Photo: Maria Candler

Photo: Maria Candler

A positive attitude will lead to positive outcomes — or so the saying goes. But there’s definitely something to focusing on the bright side. Maria Candler, president of James River Ground Management, Inc., one of the largest landscape operations in the South, says she has always believed in harnessing the power of positive thinking. When the company, which has six Virginia locations, went through the economic downturn, Candler believes it was a focus on the positive that helped keep them powering forward. And today, they’ve continued to keep that “glass half full mentality” as they go about business.

“Having a positive attitude can definitely have an impact on business,” Candler says. “Even during tough times, it’s focusing on the bright side that can keep employees motivated and keep business going. When you start to express concerns or act negative, it’s easy for your employees to pick up on that and act the same way. It’s got to come from the top down.”

Of course, Candler is quick to point out that it’s not always easy to be positive when stress is mounting. During busy season or when they’re facing a challenge, Candler makes a point to allow time to slow things down and reflect on life’s blessings. Coming back to a place of gratitude always reduces her stress and helps maintain a positive attitude.

“Having a daily ritual for quiet contemplation has the power to really help you reduce stress and just be an overall more positive person,” Candler says, adding that she used to be a “workaholic” but now makes time for things that make her happy. “If you’re happy and able to have that positive mindset, it’s amazing how much more you can do.”

Candler wants the same for her employees which is why the company incorporates self-awareness programs as part of the management development process.

“If you understand yourself better, what types of things trigger you negatively and why, you start to free yourself up to live a fuller, more joyful life,” Candler adds.

Candler says that another way she ensures a positive attitude within the company is by hiring employees that are in line with James River Ground Management’s values. Keeping those values in sight has always been important to Candler—even in times of labor shortages that everyone in the industry has faced.

“When we hire, we don’t hire on skill alone,” Candler says. “We also pay attention to that person’s attitude. Are they going to be the right fit for us? We want someone who has a positive attitude and will be hardworking and look on the bright side, even when times get tough.”

Read more: I am a Landscaper: Maria Candler

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