Johnny Mercer knew how to stay positive…

Who remembers Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers?

Anybody? Nobody?

Well for the purposes of this article I’m going to quote the first verse lyrics from the man who wrote this true classic called Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive so here goes…

“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between”

Apart from his own version the song was covered by illustrious artists including Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, The Andrews Sisters, Aretha Franklin, Perry Como, Cliff Richard and even Paul McCartney. Safe to say then that the song has a healthy pedigree behind it and it’s stood the test of time. As does the message in Johnny’s lyrics.

Which leads me to why it’s so important to remain positive in the face of so much negativity these days.

Have you ever experienced a bad day at work or home? Had to face a disgruntled customer on occasion? Ever felt verbally attacked on the phone by someone? Perhaps you’ve even had a bad experience as a customer yourself?! At times like this, it’s easy to let others affect our attitude and mood, although it’s worth remembering – people are NOT their behaviour! Nonetheless, other peoples’ bad attitudes can have a massive impact on our own behaviour, actions and outcomes, so there is value in taking control of these situations and developing a workable coping strategy for dealing with them.

Here’s 10 ways to keep positive and keep those ‘negs’ away.

1. Create Anchors
Have memory prompts – a favourite upbeat song to keep in the car or on your CD
or MP3 player; photos; cartoons; things special to you in your diary or bag that lift your spirits and put you in the right mood or post-it-notes with positive comments that people have made about you. Build an NLP Resource Anchor – a magic button you can press whenever you need a boost of positivity!

2. Smile!
A smile is infectious when we’re communicating face-to-face but it can also be heard down the telephone line, so learn to spread the infection! When we smile, we help others
feel better too. Very often your smile will brighten up your colleagues or callers’ day, or to someone who has seen a dozen people scowl, frown or turn their eyes away when under pressure from others, a smile can be a welcome relief.

Most importantly, when you smile, the feel-good endorphin Dopamine is released (the same hormone that’s released when you eat chocolate, do physical exercise or laugh out loud) so it’s a good endorphin to keep you alert and in a good mood!… AND smiling helps you save energy, because it takes only 6 muscles to smile, yet it takes 38 to frown!

3. Body Position / Posture
Stand tall and proud to be representing your brand! When on the ‘phone, sit high or stand up if dealing with a difficult call or caller – feel in control! Wear a headset to ensure freedom of movement and to avoid ‘shoulder scrunching’. Correct posture ensures correct breathing technique, which is vital when we’re managing those difficult conversations and need to feel calm and in control!

4. Roosevelt’s Rule

Will this person spend the rest of the day stressed as a result of this interaction?

Will they run the risk of rowing with friends, family or loved ones because of this call or conversation with us? NO! They therefore have no right to affect, control or influence our working day or our precious social time. Practice this affirmation: “No-one has the right, power or control to change my attitude without my permission”

5. Mix in Success
Do what does not come naturally! Talk with; mix with; share ideas with people who are having a good day; enjoying some success; feeling and acting positive. Avoid the very British habit of wallowing in the all-powerful negative! Remember – behaviour breeds behaviour…and attitudes are totally contagious, so make sure yours is worth catching

6. Keep It in Perspective
Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life! The earth is still
turning, the sun will rise tomorrow, and we’ll always have a few odd people who we
must deal with and would rather not – it comes with the territory. Always remember,
you’re serving a customer, not a life sentence!

7. Fake It Technique
When we’re having ‘one of those days’, the easiest way to get back on track with a positive outlook is to behave ‘as if’ things are great, and we do feel happy and positive. When we act ‘as if’, we increase our chances of this pretence becoming our reality. We are the sum total of our thoughts and we become what we think about all the time, so the more we can focus on happy thoughts and a positive outcome, the more likely we are to feel happier and more positive!

8. Reframe Negative Self Talk
Check your internal dialogue. Are you speaking positively and in support of yourself or are you running yourself down with negative affirmations and unhelpful thoughts? e.g. “I’m useless at dealing with difficult customers” or “I always get flustered when someone is rude or aggressive on the ‘phone”. Reframe your thoughts to ensure that you always speak in the positive – to yourself and others!

9. The Screen Idea – complete the exercise in a quiet place, away from noise!
Close your eyes and think about a situation that has upset you… made you mad. Experience it fully…… see what you saw, hear what you heard, experience the feelings that go with that situation. Now imagine projecting the image up onto a cinema screen. Change the qualities of the image – tone down the colours to black and white, stop any movement and make it a ‘still’, then turn the sounds down. Imagine the screen is getting further away and notice how the feelings get less intense. When the screen has moved further away and is the size of a sheet of A4 paper, imagine taking it in your hands and crumpling it up, tightly into a ball, smaller and smaller. Hold out your hand and imagine an elastic band between your thumb and forefinger. Hold the ball against the band, pull it back and ‘ping’ it off into the distance, out of sight….out of mind!

10. Mental Enema Technique – complete the exercise in private, away from prying eyes!
Think of a situation where someone has caused you to feel angry, upset, frustrated or disappointed. Take an A4 sheet of paper and a large crayon or flipchart pen and write down all the negative feelings and thoughts about that person or situation. Now tear the piece of paper into as many pieces as you can, toss them into a wastepaper bin and wipe your hands clean to get rid of them once and for all!

AND REMEMBER…. E + R = O (Event + Reaction or Response = Outcome)

Keep FIT!

PS – And if you still can’t recall this particular classic from Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers you can enjoy it HERE

Hello... I'm Marie Cross

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