Personalised Book of Positivity

Hi folks; I have a question for you…

At any point in your testing career have you ever asked yourself questions like:

“Why do I bother?” (lack of progress)

“Maybe this isn’t the role for me and I need to move on” (not feeling integral to your team)

“You think I can do x well enough to do a talk on it, but I’m not really sure” (Imposter syndrome)

In those types of circumstance, I’ve found that a short “pep talk” from family or friends helps to shift that negative feeling away somewhat, but often those talks have no specific understanding or context around the issue you have — it’s definitely nice to hear, but also somewhat of a platitude.

What I feel would make a real difference is real positive feedback from peers, however the problem with positive feedback is that most of it comes verbally and is forgotten shortly afterward. Either that, or it arrives via Email or Slack and when we’ve moved on from that project or job any written feedback is lost.

So what can we do about it?

Well a couple of months ago I read an article about the brain retaining information better if it’s written down by hand rather than just a memory or read on a screen so I recently embarked on an adventure to bring back writing, drawing, and doodling to my daily work (see one of my future posts about this). Ultimately I’d like to get good with Sketch Noting too!

Random tester wizard dude hand-writing in his RocketBook

So my proposal is simply this:

  1. Buy a pocket notebook.
  2. Copy into that notebook anything positive from your work life as soon as possible after it occurs.
  3. Break out your “Personalised Book of Positivity” (PBoP) to remind yourself of the times you’ve done well and received positive feedback, including the context of why you did good.

Some ideas on how you might use your book may include things like:

Morning pre-work positivity boost — Read the book for 5 minutes on your commute.

Overcoming a negative morning — Break out the book and read it while relaxing with a coffee.

Upcoming business meeting / interview — Break out the book!

Having trouble conveying thoughts or feelings you need to verbalise in a conference talk — Grab your book!

I’m sure there are plenty more uses for the book you can think of; be creative!

OK so you’re still with me which is good — what should you include in your book?

Well I guess that answer is entirely personal; what info do you feel would be beneficial to you to really get those positive feelings back? It’s your Personalised Book of Positivity so only you know what to add to it to make you positive/happy.

If you’re still struggling, here’s what I include in mine:

  • From
  • Month Year
  • Task/Project
  • Details
Image for post
Image for post
Example PBoP entries in my 6-year old child handwriting.

Your ‘book’ doesn’t have to be physical of course as there are plenty of other methods of recording and recalling your positive feedback:

  • Evernote
  • OneNote
  • Email folder
  • GitHub
  • Text Files

The main thing is to have easy, instant access to your PBoP. The format doesn’t really matter; what matters is the info you put inside, how that info makes you feel and then applying those feelings when needed.

I’d love for you to give this technique a spin and let me know how you get on. What do you include in your book and why?

And of course if you have any feedback for me to incorporate in my own PBoP please feel free to Slack/Message/Email that feedback too. 😃

Until next time folks, get your Positivity going!

Knowledgeable and skilled Technical Tester with 15 years' experience testing software, websites and apps using agile, Agile (not the same thing) and Waterfall.

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