On being a positive person…

I’m really never in a bad mood.  Seriously.  It’s odd, I know.  And it probably sounds like a lie.

I’m never depressed or down on my luck.  I pretty much always see the glass half full, and it usually has something better in it than water.  Obstacles are opportunities.  Problems are challenges and opportunities to grow.  Losses make you stronger.

And I have rarely met an entrepreneur that wasn’t a positive person.  I have never met a successful entrepreneur that wasn’t a positive person.

I recognize that you might not be able to “make” yourself a positive person.  Maybe its genetic.  Maybe its how you were raised.  In fact, I think how you were raised has a TON to do with your general outlook on life.  My mom and dad are extremely positive people.  Almost never were they “in a bad mood”.  Honestly, I don’t think my parents ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  Now, granted, there were times they were put into a bad mood.  Like the time I kicked a hole in my sister’s bedroom door.  Or the time I was sent to the principal’s office for telling my 4th grade class and science teacher during a lesson on gases that, “I have natural gas”.  Ah, good times.

I believe being positive is the only way to live your life.  This doesn’t mean I walk around with blinders that everything is always going to work out perfectly.  It’s how you react to the results.  I know a lot of people that before an outcome happens, they start stressing and getting themselves down, just in case the outcome is bad!  I’ve personally never understood that and I feel bad for people that do it.  Why worry if you don’t even know if you’ll have to worry?

It’s probably why I’m very comfortable taking risks.  I’m confident that even if the risk doesn’t pay off that I’ll end up in a better place than I was before.  Maybe I’ll learn something new.  Maybe I’ll be forced to take my life in a new direction that will bring excitement and new opportunities.  Maybe what I thought was going to be the best outcome wasn’t the best at all.

As I look back on my life, I think another thing that made me a positive, bright-side kinda guy was having my own business.  I recognized early on that if I walked around all stressed and upset about how bad things were – and at times things got really bad – that everyone in the company would have the right to do the same thing.  So I forced myself to look at the bright side.  We were losing a client?  Good, now we can focus on the other clients and finally knock out those side projects!

Case in point: At the end of year one of my first company, Spunlogic, we had signed a contract with a company to do a major website.  Our largest project to that point was about $1,500.  This project was $65,000.  We thought it was the greatest thing that had ever happened to us.  We got office space.  We hired someone.  We changed everything.  Then a month in, the company went bankrupt and we never got a penny.  Now, at that moment, it felt like everything was going to fall apart.  But losing that account was the best thing that ever happened to our company and I fully believe that.  What it did was suddenly force us to make our business work.  Up to that point, we were working hard but we hadn’t been “all in”.  I still had a part time job to pay bills, one of our partners was working remotely, our “office” was in my mom’s basement, etc.  So after that point we were locked in and from there, we made it happen.  We kicked all sorts of butt, never had a year where we didn’t grow, and ten years later sold our agency to Engauge.  Worst thing ever…or best thing ever?

I tell my kids all the time, especially my six year old, about how important it is to be positive.  That when he is planning to play outside and it rains, rather than moping around about how unfortunate his luck is, think about all the fun things he can do inside the house!  Man, we’re so lucky it rained because now we can do this and do that.

When you are positive, things work out better than if you’re not.  I really believe that.  Actually, there’s no debating it.  Because any outcome is going to be “better” when viewed by a positive person than by a negative person.  So just by being positive, things will work out better.  But aside from that, I really think that if you are happy and positive and confident, things are just going to work out more in your favor than not.  It’s worked for me so far.

If you want to try to be more positive, one way to start would be to read Pat Croce’s book, I Feel Great and You Will Too!.  It may be too rah-rah for you, but its hard to read Croce’s words and not get inspired to be a positive person.  Being a positive person already, I still read that and wanted to be more positive.

I don’t know if you can actually change your personality to be more positive.  I like to think you can, because, well, I tend to think positively ;)

Good luck.


  1. Anonymous on May 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Great post Jeff.  Focusing on the positive makes it easier to embrace change and be adapt when things don’t go the way we’ve planned.  As a startup founder – being positive is critical for getting people to believe in your company and vision – whether it’s team members, customers or investors.  I’m a big believer in this as well.

  2. Ehilimire on May 23, 2011 at 6:05 pm

     One of my favorite things about you!!! :)

  3. David Cummings on May 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

     Great post Jeff! I’m huge believer in being positive and made it one of our three core values: positive, self-starting, and supportive.

  4. Jonathan on May 24, 2011 at 2:18 am

    Great stuff Jeff.  I think entrepreneurs have to be positive, those that are not don’t really understand us.  But that’s okay.

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  6. Donovan Panone on May 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Nice “old school” Pat Croce reference.  I’m actually re-reading it again now!

  7. Jeff Hilimire on June 1, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I figured that would be something you believe in.  “Self-starting” is a great one as well.

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  9. carey on March 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

    this is truly inspiring!  i want to read this everyday to remind myself.

  10. Jeff Hilimire on March 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks Carey, I really appreciate the note! Course you knew I’d say that, being all “positive” and all ;)

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