The Positive Experiences Approach

There are many ways to encourage people. This articles looks at how you can help them to enjoy positive experiences.

There are many ways to encourage people. One approach is to create a positive environment, give positive encouragement and, as far as possible, give people positive experiences.

Different people follow these principles in different situations. They may do so in the family, school, sports team, hospital, hotel, business, hospice or another part of society. One mentor I learned from expressed this in the following way.

“I began my career as an educator. After a while I realised this called for much more than teaching classes for students.

“It called for being able: a) to create an environment in which people felt safe and able to share their goals; b) to pass on knowledge in a way that enabled them to reach their goals.

“It was then that I realised my vocation. It is to provide positive experiences that enable people to grow. Since then I have aimed to express this vocation in various ways on the way towards doing valuable work.”

Imagine that you want to follow some of these principles to offer people positive experiences. Let’s explore these themes.

Positive Environment

One approach is to start by creating a positive environment. It is to create a welcoming atmosphere in which people feel at ease. This is an approach followed by many educators, people workers and organisations. 

Looking ahead, can you think of a situation where you want to create a positive environment? You may wish to do this when caring for a friend, teaching a class, helping a customer, leading a team or doing another activity. How can you do this in your own way?

The Macmillan Cancer Support centres, for example, aim to follow this approach. The centres are well designed and welcoming. The staff are compassionate, professional and show respect towards the patients. They aim to, as far as possible, make the treatment a positive experience.

Positive Encouragement

Imagine that you have created a welcoming environment. When appropriate, you may want to give people encouragement. Different people do this in different ways.

Some do it by providing practical support. Some do it by providing psychological support. Some do it by helping a person to achieve their goals and shape a positive future.

Good coaches, for example, may combine all these elements when encouraging people. They may do this when working with them in education, sports, business or other fields. Here is one approach they may take to help a person to reach their goals.

Positive Experiences

Many people try to offer people positive experiences. They may do this when acting as a parent, friend, educator or in another role. They may do it when working in education, sports, business or another professional field.

Whatever route they take, they sometimes aim to create experiences that give people positive memories for life. Some people take this approach from an early age. They then try to spread happiness in their daily lives and work.

Some take it after suddenly become aware of their mortality. They may then learn from people who have been through similar experiences. Such people may give the following messages.

Make the most of each day … Appreciate life … Be grateful … Encourage other people … Enjoy the moment … Create positive experiences … Focus on what is important in life.

Eugene O’Kelly described this approach in his book Chasing Daylight. The You Exec website introduces the book in the following way..

Eugene O’Kelly attained his professional success after he landed his dream job as CEO of KPMG.

He was happily married to a woman he loved, had a daughter he adored, and seemed to be living a life that many would aspire to for themselves.

Yet, when he was told that he only had three months to live, O’Kelly said he “felt blessed.”

O’Kelly explains that the diagnosis and the wake-up call of his impending death inspired him to “unwind” his relationships. He saw his situation as a chance to finally take a step back and see his life from a unique perspective.

O’Kelly had been given the gift of knowing how much time he had left on this earth and to self-reflect and focus on the things that mattered most to him.

Once the shock of his unexpected diagnosis had settled in, O’Kelly and his wife, Corinne, put together a plan for living his last three months as fully as possible.

Eugene and his wife focused on how to create perfect moments. Here he describes his view of why the message was a blessing.

Eugene’s ideas echo many of those described by people who are aware of their mortality. They focus on what they believe is important in life.

Bronnie Ware’s life changed when she worked in palliative care. She found that many people experienced a sense of peace before they died. Learning from them, she discovered that some had regrets.

She found these often followed certain themes. Bronnie began writing about these in a blog, which she later expanded into her book The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying. Here are excerpts from her work.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth.

Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. 

Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me … I wish I didn’t work so hard.

I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings … I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends … I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of a situation where you may want to follow elements of the positive experiences approach? This could be in your personal or professional life.

You may want to do this with a person or a group of people. How can you create an encouraging environment? How can you give them encouragement? How can you do your best to give them a positive experience?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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