Takeaways from two weeks of “Positive Talk”

May 03 2020

14 people from around the world signed up to join me in a small experiment: For two weeks, I would commit to daily discussions focused on Good Things.

I spoke with Italians, Brits, folks in the United States, Sweden, and Nepal. On some days I had to talk myself up for the session; other days I looked forward to thirty minutes of positivity.

At the beginning of each call, I asked participants to rank themselves on a scale of 0 to 10 (0 for on-the-floor depression and 10 for something close to contagious joy). At the end of our call, I asked for another self-ranking. 12 out of the 14 participants reported an increase in positive feelings. The other two reported no change, having already reported high levels of feeling. I, too, found myself feeling better at the end of the calls.

But beyond feeling better, I felt seen. Those thirty minutes became a plug-in of support, encouragement, and connection. Many participants echoed battles with imposter syndrome“Am I good enough, capable enough, strong enough, ready enough, productive enough, gentle enough, prepared enough?” Time management was another expressed hurdle, but it was rephrased as a goal that could be conquered.

And in all of these calls, it became clear that even when the world seems upside down, we have the ability to write our own narratives. We have the choice to fall into old, self-sabotaging coping strategies or tap into traits that can set us up for something greater. We can choose to see ourselves through a compassionate lens, or we can cling to memories that no longer apply. Our stories can become ones of curiosity and growth.

There’s no telling when or if things will return to “normal.” This experiment, however, reminded me there are many things still in our control. We can make time to connect, and we can train our minds to focus on creation, empathy, and compassion — for ourselves and for others. I’m thankful to all those who participated in this experiment with me.

Try for yourself: Set a calendar of participants (ask friends, family, and colleagues), keep a journal of notes, and record pre- and post- rankings for each call. Let me know how it goes.