I’ve just been thinking about Debbie Downer and Suzie Sunshine.
Who would you rather work with? Executive leaders and those in leadership development need to find a way to work with these two extreme personality types.
When people are always complaining it gets old. However, when someone is always so happy they can’t even notice there’s a hurricane blowing outside, guess what, that gets old too.
Think of it this way, too much of anything becomes toxic. Too much water and you get a flood, too much oxygen and you get brain damage.
Maybe what we are all searching for is what does it mean to be real. That’s the formula for heath and success.
Real means finding the better in the bitter. It also means telling the truth without judgment, blame or attack.
Being real takes practice. it also takes the discipline to look inside yourself and see where the weeds are and start to pull them, one at a time.
Lately, there has been a surge of people buying my book “Don’t Bring It to Work” that discusses how the behavior patterns we learned in the family when we were kids, the behaviors that are deeply embedded in our nervous system play out in present time even when we are not really aware of it.
I asked a few people reading or re-reading the book what they are getting from it. These are people either in executive leadership or developing leaders. The answers fell into two categories
1. I’m stuck in my work/home relationships and need to find the missing pieces so I’m reading all I can about self-awareness.
2. I have some toxic people at work and I need to find better ways to relate to them. It’s exhausting just to nod my head and pretend it’s ok.
What do you say, I was asked, to a Debbie Downer who only sees the negative? And believe it or not, Suzie Sunshine who only sees the most superficial positive can also be a drain on relationships.
My answer is the same for both. You ask them, that’s right, you ask them to take some time and come back with 3 (that’s the perfect number) solutions to the problem at hand. Debbie Downer is usually cast as the victim and you can help her become an explorer by looking for solutions rather than just ringing her hands and blaming herself for any and all messes at hand.
Suzie Sunshine is most likely a denier or avoider of issues that can be hard on the emotions. You are helping her face tough stuff rather than run away by putting on rose colored glasses that hide the truth.
Both personalities learned to respond in the extremes of overly bad or overly good in childhood.
You can help them get unleashed from the past by offering them new ways of solving daily issues. Little by little the ties that bind loosen.
To answer the question posed in the title, does being positive make you healthier? The answer is being real is the route to health.
Too much of anything wont work. As Shirley MacLaine once said, “When wallowing in a vat of hot fudge, one yearns for a piece of celery.”