Earlier this week I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in more than a decade. She is a warm, creative, tough, badass attorney. She asked if I was still up to that “positive emoji stuff?” Ouch.

Pretty dismissive of my work. And of content that she actually is reading enough to know something about my intent. So I guess, yes, I am still up to that stuff. What’s the deal? Why these weekly missives?

There is a ton of negative, fear-mongering narrative circulating around most of us, whether from the news or the turbulent business environment in which most of us work. Our brains are built for survival. They hold on to the negative like Velcro in an attempt to protect us. The problem is all that negativity is only part of the story, and yet our protective brains are often Teflon for the positive.

All that negative energy gets in the way of action. So, I try to find ways to ask questions and focus forward. And I share what I learn with you. Here are three ideas for this week.

Tip 1. Don’t take criticism personally. My friend didn’t mean to be snarky. And she obviously is reading these missives. It’s just a chance to get clear. And not everything I do needs to resonate with everyone. 

Tip 2. Remember the Velcro/Teflon rule. It’s easy to see and focus on the negative, it’s sticky. And it’s hard to focus on the positive, it’s slippery. So when it all feels like it’s going downhill, ask some questions. Is it really all bad? What positive thing might you be missing?

Tip 3. Get playful. It’s ok. Leading does not require that we always wear a suit of armor. I rarely use emojis outside of text messages. But who knows? Maybe I’ll start.