posted April 9, 2018

Can Realists Practice Positive Vibes?

Amy Anderson

Dags follow four core values: comfortably uncomfortable, grit, proactive service and positive vibes. Warm and fuzzy as they may sound, they’re not just sweet nothings we spout to potential hires. They’re the foundation of everything we do—and just like our disciplines, they require practice for success.

Practicing comfortably uncomfortable, grit and proactive service isn’t easy, but you pretty much know what to do—break out of your comfort zone, work hard and anticipate needs before they arise. Positive vibes can be a little bit hazier. When shit hits the fan are we supposed to just smile, brush it under the rug and pretend everything is fine? (tl;dr: NO)

Let me be clear: having positive vibes doesn’t mean you have to (or even should) be a “yes [wo]man.” (And if you don’t believe that, check out Dr. Susan David’s book Emotional Agility on reframing positive thinking.) Positive vibes aren’t a value you show to impress management, while feeling frustrated deep down. It’s something you actually have to possess and strengthen (no, really). So, how do you handle bad moods, ridiculous requests and general #agencylife frustrations?

Speak from the heart.

Having positive vibes means doing what’s right while remaining respectful and hopeful about challenging situations. If someone asks you to make a copy change you don’t believe in, speak your truth. After all, what’s positive about blindly following a request that undermines the quality of your work? Practicing positive vibes also means practicing kindness, patience and respect. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean taking the easy route with a smile—it means using perseverance and optimism to push toward the right thing for everybody.

So if somebody requests something you disagree with, don’t say “yes” or “no, that’s just stupid.” Take a step back and explain your perspective. You already know how to do so kindly. Remember that time you walked your mom through the new iPhone update? Channel that version of you. You got this.  

Remember, we’re all in this together.

Everybody you work with serves a purpose, from your coworkers to your clients. For better or worse, these purposes are very personal to us. If you’ve ever told a designer to make a logo bigger or asked a copywriter to “write a quick tagline,” you already know how emotionally tied we are to our disciplines. So next time someone steps on your toes, remember to step inside their shoes before losing your cool.  

The client is dedicated to brand goals, the account manager is dedicated to the relationships, the project manager is dedicated to the project and the creatives are dedicated to quality work. If somebody steps on your toes, remember that they’re just very passionate about their purpose. By keeping this in mind, you can have a level-headed conversation as you work toward the solution together.

Shake it off (or whatever works for you).

No matter which role you’re in, you’re going to have tough days at work. Clients will kill your most creative ideas, coworkers will snap at you after long hours, managers will derail you from projects you’re passionate about and you’ll inevitably let yourself down in some way, shape or form. But you know what? Shit happens. Shake. It. Off.  

If you harp on those negativities, you’re not going to be happy—plain and simple. By having a positive and hopeful outlook, you can keep your chin up and your creative juices flowing. By working together, respecting each other enough to speak our truths and moving on when life throws curveballs, you can put positivity in motion. Exactly where it should be.