In an effort to help people realize their full potential as human beings, motivational speaker Tony Robbins hosts fire walking events at his conferences. At a recent conference, 21 people were treated for burns after walking across one of Robbins's signature bed of coals. An article in the Times this week argues that positive thinking - a central principle in Robbins's repertoire - can be detrimental in that when we think positively, we are unprepared for the reality of things (for example, that hot coals will burn your feet). In other words, as the title of the Times article suggests, there is power in negative thinking. I believe that there is something to this, particularly where our careers are concerned. I'm not sure negative thinking will get us anywhere, but there is some level of realism that is imperative to our success.
While I do believe there is significant benefit in thinking positively and envisioning positive outcomes, this alone is not a guarantee of success. Where our careers are concerned, in particular, thinking positively must be accompanied by ideas that are grounded in reality. It is important that we consider who we are, and what it will take to accomplish our realistic objectives, if we are to move forward, stay motivated, and ultimately accomplish those objectives.
Whether we are searching for a job, striving to get a promotion or make partner, or working to generate a book of business, the most secure frame of mind considers both what is realistic and what is ideal. In other words, our positive thinking should supplement or further our realistic objectives.
What strengths does your resume reflect? Have you earned the promotion or partnership designation (and if not, what can you do to change this)? What professional experiences will best serve potential clients?
This week, think about what realistic career goals and objectives you hope to accomplish before the end of the year. Consider alternatives and worst case scenarios. How will you handle these? How will you increase the chances of accomplishing your goals?
Once these ideas are squared away, thinking positively will only support and motivate you as you move forward toward your goals.
Desiree Moore is the President and founder of Greenhorn Legal, LLC. Greenhorn Legal offers intensive practical skills training programs for law students and new lawyers as they transition from law school into their legal practices. Ms. Moore is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and was an associate at the law firm of K&L Gates. She can be found on Twitter at @greenhornlegal.