Last year, a coaching colleague turned me on to a man named Jon Gordon, who helped change my mental outlook completely. These days, it is so easy to default to the negative. Something doesn’t go my way; find someone to blame. The pedal on my bike has vanished and the race starts in an hour; the race is ruined. Negative is easy. Easy to go to, but not easy on the brain. Jon Gordon and all of his resources on positivity have helped me to be better at making the best out of situations. My brain thanks him.
I was introduced to Jon Gordon through a series of Positive University videos he put on. He talked to successful people from all professions about ways they created a positive culture to help them make the most of the opportunities in their given fields. I gravitated to the athletes, of course, but did watch some others. Their stories were very uplifting.
The videos were only available for a short time, but did point me in the direction of the Positive University podcast. This podcast is in the same format as the videos. The podcasts have given me different perspective on dealing with life’s varying situations. My favorite episode, by far, is his featured episode with the NCAA champion basketball coach from the University of Virginia, Tony Bennett. I had never been a huge fan of Coach Bennett. After listening to the podcast, hearing about the ways he lives his life and creates an amazing culture at Virginia, I will forever root for his teams. (Maybe not when they play my Duke Blue Devils, though.) The podcasts are full of motivating and uplifting stories like this one.
I also follow him on Twitter at @JonGordon11. He puts out inspirational messages daily. His content might be a positive message for the day about getting better and striving to be your best. He retweets videos showing the positive impact people are having in the lives of others. He also puts tools out there to help people make positive changes in their lives, like his No Complaining Challenge Kit.
While podcasting and tweeting seem like they would be enough to keep him busy full time, he is a best-selling author, which is how I hopped aboard his bus. In The Energy Bus is a book where Gordon uses a story to illustrate ten secrets for approaching life. Some of his rules are: you are the driver of your bus, love your passengers, and no energy vampires. I have used these rules in my third grade classroom with some success. I have used them in my life with much more success. The past few school years, I have felt more crabby with the students then usual. My job as a teacher is amazing because I have a chance to have an impact in young lives. I was wasting this opportunity by letting things get to me. After reading the book, I pledged to be better this year. My principal even asked me what was going on this year because I was smiling more. The challenges of each day aren’t different, but my approach to them is.
There are many other books that Jon Gordon has written. One book, called The Coffee Bean, is a fable that illustrates ways you can change your environment. When life is like a pot of boiling water, will you be a carrot that weakens, an egg that hardens, or a coffee bean that tranforms the world you are in? Some of the material may sound cheesy, but it is easy to understand, easy to follow advice that can really help make a positive impact – speaking from experience.