Lately, I was struck by something I saw in a group that I was in on Facebook. There were a group of "realists" who talked about how business is not fun and games and that some things had to be said. They were not very nice things, and maybe, just maybe, there were some truth in what they said, too. I mean, I'm sure every entrepreneur who has managed to make some money in their business has a bit of wisdom to share, and truths, too. But I also saw how they were saying that the rest of "us" who championed encouragement, and positivity and spreading goodness, were somehow not as good as they were or not as "real."
And that inspired this post. I wanted to really talk about the difference between Positivity in business vs Avoidance and Ignorance. Because they are vastly different, and I believe that Legacy Entrepreneurs NEED to know the difference. In fact, I think most of the internet need it.
It is so easy to be unkind nowadays. I understand the need to be "real" and for "tough love" or even being the "devil's advocate" (I cringe just saying that). And I also understand that there are a lot of people who are edgy and funky and creative and spontaneous and fun. Maybe not so much trying to stay within the lines like someone like me. But I also strongly believe that there is a way to say things, or pass on wisdom, without making others feel less than, or bad about themselves and their beliefs or thoughts.
Just because a lot of us believe in the same thing, doesn't mean we're being sheep. Just because someone is different, doesn't mean that s/he's a leader.
What Positivity Is (And How It Relates to Legacy)
To really talk about what positivity is in the Legacy sense, I want to go back to what Legacy means for each of us. What do we want to be remembered for when we walk out of the room? What do we want to leave to someone who's been in our presence? Is it friendliness? Is it kindness? Is it love? Is it empowerment? Or is it fear? Is it intimidation? Is it leaving them feeling bad about themselves?
Sometimes, we say things because we feel superior saying it. We say things that stir up controversy and discussion because it makes us feel better. But other times, we say things because we deeply care about someone. Or because we deeply care about a cause.
So what is your legacy -- and how does it make others feel? What is your motive for giving this particular piece of advice or wisdom?
The thing is, positivity isn't not being real, positivity isn't about lying to someone that they're good when they're not, or trying to be someone we're not; positivity is about being confident -- knowing the realities, the hardships but facing it with joy and confidence anyway.
Positivity is believing that a rising tide lifts all boats. Positivity is lifting up, not putting down, even in a difficult time. Positivity is a strength -- courage to face adversities with gusto.
[bctt tweet="Positivity isn't weakness. It is strength and confidence and bravery in facing adversities with joy."]
What Ignorance and Avoidance Is
Ignorance on the other hand, is being joyful because you have no clue. Ignorance can be bliss, but many times in business, it isn't. Business is a real battlefield -- you learn and you implement and you lead and you charge. Business owners and CEOs don't get to be ignorant. Avoidance is trying to run away from the real issue because you don't know how to solve it, or you don't have the courage to face it. And business owners and CEOs don't get to avoid stuff, either. The ones who do quickly spiral into a blackhole of problems -- customer complaints, messy account books and having no direction.
You see, positivity is a strength, not a weakness. It is a belief that we are all not competitors, but peers that all move the industry forward. It is a quiet confidence about our own abilities, and respect for others' too. It is an acceptance that there is so much wisdom out there that we will find contradicting opinions to ours, and that's okay. It is knowing that we will all get there.
It is not putting others down to make ourselves feel better. It is not a mask you hide behind. It is not "uncool" or "stupid". It is not choosing to avoid the problem.
It is seeing the problem and fighting it head on, anyway. And winning the battle for ourselves and everyone else. And acknowledging that someone else has won a battle for us somewhere.
Being different does not mean being a leader. Being able to step up and take action and lead, but also have the humility to listen to others and respect other opinions so as to better yourself and others, is being a leader.
[bctt tweet="Being different does NOT mean being a leader."]