Around my office in Miami Beach we don’t make many “policies”. We do have one, though -- No Negativity Allowed. Negativity isn’t just complaining about the heat outside or how your lunch sucked. Negative talk comes in many different forms. Whenever you hear any of the following statements, don’t listen:
1. “You can’t do that.”
Negative people, intentional or not, walk around telling people all the things that can’t be done. “Can’t” is their favorite word. Companies often turn this around and say, “We can’t do that”. This is a policy a company uses when service isn’t convenient. It’s used to say we aren’t taking care of you. Can you imagine advertising, “We can’t do that”? The solution is saying, "We’ll do it" or, "Let me show what we can do."
The “we can’t do that” or the “you can’t do that” drives me crazy because most often it is something that can be done. Even if it isn't, at least try or offer an alternative. Whenever policies come before people it’s a no-win situation. Be deaf to people who use the word can’t.
2. “That is Impossible.”
This is a close cousin to the “you can’t.” And what the impossible naysayers are trying to say is, “Quit before you even try to consider a solution”. This person hangs up all possibilities. In business, a competitor is thinking about how it is possible. This is how inventions happen. This is how industries change—airplanes, electric cars, and iPhones all came from the desire to get things done.
Once I told a guy that I wanted all my social media to be on the first page if I searched my name. He replied, “That’s impossible”. Well, go search "Grant Cardone" and you'll see for yourself now. There’s nothing impossible unless you believe it is. Even if it is, people will admire you for trying to make the impossible become possible.
3. “That’s not my job.”
Really means, “I don’t do that—I’m a follower, not a leader, I’m a cog in the wheel—I won’t get the car anywhere, I’m not a team leader, I’m not a problem solver, I’m a problem”. When people tell you this, ignore them and tell them if they want to be more valuable to the company, community, and planet earth, then everything is their job—and their responsibility.
People saying it’s 'not my job' are saying they don’t want to participate in the solution. They’re saying they don’t know what’s happening, and that they can’t make a difference. Tell them to just handle it, give more, and if they don’t know what they’re doing tell them to figure it out. Most people don’t know what they are doing anyway. Remind others that nobody is as creative, talented, or smart as they are. In this way you will be a positive influence despite their own negativity. Ask them, “If you’re not the person to get it done, who is?”
4. “Thank God It’s Friday.”
This is actually a really negative statement in disguise as something positive. "I can’t wait to get this day over," is basically what people are saying. The same people who never mention the name of God, never go to church and don’t know how to even spell “God”, give thanks each Friday. The whole world shifts on Friday morning as if a holiday is coming. People are saying TGIF at 8 AM before they even start the day. They’ve wasted the entire week waiting on this morning, now they are going to waste the entire day waiting for the weekend.
TGIF means Thank God I’m Free.
How many Fridays do people believe they have? Fast forward 40 years, what will they say on their last Friday? They’re wasting days waiting on the weekend. Tell them to stop waiting for a weekend. While “TGIF” seems like a positive statement, it’s an extremely negative one because a person is admitting their whole week sucks and they only live for the weekend.
Picture negative people like little crabs, only doing little things, grabbing small things with their small arms and letting the ocean come and grab them off the beach and go along with the tide.
Don’t spend time listening to their negative comments and instead, promote a more positive workplace. Make a No Negativity Allowed Policy in your space. If you need a reminder, put up signs and get some wristbands for yourself and your team.