Aren’t we all a bit sick of these terms now? I sure am…..but in the right context they make such an impact! I was thinking about how businesses are really suffering in the current environment and reflecting on the immense sense of grief I’ve been feeling for weeks now. 

Grieving for normality; grieving for businesses who simply can’t operate and are watching their business enterprise slowly die; grieving for my workmates who I don’t get to see every day and grieving for our disconnected and disenfranchised communities.

In the last week however, I’ve been trying to find silver linings and identifying local businesses that have taken the bull by the horns and pivoted, flexed, and become agile!   

I’ve also made a point of actively buying local, shopping in smaller businesses who desperately need our support and enthusiastically finding new excuses to help the economy financially (I’m surprised my credit card provider hasn’t called)!! 

I’ve sourced gifts for friends, I’ve sent care packages to our team, I’ve stood in lines of local plant shops and food outlets rather than buying from large national and international chain stores.  I’m trying to do my bit!  As an aside, I’d love to give a quick shout out to Bliss Bakery in Queenwood – if you haven’t been there – you must try them!! 

Amazing service and marvellous treats. They are celebrating their first birthday this weekend and have triumphed through a very difficult year. Well done team!

So how do we make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear then?  How do we flex and become agile when it feels like all is lost?  For many people I talk to there are a couple of secrets to their success. 

Firstly, they practice gratitude every day.  They focus on what is working well in their worlds, they vocalise about how grateful they are – even for the little things that many of us take for granted.    

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.  Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. The next thing that seems to be working is people focusing on what they can control.  Sitting down and making a list of the things that are troubling you in your world and then identifying exactly what you can control is very liberating. 

It helps the brain focus on the rational and removes much of the emotion we experience when we’re in flight and fight mode.   

Lastly, people tell me that they are not losing hope and are optimistic. Again, in positive psychology, hope and optimism are both part of our cognitive, emotional, and motivational stances towards the future – indicating a belief that future good events will outweigh bad events. I am hopeful and optimistic!

In summary, let’s help our local economy grow, practice gratitude, and bring back hope and optimism into our vocabulary.

Here’s 6 quick tips on how to be more optimistic; try looking at the world through a more positive lens (e.g., I’m glad I don’t live in Afghanistan), take note of the people you hang around with (happy moods are contagious), turn off the news, write a journal and jot down what you’re grateful for today, acknowledge what you can and can’t control and lastly, don’t forget to acknowledge the negative.  This too will pass.


About Author

Senga Allen

Human Resource Specialist and Managing Director, Everest People. Waikato and BOP people and culture specialists. www.everestpeople.co.nz