choose your path: plussing or dividing

How are you showing up in the world?

What’s the overall sentiment of your presence at a business meeting, or in life, with your friends and family? My understanding, at this point in my life, is this: You are generally either a PLUS or not. And it’s more about sentiment and overall approach to life than it is about optimism or negative attitude. It’s a life path. And one I think you should pay attention to and perhaps cultivate.

Let’s look at a few examples of plussing.

  • A friend starts a new adventure and you offer to help (“What can I do to support your new ___?”)
  • You offer to “pay it forward” with your skills and sweat equity.
  • Often you are more interested in the intention than the pay off.
  • You enjoy connecting your friends with others. In business you like being considered a “connector.”
  • You reach out to the disenfranchised as well as the successful.
  • Often your first thought when starting a project is “How can I provide maximum benefit for THEM.”
  • Giving ideas and suggestions for improvement without being asked.

And sometimes the plussing can be in terms of honest feedback. When something appears off to you, you have to have the courage to ask, “Are you sure this is what you want to be paying attention to?”

Questions and inputs on the other side of the equation are usually subtractive or divisive. And in the world of work they might look like this:

  • We’ve already tried that, it didn’t work.
  • What’s the ROI on that? Can you show us the numbers?
  • Can you show us some best-practices?

Now, questions and discussions are critical to keeping things from moving along the yes-sure-okay path. If no one is able or confident enough to ask the hard questions (“Can we see the numbers from the last campaign?”) then you’re on a sure path to ho-hum disaster. What’s only a little bit better than getting shot down in a business environment is getting “light” or damming praise. If everyone is on the yes-sure-okay path they are only going along for the ride.

You need conviction to be a plusser. You need confidence to ask tough questions. You need to have data and “best practices” to back up your business plans. But most of all, you need the “YES AND attitude.”

The answer might not always be yes, but when it is the plusser wants to ADD to it. How can I make that idea better? How can I take that positive momentum and encourage it? What can I do to PLUS this along?

In business it’s easier to see this type of example. In your personal life, you have to look a bit more closely at your initial reaction to new ideas. Are you usually a YES or a NO? Are you a YES BUT? And if so, can you turn it into a YES AND maybe we could also look at doing this.

The main job of a plusser is to add value, add momentum, add positive energy to any activity. Hopefully that activity is pointed in the proper direction. And the plusser can also withhold ADDING to something that does not match with their goals, ideas, or intentions. But in general the plusser is looking to ADD VALUE and ADD MOMENTUM.

I’d suggest we all work at getting better at PLUSSING and worse at DIVIDING.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

37 Responses to Plussing or Dividing: How Are You Showing Up in the World?

  1. I like the analogy of plussing!! The world would be a much better place.

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