You’re Awesome…

There is nothing better than working with people.  I mean it.  Either in a team, or individually it makes for fun stories (and I have permission to share this one).

A large aspect of what I do is helping people understand themselves in a behavioral sense. One measure is how much a person interacts with or the influence they have over people. Someone who scores high by this measure tends to be optimistic, interactive (loud) and can move the crowd.  A lower score is somewhat pessimistic, introverted (quite) and withdrawn.  Neither is right or wrong, they are just different and interesting.

While working with a couple, one of them measured extremely high and the one was extremely low.  It was almost impossible for them to be any more different in this category.  They say “opposites attract” and I have seen this play out in behaviors with couples.  It is magnetic and exciting while dating, but after a few years…well you know.

This particular difference plays out when delivering or receiving compliments.  (One of the hardest aspect of leading, either in your work or life…but that is for another day.)  And this is how it played out.

The Optimist (high score):  “You’re Awesome!!!”

The Pessimist (low score):  “What?”

The Optimist (high score):  “You’re Awesome!!!”

The Pessimist (low score):  “Let me get this straight.  So far this morning you said the coffee was awesome, the dog was awesome, and I am awesome.  What does that even mean?”

The Optimist (high score):  “You’re Awesome!!!”

The Pessimist (low score):  “So in your world, I am somewhere between coffee and dog.”

Optimism can be a great thing.  Inspiring others, acknowledging who they are and what they contribute is a great attribute, but taken to the extreme can be seen as superficial and meaningless.  Everything cannot be awesome, or the word losing its meaning.  

If you are optimistic, don’t stop…the world needs some hope these days.  You may need to be a little more careful with the words you choose.  Sincerity is the key.  If you are on the other spectrum, remember that you see the world in a more grounded way, to you the coffee is adequate or okay.  But when you get that great cup of coffee…tell someone (don’t just point out how it could have been better).

For the next week, let’s try a little experiment.  Listen to yourself and 3 people who are in your circle, your life.  Determine where they fall in the optimism/pessimism continuum and let’s try to meet them there.  For the optimists a pat on the back and a “nice job” will go a long way.  For the others, being sincere and providing details will take the “nice job” from empty words to real meaning.  We can all use a little encouragement, and why not apply it this week.  Let me know how it turns out.

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