For years I have made my Sunday trip to the grocery store to stock up for the week. These days in the midst of a global pandemic, it is very different. Last week the atmosphere was heavy. I could feel the fear and apprehension of the customers.

People self-distanced. No smiles. No eye contact. Some people were in masks, gloves, and even goggles. Everywhere, complete silence. Some people walked into corners to wait out a busy aisle. Others lunged in to grab their goods quickly and raced away. Some even skipped my aisle all together while I searched for the elusive popcorn.

Our perspective right now is blurred and even dark. We don’t know what to expect from hour to hour or day to day and it can be frightening. I understand.

Then a surprise. I turned the corner and encountered a happy grocery clerk. Standing in the middle of the vegetable aisle the clerk welcomed everyone in the area and offered assistance. She smiled. She took pride in making the produce look perfect. Each piece she placed was a work of art. I felt bad grabbing my own piece of her private broccoli bloom or messing with the perfectly laid out apples and tomatoes. Yes, tons and tons of tomatoes! She assured me she could fix it and to enjoy.

This woman is living in the same scary, uncertain time as the rest of us, yet you wouldn’t know it. Where others were avoiding people at all costs, she went out of her way with a warm smile and helpful assistance to everyone she met (from a safe distance of course). Just being around her brightened my day. I realized I was seeing a different perspective.

Your perspective is your point of view. It is the particular attitude you bring to a situation, regardless of the circumstances. In times when your view feels blurred and even dark, you can choose an optimistic perspective.

When you change your perspective, you will feel less stress, be happier, and have more hope for the future. Here are 4 ways to get started:

  1. View the situation through a different lens. When facing tough times you can choose a different view. Ask yourself how you can look at the circumstances in a more positive way.
  2. Look for the opportunities. Times of challenge provide some of the greatest opportunities to develop yourself and strengthen your character. What lessons can you learn? What skills can you develop?
  3. Serve others. One of the best ways you can change your own outlook is by helping others. The act of getting out of your own self and helping others makes a difference for them, and will make you feel better too.
  4. Make time for fun. Create ways to bring more humor and laughter into your life. Having fun and a great sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to reduce stress and bring about a positive mood.

Choose your perspective. You can hide in the corner or make the best of the situation. A welcoming smile, a funny comment goes a long way. You can choose. Choose safe. Choose smart. Choose a positive perspective.

Written by Janelle Bruland and Graham Youtsey


  • Janelle Bruland

    Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, & Co-Founder of Legacy Leader

    Janelle Bruland is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and high-performance coach who inspires others to live impactful and successful lives. She is Founder and CEO of Management Services Northwest, a company she started in her living room in 1995 and has grown into an industry leading company, named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. magazine. The CPO of Microsoft, Mike Simms, describes her as a true pioneer in her field. Janelle is also the Co-Founder of Legacy Leader, a leadership development company that teaches business professionals how to build a legacy, transform their leadership, and love their life. She is the author of The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind.
    Janelle is a lifelong resident of Whatcom County, Washington and is married with five children. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, golf, as well as keeping fit through various sports and activities.