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Marek Struszczyk

Co-Founder ManagerUp

Last modified: June 8th, 2023

While it is no secret that achieving success in one’s career requires hard work, determination, and a positive outlook. What is often overlooked is the powerful relationship between our emotions and success. Positive emotions, in particular, can yield significant power in the workplace. 

By harnessing your positive emotions, you can be more resilient, improve your emotional state, and better equip yourself to handle stress, pressure, and setbacks. 

As an executive, it is important to cultivate and maintain a positive emotional state, as it will have a direct impact on your success and the success of your team.

What are positive emotions?

Positive emotions are feelings that bring happiness, joy, and a sense of well-being. While these emotions are essential for our mental and physical health, they also play a significant role in determining our professional behavior, our decision-making processes, and how we interact with others. 

It’s common to see our emotions as a hindrance in a professional setting, but it’s important to recognize they can also serve several positive functions. For example:

  1. Motivation: Emotions can serve as a motivator and drive individuals to work harder and perform better. For example, feeling proud after accomplishing a task can lead to higher motivation.
  2. Communication: Emotions can help convey important information and facilitate communication with others. For example, showing empathy towards a colleague can help establish better rapport and foster a more positive working relationship.
  3. Decision-making: Emotions can influence decision-making by providing critical information about potential outcomes and their impact. For example, feeling nervous about a possible decision can signal to the individual that it may not be the best choice.
  4. Creativity: Emotions can also play a role in promoting creativity and generating new ideas. For example, feeling happy and relaxed can lead to more innovative thinking.

Having positive emotions at work can create a positive work culture and lead to improved relationships with colleagues, better job performance, and higher levels of job satisfaction.

How to use positive emotions to accelerate your career success

Positive emotions can play a crucial role in accelerating your career success.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that positive emotions are strongly correlated with success. Successful individuals often attribute their achievements to a positive mindset, optimism, and the ability to remain focused and motivated even during challenging times.

For example, Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful media personalities in the world, has frequently emphasized the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, gratitude, and visualizing success as key factors in her success.

Similarly, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, has also spoken about the significance of positive emotions in his business ventures. In his book “The Virgin Way”, he stresses that positive emotions, including humor, kindness, and a sense of adventure, are vital to creating a positive work culture, building strong teams, and ultimately achieving success.

How you can use positive emotions to your advantage:

  1. Boost your confidence: Positive emotions like happiness, gratitude, and excitement can boost your confidence, making you more assertive and resilient in the face of challenges.
  2. Improve your relationships: Positive emotions help you connect with others and build strong, supportive relationships with your coworkers and colleagues. This can lead to opportunities for career advancement and increased job satisfaction.
  3. Increase your motivation: Positive emotions can increase your motivation and drive to succeed. When you’re feeling happy and fulfilled, you’re more likely to put in the extra effort and work towards your goals.
  4. Foster creativity: Positive emotions can enhance your creativity and imagination, allowing you to approach problems with a fresh perspective and generate innovative solutions.
  5. Improve your resilience: Positive emotions help you bounce back from setbacks and failures, allowing you to recover quickly and keep moving forward in your career.             

The consequence of too many positive emotions

As the saying goes, “too much of a good thing can be harmful’. The same can be said of positive emotions. Too many positive emotions can have adverse effects.

Let’s look at a few examples of how too much positivity can lead to negative effects:

  1. Overstimulation: When we experience positive feelings to an extreme, it can overstimulate our emotions, leading to exhaustion and burnout.
  2. Unrealistic Expectations: Excessive positivity can lead to unrealistic expectations about life, which can be devastating when reality doesn’t match up.
  3. Avoiding Negative Emotions: When we focus too much on positive emotions, we may avoid processing negative emotions and experiences, which can prevent us from growing and learning from them.
  4. Impairing Judgment: Being too positive can also impair our judgment and decision-making abilities. When we only focus on the positive, we may overlook potential problems and risks.
  5. Interpersonal Conflict: Excessive positivity can also strain our relationships, as others may see it as insincere or fake. Additionally, it can also lead to conflicts, as we may not be able to understand or acknowledge others’ perspectives and emotions.

It’s true positive emotions are important. But it is also necessary to maintain emotional balance and not become overly consumed by them. A healthy emotional life involves a range of emotions, including both positive and negative ones.

How to balance positive emotions and success at work

Positive emotions can help us to stay motivated and inspired, even when faced with challenges or obstacles. They give us the energy and drive to push forward, even when things get tough. 

Similarly, positive emotions contribute to better relationships with colleagues and clients. When we are in a positive emotional state, we are more approachable, friendly, and engaging, which helps us to build and maintain strong professional relationships. 

These relationships are essential for developing trust, collaboration, and cooperation, which are critical components of success in any industry.

As you can see, positive emotions can be a powerful force in the workplace. But it is important to note that while emotions can serve these positive functions, you must also manage them professionally. 

Harness positive emotions and success will follow

Positive emotions and success go hand-in-hand. Managing these emotions is crucial in the workplace. And managing them well can significantly contribute to helping you achieve your career goals. 

Not only do positive emotions increase job satisfaction, but they also improve your relationships with colleagues, enhance your decision-making abilities, and boost your overall well-being

By prioritizing positive emotions in the workplace, you can create a supportive and productive environment where everyone can thrive. 


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