Strategies for a more productive, positive life

Dale Smith Thomas

Dale Smith Thomas has traveled the world as a motivational speaker with a simple goal: to use HOPE (which she defines as “Helping Other People Excel”) to inspire change. As a speaker at the HealthTrust University Conference this year, Thomas spoke about the value of infusing hope into everyday habits, both personally and professionally, to help people maximize their potential. Here is her advice for translating optimism into achievement, in healthcare and beyond.

Using positivity as a tool for success

A growing body of evidence over the last two decades highlights how a positive and engaged brain is the greatest competitive advantage in our modern economy, Thomas says. According to a 2016 article in the Journal of Medical Practice, small shifts in ways people communicate translate into a more robust bottom line, including 31% higher productivity and 25% greater performance ratings. Meanwhile, research also shows physicians who feel positive and optimistic arrive at a correct diagnosis 19% faster than peers who report feeling neutral.

“Optimism isn’t just a feel-good emotion; scientific data backs it up,” she says. “In healthcare, employees are faced with so many different things coming at them from various directions, and there’s a lot beyond their control.”

Key tips for leveraging your mindset

Thomas shared her insights with 2019 HealthTrust University Conference attendees in August during her presentation Mind Management: Strategies for a More Productive Life. Here are some of the key tips she provided to HealthTrust audience members to help encourage a changing mindset:

  • Pay attention to right now. So many people drive to work and don’t remember how they got there, because they’re not in the present moment. Yet, their power is in the present moment.
  • Begin with the end in mind. Decide where you want to be, like setting the GPS in your car. If you don’t know where you want to go, you can’t get there.
  • Change your input to change your output. Spend time every day reading positive material or listening to a podcast that puts your mindset where you want it to be.
  • If you take 30 minutes a day to make your life professionally or personally better, you will have spent 28, eight-hour days a year on that improvement.
  • Use words that prod positivity. Change your mindset by changing the language you use to frame your life. I hear so many people say how overwhelmed they are. To me, that feels chaotic. Instead say, ‘I’m not overwhelmed, I’m in demand.’
  • Avoid negative people. You have to control who’s in your sphere.

Thomas recognizes that in healthcare, as in life, there are some things beyond your control. But the way you approach a situation can make all the difference.

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