Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Director of the Social Psychology Doctoral Program and the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory, President-Elect, International Positive Psychology Association Kenan-Flagler School of Business
It's my delight to introduce to you today to Dr.
Deborah Stroman, who is faculty director of the sports
entrepreneurship program here at the University of North Carolina.
And also chairperson of the Carolina Black Faculty and Staff Caucus.
Now you've been hearing this week about how positivity broadens minds and
fuels resilience and you'll have the chance to put those ideas into
action with some of the experiential homework if you'd like.
And Debbie's had some great track record of using positivity in
these ways as well in her many roles.
Now you've shared with me, Debbie,
that you think that positivity is absolutely essential for entrepreneurship.
Why is that?
>> Well, there's no doubt that entrepreneurship is a series of
challenges and battles.
And you have to be ready to confront those channels, those challenges, those hurdles.
And in particular, with entrepreneurship the idea is to fail fast.
As in, you want to get your product or
service out to the market to find out the demand, to find out how it's valued.
And because of that, you're going to receive a lot of no's, a lot of questions.
And so you have to be resilient.
You have to stay grateful that you're actually in the process.
I feel that there are basically three tenets to entrepreneurship.
I follow the model of Timmons, the Timmons model which talks about
opportunity in the sense that there are no new ideas.
Most ideas have been thought of for entrepreneurs.
So you have to turn that idea into an opportunity, and
that means it's something that the market wants.
The next is your team,
entrepreneurs do not operate by themselves they have to have a team.
And certainly you know when you're working with people you have to have
an optimistic spirit, because just of human frailty I'll say.
And then lastly, you have to have the resources.
You have to be able to not only have the money to basically fund your product or
service but you have to have that fund to sustain and to drive revenues and profits.
Otherwise, a business is just a hobby.
And so you need that strong sense of positivity,
the sense of that the next day is going to be better than the one you had before.
And that you have to be, have the will.
The, the value in the sense of believing in hope that what you're
doing is right for you and it matches your, your passion.
>> That's great.
What, what if you are coaching a budding entrepreneur who is
just all business and no levity and warmth?
How do you, how do you work with that?
>> Well I, I believe that some of those business terms like efficiency and
maximizing revenues, those are fine and
dandy but the most important thing to know is that business is about people.
Its about making sure that you're able to establish and maintain relationships.
And so, people have hopes, people have dreams.
People have to be productive.
People have to have a sense of being appreciated.
And so if you don't necessarily have the skill set or
the mindset, I should say, to encourage,
to inspire, than your business venture, it's really not going to go very far.
I believe that the best business have a foundation of being positive,
in the sense that everyone can work together.
And so coaching begins and ends with relationship building and
working through people in a very, positive way.
>> Okay, thanks.
So how do you use positivity in your roll as the chairperson of
the black faculty and staff caucus.
>> Well I'm a realist there's no doubt in America,
in the world there's a lot of injustice and there's a lot of inequities.
And so my roll is to inspire and to motivate and
listen to the many, many stories.
But I have to listen to them in context.
And then as a leader I have to listen to them in the sense of where is
I've always learned, excuse me, I've always been taught that you never go
to your boss or your supervisor or manager with problems.
You can present problems but you also come with solutions.
And so where I hear about any type of injustice or a lack of concern then I'm
immediately trying to shift it to okay, what can we get out of this situation?
How can we turn this into something where there's a solution?
That there's a win win?
My nature as someone being positive is I don't believe in the win lose model.
I believe somewhere if you ask the question, if you continue to probe,
that you will indeed find that solution where its a win/win for everyone.
>> So positive emotions help people bounce back from difficult situations.
How have you used positivity to bounce back and stay the course?
>> Well there's no doubt just being alive you have to have that resilience.
And so I'm mindful of maybe three different ways in which I
personally have been able to bounce back.
I think I'm not alone in the sense that there's,
that there's situations where a boss or employer doesn't value your work.
And that you believe in what you've done.
You've worked hard.
You've worked smart, but yet still you're not rewarded in the way that you thought.
And so do you become bitter?
Do you just hold onto it?
Do you lash out?
Are you not able to interact with your friends and families?
So, that's another example, excuse me,
that's an example of where you have to bounce back and be positive.
Losing a loved one.
Having lost my mother in 2001,
I think that was the hardest thing I've ever gone through in my life.
She was my best friend.
And so, I believe that you use positivity to, to leave a legacy.
As in what would your mother, or father, or grandparent or
whatever that, whoever that close person might be to you.
How can you use that to drive you to be a model for their best practices and
what they did, what they imparted to you?
So there's no doubt at your deepest darkest moments a lot of negativity,
losing that person.
You have to be strong and you have to be hopeful.
And then lastly I'm an athlete and so
I played sport in college, came out of the womb as an athlete.
And so that is one domain that is one space where you
have to be positive because there's always someone better than you.
There's always someone with a better skill set and if you, if you are defeated as in
not just that moment but in the event then you can not succeed as an athlete.
>> What's next for you Debbie?
How, what are some other ways you think that we might be able to leverage to
the science of positive psychology, in either business or
in fighting social justice?
>> Well I'm a strong believer in faith and
I think positivity can go with your faith walk.
And whether that's the understanding that the responsibility that you have to
the universe, to your creator your, your god, that they can work in alignment.
When I was younger I always, often times hesitated bringing my faith to work.
But certainly if you can mask it or be transparent and
say this is my positive spirit working for me.
I think that's a good thing.
And I think when you have that inspired, inspired spirituality,
that notion to be kind, to want to do good at all times.
Then I think that can just multiply in many ways.
Is the other ex, the other thing that I'll reference is when you work at a university
and when you have a pr, professor position, you have to be student focused.
And so each and every day you have anywhere from 17 to 25 year
olds coming into your office or working with you in the classroom.
And sometimes things that we look back on and kind of giggle and laugh and
say, oh remember those times?
But for them it's major.
I mean that is their life at that moment and you have to be positive.
You have to smile.
You have to be able to give a hug from time to time.
But you have to be strong for them.
And so I'll just go back to the classroom and
then certainly my faith in terms of things that I want to move forward.