her ideas:

  1. Having a meeting with her boss and asking for feedback and suggestions so that she is the perfect candidate for this promotion.

  2. Having a meeting with her boss and outlining all that she has accomplished in the past year and how it has added value to the company as a whole.

  3. Creating and pitching an initiative/project that a VP in her company might do.

  4. Chatting with people in the VP role in her company and in her industry to get ideas for what the most important skills are - then make sure to hone those skills in her current role.

  5. Being sure to let the decision makers in her company get to know her and the quality of her work.

See the difference between Jane’s first thought and this thought?

In the Active Positive Thought Jane has taken back the power to stand out and be the best candidate for the promotion. Of course someone else must ultimately choose who to promote, but Jane will know that she did all that she could rather than just hope she is noticed and rewarded with a promotion.

As it turns out, Jane's company decided not to fill that new VP position this year. But after taking most of those actions, she decided that she deserves to be in a VP role and started interviewing at other companies. After 3 months she landed a role with another company as a Senior VP!

If Jane hadn’t moved her thought process from one of hope to one of action then she would still be working hard in her Manager role, frustrated that she was stagnant in her career. Instead, although it looked a little different than what she anticipated, she got exactly what she wanted, and more!

What are you hoping for?

How can you make it happen?

What thought would you have to shift?

PS: Don't know what to think because you don't even know what you want to do?

Want to get UNSTUCK on defining your purpose so you can identify your dream job?

CLICK HERE to take my PURPOSE FINDER QUIZ and get started!

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