Archive for October, 2012

“There are two kinds of people.  Those who see opportunity and see problems, and those who see problems and see opportunity.”

-Winston Churchill


With a continuous stream of mixed economic news and often-frustrating messages coming out of Washington, it is very easy to get caught up in thinking that the future is bleak.  Couple that with the stress of work, the daily struggle of balancing home life with your job, bills, college tuition, caring for elderly parents, or anything else that is weighing on you, well, it can be just as easy to believe there is little you can do to improve your circumstances.  Thus, you withdraw, turning a little sour, sharing this negativity with your colleagues as you complain to them at the water cooler.  It can be difficult to stay optimistic all the time, right?


STOP.  Take a breath.  All is going to be okay.  It’s fine to unload with your colleagues on occasion, but remember that – whether you realize it or not – you are leading by example.  “Optimistic leadership” is not about seeing the world through rose colored glasses, but as Winston Churchill refers to by his famous quote, optimism will inspire a sense of hopefulness and confidence that is required to take full advantage of the opportunities that do exist.  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 and happier.


I recently read this “Top 10 Ways to Become More Optimistic” list on website for leadership which resonated with me.  Please take the time to read these points.  I think it will help reshape any negative attitudes you might be harboring right now:


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 our firm and the unique value you can provide.  Another adage to consider, “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.


5. Be aware of the “shadow” you cast.  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.


Have a great and POSTIVE week!


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