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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Leading with Character: Be Positive

The hallmark of good leaders of character is whether they can motivate others. A powerful way to motivate is by being positive.

Friends. What comes to mind when you read that one simple word? My mind floods with positive memories, thoughts, and reflections. Friends help fill my cup of life up to the brim. I’m blessed to call some amazing people “friend.”

When I first started my Leading with Character blog last year, I was ruminating about topics with my good friend, Camilla Bosanquet. I opined that we need more positivity in our lives. Everywhere you look, there’s a negative headline: riots, looting, invasions, cyber-attacks, natural disasters, sickness, death, and much more. Ever cheerful, Camilla suggested with her biggest, most engaging smile, “Sandy, why don’t you write a blog on being positive!” She convinced me on the spot. So, you ask, why has it taken a year to pen that blog?

Being Inspired

The answer is, I needed the right inspiration for such a significant topic. I had all kinds of ideas, but none came from that elusive, and deeper, place of inspiration.

Then I woke up one morning last week thinking of my very dear friend, Dale. While visiting my husband and me on Cape Cod last summer, she introduced me to the delicious Pie in the Sky bakery she had discovered in nearby Woods Hole. Dale is an adventurer and a powerfully positive person. She searches and finds the best in everything and everybody.

In honor of Dale, I drove to Pie in the Sky for breakfast, and sent her a text with a photo of my huge popover and steaming cup of coffee with a “wish you were here” note. Dale, who lives on the other side of the country, replied that she was up early getting ready for her big day of labs and scans. You see, Dale has fought a serious strain of cancer for a couple of years now. She lives with the constant uncertainty of what the results of the next tests will show. Yet she maintains an incredibly positive spirit throughout, and her attitude buoys all around her.

Better and Better

I marveled at the ESP that had led me to reach out to my dear friend at the dawn of such a significant day in her life. I let Dale know I’d pray for her for good results. She came back with a quip about how the popover picture made her smile, and finished with, “My dear, what if life just keeps getting better and better?” Better and better. Those words reflected off that tiny smartphone screen into my mind’s eye and magnified in my imagination. What a world it would be if everyone woke up and thought, “What if life just keeps getting better and better?”

I adopted those words, “better and better,” as my new mantra. At last, I found worthy inspiration for my blog on being positive! You can’t get any more positive than being in a vulnerable position, yet embracing the spirit that life can keep getting better and better.

But how does each of us find the inspiration to see things getting better and better? My friend Dale believes the word “better” is a term of art each of us defines for ourselves as we move through life, stumble and fall, and pick ourselves up again. It’s a very personal journey, but good leaders can help.

Motivating Through Positivity

The hallmark of good leaders of character is whether they can motivate others. A powerful way to motivate is by being positive. Leaders who can inspire people to believe that their products, outputs, and lives are going to keep getting better and better will bring out the very best in their people and lift their organizations to success. Those inspirational leaders can help each individual discover what being better and better means to him or her.

Look in the mirror. Are you inspiring others to see life as getting better and better? Is your cup half full and filling up, or half empty and going down? If you’re not positive, you can’t inspire others.

Please join me again next week for more on Leading with Character.

If you enjoyed this post, please visit my website where you can sign up for my mailing list to get my weekly blog and buy my book, Breaking Ice & Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters: https://sandrastosz.com/book/breaking-ice-and-breaking-glass/

Sandra L. Stosz
Sandra L. Stosz
Vice Admiral Stosz, a Homeland Security Today editorial board member, started out in the U.S. Coast Guard as an ensign serving on polar icebreakers, conducting national security missions from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Her 40-year career is filled with leadership lessons gleaned while breaking ice and breaking glass as the first woman to command an icebreaker on the Great Lakes and to lead a U.S. armed forces service academy. She finished her career as the first woman assigned as Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, directing one of the Coast Guard’s largest enterprises. She has lectured widely on leadership, and has been featured on CSPAN and other media outlets. In 2012, Newsweek’s “The Daily Beast” named Vice Admiral Stosz to their list of 150 Women who Shake the World. Proceeds from “Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters” will be donated to the US Coast Guard Academy James M. Loy Institute for Leadership.

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