Developing a buoyant disposition will make you more successful at work and in life.

The concept of buoyancy resonated with me while reading the book called To Sell is Human. Whether you realize it or not, everyone is in sales. Everyday you are selling our ideas, skills and/or solutions to clients, managers and/or colleagues. Rejection is part of the process. For some, rejection feels permanent, pervasive and personal whereas for others it’s a temporary experience. How we think, behave and perceive rejection affects our level of buoyancy.

So how do you increase your level of buoyancy to be more successful? There are three factors that affect your buoyancy.

Self talk
Did you know that most of people talk to themselves? You need to tune into your self talk. Reportedly, most self talk is either chest thumping or ego bashing. Neither is healthy or helpful to you.

What you want to hear in your self talk is “self questioning” [ie. will I be able to fix this problem?] Those who approach a problem with questioning self talk outperform those with the juice myself up declarative self talk [ie. I’ve got this] or worse, negative declarative self talk.

Are you conjuring up images of an extreme extrovert? If so, stop. You don’t need to be an extrovert with a high energy personality to convey positivity. Positive emotions are reflected in the tone of your voice, your facial expression and your body language.

According to Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina, negative emotions evolved to narrow people’s vision and propel their behavior towards survival in the moment. Whereas positive emotions broaden people’s ideas about possible actions, opening our awareness to a wider range of thoughts and making us more receptive and creative.

Positive emotions move others which is what you want when selling. To get others to buy into what you’re selling, you need to deliver your message with a friendly tone, with a smile and and in a cordial way.

Explanatory Style
Explanatory Style is a form of self talk that happens after an experience. People who explain negative events as permanent, pervasive and personal give up more easily because they extrapolate a single occurrence to totality [ie. my boss is having a bad day  becomes my boss is mean]. Where as people who have more optimistic self talk explain a negative event as just that – one negative event – my boss is having a bad day. Rejection to them is temporary.

Positivity Ratio
Feeling some negativity isn’t a bad thing. It provides some perspective and keeps us real. However, you have to balance it with positivity to be more successful. There is a Positivity Ratio to help you balance your positive and negative emotions. The golden mean of well-being is 3:1. You need three positive emotions for every one negative.

If you’re interested, you can take a Positivity Self Test, monitor positivity ratio over time and learn ways to boost your ratio.

Research on the health benefits of a gratitude journal are mixed. However, cultivating more joy and gratitude is on my resolution list this year. So I’ve been starting my workday thinking about 3 things that I am thankful for and my top 3-5 goals for the day. It only takes a few minutes and interestingly, it has helped me boost my positive emotions and focus my efforts. For me, it works. It might work for you too.