It wasn't until the end of my first day at the Society for Human Resource Management's annual conference in Chicago last month that I realized nearly every session I'd chosen to attend had a seemingly simple philosophy at its core: no matter what happens, remain positive.

Sounds easy enough. But as we all know, it's not.

After all, there is much to be anxious about: declining commissions, headaches about Affordable Care Act implementation, exchanges and the associated uncertainty that comes with it, the challenges of maintaining a constant revenue stream ... depressed yet?

So it was with your well-being in mind that I really dove into SHRM's positivity content. Here are some of the best nuggets I came away with:

* Giving feels good - and it's good for your business, too. Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms, a shoe company that gives away one pair of shoes for each one that is sold, explained, "When your employees are proud, they will work harder than any other business on the planet."

* Surround yourself with positive people. Author and speaker Steve Gilliland pointed out that too many firms hire people for where they've been, only to end up firing them for who they are. The dozens of HR executives around me all nodded their heads in agreement. When recruiting, "hire attitude, teach skill," he said. (For more on Gilliland's way of thinking see "Know thyself," p. 64)

* Know there are two types of customer service, internal and external. Create a positive culture internally at work and see it pay off with clients. After all, "you'll never get employees to treat customers better than they're being treated themselves," said Barbara Glanz, author and consultant.

* Embrace change. "Be principles-based; there are very few absolutes," said speaker Brad Karsh of JB Training Solutions. It's a lesson he learned from a successful (and happy) HR director on how to deal with a constantly changing work environment.

* Be more like an introvert. Introverts, or people who find their strength internally, are often underestimated, but they excel at the art of listening. Therefore, "introverts make the best influencers," said Jennifer Kahnweiler, speaker and executive coach, because they observe body language and understand the meaning behind words.

OK, as an introvert myself (95% of reporters are, according to Kahnweiler), I may have thrown that last point in for my own benefit.

But, even the most outgoing extrovert can find much to be positive about in this issue. From an easy way to build your client base (p. 22) to tips on boosting your voluntary sales (p. 23) we've got tons of content that will leave you with an optimistic outlook.

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