Everyone has a formula for their success. For some people, it is extremely simple. For others, it takes a degree in advanced mathematics to decipher. I fall very clearly on the side of simple. I am a simple man who likes simple things -- and Pearl Jam. I really like Pearl Jam.
A new year lets you look back and evaluate what has and hasn’t worked. I did that this past month and arrived at a very simple explanation for what I think drives success. I’m now officially calling my formula the 3 P’s:
Positivity + Proactivity = Productivity.
Being positive is not easy. Optimism requires effort. In the famous words of Monty Python, “Some things in life are bad. They can really make you mad. Other things just make you swear and curse.”
Being positive doesn’t mean you never let these things get you down. It means you’re able to find the opportunity in the challenge and rise to the occasion.
In a work environment, positivity can be infectious. As a leader, you have to demonstrate a positive approach in order to marshal resources and deliver results. Your peers and your employees have to see resilience, patience and the ability to overcome. You can do this with a negative, ego-driven attitude, or you can be positive.
I find positivity to be inspirational. The best people I have ever worked for knew how to use positivity to motivate the team around them, even in the face of ever-increasing odds.
Of course, you cannot succeed on positivity alone.
Proactivity is possibly the most important tool you have to work with. You can overcome almost any challenge and meet any goal if you are proactive and thinking ahead.
The opposite of proactivity is reactivism. I’ve never seen a successful person who operated in a reactive fashion. You have to be thinking out in front of things to win.
The old Wayne Gretzky quote about “skating to where the puck will be” always comes to mind, but it’s simply about scenario planning and asking, “what if” or “why?”
Proactivity is the byproduct of critical thinking, which allows you to plan for the future in the proper manner. You learn to anticipate problems before they happen.
Proactivity can be tiring, but not as tiring as constantly being behind the eight-ball and trying to catch up. The highest performing teams I have ever worked with always had time allocated every week for thinking ahead. Those were some of my favorite meetings each week. It feels good to get out in front of ideas and surmise what is going to happen down the line.
Positivity is infectious. Proactivity is motivating. If you do both well, you end up being productive, and productivity drives business growth.
If you want to be successful, try these 3 P’s and see if they add up to your own formula for success.