Saturday, February 4, 2023

Tips on Staying Positive when Things are Falling Apart

One of the ways we keep a positive attitude is learning how to deal with unexpected curve balls without freaking out!
I was doing a motivational program recently and just before speaking I was washing my hands. I pressed the soap dispenser and it shot up at me like it was a little soap attack creature. Scared me!
To my dismay, I saw the soap had left two crooked lines on my colored sweater. At that point I could have gone all wacky on my outfit suddenly looking like it had modern art lines on it, or roll with it.
Five minutes later I started my program holding the portable soap dispenser in front of the audience with a fun story about how it happened. They got a good laugh.
In 1987, my customers literally threw me in the mud! I was the sports anchor at KBAK TV in Bakersfield, California. Before a big state tournament football game, for some reason I picked against the local team. This angered their fans, and they ambushed me after the final horn. Watch how I turned this negative into a positive.

 
I was caked in mud at 9:40 at night. I had to host an 11:00 live show. At that point I could have panicked about finding a way to clean up, or just go with it. As you saw, I hosted the program that night all muddied up. The customers loved it.
I was getting ready to deliver the Stoke the Fire Within keynote to teachers and staff in Reese, Michigan one time. I was married at the time and my wife had insisted I wear a medium blue long sleeve shirt since “it went with my eyes so well.” We had one of those marriages where I didn’t try to run her life and I didn’t try to run my life, so I ended up wearing the shirt. The problem was I forgot my undershirt. My body gets excited before keynotes, so a few minutes before walking out I noticed that there were HUGE arm pit circles! Aghh! There was nothing I could do.
As they introduced me I said to myself, “You are about to become T Rex man.” I went out there and for sixty minutes kept the upper parts of my arm tight to my sides of my chest, and made gestures with my forearms only. I looked like a T Rex. You know how they have those tiny arms for their big bodies?! I’m sure those students were thinking, “My, what strange arm movements that man makes.”
Ah, what can you do in times like that? Stress out and implode, or go with the flow? Have fun with it.
Eileen Shue, Vice President for Corporate Resources for The Sterling Group, told me she loved to be around people with H.F.Q. I wondered what that was?! “High Fun Quotient,” she said with a smile!
This next story will knock you back!
One time I was doing a motivational talk for Meridian Title Corporation on the top floor of a tall building. I got there early and parked my car in the garage on a bottom floor. My talk on staying positive was to follow the lady that was a national expert on title insurance. The room was fairly small so I was going to be right in front of the audience. I was sitting in the back waiting for the other speaker to wrap up when I felt a pop in my midsection. Earlier that morning as I had put my dress pants on the zipper had acted up. I knew it was days from being a defective zipper. It wouldn’t really zip that morning but I got it to zip enough. In hindsight I should have gone for another pair of pants because there I was with a busted zipper!
I could have responded one of two ways. I could have freaked out and got all negative knowing that within fifteen minutes I was going to be in front of a group with a wiiiiiide open zipper, or I could have calmed down and responded in a positive and even funny way. I did. The first thing I did was seek a solution. You stay positive by always being solution-minded. I subtly slid out the back of the room and went to look for restaurant staff there to see if someone had a pin. One way I have always stayed positive is to always look to others for help. I came across a waitress lady and literally laughed as I explained my ‘situation.’ She laughed too. She said she had some bobby pins but they were down in her car. She hustled down to get them as I sat there facing the wall whistling. “I can’t believe this is happening,” I told myself, but in a funny way. I then told myself in ten years this would be a distant but funny memory. That always helps.
The lady came back with three bobby pins. Here is where it gets funny. We are standing in the hall down from where the meeting is being held. I am six foot six inches. She is having a hard time putting the bobby pins in so she drops to her knees. Wouldn’t you know it but someone comes out of a side door, see’s this, and promptly goes back in the door. All I could do was laugh to myself and find humor in the craziness of it all. Bless her heart, she fixed it up within minutes and I went back to deliver my motivational talk. I stayed behind the podium the whole time just to make sure the repaired area wasn’t a distraction and things turned out well.
I did a talk on positive attitude at the annual conference for a Vital Records Association one time. They are the folks that deal with often bizarre customers over birth certificates, driver’s licenses and so forth. One time one of their ladies said a woman came in to get a birth certificate for her child. When asked the name of the father she said that she wasn’t sure but she believed he had Leonard on his belt.
So, the lady who had worked at Vital Records for years said one way she stayed positive was wondering if the next customer’s story would top the previous one.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Adams
Photo courtesy of Charlie Adams

Charlie Adams is the author of 4 books on positive attitude and peak performance, including 2013′s “How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!!” and “Stoke the Fire Within.” His books and motivational keynotes and seminars are designed to make sure events reach their objectives and to help create winning cultures. Email him atCharlie@stokethefirewithin.com.

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