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The Power of Positivity with Tina Hallis

Podcast Published On: 01.22.2019
Found In: Leadership

Episode Summary

The Power of Positivity

[00:33] Today’s topic is the power of positivity. When faced with setbacks and challenges, we’ve all received the well meaning, advice to stay positive, keep your head up. It’s hard to find the motivation to focus on the positive when positivity seems like nothing more than wishful thinking.

Benefits to a positive work culture

[02:10] Awesome. So in your own words, what are the benefits to a positive work culture?

[02:17] Positive work culture? Well, I think the easiest way to think about this is for people to just remember back on past work culture, work situation that was really negative and what made it so bad because when I, when I do my programs and trainings, I’ll ask that question and a lot of times it comes down to, you know, other people, right, your boss, your coworkers, and how much that drains our motivation, hurts our productivity. And in the end, from a business perspective, it increases turnover, right? But you have higher quality defects. Um, there’s, there’s amazing amount of research that really shows how positivity can boost and help the bottom line from a whole variety of aspects, from innovation to motivation to collaboration.

About Tina Hallis

[01:29] This mechanism serves you well. When the threat is imagined and you spend two months convinced, the project you’re working on is going to flop. This mechanism leaves you with a sour view of reality that wreaks havoc in your life. Here today with me is Tina Hallis, Tina is a scientist, turned positivity, speaker and coach during her 20 plus years as a scientist in biotechnology. She worked in companies ranging from small startups to large corporations like all of us. She has experienced situations in her career that hurt her motivation and attitude. There was when Tina came across a new science called positive psychology that her life began to change.

Tina Hallis

Tina Hallis

Tina Hallis is a scientist, turned positivity, speaker and coach during her 20 plus years as a scientist in biotechnology. She worked in companies ranging from small startups to large corporations like all of us. She has experienced situations in her career that hurt her motivation and attitude. There was when Tina came across a new science called positive psychology that her life began to change.

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Episode Transcription

Introduction: 00:05 Welcome to the inspire people impact lives podcast. This podcast is for people who are looking to get more out of life by making an impact on those around them. Each week we bring you local, influential business and community leaders, delivering powerful messages to help you live a more inspiring and impactful life coming to you live from northwestern mutual middleton. Here’s your host, Josh Kosnick.

Josh: 00:33 Welcome to another episode of inspire people impact lives. Today’s topic is the power of positivity. When faced with setbacks and challenges, we’ve all received the well meaning, advice to stay positive, keep your head up. It’s hard to find the motivation to focus on the positive when positivity seems like nothing more than wishful thinking. The real obstacle to positivity is that our brains are hardwired to look for and focus on threats. This survival mechanism served humankind when we were hunters and gatherers living each day with a very real threat of being killed by someone or something in our immediate surroundings. Today that’s not so much of a threat. This mechanism breeds pessimism and negativity and it’s why our mind has a tendency to wander until it finds a threat. These threats magnify the perceived likelihood that things are going and or are going to go poorly. When the threat is real and lurking.

Josh: 01:29 This mechanism serves you well. When the threat is imagined and you spend two months convinced, the project you’re working on is going to flop. This mechanism leaves you with a sour view of reality that wreaks havoc in your life. Here today with me is Tina Hallis, Tina is a scientist, turned positivity, speaker and coach during her 20 plus years as a scientist in biotechnology. She worked in companies ranging from small startups to large corporations like all of us. She has experienced situations in her career that hurt her motivation and attitude. There was when Tina came across a new science called positive psychology that her life began to change. So here to talk to us about the power of positivity. Tina Hallis, welcome to the show.

Tina: 02:09 Thanks Josh. Excited to be here.

Josh: 02:10 Awesome. So in your own words, what are the benefits to a positive work culture?

Tina: 02:17 Positive work culture? Well, I think the easiest way to think about this is for people to just remember back on past work culture, work situation that was really negative and what made it so bad because when I, when I do my programs and trainings, I’ll ask that question and a lot of times it comes down to, you know, other people, right, your boss, your coworkers, and how much that drains our motivation, hurts our productivity. And in the end, from a business perspective, it increases turnover, right? But you have higher quality defects. Um, there’s, there’s amazing amount of research that really shows how positivity can boost and help the bottom line from a whole variety of aspects, from innovation to motivation to collaboration.

Josh: 03:05 Oh, that’s awesome. So what do you think some leaders or some ways leaders to identify, engage this positivity in their work and their organizations, their culture. So I guess how do they judge whether they have a positive culture or a negative culture going on right now?

Tina: 03:20 Well, a lot of times the easiest thing to do is ask your people and I would really recommend asking those people that you know, are the go getters, the people that care about their job. I mean, you know, hopefully that’s most of the people in your organization, but you know, really listen to those people and ask them how they feel about the culture. Ask them to describe it. Don’t ask them if it’s positive or negative, but say, how would you describe our culture?

Josh: 03:45 No, that’s good. That’s like a yes or no question, right? Is it positive or negative, you’re not really flushing out the real. So, so then beyond that, so oftentimes leaders create a stigma and they, they, they, they have a title and some people are intimidated by that title. How do they know if they’re getting the truth?

Tina: 04:02 Thank you. That is so huge because I remember even in my corporate days, I felt very comfortable going to the head of our site and sharing my thoughts and other people were like, there’s no way I would say how I really feel. So sometimes it’s really looking for the advocates and having them go out and get the information. If you think there might be an issue with that title or some intimidation part, reach out to the people that you know, people will talk to and have them ask around.

Josh: 04:28 That’s really good. That’s really good because the union, we need those true tellers. And sometimes that can be hard. I think the other thing that I’ve, I’ve, uh, experienced and whether I’ve been guilty of it or not, I’ve certainly experienced that when, when people do tell you the truth, listen and don’t take offense instead of like where? Because the, the how you get those truths, tellers, pushed away from you is by actually, you know, those that’s not true though. That can’t be true. This is going right? This is going right. They look at businesses soaring and you push them away by just demeaning their thoughts to your good. Them giving their feedback to you basically shut them down. Right?

Tina: 05:10 So true. And it’s a natural reaction. I mean, it’s a threat response that we have. So you really have to be aware of it. Be prepared for it and in a way psych yourself up to say, okay, I’m biting my tongue right now, right? I want to say no, that didn’t happen that way. Or that’s not accurate. Versus like you say, listen, maybe ask for clarification, don’t judge, don’t analyze in that moment. Just be as open as you can be to receive.

Josh: 05:38 Ask the question, shut up. That will be great advice. And that’s hard to do, especially as a leader because you’re a natural problem solver. Right? So that’s, let’s go to the age old adage of God gave us one mouth and two years for a reason. Um, so that’s the number one way to get truth tellers away from you though is if you shut them down. So what are some popular problems or themes you see from organizations and then how, how do you respond or tell them to respond?

Tina: 06:06 Probably the most common challenge I see that organizations will reach out to me is because they’re going through some kind of change, you know, let’s be honest, right? Almost every organization is going through change and change can hurt morale. People can be struggling with it, resisting it, and when I come in to help organizations, I, I don’t do change management. What I do is kind of like a attitude management because what happens and just again, understanding how our brains work, understanding how we think, it’s the uncertainty, just like that defensiveness kicks in when someone maybe says something that we disagree with, like we were talking earlier, to just listen. When we have uncertainty, it triggers that same threat response in our brain that as if someone was trying to hurt us. So the more we can create clarity and um, you know, just understanding around change, the less challenge there will be. And really just educating people when I come in and do programs, it’s, it’s helping people understand, hey, this is natural, this is a normal response. Be aware of it. And then here’s some tools to help you pause, notice, choose, right, pause, notice how you’re feeling that tightness, that resistant, that defensiveness depending on your personality. And then how can you choose differently overcome it, not stay in that defense, you know, threat response.

Josh: 07:32 That’s great. That’s great. So before we get to your path of positivity, I’m going to ask you about the science a little bit.

Tina: 07:39 So

Josh: 07:41 the brain science that fascinates me, you being a scientist, obviously that fascinates you. I am not though so, but it does fascinate me how the brain works. Talk about the overwriting negativity, our brain, how that heart is hardwired for us so we can possibly recognize it.

Tina: 07:59 Thanks for asking that because honestly, when I first learned about positive psychology, I mean I’d never heard of this science had no idea what it was about, but just that, that biggest takeaway for me was realizing that we are wired to be negative, to dwell on, to think about, to ruminate on all the problems, the things that feel unfair. Um, and when I learned that this is part of our survival instinct and actually it’s a good thing because if we weren’t really tuned into, you know, the dangers and the threats out there, we wouldn’t be here today as a species. So thank you brain, right? Thank you for that survival response. But how can we find a better balance? Because what will happen is we can easily get stuck there and then it’s not helpful, right? So it’s very, very beneficial. When you can pause, notice, oh look here, I’m replaying that past argument that that drama, whatever it might be, and recognize that you have the power, the ability to shift your thinking and choose a different thought, which then of course our thoughts drive our emotions which drive our actions and behaviors which ultimately drive our success.

Tina: 09:12 So when we train ourselves to get better, just being aware, hey, this negative thought is natural, tune in and then say, okay, it’s not helpful now because sometimes a negative thought is helpful. It helps you plan, prepare, you know, whatever it is. That’s why our survival instinct is there, but to just be able to recognize that and choose,

Tina: 09:33 if you should be shifting your thoughts

Josh: 09:36 Experts say, that you are the average of the five people you hang out with and the books that you read. We’d like to suggest the podcast that you listen to as well. So hit that subscribe button and add Madison’s top leaders to your circle. We’d also encourage you to share this podcast with as many friends as possible. Our mission is simple to inspire people and impact lives. If you know a friend or colleague or could benefit from listening to some of Madison’s top leaders, give us a share now back to our guest.

Josh: 10:06 Yeah, I think the recognition piece. Like you said notice is absolutely huge. So with that, the brain’s automatically wired to be negative. How does media, social media, all that stuff play into it because it’s such a big part of our daily lives. How does it play into our already hardwired brain to be negative? And then how do we overcome that or how, what advice do you have for people on that?

Tina: 10:31 I think it’s so interesting, right? I mean, I had no idea of this, this negative bias that we have, but the media knows the news knows and they’ve played it up, right? They know what we’ll pay attention to. And so that’s what they feed us. They’ll feed us reams and reams of negative news, negative shows. Um, because that’s what attracts our attention. That’s where our survival brain is like, oh, you better watch this, you know, and again, awareness is the biggest thing, just to realize that’s what they’re doing. They’re really manipulating your survival instinct. Taking advantage of that. Yes, yes. And, and, and it’s again, it’s a business, right? And so they know what will drive their business, drive their ratings, drive the views. Um, and so they’re taking advantage of that and you’re letting them do that because you don’t know any better.

Tina: 11:22 I didn’t know any better, but now that I now I understand a little bit more of what’s happening, I’m like, I don’t want to waste my life, my energy, my time on stuff that I can’t have an impact on that I can’t do anything about granted. Awareness is important. You need to know what’s going on in the world, but be selective, right? Be selective on what, you put your energy and time into and what’s helpful for you to know versus, you know, this is just sucking up my energy and my life and I can’t do anything about it.

Josh: 11:53 I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but I, uh, heard this awhile back by, um, I had a neuroscientists as a business coach and he talked about that in the Amygdala negative piece of your brain, part of your brain that magnifies that negativity. He told me that there is a line in, in news media that I guess it’s still applicable today because I’ve talked to some anchors about this, that if it bleeds, it leads. So first sick thing to think about. But this is, so you said it’s a business and they’re job is to get eyeballs to the screen for their advertisers, our advertisers. So we got to like, why do they do this? It’s for their advertisers. It’s a business, right? So they’re, they know what’s going to draw us in. So literally, if it’s not locally, there is not something locally that’s that dramatic. They shift to nationally and then later in the news stuff they’ll get to weather to sports to something positive, like a squirrel water skiing or whatever it may be. But, but it’s going to start with negative because that’s what draws you in. So, but what about social media because that’s such a big thing now. So let’s say, okay, I don’t watch the news, Tina, I’ve turned that off, but I have this facebook feed full of negative political stuff. Oh. And my friends are also chiming in about this negative stuff.

Tina: 13:13 And, and so everybody has to find their own balance, right? What’s, what’s the right balance around social media for me or for you might be totally different from someone else. Honestly, I’m very careful with my social media. I don’t spend a lot of time on it and I’m careful with the type of people I connect with. I try to connect with likeminded people who really do want to, you know, stay focused and control their thoughts, control where they put their energy in their life. Um, so it was so funny. The okay, this is probably maybe a bad thing to say, but my parents were complaining and saying, Oh, there’s so many political advertisements. I’m so glad the election’s done with. And I said, I honestly have seen almost no advertisements because of just the connections and the media that I do connect with. So it’s amazing, we think we don’t have a choice in this, but we really have much more power than we think we do.

Josh: 14:05 It’s, yeah, it’s totally a choice. And then you could shut the, you can follow certain things on facebook, you can choose not to. You can follow certain friends on facebook, you can choose not to. That’s, that’s the power of it that you have. It’s interesting you mentioned those negative commercials, you know, so some people sometimes ask, okay, well why don’t we hear the positive message or what they actually want to do once they get elected to power, there’s, there’s a reason these negative commercials were, are aired. That’s because they work. Otherwise they wouldn’t. If they didn’t work, they wouldn’t be wasting gobs and gobs of money putting them on TV.

Tina: 14:43 Right. And, and again, it’s kind of scary to think about that they’re tapping into our kind of, in a way our subconscious attraction to that kind of negativity. It’s consciously will be like, oh, that’s terrible. But subconsciously there we aren’t. We’re attracted to it.

Josh: 14:58 Well unfortunately we’re going to stay off that. Okay, well we’ll get off that. I want to walk you through your or have you walk us through the path for positivity, so can you give us a broad overview of the program and why you created it?

Tina: 15:11 Yes, so when I started really getting into positive psychology, I went back and became certified, did a lot of research on it, looking at who are the thought leaders on this, trying to really understand it. There’s so much great information out there and again and again I thought, how do I help people access this? How do I make it easy for people to figure this out, to apply it? So I wanted to come up with a model, something that would kind of walk people through steps that could make it easier for them to take back control, to shift their thinking and the more I use this, the more I taught it and shared it, the more I read about it. It’s funny this, this path for positivity just evolved almost on its own. I just found that this was a sequence that I kept going back to and I then sort of officially made it, gave it a name and, and really use it a lot in my programs and in my training.

Josh: 16:07 Wow, that’s awesome. So step one is understand why did you choose to start there?

Tina: 16:14 So I like this analogy. Maybe it’s silly, but if someone were to just tell you, you should brush your teeth twice a day and they didn’t tell you that’s because it’ll help prevent cavities. That’s the why behind it. Would you do it, it’s kind of like somebody telling you to. I don’t know, you know, like your mom says, would you jump off a building if somebody just told you to? No, you know, you want to know the why before you commit to it. So I feel like if we understand the why, why it’s hard, why things are kind of the way they are, it’s easier to buy in and to commit to the other steps and strategies.

Josh: 16:50 That’s great. I couldn’t agree any more with that. The why behind things are so powerful. Uh, coincidentally you gave that example of brushing her teeth. My seven year old just got her first cavity and now we’re, so this was fascinating. They have, you know, the Sonicare toothbrushes for adults they have for kids. There’s also an APP that I think is sonic created that because there’s an app for everything, right, right. Uh, where it actually reverses the camera, so it takes a picture of your mouth and then it actually shows her, uh, these like green little germs on her teeth and as she’s brushing it’ll go for two minutes. It’ll show her the spots in her mouth where to go through Bluetooth on the toothbrush to the phone to show her where she needs to brush in the backs of her teeth, the fronts of her teeth molars front it. So she just started this a week ago and it’s absolutely fascinating. I’m like, that’s great. I probably could have saved myself some cavities growing up with that. With that help.

Josh: 17:51 But so, but now she gets it. Just like you said there, we’ve been preaching mom and dad, we’ve been preaching twice a day, We do it in the morning. We do it going to bed and uh, sometimes gets listened to, sometimes not, but now she’s like, hey mom, where’s the phone I need, I need the APP to brush my teeth. If that gets you to brush your teeth, great.

Tina: 18:11 And in probably the cavity cavities are never fun. I can’t imagine today they’re really still much fun. So to, to kind of have that little bit of pain is a great motivator.

Josh: 18:21 Yeah. Yeah sometimes we need the pain to move. All right, so step two realize. Can you walk us through the difficulties but also the importance of realizing we need or can change.

Tina: 18:34 I think it was Henry Ford who said if you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right. And ultimately that’s what it comes down to because if you think you can’t change, if that’s your mindset, you can’t, right? You’re stuck. It’s a limiting belief. So what I think is huge is now their science more and more in the last 10, 15 years coming out saying our brains are plastic. There’s this term neuroplasticity. It’s been getting in the news this, this realization that at any age our brains are constantly changing. Um, and, and really 10, 20 years ago they would’ve said, oh, once you’re an adult, you’re, you’re done changing. But there’s new technology like functional MRI where now they can see the changes happening. And what’s fascinating is, so this term neuroplasticity, this has really become an area of great study around even things like recovering from stroke brain trauma, but also related to positivity, happiness, gratitude because they’re finding that it’s not just the experiences we have that influence how our brains changed, but also what we focus on and what we think about you can imagine if you’ve, you start getting a negative attitude about something and you have this, this natural just negative thought pattern you fall into that is changing your brain.

Tina: 19:54 It’s reinforcing. It’s creating a habit of thinking that way. So when we can intentionally pay attention, choose our thoughts and realize, you know what, I’m going to purposely spend time focusing on these positive thoughts. You are physically changing your brain, creating new neural connections, reinforcing them, helping to make it easier.

Josh: 20:17 I love a phrase, you said in there ever so subtly, intentionally pay attention.

Tina: 20:22 That’s huge.

Josh: 20:24 Like how often are we are paying attention being where our feet are versus being distracted by the myriad of distractions that we have nowadays, but intentionally paying attention. There’s intention behind everything and it’s particularly changed.

Tina: 20:40 Yes, and it’s so funny because today of course now more than ever, we’re so busy and so distracted that it can be harder for people to be intentional and pay attention, so it takes even more purposeful, you know, planning to make that possible.

Josh: 21:00 Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes some reflective thinking which John Maxwell credits with being the way to learn is the reflective thinking.

Tina: 21:09 So true. We’re just busy doing all the time. You kind of get stuck in a cycle, right? How much are you learning and growing if you’re just busy doing and yet society today tends to reward us or propose that that is what we should be doing is just busy getting things done, cross them off your list. This idea of reflecting, thinking, being intentional, there’s, there’s not a, an action necessarily associated with that. Right? So it seems it seems wasteful to many people, but it’s not.

Josh: 21:41 So interesting as you’re saying that a recurring comment made by my father growing up was repetition is the mother of learning. Okay. So, but if we reflectively thought on the experience we just had, would we need the repetition? So have to put some more research into that. But. So, so, so step three is notice our thoughts and we kind of lead into this one pretty well. This is a tough one. Sometimes we get so caught up in that fast paced work life or the distractions we just talked about. I think a lot of people just go on autopilot and so walk us through step three.

Tina: 22:21 You know, when I tell people the power of our thoughts, you know, when I do some of my exercise is one of the quotes I love is we think we experience the world, but we experience our thoughts and think that’s the world. So when we can start noticing and paying attention, you know, just um, I’ll even tell people, just just set a timer on your, on your device to go off a few times a day and then have that be a trigger. Oh, what have I just been thinking about for the last few minutes because when we can pause and notice our thoughts, that is truly the first step and taking back our power, taking back our control, right? Otherwise, if you’re just busy and you’re on autopilot and you’re letting your basically kind of your survival instincts, which as we were just talking about, tend to lead us down a very negative thought pattern that’s running your life and you’re letting it in. And I had no idea until I really started diving into this positive psychology area that we had that control that we had that choice. I love to tell people now that positivity is a choice. I make that choice easier. This framework is all about how can we recognize that choice, make that choice easier. Pausing, noticing, tuning in. I mean we, we hear words like mindfulness. We hear words like emotional intelligence, that’s all related to becoming self aware, right? What, what are our thoughts and are they serving us?

Tina: 23:45 Are your thoughts serving you? I was reading the other day that it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 to 90 percent of our thoughts are the same as they were yesterday.

Tina: 23:54 That sounds right. Isn’t that crazy? Yeah. So then, um, if you don’t like your life today, maybe you need to change your thoughts. Right? That’s probably a good place to start.

Josh: 24:02 Yeah, that’s a great place to start. Uh, we were sitting at dinner, my wife and I, the other night, we actually got a date night for her birthday, so we had a sitter and she took the time, the sitter had texted, and so she was just checking to see because we’ve got four little kids, but I happened to notice that I was looking around the restaurant. You think about like, everyone’s in their own little bubble, but yet we’re all coexisting together, but everyone had each different table at the restaurant is having their own conversation or even look at him. And then I looked at one couple and they’re both on their phones I was like, so my wife and I are pretty good about putting the phone down and because we get so rare opportunity of actually being alone together without the four kids that we’re pretty good at it.

Josh: 24:45 This time she was texting the baby sitter. So I’m just glancing around the room or just observing. And one observation was that everyone’s in their own bubble and it’s just, it’s just fascinating, you know, we’re all together in this ecosystem. But uh, just in our own bubble and the other was looking at a couple of, there was both on their phones looking down, not talking to each other. I’m like, do you not like each other? And I asked my wife, I was like, what do you think? Or sometimes we just like make up stories about the couples that we may see. But there are both on their own phones. Like, is that a first date or you guys well into this thing? And you just don’t like each other. Just going through the motions on autopilot or what it is. But I think taking those conscious steps and having those thoughts and checking those thoughts that you have, especially if they’re ones you don’t like on a day to day basis. I had that thought yesterday. Now I’m having it again today. You should probably put some reflective think time into that to make a change.

Tina: 25:39 A story I love to share because life will always give us opportunities to practice this. There will always be things that pop up that we ended up ruminating on focusing on. We had an issue with a contractor who was remodeling our basement. Turns out the day they came out to start it was also the day we brought our daughter home from the hospital after she was born, um, they were a little hung over. So they made a few mistakes and they’re like, oh, don’t worry, we’ll just cover it all up. Well, you know, ended up being a pretty big issue. So every time I see the name of that contractor on a billboard or on a truck, I have opportunity to notice my thoughts, see if I’m going to go down that downward spiral, right of getting upset. All over again, um, or am I going to choose to let it go and realize, hey, that’s a, that’s not a good use of my time and energy. There’s a saying, I love it. That says, as humans, if we cut ourselves, we hurt ourselves once, but if we experienced some kind of drama or stress like that, we will replay it so that we hurt ourselves hundreds if not even more times with that one incident.

Josh: 26:46 That was really powerful because most people have also heard the phrase death by a thousand cuts. You continue to replay those negative thoughts, especially the ones that you can’t do anything about or don’t serve any purpose in your life. You’re essentially killing yourself.

Tina: 27:03 Yeah. And, and think about how it’s not only just affecting your experience of your day, but how you’re influencing the people that interact with you, your family, your colleagues, your coworkers, and, and it’s, it’s a ripple effect. It’s contagious. So when you pay attention to it for your own benefit, it’s also rippling and benefiting the people around you.

Josh: 27:22 The other author, Jon Gordon Talks about those types of people being energy vampires. And uh, I’ve never heard a better analogy than that or just maybe a phrase, if you will, whereas we all plug into each other energy wise and you’re, everyone’s had that experience where they walked away and be like, oh, that was draining. And that’s that energy vampire. Like, okay, I don’t need to spend time with that person anymore. But there might be some family members or friends you’ve allowed in your life that you’re on autopilot and they are energy vampires. And every time you’re spent they’d take a little bit more from you and you just haven’t woke up and notice to yet.

Tina: 28:00 Yep. That’s true. And, and so what I love is it goes the other way too. We can be the positive catalyst that sends out the positive ripple, you know? And, and if there’s one thing, the world, our communities, our families need now more than ever to me is having more people be that positive catalyst. It’s so easy to commiserate, to vent to each other. And not that that can’t be done in a little bit, but if you, if that’s how you live, most of the time it’s, it’s not a very happy life.

Josh: 28:31 No, I couldn’t agree more. So step four, let’s talk about some tools to change.

Tina: 28:37 I love this stuff. This is the fun part where in my programs we do some hands on stuff. We do some experimenting with this. I always as a scientist, I love the word experiment. So here’s, I’ll just share a couple of quick ones. But there’s, there’s really so many different ways that we can practice different strategies that will make it easier, that sort of purposely helped train our brains to get better at seeing the positive. A couple of my simple favorite ones that are so easy to do anywhere. I’m right here. UW Madison is Professor Richie Davidson. He wrote a book called the emotional life of your bank brain. He has used functional MRI and other technologies to track and map the parts of our brain and he knows the parts that are associated with feeling good and being happy. And if you do a fake smile with just your cheeks and your mouth, nothing happens.

Tina: 29:27 But if you also activate those muscles around the corners of your eyes, like an unnatural smile, then they see the part of our brain associated with being happier, light up. So this is a simple hack, right? You can do this in your car, on the phone, in a meeting, you know, it’s just a slight smile. Just make sure you’re kind of crinkling the corners of your eyes. And in a moment you should feel better. And I do this all the time. Now. I do this in the car, right? You’re driving along, maybe just have a straight face and your mind’s kind of going wherever it will. If you have that slight smile, your mind is going to go in a whole different direction. It’s amazing. It’s so fun to play with. So that’s one of my, my easy quick hacks I love to share. Another one I love to share is, um, was a lifesaver for me when I was laid off and decided, you know, I’m not going to get another biotech job.

Tina: 30:15 I am truly going to take this positive psychology and try to spread it. Um, so I reinvented myself, became a speaker, started my own company. I would have waves of nausea, right those first few months. Like, what am I doing? I have no idea how to do this. Three to five slow deep breaths lowers our blood pressure, lowers our heart, right? Let’s the cortisol dissipate out of our system from that big stress response and you feel better. And it’s funny how there are times, even when I’m just in a rush driving somewhere, I’m like, oh, I’m going to be late. Okay. Three to five slow deep breaths. It’s okay. You’re going to get there when you get there, right? It’s, it’s, again, what I love is you can do either one of these anywhere. You don’t need a membership, you don’t need an app on your phone, you know, it’s very few side effects. Um, it’s great. So those are two simple ones I love to share right away.

Josh: 31:10 Seven seconds, 11 seconds out.

Tina: 31:13 Yep. If you want to get really, you know, into the details, there’s yeah, optimized ways to do it, but even if you just just do whatever you can, it still helps.

Josh: 31:23 There’s, there’s no wonder that there’s meditation, Yoga focuses on breath. Like even if you are add like me, I can, you know, start meditating and meditating, praying, whatever it may be, focusing on breath first and doing a minute, at a time, one to two minutes, and then slowly working your way up. Because if you just sit there and go I’m gonna meditate for 30 minutes to someone like me not happening, it’s a daunting, overwhelming thought. So you’ve got to shorten that and make sure you can focus on it. But if you’re stressed there’s an exercise that we teach here to our advisors going into a meeting because you got to be authentically you and have the client’s best interests at heart. So if you’re nervous for whatever reason, maybe it’s you think they’re more successful than anyone you’ve ever sat with, whatever may be focus on your breath and make sure you’re coming across you and in the best way to do that I think is to ground yourself.

Tina: 32:21 And here’s another quick one that I love and that is find a playlist of songs, right? Maybe have different playlists, have those playlists that get you energized, get you motivated, fired up, maybe have that playlist that calms you down when you are feeling stressed, have that playlist that helps you get heart centered. Grateful. I know. Um, you know, when I’m driving heading towards a talk and I’m thinking to myself, okay, I really want to make sure that I’m connecting with the audience, that I’m giving them the information that resonates with them. So I want to be sure I’m coming from my heart. And so I’ll have those songs that I either sing out loud or play on my device. Right? And music is so powerful. There’s a whole science behind music and how quickly it can help us shift right out of a bad mood or feelings of anxiety. So with today’s devices, we can access that so easily.

Josh: 33:14 In an instant you have those playlists queued up. That’s, that’s a great tool. Uh, so lastly, step five, remember to choose.

Tina: 33:22 So with our distractions, with our buisiness, how can we remember? We have this power that we have this ability to choose our thoughts. Remember these strategies. I like to throw out some different ideas for people to experiment with. Um, one of the suggestions I have is how about your password? You know, pretty much almost anybody is typing a password in at some point somewhere, you know, use it. Maybe it’s the first letter of a phrase, of a favorite song. Maybe it’s a memory, maybe it’s a strategy you’re focusing on, but then every time you type it in, you’re saying that phrase or that song. And it’s a reminder, a trigger. Um, I tell people, use some kind of jewelry. I see you have a bracelet on, you know, you can use a piece of jewelry, a coin, or a stone in your pocket that’s with you and every time you notice it or touch it, that should be a prompt to say, okay, what have I been thinking about? Has that been useful?

Josh: 34:21 Yeah, I don’t know if. I mean my bracelets more inspirational than anything because it’s a kid fighting cancer, so. So I want to do look at that. I do feel grateful.

Tina: 34:30 Great. Yeah. Wonderful.

Josh: 34:32 So now that’s interesting to say, oh, I have to look down and be like, Oh yeah, I’m wearing a bracelet.

Tina: 34:38 That’s all right. Uh, just said it was a great reminder. So how do, how to deal with suffering morale? Um, I guess, uh, anything, uh, any thoughts on that within an organization? Uncertainty, stuff of that nature? Uh, so because of change and uncertainty, how do we deal with that? Because if we know one of the only certainties we have is change.

Tina: 35:03 So true. So true. And so what I really am an advocate of is realizing that whether it’s due to change or whatever issues in your culture, in your organization, you can think of it from two aspects, one is everybody’s individual perspective that they’re bringing, you know, their attitude is the glass half full, half empty attitude and the environment, the situation in which they work, right? Because you know, when I asked people think back on a positive work situation and what made it so good, again, our coworkers, our bosses, but also there’s research that shows whether you look at Gallup, whether you look at, in the academic research, I’ve organized it into sort of five main categories and that is when you can consider your environment that your people work in and how much the environment is addressing these five issues about. I’ll list them off your quick, see if I can remember all five.

Tina: 35:59 One is mastery. Your ability to use your talents, strengths and to grow. One is autonomy. Having control, feeling like your input matters. That you have some decision process and what you do, the purpose, understanding the purpose and meaning of why, what you do matters, how it connects to the bigger picture, how it might matter for your values and how you impact the world. Um, sense of belonging, feeling connected with your coworkers, the company. Um, and the last one I call the really the environment which is the physical environment, you know, is it, is it a dreary, depressing place to work? Um, and also the psychological environment are your coworkers, are the people you’re around, are they upbeat? So when you can address both people’s perspective and attitude with, you know, from that idea, I like to tell them, you know, if you can bring in training, great, if not, create book clubs, have Ted Talk, you know, luncheons. Just put books and articles, posters out. Awareness is such a big key. I think a, what if everybody knew they had the power to choose that they could shift their thinking. Not everybody would want to do it, but more people would for sure. So the more awareness we can create, the more we can really build up our organizations, build up our communities and families.

Josh: 37:19 Could you list those five things again? Those are awesome.

Tina: 37:22 Sure. How, let’s see. I was so proud. I’ve kept doing so, so mastery, autonomy, belonging, purpose and environment. So physical and psychological environment

Josh: 37:32 That’s so, so good. Uh, and I think that anyone listening, if you’re an employee, think about those. And do you feel those five things? If not, maybe you’re not in your calling. If you’re an employer and you’re not providing those five things, that’s where you have to look at your culture and really make a change. And particularly if you’re looking at hiring millennials, because I would say I’ve observed that millennials want those five things more than they want the financial rewards that, uh, may you might be providing them.

Tina: 38:06 So true. Yeah. Yes. And, and there’s, again, there’s a lot of science behind these areas showing these are what motivate us. These are what get us engaged and caring about our work and each other more. It’s kind of like those, uh, those minimal requirements for, um, you know, wellbeing, you know, but this is in your work.

Josh: 38:25 Yeah. It’s the why behind it. Although it could be any one of those things or all of them right for, for any given person. So how do you go from survival mode to success mode?

Tina: 38:37 Wow, that’s kind of a big question. I think it’s, I think it’s really kind of comes back to that awareness thing. If you are in a survival mode and you’re like, oh, this is my life, I’m stuck. I’m just, this is all I can do. And You keep doing the same things. You keep having the same thoughts. You keep having the same focus. It’s not gonna Change. So whether it can be, you know, finding some of these strategies, getting some books challenging the way you think, challenge your limiting beliefs about what’s possible. I mean, I’ll be, I’ll be honest, when I was in my biotech days, I remember thinking, boy, that the current company I was with was having a lot of layoffs and I knew the area that we were focused on, we, we needed as a company to shift our focus to stay, you know, up to speed on stuff, but I felt like, what else could I do because you know, this is what I’ve done for the last, you know, almost 20 years, this is, this is kind of, you know, I couldn’t go anywhere else and have the kind of job I have and be successful this way.

Tina: 39:48 So the universe decided to give me a kick in the butt, got laid off, had discovered positive psychology and it was so interesting. I just never looked back. It was scary. It was exciting. I’m so grateful for it, but I think so many of us do feel stuck or trapped. I mean, health insurance is a big thing, right? Finances are a big thing. When you have to make changes, you will find a way, may not be apparent in the moment, but if it’s, if you feel a calling, if you have a purpose to do something different, you will find a way to make it happen.

Josh: 40:27 So. So I’m really glad because I told you you’re one to talk about that because you transitioned after 20 years, so you’re in your forties or maybe some listeners that are doing that, but you said you got to kick in the pants from the universe. What if you have. What if someone’s listening that’s in their forties, fifties, and they’re kind of fledgling like they’re in the middle. They’re in flux. They’re not. They’re not getting kicked to the curb by their current employer, but they are not happy so they’re not getting that. Maybe the pain isn’t great enough like it was for you. Whereas you were laid off, where would, what advice would you give to them?

Tina: 40:59 You know, in, in my corporate world, I had no idea that there was almost like this whole other culture out there of people who were reinventing themselves, doing different careers, pursuing their dreams. And passions and as I basically was sort of thrown into this, um, you know, getting out into networking groups, meeting people, having coffee with people who had done this, I heard so many amazing stories and when you hear people who have done it under, you know, even situations where their family didn’t support them, where they didn’t have the money, they had to move in with a friend even in some severe cases, but they were determined to do it. It’s so inspiring. And when you start connecting with those people, they want to help. There’s a whole community of people out there who support each other, who help each other fulfill their dreams. Um, and now being connected and surrounded by those people, it’s, it’s amazing. And I’m incredibly grateful for that opportunity.

Josh: 41:57 Are you thinking about, as you were saying that some, some people don’t know this, but Ray Kroc was at Mcdonald’s who founded Mcdonald’s was, I think in his fifties or sixties. Walt Disney was in his 50’s or 60’s before that all started. I mean, some of these, most iconic American brands, Disney and Mcdonald’s. These are entrepreneurs that didn’t start until later in life and I, I truly believe that we’re all endowed with gifts and I think that our responsibilities, quote unquote like we talked about a little bit pre show like they just get in the way or whether you’re, you know, I had a family earlier and then I got a mortgage and then all these things added up and I got all these responsibilities. I can’t take that leap. What if I fail?

Tina: 42:40 What if I fail? And that’s where our brains naturally go to. Remember that negative bias, that survival instinct will kick in and will tell you all the terrible things that are going to happen if you try to pursue your dreams and that’s when you have to say thank you brain. Thank you. Survival instincts, but more is possible here and I am going to take that step and as you take that first step, the next step will appear. The Path will start to lay out, you’ll make mistakes. Things won’t always be perfect, but it’ll be an adventure and what is better, right? Oh, what is that saying? Like, you know, harbors are great for ships, but you know, that’s not what a ship was built for, right? Yeah. It’s like, do you want to live the safe life? And if so, if that really is what you’re cutout for and that’s what you want. Great. But so many of us are living a safe life and that’s not what we want.

Josh: 43:30 Yeah, I would agree. Now on the opposite side of that, do it smartly, in the simplest sense to a t chart, of pros and cons. Make sure you don’t not include your spouse on your ideas. Um, so take some proactive steps that way, but at the end of the day, playing it safe, usually it doesn’t lead to a life of fulfillment.

Tina: 43:51 Yes. Thank you for the, the caveat on that. Yes. You know,

Josh: 43:54 I don’t want to. I don’t want any lawsuits coming back at me. Josh and Tina said, I got to leave my job.

Tina: 44:03 Have a plan. Talk to people. Right? There’s so much information. I mean, with the Internet now you can learn almost anything on a youtube video, right? Or yeah do your research.

Josh: 44:13 Absolutely. So let’s talk a little bit. We are finishing up on negativity. So say example, I got a friend at work, coworkers that’s always negative. She or he can be such a drain. What’s your advice to either separation or being respectful? You still got to be in this cohabitated space with them being respectful. How would you distance, how would you tell someone a distance respectfully?

Tina: 44:36 I love that question. I get that is, that is the number one question I get from people. Honestly, I get that all the time. And so I’m actually creating an online course in my next book is actually going to be on that, don’t know the exact title yet, but basically how do we build our immunity? Right? Protect ourselves from the energy of the negativity around us with other people. Um, and I’ve been interviewing experts all over the country on this. I’ve been doing research on this and there’s a variety of strategies we can take. But, but one big one that to me was so surprising, but I have seen it actually work. We so often want to change the other person, right? You’re too negative. You have a bad attitude about this, you’re this way, you’re that way.

Tina: 45:22 When ultimately if we are judging other people on something, that means we have more work to do on ourselves. So when we find ourselves unable to accept other people for where they’re at in their journey and their life, I mean we don’t often know that backstory. We often don’t know what has led them or you know, what wiring or what past experiences has brought them to this moment, to this, this attitude and when we can just give people space to be who they are and where they’re at. And I mean it takes some self work, right to do that because that’s, you know, we, we like our own perspective of how things should be. And when other people don’t fit into that expectation we’re, you know, they should change, right? They should change to fit what we think they should do. It’s not me and stuff, but other people’s problems are their problems, not your problems and really not your business, which to me was such a earth shattering idea when I first learned about this, but if you can use this, if you can truly change your attitude when you’re faced with an interaction with these people when you have to interact.

Tina: 46:24 I’m all about setting boundaries. I’m all about, you know, creating healthy spaces for ourselves and protecting ourselves, but you know, there are times when work, family situations you, you really need to interact with these people and that is if you can approach them with an attitude of acceptance, it changes the energy between you and that is truly when you will see the other person changed more than when you just want them to change and wish that they would.

Josh: 46:52 Yeah. I think Stephen Covey’s habit here really applies of seek first to understand then to be understood, yes, and get to know some of that backstory and why they might be passive aggressive or why they might be so blunt or maybe their mother or father’s going through dementia right now. And they’re just overtired.

Tina: 47:09 Yeah. You, you, you don’t know and you think of life is hard, you know, everyone’s going through struggles and a lot of time the big struggles, we don’t talk about the big things that we, you know, are stressing us out and causing us to not sleep and to be negative. We don’t really tell other people.

Josh: 47:30 Yeah. Well, so, so like I could think of someone just sitting here going, okay, Josh, Tina, you might be practiced in this. How would I go about getting to the first seeking to understand then to be understood. I don’t know, maybe they don’t want to tell me about that. How do I approach that conversation?

Tina: 47:49 Well, in some cases, some cases it’s just setting the boundary, right? And, and, and realizing that you do need to maybe distance yourself, but if, if it’s come to a point where, let’s have a conversation about this, it’s coming from being very heart centered, from coming from a place of caring. Let’s say you have an employee who suddenly just not getting their work done or not showing up on time. There’s some behavior issue when you can come from a place of caring and not threatening, right? When you can say, hey, you know, you’re, you’re a good employee, really appreciate how you do this and this, but I’ve noticed this has become a problem. How can I help? What can I do? Is there some something that we can talk about? Um, and if you really can get heart centered, the words will come to you. It can be hard if you’re already upset about it, right? Then you need a little meditation time, a little reflection time, that song maybe to help you shift. But when you can get into that place, it will become easier to find the right words and the right approach.

Josh: 48:52 Yeah. And remember, feelings are non negotiable. Sorry, you got to come from a spot of caring and understand how they’re feeling, but maybe if you can tell them how they’re, how you’re feeling, I could open up as well. So a go from there, I last question to help people out before we wrap up here. How do you save a bad day? I had a bad morning. Uh, how do I save the rest of my day?

Tina: 49:16 Really? I think it kind of comes back to that fake smile, right? With your eyes, a song, some deep breaths, thinking of something you’re grateful for. It’s, it’s so easy when I’m driving in my car, maybe I’ve been rushed. Maybe things are, you know, the morning was tough to really pause and look around and just little simple things, right? It doesn’t have to be anything big. I’m like, Oh, I’m just grateful I have a vehicle that’s comfortable. I can turn up the heat in the cold weather where I can, um, have the opportunity to go and drive somewhere and do something that I want to do, um, to have this job to, you know, sometimes I’ll just be thankful that I have my, you know, favorite pair of socks that are clean. I mean, there’s always something to be grateful for.

Josh: 50:04 Okay. We’re in the holiday spirit. If I was your favorite day, it’s a good idea for your favorite pair of socks. I have Christmas socks, but they’re not on yet. It’s still thanksgiving time. All right. So, um, that’s some great advice. The other advice I would give our listeners is start your day intentionally. Here’s a lesson I learned and I had to learn it the hard way and it took probably months of me realizing why I was starting my day off kind of negatively, uh, checking my email first. Yeah don’t do that. You have a 50/50 chance. You’re either going to see a good email or a bad email and the chance, that 50 percent chance that you see a bad email. It’s gonna set your day off really poorly and then you may never recover from it. And then that bleeds into every other conversation you have.

Josh: 50:52 So what I do in the morning and whether it’s right or wrong, I, I, I pray, I have some time where I asksome questions on gratefulness as you mentioned there. Um, and I read a so I don’t even check my phone. My phone is my alarm like most people, but that’s the only thing. I use it for a in the morning and then, uh, then I’m able to read, start my day proactively. I can get myself ready before I get the girls ready to go to school. And then I’m on my way but I don’t check my email until I get to the office.

Tina: 51:23 And, and what I love in you alluded it to is that what works for one person might not work for the next person. It’s finding what works for you and really in order to do that, you have to experiment. You have to try different things and see how they feel and see how you react and um, you know, don’t, don’t give up. There’s, there’s really, there are so many different strategies and approaches. I think, you know, so many people like the miracle morning by Hal Elrod, he’s got a whole series of these. I mean, he’s got great ideas of how to start your morning but even later if you read some of his later stuff, he, he realizes that everybody needs to adapt it to fit their style, their personality and their day.

Josh: 52:04 He’s given you great ideas and uh, you have to apply that to your life just like anything else. You can’t, I mean very little as just gospel. You have to take that in and figure out how that applies to your life, exactly how, that gives you the most energy and positivity. All right, so I told you a little bit earlier we’re going to ask because we ask all our listeners either what book are you reading right now or the your most favorite book that you’ve read recently?

Tina: 52:29 Gosh, I have a ton of favorite books. I actually list them on my website that are related to positive psychology. Um, if I had to pick just one, I really do like the how of happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky because it really has a ton of strategies different, just actionable steps people can take and experiment with and try. So I think that’s always a great one to start with.

Josh: 52:52 Great. Great. So how can our listeners get in touch with you? If need be?

Tina: 52:57 Sure, please check out my website, the positive net, or feel free to email me tina, t I n Always love to hear from people’s comments, stories, your favorite books, your favorite quotes.

Josh: 53:15 That’s awesome. We will also have all this information on our website at You can find show notes, book references that we mentioned today, and then Tina’s contact information there as well, but thank you so much for being on the show today Tina. I really, really enjoyed the conversation. I hope our listeners did as well.

Tina: 53:34 Sounds good. Thanks Josh.

Josh: 53:37 Thanks for listening to another episode of inspire people impact lives. If you’ve been inspired today, please share this episode with as many people as possible so that together our impact is exponential.

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