"Are you kidding me - how can I be optimistic? There is nothing to be optimistic
about in this economy."
With the constant stream of bad economic news it is very easy to get caught up in
thinking that nothing positive is happening. We start to believe that there is little
that we can do to improve our circumstances; we withdraw, play it safe, feel concern,
and fear about our future. We become especially vigilant for further signs that
we are at risk.
Optimistic leadership is not about seeing the world through rose colored glasses.
The economic down turn is real and we need to make business decisions based on that
reality. But once you have your plan of attack, optimism will inspire a sense of
hopefulness and the confidence that is required to take full advantage of the opportunities
that do exist.
Optimism or pessimism is not about the reality of the situation, it is conscious
choice that has a huge impact on your ability to succeed.
Additionally research has confirmed that those who are able to find an optimistic
outlook will not only be more successful, they will also live longer, be healthier
Here are ten ways to become more optimistic and to energize your organization.
1. Seek positive perspectives and evidence. Unfortunately most of what is being
reported today has a pessimistic tone, so to build a more balanced view, you need
to look for the positive signs. In an economic downturn, pessimists may be more
right but optimists will see more opportunity and actually accomplish more.
2. Practice possibility thinking. We have an amazing ability to construct our inner
world and outlook, to use self talk to either build ourselves up, or tear ourselves
down. Give yourself permission to reframe your thoughts, to focus on the opportunities
not the negative consequences - the 90% that we still have rather than the 10% we
have lost. See bad events as setbacks, transitory not permanent and focus on what
you can do to energize and build growth.
3. Build a compelling vision that inspires. Take the time to develop a deep sense
of mission and purpose, to get really clear about what you want for your organization
and the unique value you can provide. In the words of Peter Drucker - "the best
way to predict the future is to create it".
4. Surround yourself with positive people. Optimism is a learned habit, and it is
contagious. Seek out people who have a positive outlook - you are only as good as
the company you keep. Expand your support network and consider hiring a business
coach to support you as you work through this process.
5. Be aware of the "shadow" you cast in your organization. As a leader everything
you do impacts those around you. Your mood and your behaviors are watched and interpreted
by everyone around you. Be a good role model, maintaining your composure and a positive
attitude - that's authentic.
6. Encourage open dialog. Being positive and open will draw people towards you.
Staying focused on understanding and listening is especially important with others
who don't feel so optimistic. Optimism or pessimism is not about the reality of
the situation. You need to remain open to fully understand alternative perspectives
and be able to lead people to a more positive future.
7. Build resilience through wellness. Optimists are more resilient to stress and
enjoy better health. Resilience builds a mental toughness and an ability to bounce
back from setbacks. To build your resilience, you need to make purposeful choices
to take care of your body, mind, and spirit.
8. Build personal mastery. This begins with an honest assessment of your capabilities
and a lifelong commitment to professional development. Mastery will bring confidence
and the capacity to succeed, creating more reason for optimism.
9. Believe in the capabilities of your team and organization. One of the most powerful
gifts you can give someone is to believe in their potential. Suddenly they are capable
of accomplishing so much more, which in turn gives you more to feel optimistic about.
10. Stay focused and track accomplishments. When there is a lot of information and
distractions it is very important that you keep your eyes focused on the road ahead,
on the things that you can do and control. Celebrating your victories along the
way and knowing that although it may be a long road you will get to your destination
in the end.