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David FullerI was 21 the summer of the accident. I was working on a farm and my boss and his family had gone to the lake. I was left with a list of chores that included clearing out a culvert on a dam that was being plugged by beavers.

I thought this would be the perfect task for a hot afternoon and headed to the dam.

There was a cover on the culvert being plugged by the beavers. I lifted the cover, propped it up with a stick, got my rake out, lay on top of culvert with my head between the cover and the culvert and started pulling the sticks and debris from the culvert.

It was only a couple of minutes before the inevitable happened. My rake knocked out the stick propping up the cover and it slammed down with the force of the water of the dam, pinning my forehead against the steel edge of the culvert. I tried in vain to lift the heavy cover against the force of the water.

I like to think I’m pretty positive, but after yelling for help for a couple minutes, I came to the realization that there was not much hope of anyone rescuing me.

My head was really starting to hurt and I was worried I was going to pass out. I understood that if I didn’t get out of this situation, things were only going to get worse.

I said a short prayer and then with all my strength, I forced the log frame of the cover against the rushing water, lifted it off my head and stood up. Blood from my head wound was spraying everywhere.

We’ve all experienced situations where it seems the forces of nature, the economy or our poor judgment have put us in a difficult position. We’re not sure we’re going to survive financially, socially or even physically.

In leadership and business, because of our need to take risks, we’re likely to experience times where we have our backs to the wall.

Being aggressively positive means that when we get into those situations, we’re determined to succeed and work hard to accomplish that success.

In this context, being aggressive is essentially playing to win. It means we move forward with intent and we work in a manner that enables us to succeed through our direct actions and those of our team.

Aggressive doesn’t mean putting down others or succeeding at the expense of others. However, it does mean we’re doing what we can to ensure we achieve our goals. This might mean asking suppliers for the best pricing, and doing everything ethical to get that big contract or large sale.

Being positive means we believe we’re going to succeed in our endeavours. We cultivate a positive mindset that we’re going to get through the tough times; that we’re going to be able to drive our sales up; increase our profits; reach new customers and get our organization on track.

In order to be aggressively positive as an organization, we need to involve our team. Without buy-in from the people in our organization, we’ll never be able to achieve what’s necessary to survive tough times.

We’ll face opposition and doubters inside and outside the organization. However, unless we deal with that negativity and put an end to it, it will be difficult to ensure we have the positivity necessary to succeed.

Aggressiveness without positivity can result in poor decisions. When we’re aggressive without the positive outlook also needed by our suppliers and our customers, we can come across as a bully. Bullying, as we know, doesn’t work well in the long run in our personal lives or our businesses.

My accident could have been substantially worse had I not been both positive and aggressive in dealing with my situation. Over the years in business, I’ve had to have the same aggressive positivity when faced with competition, economic downturns and adversity.

I’ve always tried to involve my team in developing solutions and celebrated successes. In hindsight, I probably should have celebrated more and better recognized those who contributed to the successes of some of my previous endeavours.

When we believe we’re going to succeed one way or another and don’t limit ourselves to relying on only one option, our chance of achieving results go up substantially.

Business and leadership can be difficult. But when we put our minds to it and bring our team on board in a positive manner, the world is our oyster.

In the words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right!”

Mindset is everything – being aggressively positive can set you apart from your competition and allow you and your organization to meet almost any reasonable goals.

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award winning business coach and a partner in the firm Pivotleader Inc. Comments on business at this time? Email

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