Stuck in Negativity? Read This.

By Stephanie Zonars

Mix stress with some unexpected losses or injuries and BOOM! Negativity can sprout up in no time.

It’s so easy to fall into a negative mindset, sometimes we don’t even realize it’s happening.

But before you know it, you’re finding it harder and harder to get out of bed.

For most of us, positivity requires work. Intention. Choice.

So how can you maintain a positive outlook in a negative culture?

It’s not an easy road, but these tips can serve as a lifeline:

Control the controllables.

I bet you’ve said this to your athletes! Now it’s time to put it to work in your own life.

As you know, regardless of your environment and circumstance, you choose your attitude and effort.

Most everything else lives outside of your control.

Though you can certainly influence others, you can’t ultimately control what other people do, be it your boss or your players.

Resolve to stay focused on fulfilling your role to the best of your ability and lock in on bringing a positive attitude and your best effort each day.

When you commit to those two things, you can look back on each day with no regrets.

Monitor your inputs.

if nothing in your work environment feeds your positivity, you’ve got to find it elsewhere. This age of immediate access to endless information makes this incredibly easy.

I’m convinced that the journey to our personal best is paved with good books.—Tweet That!

Too busy? Remember, many (if not most) top leaders make time to read consistently.

You’ll be surprised at how many extra minutes in the day you can find to read. —Pat Williams, Orlando Magic VP

Too expensive? Remember, a library card is free. And you can even borrow library books to read on your tablet or Kindle.

Just don’t like to read? Remember, many books have audio versions (and most are available at the library—double whammy!)

Another excellent medium for positive input is podcasts.

You can find them on any topic imaginable, and listen when you’re in the car or on the treadmill.

Two of my favorites are The Learning Leader with Ryan Hawk and The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast.

Lastly, minimize the news and other inputs that breed fear and negativity!

Cultivate friendships.

Finding another source of community besides the people you work with each day will help you realize anew that your job is part of life but it’s not life. Engaging in other people’s lives and challenges (especially those who don’t know much about sports) will give you a whole new perspective!

It’s also key to have a friend or two outside your zip code—someone not involved in your day-to-day who can listen and offer wisdom and encouragement.

Practice gratitude.

Nothing will alter your outlook like reflecting on your blessings. Think about them while walking or write them down in a journal. Even in the most difficult times, you can find a silver lining—something for which to give thanks.

Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow could masterfully find a silver lining in any circumstance. Even in her battle with cancer.

One time, I heard her say cancer may have been the “greatest blessing of all.”

How? Why?

Because it gave her the opportunity to reach so many more people with her message of hope.

Because it led to the forming of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, which galvanized women’s basketball coaches across the country for a common cause and has raised over $5 million for women’s cancer research.

The ability to stay positive in the midst of negativity is a life skill.

Even if you’re not a positive person by nature, you can learn how to bring more positivity into your team culture.

One last thought: while I do believe one positive person can make an impact in a negative culture, I also believe that life is short and each of us has to decide whether staying in a negative culture is best for our wellbeing.

If the negativity is taking a toll on you mentally, physically and emotionally, it may be time to find another place to work.

Stuck in Negativity? Read This. appeared first on LifeBeyondSport.

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Stephanie Zonars helps coaches build and maintain championship cultures through her business, Life Beyond Sport. Teams at Penn State, Notre Dame, West Point and over 65 other schools have built stronger trust, communication and teamwork through her workshops. Stephanie spent three years on staff with the Penn State women’s basketball team, assisting the team to back-to-back Big Ten Championships. An author of four books, she now serves as Assistant AD of Marketing & Promotions at Cedarville University. Learn more at

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