Many people were excited to put 2020 behind us. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for 2021 to remind us that times of uncertainty are here to stay. 

We live in a volatile world where natural disasters, health crises, environmental woes, political unrest and economic swings are common. It likely is the new normal. There’s no way to know if the worst is in our rearview mirror or if more difficult times are just down the road. 

However, successful businesses and individuals learn how to adapt and thrive during periods of uncertainty. 

I was fortunate to co-present during a recent webinar, Thriving in Uncertain Times, hosted by the Above Board Chamber. I was joined by Andy Robinson, a Naples-based executive coach who has worked with myself and the leadership team at Sunshine Ace Hardware for many yearsAndy encourages both businesses and individuals to make personal commitments, which are new ways of thinking to become better people, better businesses and better community leaders. Among Andy’s tips are being intentional about consuming news and information, meaningfully connecting with others, embracing better ways of doing things, focusing on what you can control, and choosing kindness and compassion. 

Possibly Andy’s most impactful tip is seeking out and talking about the good. Our brains are wired to focus on negative, controversial or unpopular ideas and events. After all, publishers and networks devote a lot of ink and airtime to these issues. 

If we look for the good, we’ll find some – plenty of it. During the pandemic, which certainly has been a gloomy period, we witnessed people sewing masks for health care workers and companies donating supplies to hospitals. We saw businesses create seniors-only shopping hours and implement curbside pickup services to keep community members safe. As more consumers shopped online, an equal number pledged to support small businesses that are so vital to the local economy. 

Below are four ideas to begin building positivity into the workday: 

  • Positivity Journal: Each day, I write down five things for which I am thankful. It can be personal or business. A journal helps to gradually rewire the brain to think positively and see opportunities rather than challenges or roadblocks. Ultimately, you will be more successful. 
  • Values in Action: Sunshine Ace Hardware has 10 core values inspired by our company’s founders, Don and Anne Wynn. If associates spot one of their colleagues performing a value, they fill out a card. Each month, the Values in Action Program recognizes dozens of associates for delivering sunshine, caring for their neighbor, inspiring confidence and other values. It is the ultimate morale booster. 
  • Agenda Openers: Every staff meeting begins with a recognition of success. “Good” has a permanent spot on the agenda. Starting business discussions with positivity and optimism sets the right tone. 
  • Daily Huddles: In the retail business, it’s standard for team members to gather for informational meetings to start each shift. This is a perfect opportunity share inspiring stories and customer feedback in addition to talking about the business at hand. 

Each of these actions is quick and inexpensive. They are relevant in any workplace, and it doesn’t matter whether you are the company president or an entry-level employee. 

Positivity is a habit. Andy encourages his clients to focus only on things they can control or influence. So many of the things that put us in a bad mood, like politics or the economy, are out of our control. Yet, we devote a good portion of our time talking, watching and reading about them. 

Be consistent in your positivitySuccess will follow. 

– By Michael Wynn, President of Sunshine Ace Hardware