Finding Bright Spots for the Holidays

Dec 19, 2019 | Culture

One of our favourite traditions at MacPhie is hosting our Gin with a Genius series, where we invite inspirational, innovative, and generally super smart people to come by the office to share their insights and ideas with us. These sessions are always extremely enlightening, but this year, they had a bit of a gloomy common theme: many of our geniuses reflected on some of the darker turns the world has taken lately, discussing things like climate change and the global rise of populism and the far-right.

And, with the end of the decade upon us, along with the darker, shorter days of winter, it can be easy to focus on some of the more negative things that are happening in the world.

But then, we have the holidays.

I know there are probably lots of religious reasons why Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and other holidays fall in December, but I can’t help thinking that part of the reason is to brighten what would otherwise be dark days in the dead of winter.

Regardless of what you celebrate – or whether you celebrate – the holiday season brings such a feeling of warmth, joy and optimism to so many of us: it’s a bright spot in what might otherwise be a gloomy time.

That’s why this holiday season, we are encouraging people to focus on the bright spots: those happy moments that help us see the positive and focus on what’s going right. It is of course important to recognize some of the darker movements in our midst – but, as Chip and Dan Heath explain in Switch, sometimes to the key to change is focusing on and learning from positive stories and success, rather than dwelling on problem areas.

At MacPhie, we do this every day in our work, asking clients not only about their problems, but working to solve them by thinking through what’s going right. Bright spots have an incredible power, not only to lighten our emotional load, but to help us look forward and be more solution oriented.

For example, recently, we were working to redefine the strategic role of a particular team in a large organization. The team leaders were stressed – overwhelmed, really – with their ever-expanding, increasingly tactical mandate. While we could have allowed them to share their woes for the entire meeting (and we did, for a bit, for some very important pressure release), our goal was instead to direct the conversation to bright spots. We asked, “What are aspects of your team’s function that you love?” “What do your best days look like and why?” These questions brought about a completely different energy for our clients, as they turned their attention away from the negative past, and towards the positive future, where they could do more of the work that matters.

That’s what bright spots – and the holidays – are fundamentally about: focusing on the good to gain perspective and face our challenges with optimism and a renewed sense of purpose.

So, this holiday season, we encourage you to find and share the light. Join the conversation: use #macphiebrightspots to share your bright spots with the world. And, from all of us at MacPhie, happy holidays!

By: Elissa Gurman



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