To The Assumer

We were lucky to secure Keynote Speaker Michael Hahn for our Meeting Professional’s International Leadership Day.  He talks about how people can be either heroes or villains in their own lives and teaches Hero Habits and how to design your life as a winnable game.  One of the Hero Habits that really resonated with my was to always Assume Positive Intent.  This habit really resonated with me as I have had multiple scenarios recently where I have been upset about something at work or in a volunteer organization and when I told someone they said they wouldn’t have judged the situation in the same way.

I think based on our own emotions or feelings we may react or think something that is not even a glimmer of what the person intended us to feel.  It may be an entirely different meaning. I have put this into practice in the last week and truly think this is a very impactful career tip.

Taking the information below from the MPI-CAC website written by Michael Hahn he gives you some tips on how can you shift from Assuming Negative Intent to Assuming Positive Intent.

Here are three keys to ensure you show up as a hero and not the villain.

Change your Mindset

Positive thinking is essential because our beliefs drive our behaviors and thus determine our current reality. When you are stretched too thin, it seems impossible to think positive, right? That’s why we need to build emotional reserves in advance, because reserves allow us to see beyond our perspective and find the hidden intent of our client.

When we do, it’s easier to shift our thoughts from having a ‘Bad Day’ to having a ‘Character Building Day’. The problem occurs when you’ve already depleted your reserves and your willpower tank is empty, that is when your inner villain thrives.

So how do you build these reserves in advance? You just need to…

Take a Break

Vacations are awesome, but they cause a ton of stress to prepare for them and upon re-entry back to work. So how can you take a mini-vacation for your mind?

More often than not, people come to me because they are stressed about a recent promotion and want to get back to being productive and happy again, so I start by asking:

“Tell me about a time when you were running on all cylinders…”

They tell about a time when they had balance between their professional demands and their social life, hobbies, personal development and exercise.

They discover they stopped doing all the fun stuff that built up their reserves in an effort to take on bigger challenges at work. Our solution is typically focused on creating structure for some of the reserve building activities that allow them to put down the weight of their world…even for just 20 minutes.

What are the activities and hobbies that make you feel alive?

Some typical responses include: working out, time with friends, reading something not work related, running, gardening, etc. You need to find a way to bring some of those back into your life, to fuel your hero and recharge your reserves, because they help you to…

Get In the Zone

In Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, FLOW: the Psychology of Optimal Experience, he describes a moment where you are challenged and stretched beyond your comfort zone in a worthwhile pursuit of success. You lose track of time, you forget to eat and time seems to stand still and fly by simultaneously. I call it being In the Zone…and we experience it at work and in play…

Actually, play allows us to practice and hone the skills we’ll need to advance at work. The more we experience being In the Zone at work or during play, the more we flex those muscles until it becomes a habit.

If you feel like you’re seeing more villains than heroes, it’s a sign that you inner villain has taken control. Consider this your wake up call to step back and assess what’s working and determine what activities you need to resurrect, so you can assume positive intent and Be The Hero

Assuming positive intent is a choice, but if you don’t have reserves, your inner villain will have you choosing misery instead of happiness…

Ready to BE THE HERO? For more information on Hero Habits, please visit

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