Interpersonal Edge: Brighter days ahead

By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Content Agency

Q: I feel so relieved that we actually have a vaccine and that it's coming our way to help us create herd immunity and get our work and lives back on track. Am I a fool for feeling and thinking optimistically that we have brighter days ahead?

A: No, in fact positive anticipation often results in a psychological mindset that creates better circumstances. Here's an easy example: take two people with two different expectations where both people hear, “Good Morning!” from a co-worker. The first person anticipates a friendly workplace and feels welcomed. The second person anticipates hostility and barks back, “Don't tell me what kind of morning to have!”

There's a saying that we often see in our outer world what we expect from our inner world. Obviously I'm not recommending you go around idealistically trusting everyone but when you behave as if people are in your corner others will often become a better version of themselves.

With clients I often recommend they treat every new person they meet as if the stranger is kind, honest and helpful. At the same time, I recommend my clients maintain a healthy skepticism and trust others only after watching their behavior. You can maintain an inner skepticism while maintaining an outer demeanor of friendly positive anticipation.

Interestingly even difficult people will shape up when you accuse them of being considerate, kind or helpful. The more difficult a person or situation is the more infrequently that person or situation ever receives positive feedback.

Another fabulous feature of positive anticipation is you walk out your door every morning expecting to find friends, help and resources. Consider who you feel like helping. If someone approaches you with a smile, a kind word, and warmth wouldn't you automatically behave with more generosity even on a bad day?

Yes, there are people that will treat you poorly no matter what you do. When you find a person that is immune to any positive treatment from you walk away. Don't comment, or make a snarky parting remark. Silence and walking away is the best gift you can provide to these folks.

When you start your job at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning try on an attitude of positive anticipation that you will find friends, kindness and learn new things. One of my favorite things to do when I call customer service and a representative asks, “How may I provide you with excellent service today?” is to say, “Thank you and I bet you will!” Guess what… they do.

Ask yourself with each person and situation you encounter today, “How can I approach this with an attitude of positive anticipation?” and you will become your own architect of brighter days ahead.

The last word(s)

Q: I look back at 2020 and don't feel I did anything really well not my work, parenting, or my marriage. Did some people pull off better performance last year?

A: Nope, forgive yourself because you're a member of a global low-functioning club with plenty of company. During severe adversity sometimes high performance looks like just putting one foot in front of the other until you reach the other side of a crisis.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's “Workplace Guru.”. She's the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006).

You can contact Dr. Skube at or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.