Those who know me and my work know I am undoubtedly a positive person. Some may “poo poo” the intention of being positive as silly or unrealistic. But the research resoundingly tells a different story. There are limitless benefits of being positive.
- Positive people live longer. (study of senior citizens and nuns)
- Positive people recognize more opportunities when faced with a negative situation. (Several studies)
- Positive people tend to have more friends and are healthier. (Canadian studies)
- Marriages with more positive interactions are less likely to end in divorce. (Gottman)
Research shows deliberately surrounding yourself with more positive people increases your chances of feeling positive. How do you do this? Simple. Stay away from mean or negative people.
Create your own Green People Project! Here’s how.
Put a large index card in your pocket. Yes, I know you can do this on your mobile device. But a large piece of paper in your pocket will be a reminder, an annoyance to move you to action. You need to log or record every person you interact. This could be a best friend, your boss, family member, or even someone you do not know personally but you see every day. It could be the nice checkout clerk or the obnoxious bus driver. You want to include those who are regularly a part of your day. Ideally, it is best to create a longer encounter list spanning a week or more. You want to include as many people as possible. If you want to expand the encounter list, remember those who had a significant positive or negative impact on you in the past few months.
Next find three different colored pens. I choose red, yellow & green for the correlation of traffic lights – Red = stop; Yellow = caution; and Green = go. You could pick any colors that work for you.
It’s time to start marking your Encounter List. First, grab the red marker and highlight or cross out every “red” person on your list. These are the people who are usually negative. They are usually in a bad mood. They rarely smile. Identify these people. Red means stop and trouble!
Second, grab that yellow marker and start marking your “yellow” or cautionary people. These are the people that are not necessarily negative but are cautionary. When you’re with them you don’t feel worse, but they certainly do not inspire you. They have the potential to move into another category – up or down. Yellow means caution!
Last, grab that green marker and joyfully find your “green” people. These are your go-to people – your sustainers. When you are with these green people they inspire you. You laugh more. You are uplifted. You often smile when you are with them. You are encouraged. These are the people who build you up and encourage you to do your best. You have identified your “green” people. These are your Circle of Influencers. These are the people you want to be around. Green means go and great!
Identifying is important, but it is only the first step. If you know someone sucks the life out of you yet you continue to hang out with that person, why would you expect any different results from them. You need to commit to spending as little time as possible, if any, with the “red” category and as much as possible with the “green” category.
Look at your calendar and schedule of responsibilities. Remember your calendar reflects your values. Whenever possible schedule time to be with “green” people. Sometimes you have events that must include a “red” category person on your list. Heck, they could be a family member. Just because you are at the same event doesn’t mean you have to spend your time with that person. Specifically manage your expectations knowing who will be at events. As much as possible invest your energy with those “green” people who encourage and inspire you.
Sounds simple? Maybe. We all know so many things to be true intellectually, but it is always more difficult to practice these operationally in the busyness of the day.
It is a bit harder at first launch to specifically include those “green” people. You definitely don’t want to be offensive or rude, but you can find the polite way to engage with those who bring you life. You might not feel the results immediately. It takes at least three weeks to feel the positive results from the momentum you are creating. Once that momentum starts to take hold it will only build.
The Green People Project is specifically investing your energy with people who inspire you and make you better! You are taking responsibility for yourself and your actions.
Find Your Team of Influencers – You are worth it!