It’s not always easy being upbeat on demand. It may even feel a little fake. But…

Upbeat group showing forced positivity

Whether I’m speaking on a stage, giving a live webinar or producing video-based training materials, I often encounter the same criticism…

“Nick, you don’t sound upbeat enough!”

And here’s a quote from a review for one of my courses:

“Lots of good stuff worth thinking about. I did find Nicks voice a bit ‘sleep inducing’ but otherwise clear. Thanks.”

Ouch. That’s not good. Feedback like that I take seriously.

In fact, before recording a lesson or lecture, I usually go through a series of physical, voice and mental exercises… all designed to give me a little more of an upbeat feel when I speak.

So yes, I get it. I understand why people want to feel some enthusiasm and positive energy from someone they turn to as a teacher or mentor.

I think we are all drawn to that kind of positivity.

On the other hand, I sometimes have less charitable thoughts that go along the lines of, “Really? You need me to entertain you as well as teach you? You need me to make you feel good and special while you learn? What is this… kindergarten?”

As you can see, my internal monologue on this topic tends to get a little out of hand.

I try not to think in those terms too often, because I really do understand. I know I’m no different. I look for positive energy from the people I learn from too.

Anyway, it seems I’m not alone in sometimes complaining about the expectation that I should always sound upbeat, happy and positive all the time while “On Air”.

In a recent vlog, titled “I’m not that happy”, Casey Neistat talked about the pressure on YouTubers to always sound upbeat and positive when recording their videos. He mentions how hard it was being upbeat on his vlog on the day of his father-in-law’s funeral.

Neistat knows a thing or two about what it takes to attract and retain an audience on YouTube, because he has over 6.2 million subscribers.

He was inspired to talk about his feelings on the subject because a fellow vlogger had just done the same. PewDiePie talks in this video about how he’s not naturally nearly as upbeat as he appears in his vlog, and that he’s not a fan of “forced positivity”.

Who cares what a guy called “PewDiePie” thinks? Well… think on this. His YouTube channel has over 50 million subscribers.

To put that in perspective, the New York Times digital edition has 1.6 million subscribers.

Both these guys know a heck of a lot about giving viewers what they want.

And while they may occasionally complain about having to appear happier, more upbeat and more positive than they’re actually feeling… I’m pretty sure they have no doubt that their positivity is central to their success.

That’s why one of my own new year resolutions is to listen more carefully to people who find me a little too quiet and not upbeat enough.

It’s time for me to stop whining and recognize that if being upbeat and positive helps people learn, then it should be central to the value I offer in my courses, calls and webinars.

This is important for you too…

Every time you get on the phone with a client, prospect, supplier or colleague, the level of positivity you express makes a difference.

The same is true when you write an email, or sit down to work on your next project.

How you feel will seep into your writing.

If you are feeling down, it’s almost impossible to avoid that finding some expression in your work. If you are feeling positive, that is expressed too.

Whether you’re PewDiePie with 50 million subscribers, or you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you need to be able to turn on that “positivity” tap, even when you don’t feel like it.

It’s not always easy. But it’s necessary.


Not many people know this about me, but I use Positive Affirmations on a near daily basis. I find it helps me move into the day with more of a “can-do” attitude. I wrote a short e-book about it… Affirmations for Freelancers.

A book of Affirmations for Freelancers


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