The Little Engine That Could Was Onto Something

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” — Henry Ford

The Little Engine That Could Was Onto Something

Cue eyeroll right? I used to think that way. I thought all positive thinking optimists were clueless. How could thinking a certain way make an actual difference in your life? Well, my friends, total convert over here. And it’s lucky for you I’m willing to share how I got there. (complete with science!)

Change your surroundings

The evolution for me all began when I made a change in where and with whom I spent my time. I started rolling with a bunch of optimists. I learned that they were onto something. Their positive attitudes, along with hard work were paying off. I wanted that for me too. I certainly had no problems believing in them, so why couldn’t I do a little of that for myself? They also happen to make an excellent cheering section when you need it.

Be thankful for what you’ve got

Instead of focusing on what’s missing in your life, spend time being grateful for the awesome you do have. Reminding yourself of the great things on the regular puts you in a better mood and leaves you feeling more open to possibilities in general. You never know where that better mood will lead you. Sadly, we spend too much of our time focused on problems. And guess what, we find them. Change what it is you’re looking for and you’ll be surprised how much it suddenly becomes easier to find it.

Pay it forward

Once you feel like Polly Positive yourself, you want to share those feelings. (hence this post) Do it. Talk about your experiences to people around you. Not in a shove it down your throat kind of way, be genuine. Model the behavior to those around you who have been struggling. Lead by example and maybe they will catch your drift and make change for themselves.

Fake it ‘til you make it

Not feeling very confident? So what? Pretend that you are. Before you know it, the actions you’re taking will be changing your thoughts and feelings. It’s all connected.

Be in the moment

This is so tough. Meditation, centering, whatever you want to call it, any practice that can help you be better at being in the moment is immensely valuable. It’s tough to be happy about what you’ve got if you’re focused on 6 months from now instead of today. Or if you’re worried about your 2:00 meeting while eating lunch with a friend. Definitely a work in progress for me personally but one I intend to conquer as its value presents itself time and time again in each study conducted.

The science is with me on this. I nerd out over this type of stuff and consume any bit of content I can. Check out “Mindset” by Carol Dweck or another good one, “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor which also has an accompanying TED talk if you’re not one for books. The information and support is there is you’re looking for it. Content galore on this topic. Find what speaks to you, devour it, live it and share it. Stop being misery’s company.


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Kelly Poulson

Kelly has spent her career helping people kick ass and become better versions of themselves. Coaching, training, recruiting – you name it, she’s done it, and in a variety of industries ranging from advertising to behavioral health to tourism and beyond. Be it supporting new managers in their journeys from uncertain supervisors to rock star bosses, helping lost newbies zero in on what they want from their careers and find their inner confidence to ask for (and receive) that promotion, or enabling leaders to be more self-aware in their management styles and more skillfully interact with those around them, she’s done it all. Outside of pushing to make people and organizations better, Kelly spends most of her time marathoning Netflix programming with her mutt, Dexter. Connect with Kelly.


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