The Positive Spirit Approach To Encouraging People

There are many ways to encourage people. One approach is to see, support and stimulate their positive spirit. This is an approach that can be used to help individuals, teams and organisations to achieve success.

It is also possible to help people to build on their positive spirit. They can be helped to set goals, follow strategies that work and achieve success. This can strengthen and sustain their spirit.

This approach may seem rather vague but, when done properly, it is extremely practical. It builds on people strengths and offers them practical strategies they can use to achieve success.

There are many ways to help people to follow this approach. Let’s explore how these can be translated into action.

Seeing People’s Positive Spirit

There several definitions for a person’s spirit. These include the following.

The spirit of a person is characterised by their personality – their attitude, abilities and actions. The way a person then behaves can create a certain atmosphere and have a certain effect on other people.

The spirit of a person is something that other people pick up on. On one level it is intangible but on another level it has a tangible effect on people.

Sometimes this can be hard to define but there are exercises that can help. One of these is to invite somebody to focus on a person and ask them following question.

What are the three words you would use to describe the person’s spirit?

A person will, of course, merge their own feelings about somebody with any other considerations. But their answers can be interesting.

Imagine that they are looking at three different people. Here are some of the words they may use to describe each person’s spirit – their attitude and actions.

Person A – Positive … Encouraging … Uplifting

Person B – Mean … Cruel … Selfish.

Person C – Alive … Creative … Exciting.

The spirit approach can also be applied to the cultures in organisations. Imagine that you are looking at a particular organisation.

What are the three words you would use to describe the organisation?

These can help to describe the spirit – the attitudes, abilities and actions – that are embodied in the organisation. If appropriate, it is also possible to ask people to describe the qualities they would like to see an organisation embody in the future.

Let’s return to the concept of seeing the positive spirit in people. One approach is to focus on when a person, team or organisation performs at its best. It is then to explore the following themes.

Supporting People’s Positive Spirit

There are many ways to support the positive spirit in people. Let’s explore some of the main approaches.

You can create an encouraging environment

One approach is simply to create an environment where people feel safe and able to grow. You can also give people the message:

“You can be yourself. You can feel safe, explore and develop. You can do all these things and many more. You can also aim to help other people.”

You can give people specific encouragement

Good coaches sometimes take this approach. They watch a person in action or see an example of their work. Bearing in mind the results the person may want to achieve, they then take the following steps.

They clarify the specific things the person may be doing right that will help them to reach their goals.

They clarify the specific messages they want to give the person regarding what they are doing right and aim to bring this to life by giving examples.

They choose an appropriate time to tell the person about the specific things they are doing well and how they can do more of these things in the future.

You can, when appropriate, encourage
people to work towards their specific goals

This is an approach that we will explore in the next section on stimulating the positive spirit. When appropriate, however, it can be useful to explore some of the following themes.

How can I support their positive spirit? How can I encourage them to follow it more in the future? How can I help them to build on it and work towards their goals?

What may they want to do in their lives? If appropriate, how can I give them the opportunity to talk about their aims? How can I help them to focus on their personal or professional goals?

Stimulating People’s Positive Spirit

Many people love to learn, explore and develop. Bearing this in mind, one approach is to focus on the following themes when building on their positive spirit.

You can encourage people to
do things they find stimulating

This is one of the most enjoyable and effective ways to help people to maintain their spirit. It is to encourage them to clarify and do more of the things that give them positive energy. Here is an exercise on this theme.

You can share knowledge that
people may find stimulating

This is a path taken by educators, mentors and others who want to help people to achieve success. They do lots of preparation before meeting a person or a group of people. They explore the following questions.

Who is the person or group of people I am going to meet? What may be their interests? What may be the topics or challenges they may like to explore? What may be their personal or professional goals?

What are the ideas I can share that may help them to achieve their goals? What are the  models, frameworks and practical tools I can pass on? How can I share this knowledge in a way that resonates with them?

What are the actual words I would like them to be saying after the meeting? How can I do my best to increase the likelihood of them saying these things? What else can I do to make the session stimulating?

You can, when appropriate, help people to
work towards goals they may find stimulating

This is a route that can help people to continue to feel positive and develop. They can be encouraged to build their positive spirit – the things the give them positive energy – and take the following steps. They can be helped:

To set a stimulating goal;

To follow strategies that work;

To do their best to achieve success.

Many people set goals but one of the keys is to follow strategies that increase the likelihood of achieving success. This is where they can get help from people who provide practical models and tools that work.

Such a person can pass on this knowledge in a way that people can accept and use. People can then do their best to achieve their picture of success.

The positive spirit approach is one that I have seen work with individuals, teams and organisations. It has been used to help people to set and achieve stimulating goals.

There are many ways to encourage people. One approach is to see, support and stimulate their positive spirit. When appropriate, people can be helped to do this in their personal or professional lives.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of  specific situation where you may want to follow elements of this approach? How can you do this in your own way?

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

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