In his national bestselling book TheTipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell dedicates a few pages to writing about types of people called “senders.” These types of people, he writes, “are those who are very good at expressing emotions and feelings, which means that

[they] are far more emotionally contagious than the rest of us.” These are the types of people who, after spending some time in their presence, we can’t help but be greatly influenced by whatever energy they are sending out. I find I often notice it most when I am feeling blah, have an encounter with one of these senders exuding all kinds of positive emotion and energy, and then find myself walking away with a spring in my step and a joy in my spirit.

Reading this made me think of a woman I met with a short while ago who had come to me for some career counselling. This woman had recently become a victim of the struggling BC economy, had been laid off by a downsizing company, and was now trying to figure out what to do next with her career. Although she was terribly frustrated, discouraged, and somewhat stressed out about her work situation she still seemed to have a sort of positive underlying energy or attitude… I can’t quite describe it, but I found myself picking up the message that amidst her difficult circumstance, she knew what she had to do and was ready and willing to do it con mucho gusto! (With much gusto). As our session wrapped up I couldn’t help saying to her “I know you are going to be successful and that whoever you end up working for will be absolutely thrilled at there good luck for nabbing you up first.” She was just one of those senders who’s positive and optimistic energy and emotion, even in the midst of turmoil, was absolutely contagious and I found myself feeling really good in her presence… so good that I became tremendously excited about her impending success.

This also goes back to my last post about creating how others treat us. I’m baffled by how this woman, although faced with a really difficult situation, was able to create such optimism and exuberance in me which then directly translated into how I responded to her. Fascinating.