We had a mayoral election in Denver recently. It was an interesting campaign and one in which I found some great career advice.
Mayoral elections in Denver are non partisan. That means that parties do no nominate candidates. This year, we had about 12 people on the ballot. All they had to do to get on the ballot was gather enough signatures. In a non partisan election if no candidate gets over 50% of the vote and run off is help between the top two vote getting candidates.
This year three candidates split about 95% of the vote, but by law only two were in the run off election. Both of the run off candidates are liberal democrats. There was very little difference in their stance on the issues. In effect, the run off became a popularity contest.
At the very beginning of the run off campaign, one candidate went negative. He attacked his opponent vigorously with some vague and misleading ads. Also, an independent group went way negative. We received at least one or two direct mail pieces every day disparaging the other candidate. Late in the campaign, the candidate who went negative said that his campaign did not produce these direct mail pieces and that he didn’t know who did – a disavowal of them, sort of.
Long story short, the negative tactics backfired and the candidate who did not run a negative campaign won – big time, 52% to 38% of the vote.
So what’s the career advice here? Be positive. Follow the advice in point 9 of The Optimist Creed – “Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.” The winning candidate made his points about the issues and told his story – an inspiring one of overcoming poverty. The losing candidate did little more than criticize the other guy.
Tweet 136 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Be responsible for yourself. Choose to act in a civil constructive manner in tense situations.” This is true in politics, and it’s true when it comes to your career success.
By acting in a pretty uncivil manner, the unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of Denver hurt himself. He was the leader from very early on in the campaign. He raised the most money and ran an expensive campaign. Yet he lost. In my opinion, he didn’t lose on the issues, he lost because he ran the negative campaign in the run off election. He turned off a lot of voters by his actions – and his inaction to stop the negative mailings someone was sending on his behalf.
The candidate who won never criticized his opponent. He did point out that even though he was the victim of negative and misleading ads that he himself was staying positive – focusing on the issues and telling his story. To put it into Optimist Creed language, he spent so much of his time focusing on his positive message that he had no time to criticize his opponent. He followed the career advice in Tweet 136 in Success Tweets. He continued to act in a civil, constructive manner right up until the end of the campaign.
Tweet 50 in Success Tweets says, “Jettison the negative people in your life. They are energy black holes. The will suck you dry; but only if you let them.” In this case, the voters of Denver spoke. They rejected the negative candidate and went for the positive one. Reminds me of the career advice in Tweet 49 in Success Tweets. “Surround yourself with positive people.”
By the way in case you’re wondering, Michael Hancock was the winner. Chris Romer was the loser in this election.
The career success coach point here is simple common sense. People react better to people who are positive, not negative. As my grandmother used to say, “You get more flies with honey than vinegar.” Build relationships with the people in your life by spreading honey, not vinegar. Stay positive. Follow the career advice in point nine in The Optimist Creed. Focus on improving yourself, not criticizing others. Become a positive, optimistic person, just like it says in Tweet 43 in Success Tweets. “Optimism is contagious. Become a positive optimistic person. Surround yourself with positive people.” Be warm, pleasant gracious and sensitive to the needs of others. Take the time to find out about other people – their ideas, values and passions. Relationships are an important key to career success. You can build strong relationships by remaining positive, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
That’s my career advice on staying positive. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment. As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained. It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.