• Jeff Day

Is Your Positivity Playbook Missing These 4 Concepts?



It’s June 18, 1911. We are in Detroit and are sitting on the 3rd baseline at the old Tiger Stadium. After trailing the Chicago White Sox 13 to 1, the Detroit Tigers slowly have been picking away at this cat and mouse baseball game. It’s the bottom of the 9th and the legendary Ty Cobb steps up to the plate and hits an infield grounder that appears to be an out. On a bad throw to first, Cobb is remarkably safe at 1st base while teammates Davy Jones and Donny Bush score the winning runs to lock the Detroit win at 16 to 15. One of the greatest comebacks of all time in baseball.


Detroit sports fans know pain with their teams for over 100 years. And being a native Detroiter, the come-from-behind win is perfectly special to me. It may explain why I grasp the positivity principle the way I do. Positivity doesn’t mean the outcome will always align with your intentions. But it does point to another way to handle life when things don’t go your way. Detroit fans know, keep your chin up and hang in there. Savor the comeback, journey, and wisdom that comes with it.


Positive people tend not only to be happier, but they may also improve their health as well. In one study, people with a family history of heart disease were 1/3 less likely to suffer a cardiac event in 5-20 years because of their positive outlook. In other research, positive visualization can help overcome bouts of depression and anxiety. The bottom line is that positive thinking far outweighs negative tracks as it relates to your mental and physical well-being.


So how does this translate to business leaders? I take a few bullets from my Detroit sports loyalty playbook. No matter your role, here are four concepts you can do to get started:


  1. Challenge your negative thinking. This is a CBT technique where you examine the thought. Ask the “inner” you the question, “is that (thought) going to help me achieve what I’m truly setting out to do? Does it get me to where I want to be

  2. Slow down, and think. Take time to think through the thought track and the words you are about to say. Your speed may lead to regret. Add time to the moment by asking the question, “…what would the better outcome look like?”

  3. Extend grace. Surprise, we are all human. Right and wrong answers in an organizational context might be better described as better or worse decisions. Nobody gets it right all the time. Extend others and yourself some understanding and compassion.

  4. Be grateful. Finding and expressing gratitude in a tough moment is a skill. Nobody said don’t experience fully a negative emotion. We are human. But leaning into gratitude is an exponentially boosting positivity activity than dwelling on negativity.

What else is on your list? Share with your circles what helps contribute to your positivity frameworks. Your leadership will be dramatically enhanced by your willingness to stay balanced, keep your cool, and find solutions to challenges. Optimism is a kernel within positivity and invites better outcomes. It makes the win sweeter and keeps us Detroit fans always invested.

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