Gershon.courageRecently a client described his job as: “My job is my 8 hour inconvenience.” At first I laughed because I wasn’t sure if he meant it seriously or as a joke. It seemed a bit blunt, harsh and sarcastic.

But, then as I reflected more on his sentiment, as well as my thirty-plus years experience working with people in organizations all around the world, I could think of so many examples of people who, even though may never say a statement like that, share similar sentiments.

At a different time I was facilitating a session with 150 managers of a highly unionized division of a well-known technology company.  During introductions, a veteran supervisor stood up and declared: “My name is Bill. I don’t remember how long I have been here, but I have 64 months to go” and he sat down. The room went silence with the exception of a few cynical giggles.

With more than 30 years at this company, Bill seemed uninspired, cynical and resigned. I couldn’t imagine him coming to work every day looking for the next opportunity to improve things, innovate and make a difference. He was more in the mindset of “doing time.”

Bill is not alone. So many people seem to feel powerless and unable to make a difference in their job on a daily basis. They stop believing that things can change or they can make the difference and as a result they get discouraged, disengaged and stop pursuing certain opportunities and challenges.

The good news is that employees can make the choice to take a bold stand to not buy into the cynicism, resignation and negativism that surround them. They can fully express themselves and communicate authentically and effectively at all times.

Are you ready to be a true hero at your organization? It will take courage to say NO to negativism, cynicism and resignation, and ALWAYS stand for optimism, possibilities and your ability to make a difference.

Here are a few tips on how to get started:

1. Be courageous. If you want to be a leader and say NO to cynicism you need to be courageous and take a stand. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather embracing your fears, no matter how daunting, and acting in a way that is true to your values and commitments, even if people around you are in a different space.

2. Don’t engage in negative conversations. Don’t entertain or allow negative or cynical conversations around you. These are toxic and cancerous to the organization but more important – to you personally.

3. Associate only with positive like-minded people. When you associate with cynical people it will pull you down. If you associate with like-minded positive people it will pull you up and keep you in good shape to contribute and make a difference.

4. Live up to your stand. Look for little things to do every day that express your commitment and forward your stand to make a difference. There is a great quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing every day that scares you”. Follow her advice and you’ll become better and better at it.

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