Amber’s Secret to Workplace Happiness: A Positivity Folder

February 4, 2016

With me, flattery will get you everywhere. Or at least into my treasured e-mail inbox folder labeled “Positivity.”

Creating a “positivity” folder is pretty much the best thing I ever did to make work 100% more enjoyable. In public relations, all of our work is happening behind the scenes, so we rarely get big public thank-you’s. Our fearless blog manager Sarah loves to dole out “snaps” for everyone’s accomplishments around the office, and when I mentioned how I hoard my e-mail sweet nothings, she said I had to share my pro tip with the world.

When I was a little cub reporter back in 2006, my skin wasn’t nearly so thick. Every mean reader comment hit me in the gut; every bit of harsh editor’s feedback left a bruise on my ego.

Ross gif

If I received a rude email from a source who didn’t like the way they’d been portrayed in a story, it would bother me for days and I’d have to fight the urge to avoid them forever. Negativity can eat away at us, gnawing at our thoughts, amplifying our imposter syndrome.

And then I realized: Delete it! Just delete it! Read your negative feedback, reflect on whether it demands a response, and once it’s properly taken care of, banish it to the trash where it belongs. We don’t have time or energy for that kind of negativity in our lives.

But a nice email? A little “well done” or “it was a pleasure to work with you”? That’s a keeper.

taran killam gif

At some point in that first year, I created a folder in my inbox where I kept all the nice emails. The ones that proved I wasn’t an imposter, I was making progress and I would be OK. It’s a philosophy that’s carried me through the past decade of working, from every step of my career transitions as I went from being a feature reporter to a copy editor and page designer to an education reporter to a marketing director to a public relations counselor. Trash the bad, save the sweet.

I don’t look at the Positivity folder very often, but it’s the perfect prescription for a case of the workday blues. It’s even a good slap in the face for any time you feel sorry for yourself or unappreciated. Open your folder and be flooded with reminders of jobs well done, appreciated efforts and little victories. I highly recommend it!

stuart smalley

Save your kudos. Keep the proof. And when the day comes that you really need it, you’ll see the truth: you’re good enough, you’re smart enough and gosh darn it, people like you!

This post was written by Amber Kennedy, senior public relations counselor.