Finding a positive message is harder now than ever; at least, that’s what we tell ourselves. After all, bad news is as easy to find as anti-vaccers at a MAGA convention. Yet, there’s never been a time when people sat back and thought, “Gosh, everything’s so good, I don’t know what positive message to share first!”
Even if finding a positive message is a challenge, it’s still essential. Positive messages are proven to be more effective than negative ones. They can project confidence and have the ability to motivate people to take action. Plus, I’ve always believed that hope is a primal need for us all: hope that things will get better, or at the very least, not get any worse.
On the other hand, toxic positivity is dangerous too. According to MedicalNewsToday, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/toxic-positivity#summary, “Toxic positivity encourages people to ignore difficult emotions, potentially intensifying the power of these feelings. Although positive thinking offers some benefits, no one can think positively all the time.” Plus, pure positivity risks coming across as out of touch. That’s why it’s important to blend some realism in your positive messages.
If your messaging is starting to feel like it’s too dark, the same-ole-same-ole, or at the other end of the spectrum, too positive, fret not. There are ways to create a positive message that is authentic, on-brand with your organization, and, most importantly, motivational:
- Set the Context. I once had a job as a marketing manager for performance measurement software. Unfamiliar with performance measurement? You’re not alone. In the investment world, performance measurement analyzes data to see how good or bad a particular investment portfolio really was. For example, if your investment portfolio saw a 2% return, but if similar portfolios saw a 5% increase, best not to brag. Similarly, if your portfolio lost 3%, but similar investments lost 6%, then it’s time to pat yourself on the back! When it comes to creating positive messages, lay it all out there. If you missed a key milestone, admit it, give reasons why, and talk about course corrections. However, take care not to sound as if you’re blaming others.
- Take an Honest Look. We’re all hard on ourselves. It’s how most of us were hard-wired! That mentality has a way of seeping into our work because most of us take what we do very personally. (It’s what makes us rock stars!) We tend to look at what didn’t work or get done, not what did. Don’t take what you did for granted. Focus on it and celebrate it. As Oprah Winfrey says, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
- Lead with a Day Dream. Get creative! Paint a picture of the world as you want to see it! Tell a story of the way the world should be, the way it will be once your mission is fulfilled. Follow it up with your plans for getting there and why your audience should care and/or get involved.
- Shine a Light. Having trouble telling your positive message? Show, don’t tell! Let someone else tell their story of what they do, how your work has impacted them, why they’re positive!
- Make it Personal. Why is your work important to you? Tell the story the got you or your organization to the present day. What was the motivating force behind it? Be genuine and, if possible, vulnerable. Sharing your passion with someone is in and of itself a positive message.
Have tips of your own for keeping a positive message going? We’d love to hear them! We would love to hear from you!