As a business-life coach, I’m always on the lookout for new or repurposed ideas and approaches that can be used to improve one’s professional or personal life satisfaction. In many cases, I find them “hiding in the open.” These four are worth “noodling” even as you’re engaged in another activity:

1. Keeping a close eye on your own performance. Fast Company magazine continues to impress me as it reinvents itself as an electronic publication. In the June print edition, authors Dan and Chip Heath remind us that great sports coaches constantly pore over video clips of recent games. They do this repeatedly, always looking for opportunities missed and mistakes made. By doing so, they consistently improve their results.

This is harder to do in a business environment, of course, unless you tell one of your team members to video your every move. But you can get many of the same benefits by using a trusted colleague who’s often in the same meetings. Each of you can act as a “shadow coach” to the other. Having the perspective of someone who is focused on your improvement is extremely beneficial.

2. Ignoring the crowd. If you ever fly Singapore Airlines you know why it is consistently ranked as the best airline in the world year after year. It’s also high in the rankings of “most admired” in any industry worldwide. Here’s their “secret”: While other airline leaders directed expense cuts to service so they could discount fare prices and “save” their company, Singapore’s CEO Chew Choon Seng reduced the number of flights but continued to spend on customer service aspects that would improve their look and feel to customers. Those who flew on Singapore experienced good service and good food. Increased customer approval ratings show this works. It would in any industry. (From June 14, Fortune)
3. Quitting a job you don’t love. Or at least like. It’s amazing how many people tell me that they’re in a role that they dislike. Is it any wonder they don’t give great service?

For many reasons (including things like parents who convinced them, money that looked good at the time, or maybe they just fell into it), a lot of individuals make a living doing something that they really don’t like.  While you can force your way through it for a while, ultimately this will bite you. If you don’t look forward to your job, start taking action now to move into something else. Otherwise you may find yourself joining the ranks of the unemployed and not knowing what to do at that stage. For ideas on how to do this, I recommend checking out the June print issue of Money.

4. Maintaining a positive outlook. Over my 30+ years as an executive and coach, I’ve become absolutely convinced that those who expect great outcomes are most likely to achieve them. With all the organizations and individuals I have worked with around the world, I can’t think of any who are very successful and are also negative or gloomy. This isn’t a coincidence.

If one expects the worst, it’s natural to prepare and act accordingly. These people may be more secure than others, but they generally don’t enjoy life or their career.

Recent research cited in the June SmartMoney mag (“They Say It’s in Your DNA”) suggests that some people’s genes make them better entrepreneurs (and, I’ll add, intrapreneurs). But there’s ample evidence that one can learn to become more positive as well, so don’t be held back by this.

Here’s to your future!