Why is it that human beings only ever achieve about 10% of their potential? There are many answers and I have heard a number of them from the participants that have attended my trainings or presentations. Fear, lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, don't know how?

I tell my students that all of these are very true, however where in life do we receive an instruction manual on how to get the best out of ourselves or that of our teams? When I went to school – there was no instruction manual. When I started working there was no instruction manual. We simply do not get an instruction manual for how to achieve our full potential.

I have been doing some research into the emerging science of Positive Psychology and my findings have been fascinating. I would love to now introduce you to the work of Barbara Frederickson. Her work has had a profound impact on me and her research features quite heavily in my teachings specifically around peak performance and leadership.

Frederickson determined that there is a positivity ratio and that ratio is 3:1. That is we need three positive emotions or feelings to every one negative. We either spiral upwards or we spiral downwards.

Because the brains primary filtering architecture is pessimistic by design (we tend to look for all of the things that didn't go so well rather than what did), we need to work very hard at finding the things in our life that have gone well. We need to ensure we utilise this knowledge that we have through Frederickson and maintain and build our positivity ratio of 3:1.

We literally need to train our brain to look for all of the good things, the wins that have happened in our day or week and we need to write them down. We need to give ourselves every opportunity of feeling good about ourselves and to acknowledge our wins – no matter how big or small. If we train our brain to look for the positives (because it usually doesn't happen this way given the way our brain works), we can increase our wellbeing and set ourselves up for happiness and ultimately success.

Barbara Frederickson teamed up with Mathematician Marcial Losada and his work focused on peak performing teams. His work was closely aligned to that of Frederickson and he determined that peak performing teams have a ratio of 6:1.

Losada and his team would go into organisations and sit behind one – way mirrors in boardrooms and listen to the language that was being used by the team members. They determined the ratio of positive to negative statements (positive = supportive and encouraging comments) to (negative = sarcasm and disapproval comments). Losada and his team determined that peak performing teams have a ratio of six positive statements to every one negative.

If you lead a team at work, how would your team rate when it comes to the work of Marcial Losada? There is work now being done over in Europe that measures a country’s prosperity based on the levels of Hypertension (stress) of the people who reside in that country. How interesting! There are even some suggestions that doctors and economists may need to work together to define future economic policy.

To take this one step further, I have to look at the correlation that Frederickson has made between profitability and positive wellbeing in the workplace. She says that if there is a ratio of greater than 3:1 positive emotions then the business is considered to be economically sound. If the ratio is less than that, then the business is likely to be financially in trouble. There is a definite correlation between happiness (wellbeing) and the success of a business (its prosperity) and this is why engagement and culture is so critical when it comes to building a successful and profitable business.

The research suggests that the connection between happiness and goal accomplishment (success) has now been proven to be undeniable. In-fact the connection is so profound that we are encouraged to gauge how happy we are and look for ways to improve our wellbeing in order to perform at optimum levels.

What makes you feel good? People who feel good about themselves produce good results and people who produce good results feel good about themselves. The symptoms are reciprocal.

Our emotional states are contagious. If you surround yourself with people who are positive and who feel good about themselves, you too, will feel good about yourself. If you choose to spend time with people who are negative and pessimistic, the chances of you feeling the same way are very high. Our social circle and who we choose to spend time with will have dramatic impacts on the amount of well being that we have and what we go on to achieve in our life and in business.

Be conscious and deliberate about building your positivity muscle. A simple tool that I use each night before I go to sleep is what I call The Achievement Journal. I am deliberately looking for three things in my day that went well – big or small and personal or business. I am strategically and very consciously looking for any small achievement or win that builds and enhances my positivity ratio which in turn has dramatic impacts on my wellbeing and my results.

Could you implement something similar into your own life? What about having your team members bring their own wins and achievements and share these with others in the team remembering that our emotional states are contagious?

Set yourself a goal to look for at-least three things each day that went well and track your results. You will be amazed at what you can achieve.

If you found value in this article and you are interested in learning more about achievement, you can visit the website

www.the360solution. com.au and purchase a copy of my book The 360° Solution – strategies, tools and concepts to help you design a conscious, deliberate and achievable plan for the life you want to live.

Vicki Writer is Founder of The 360° Solution™. Tel: (02) 4385 8885 M: +61 414 426 029
Email: vicki.writer@the360solution.com.au www.the360solution.com.au

Vicki will be speaking at the National Conference as part of the Leadership Forum.

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