Positive Habits and Career Success

I’m not a big fan of Las Vegas.  But the last time I was there I had a great experience at McCarran Airport.  I stopped for a shoe shine — and met Gino.

Gino is 76 years young.  He works, shining shoes at McCarran, five days a week from 5:00 am till 5:00 pm.  He is originally from Youngstown OH, so that makes him sort of a homeboy for me.  I grew up between Pittsburgh and Youngstown.  Gino ran a uniform store in Youngstown for 40 years before he retired and moved to Las Vegas.  When I asked him how he liked it, he said, “I don’t drink, smoke or gamble, so this is a good place for me.  The weather is good and the food is cheap”.

Gino and I had a far reaching conversation.  We discussed Western PA/Eastern OH working class culture; the Korean War – he’s a vet and I read David Halberstam’s book on Korea; the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, the TSA, good places to eat in Las Vegas and a number of other things.  He is a lively and interesting person.  And did I mention that he’s 76 and shines shoes 12 hours a day, five days a week?

Gino is a master of his craft.  He used two kinds of paste on my shoes – and explained why he did so.  He had a small heater that he used to heat his brushes before brushing my shoes.  He told me that he brings his own distilled water to spray on the shoes, because distilled water makes shoes shine better.  My shoes looked so good after he finished them, that I wanted to take them off and put them in my suitcase so they wouldn’t get scuffed on the flight home.

I’m telling you all of this because meeting Gino was a truly refreshing experience.  He is a man in love with life.  He continues working because he wants to feel that he is still useful; and he likes to meet the people — one timers and regulars — who come through the airport and get their shoes shined.  Gino takes his job seriously.  He takes real pride in what he does, and is willing to share his knowledge with anyone who is interested.  I learned things about shining shoes from him that I didn’t even know were there to learn.

Gino may be a dying breed, and if that’s the case, we’re all the worse for it.  I, for one, think that we need more enthusiastic, friendly people in this world.  I don’t get to Las Vegas often, but you can bet I’ll stop and see Gino the next time I go.

Successful people like Gino have a habit of focusing on the positive and putting the negative out of their minds.  Positive habits like this are an important key to career success.  Habits are like muscles.  The more you use them, the stronger they get.  Dan Robey is the King of Positive Habits.  His eBook, The Power of Positive Habits, is one of my go-to books when I need to give myself a little boost.  You can get a copy at www.ThePowerOfPositiveHabits.com.

Dan’s book is based on the idea of cognitive restructuring.  According to Dan, cognitive restructuring is learning to identify your personal cycle of negative thoughts, habits, and routines and replacing them with positive thoughts, habits, and routines that will provide you with lifelong benefits.

Today, I’d like to discuss an important positive habit – proactively managing your stress.  When I was a kid about a million years ago, there was a popular song.  I believe it was a show tune.  A couple of the lines went like this…

You’ve got to ac – cen – tu – ate the positive, and e — lim — in – ate the negative

Anyway, I was thinking about that song the other day because I rereading a book on stress management by Evelyn Brooks, called Forget Your Troubles: Enjoy Your Life Today.

Evelyn suggests that you get S.M.A.R.T. about managing stress…

  • S    Smash the negative.
  • M   Maximize the positive.
  • A    Act.
  • R    Relax.
  • T    Target your next action.

Sounds a lot like the advice in the song – and Gino’s outlook on life.  As they say, “there’s nothing new under the sun.”  And, more importantly, as a career success coach, I agree.  It doesn’t matter if you “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative,” “smash the negative and maximize the positive,” or do a bit of “cognitive restructuring,” you’ll be on your way to managing your stress and becoming a life and career success.

Stuff happens as you go through life; positive stuff, negative stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, frustrating stuff.  The important thing is not what happens, but how you react to it.  In other words, smash your negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones.  Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity.  Maximize the positive in your life by creating positive habits and routines.  When something goes well, take the time to celebrate.  You deserve it.  And, small celebrations when you succeed are a positive habit that will put you in a positive frame of mind, which in turn, will help you create more life and career successes.

I have given away over3,000 copies of the eBook version of Success Tweets.  You can get yours at http://budurl.com/STExp.  I mention this because I’m celebrating.  I want to get the positive message in Success Tweets into the hands of as many people as I can.  I’m accentuating the positive, or if you prefer, maximizing the positive.  You might say that 3,000 people choosing to receive a free eBook is not a reason for a huge celebration; but I do – and I’m following my own career success advice by doing some cognitive restructuring – creating a habit of celebrating small successes.  Celebrating small wins is a great positive habit for me.  It will help me manage my stress and not get overwhelmed by the negatives that will invariably creep into my life.  I’m sticking to it.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people like Gino the shoeshine guy in Las Vegas follow the advice in Tweet 37 in Success Tweets.  “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it.  Don’t dwell on the negative, use it as a springboard to action and creativity.”  Get competent.  Create positive personal impact.  Become an outstanding performer and a dynamic communicator.  Build strong relationships with the important people in your life.  Positive habits will help you do all of these.  Smash the negatives in your life and create positive thoughts, habits and routines.  Use the negatives that come your way as learning experiences, and positive thoughts, habits and routines to create small victories.  Treat these small victories as a reason for celebration.  Celebrating small victories is a good way to keep things in perspective and build the resilience necessary for dealing with the tough times – and for ac – cen – tu – ating the positive, and e – lim –in – ating the negative.  Take it from a career success coach, positive habits are powerful and will help you become the life and career success you deserve to be.

That’s my career advice on focusing on the positive – not negative – tings in your life.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success – and in this case shoe shines.  I really appreciate you and value your continued support.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site last September.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.



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  1. Great article! Attitude makes a huge difference in the workplace, especially if it is a stressful one. However, if you find that your career is causing unhappiness or negativity, perhaps it is time to look into new opportunities. Determining what you want to do and your passions is a great way to help assure a positive atmosphere!

  2. Thanks for your comment.
    I agree it’s important to be clear on what you want out of likfe and your career.
    Tweet 7 in my career advice book “Success Tweets” says…
    “Figure out what you really want to do. Work you love will make it easier to create the life and career success you want and deserve.”
    You can get a free copy of “Success Tweets” at http://budurl.com/STExp
    All the best,

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