Bill Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman of Marriott International, has long established that, in his opinion, the four most important words a leader can utter are:
What do you think?
Like a brush stroke from one of history’s masters, his statement adds incredible depth and perspective to the importance of including the thoughts and opinions of those around you in the moment of truth.
It speaks to inclusion, to visualizing self-value and worth, to embracing a like-spiritedness critical to the success of every team.
It also assumes that you’re thinking.
Whether the softer shade of a simple day-to-day decision, or the harsh brilliance of a strategic do we? or don’t we? scenario. . . when the spotlight swings your way, be ready: your innermost reasoning and judgement will be illuminated and on full display.
So, in that moment . . . what will you be thinking?
A Positive Thought In Time
Primed with the power of invention, your thoughts are a catalyst for influencing behavior and experience as we plunge headfirst into another year of uncertainty.
Recognize that everyone’s path will be unique. Only you know what’s in your heart, and where your thoughts will take you.
No global crisis or external influence can extinguish the light you bring to the world around you.
Since nothing good ever came from a negative thought, think positive thoughts. Be encouraged to discover something magical that will not only power your dreams, but also create your future.
Positive thinking is the essence of an optimist’s perspective, one of curiosity and light, an ability to see the strengths among relationships rather than the weakened or negative connotations of fear and suspicion.
Trust in yourself as you work to promote trust in others. Rely on impulse and intuition, intangibles carried forward from your imagination. Trust that it is the right perspective, emanating from a point of “What if?”, then slowly working its way toward a tangible, pragmatic solution.
Your thoughts can change the world. Go ahead . . . there’s nothing to it.
Major Positivity Power
I was in a service environment interacting with a guest who had been observing me answer questions and provide directions to other guests.
When it came time to focus my attention on her, she began our exchange by stating with complete candor:
“You must really love your job.”
She went on to describe my demeanor as pleasant and nice, complimenting me on being both patient and polite while executing the repetitive nature of my assigned duties.
I thanked her for the kind words and agreed that the world could use a little more patience and politeness.
Truth is . . . I didn’t love my job. I didn’t hate it, but my relationship was far from love.
It was an emotionally draining, dead-line driven environment where I felt no one truly listened or cared enough to understand my perspective. Extremely frustrated by a lack of opportunity to grow within the organization, I was seriously considering separating to pursue a more personal path toward joy and fulfillment.
But that’s life.
Compared to everything that makes up my core of positivity . . . a loving partner and soulmate, two incredibly wonderful sons, our home among magnificent trees, clarity of thought, an unwavering and continuous belief in the promise of a better tomorrow . . . those were mere surface level or day-to-day distractions.
They didn’t define who I am or represent what I wanted to bring to the world around me. As a learning and service professional, I chose to remain positive and let that be the light that shined brightest.
You can, too.
Your Core of Positivity
Maintaining a positive perspective sounds easy, and it is, even in these demanding times. But it does take conscious effort to continue thinking positive thoughts among so much potential negativity.
It helps to focus on some key principles:
Establish Your Core
Hit the pause button as we barrel into the New ’22 and consider everything in your life that is good, that makes you happy, or inspires creativity through unlimited potential.
I wouldn’t consider myself a “list” person, but this is one time I highly recommend writing everything down.
Begin with some of the more pragmatic aspects of life, such as the ability to think, love, breathe, feel . . . no trait or behavior should be overlooked as a source of happiness and potential.
Then dive deep into your heart to identify what truly inspires hope, what you feel in that moment you wake each day, granted an instance of divine insight into a purpose or calling higher than self.
Slowly expand the circle to your family, friends, faith, etc. Keep going . . . there is no limit to the influence one person’s positivity can have on the world around them.
Your core of positivity will remain a perpetual source of positive thinking, the key to unlocking gates that may have been closed or inaccessible due to more surface related concerns or negativity.
Guard Your Thinking Habits
Establishing your core of positivity is a powerful first step along the path to more positive thinking.
Like other traits and behaviors, positivity is also a habit that can be strengthened through repetition . . . or fall prey to the consistent thinking, willing, or feeling of negative thoughts or actions.
It’s human nature to struggle at times with the choices laid out in front of us.
I’m one of the most positive people on the planet, but I will admit to staring into the dark abyss of negativity on occasion. Those closest to me will tell you – it’s not pretty.
But I make a conscious effort to protect my thoughts and the influence they have over me.
You shouldn’t mask the presence of negativity or pretend it doesn’t exist. You’re only fooling yourself and allowing damaging sentiment to brew beneath the surface of a hypocritical front.
In those moments, evaluate the circumstances to expose the source of negative thoughts or emotions. Return to your core to illuminate how much there is to feel good about, compared to the not-so-good. Repeat as often as necessary to ensure your trip back is on the positive track.
Remember, one candy bar doesn’t destroy your diet. It’s succumbing to the economy pack from your local warehouse store that raises a red flag.
Protect those positive thinking habits.
The strongest and most loyal relationships are based on trust. This includes the relationship you share with yourself.
Trust in who you are, what you believe to be true, and what brings you the greatest satisfaction and joy. Allow that to permeate your thinking, to flow effortlessly through your words and actions.
Then witness your environment respond, building on a collective foundation of positive thoughts and creating the better tomorrow you’ve dreamed of.
Go ahead, change the world . . . there’s nothing to it.
What Are You Thinking?
So, yes . . . I have parlayed Mr. Marriott’s four most important words into a mantra for our New ’22: What Are You Thinking?
I’m thinking he’d be okay with our three principles – Establish Your Core, Guard Your Thinking Habits, and Trust – and the role they play in promoting positivity through positive thought.
What do you think?
I guess those really are the four most important words, after all.
This is Tall Tim, and I Am At Your Service!