The Power of a Positive Mindset: Transforming Life and Business — Anthony Ventress

A song widely heard before the end of World War II — “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” — sent a message that’s travelled through decades intact. It reinforces the belief that the key to a happy life is a positive outlook. How does that perspective apply to today’s often tenuous times?

We asked Anthony Ventress, a highly experienced medical device strategist, inclusive leader, and authentic, long-term relationship builder. Anthony’s intrinsically positive perspective continues to create new opportunities in business — and in life.

Anthony, no matter the challenge, you manage to see the positive side and to turn troubles into triumphs. Where does that optimism come from, and how do you sustain it?

My ‘sunny-side-up’ point of view was instilled by my parents, who gave me direction and helped me believe in myself. They often said, ‘We know you can accomplish whatever you set out to do, and we will support you in the process.’ I was continuously challenged in my youth to never ‘rest on my laurels’ but to keep growing: to get ready for college, choose a career that suited, and deliver to my highest potential.

My parents’ support helped me reach goals I never thought I could reach.
For instance, I knew early on I wanted to be an engineer. But an assessment indicated my math skills were lacking — a potential obstacle in that career choice. My parents tapped into the help of a local math teacher. I got my scores up, got into college to study engineering, became an engineer, and continued to receive promotions and expanded opportunities.

Beyond my parents’ influence, I learned from my participation in sports. I discovered the power of teamwork: when we unite, we can win. As is true of baseball and football, however, business brings game-changing challenges — the equivalent of strikeouts and interceptions. Effective leaders are always looking ahead to the ‘next play’ and a clear opening to turn the game around.

Today, I’m taking what I learned in my youth and using it in coaching my son in basketball. The question to ask as a parent coach is, when you’re in the heat of the moment, how do you give guidance in a positive way? If you have a ‘coachable moment,’ use it!

My son, for example, was competing in a big Amateur Athletic Union basketball game. He was making some missteps that needed to be corrected. When I pulled him aside, I said, ‘As I give you instructions, who are you hearing right now?’ He said, ‘Dad.’ I replied, ‘No. It’s not Dad. It’s Coach Ventress, and here’s what Coach Ventress needs you to do.’ It was much easier for him to hear me in my role as his team leader than in my role as his dad.

I approach business in much the same way. I see beyond my executive title to my role as team coach. In team meetings, my first question is, ‘What’s the problem we need to tackle?’ I reinforce that my measurement for team performance is not the problem we’re dealing with, be it an unhappy customer or a miss in our product development timeline. My focus is not on where we’re stuck, but on where we’re going next — and how we’re going to get there together. That’s the positive mindset at work, and it’s somehow woven into the fabric of my DNA.

It’s been said that the story of our lives is told by the dash between the two dates on the headstone of our grave. What and how that dash looks like, what our lives become, is up to us. I want my dash to reflect a life well lived. That means moving forward, always, with enduring kindness toward others, a focus on collective wellbeing, and the belief that we can always achieve our best.

Thank you, Anthony, for sharing your positive perspective with us.

*****

Anthony Ventress is a senior technical and services executive in the medical device industry. An inclusive leader with a global cultural perspective, he is devoted to building authentic, long-term relationships. He leads with a never-failing positive attitude that helps companies turn problems into solutions, drive growth and revenue, and keep teams motivated and aligned.

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