Dane Holmes: Choose Positivity

10 MAY 2019

How are you practicing positivity? Dane Holmes, head of Human Capital Management, shares tips on staying positive and having a growth mindset.

By Dane Holmes

I’m known to be a generally positive and warm guy.  And although I wish I was born naturally cheerful and bright-spirited, I have to admit it has taken time, practice, and real work to train myself to maintain and nurture a positive mindset.  I often get asked “what keeps you going?” or “how do you stay positive?," especially during the challenging times when it can feel like an impossible task to keep pushing forward.  I don’t have a magic remedy on how to keep positive but I’ve been able to learn and adopt some small but meaningful tips that have helped shape my mindset.

Inherently, mindset is very personal and individually driven. However, for each of us, it is key to our engagement, productivity and ultimately our happiness at work and in life.  Operating from a place of growth – or having a growth mindset – means you believe there is always a way to grow and that you own your destiny.  The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset which lets external factors take control and shape how you operate in the world.  It’s not easy to dismiss the external factors that can influence our mindset.  We all have stressors – it could be work, finances, family – whatever it is for you, stress can drive us to have negative feelings and get caught up in areas that we feel are lacking or need improvement.  Personally, I’ve had times when I was deep in the weeds and couldn’t get my head above water, but I’ve always been more successful when I focused my energies on how I could get something done, rather than how impossible the task was. By adopting a growth mindset, you can transform setbacks into opportunities and persevere through adversity.

Recently, I’ve been speaking to groups of university students about having a growth mindset and how it impacts leadership.  We’ve been talking about the challenges and benefits of having a growth mindset and just in general the power of being positive. I consolidated a handful of the tips that I shared with them and hope you find them helpful…

  1. Start small. Focus on one simple thing you appreciate each day, whether it be your morning coffee or a beautiful sunset you saw on your evening commute. Be fully present during that moment of appreciation.
  2. Take ownership of your attitude. You can’t control how others behave and you can’t determine how people see you, but you can take ownership of your attitude and operate from a position of positivity, curiosity and determination – let this guide you throughout your career and life.
  3. Challenge negative thoughts. We all get them sometimes. A mistake at work can make you feel like, “I’m not doing my job effectively,” but avoid generalizing. Broaden your perspective, consider the facts, and when a negative thought has validity, make an action plan to tackle it. 
  4. Know what motivates you. When things get particularly tough, the days when it feels like nothing is going right, you have to remember what fuels and motivates you.

My motivation is helping others and being with my family. The opportunity to play even the smallest role in making someone’s day better, goal more in reach, or problem closer to resolution is deeply enriching. As a husband and father, the request is quite straightforward – be present, have fun, love big and listen. Not surprisingly, I always feel great after I do any or all of these things with my family.

While we can’t necessarily control all thoughts that pop into our heads, especially the negative ones, we can choose how we respond to them. Take the time to choose positivity.  I promise it will make a difference. 


Read more articles by Dane Holmes on LinkedIn.