The Power of Positive Presence

A friend of mine once told me about a coworker of his from years back. His name was Harry.

Harry was an optimist. My friend passed his office one day and said, “Another rainy day, eh Harry?”—and Harry replied, “Yeah, I just love that sound on the window, don’t you?”

“You know what?” my friend said, laughing. “I did love that sound. Always have. But it took Harry to point it out to me. That was twenty years ago, but ever since that day, I’ve thought of Harry on rainy days and enjoyed the sound on the window.”Harry had given a gift that keeps on giving—the power of positive presence. He simply saw the good and (here’s the key) shared it with others. He didn’t have to do any heavy lifting. He didn’t even create the good thing. He simply revealed the hidden positive that was already in my friend’s heart.My friend shared another story about Harry that even more powerfully illustrated the ways in which we can impact others for the better.

Harry had a habit of singing each morning on the way to his office. It was the same song every day, a tune from the musical Oklahoma!:

Oh what a beautiful mornin’
Oh what a beautiful day
I’ve got a beautiful feeling
Everything’s goin’ my way.

Harry did this for months and months. Then one morning, for whatever reason, he came in…and didn’t sing.

Within the hour, Harry noticed something was not right in the office. There was a feeling of quiet anxiety. Everyone seemed on edge.

Finally he asked a coworker what was going on. She simply replied, “Well…you didn’t sing today. We all thought there must be something wrong for you, of all people, to be upset.”

Harry was at a loss for words. Nothing at all was wrong, he said—he was just thinking hard on the way in and just…forgot to sing.

Harry had had no idea that anyone noticed his singing, much less cared. He was only singing for himself. That’s what made it so powerful. He influenced those around him simply because of who he was.

We so easily forget how powerfully a positive outlook can impact the people we work with and how closely people are watching us. It’s an overlooked way of making yourself more valuable—and making life more enjoyable.

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