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The importance of positivity

4 Jan 2016 | by Joan Toano


Joan Tuaño sends us her latest missive from her Caribbean island and reflects on the importance of positivity. Read on for some useful tips.

It’s almost January which means seven months left on island! It’s a very confusing time because everyone asks where my next step will be. Which continent? What job? Maybe Netflix and chill for a couple of months? Backpack through Asia? Help with the family business? Lots of things mindmapping right now.

Last month though I finally got to go on my long-awaited, well-deserved (at least I think so) and very crazy vacation. I took 12 flights within 25 days to go to back to my beautiful Philippine Islands, Central Java in Indonesia and on the way back passed through New York for a couple of days to well… eat burgers!

Les Roches top hotel management Switzerland bachelor program hospitality Joan blogger
Gorgeous time for Central Park in the fall

Vacation is meant to be recess from your regular life. For most of us reading this it means not having to check your emails, answer your phone every single time, not having to be responsible, not having to set an alarm and perhaps it even means simply having enough time for yourself and doing the things you love.

Having spent 16 months looking at our beautiful turquoise beaches here in Turks and Caicos and over 500 gorgeous Caribbean sunsets (I know, sounds terrible, right?), it was time for a change. I wanted to wake up with foggy mist from mountain air, see lots of trees and flowers, get lost in new culture and eat incredible food. I also wanted to reconnect with myself and remember or maybe rediscover what I want in my life. Hence why I picked Central Java of all places to visit.

special sunrise at Borobodur
Special sunrise at Borobodur

Yogyakarta in Java forms part of the Indonesian centre of art, culture and religion. The Javanese actually encourage speaking about each one’s beliefs as they are truly interested in it. How fascinating. I had the pleasure of staying at one of our sister resorts and our everyday breakfast view was Borobodur Temple; the largest Buddhist sanctuary in the world. The art galleries and other temples were extraordinary. Watching sunrise over Borobodur was one of the most special moments I ever experienced. And of course having nasi goreng complet for brunch with extra prawn crackers.

Riding elephants with Borobodur in the backdrop
Riding elephants with Borobodur in the backdrop

I got so inspired visiting another of our properties. Have you visited another of yours? In a different country? Have you discovered the similarities and the differences? I remembered how truly amazing hospitality can be when it is truly genuine with a real smile and thoughtful anticipation of needs. It really comes from the heart and it has to be embodied in one’s attitude.

It’s all about attitude

Let’s expound on that. Attitude. I find that positivity has a lot to do with keeping happy attitude intact at work. In the resorts I have worked at, there are always some negative things that do not change. Departments get discouraged and this lowers morale substantially over time. I strongly recall the day before I left for vacation when I was so extremely happy that I felt on top of the world. I felt like singing all day and it was like my day was made of magic.

There is a quote I absolutely adore by an anonymous person:

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.

How cool is that? Just by changing the way we think, we can change our lives to be better than ever before. Just watch the film “Yes Man” again with Jim Carey. Pretty nice example 🙂 So I shared this exact “epiphany” story with my team and it has positively shaped our team environment to be a happy and nurturing one.

One of our favourite places, the UN headquarters in NYC Central
One of our favourite places, the UN headquarters in NYC Central

To further solidify my thoughts on positivity, my dad messaged me the same day. He had recently attended a program on how to unleash your full potential. This was his advice to me:

Go to work everyday as if you own the company as a major stakeholder. Learn from it and apply what you have learned in school from teamwork, motivating staff, leadership, financial management, procurement, F&B, marketing, sales and master the business model like taking up a master’s degree. All free of charge, and you are getting paid. Love your boss and colleagues. One day you will be ready to run your own business.

So when work becomes repetitive and you find yourself on a platoon where “everything is the same, just a different day”, snap out of it and realize that everything is not the same. Everything is changing. The only thing in life that remains constant is change. Make every day count. Work hard and play hard. Life is short and has no boundaries.

Joan Toano


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