Optimism looks at what’s possible, what could be, and finds the good in what already exists. A leader who focuses on possibilities and believes in a brighter future is inevitably more inspiring and engaging then a leader who worries, stagnates, and focuses on why something won’t work.
Forbes recently published an article on why optimists make better leaders. Check it out here:
Practicing optimism (or any intentional behavior) begins with managing our thoughts, which stem from our beliefs. Optimism means choosing thoughts & beliefs that will lead you and your followers to success. If you don’t believe you/your team/organization can, you probably won’t. In this way, our limiting beliefs become self-fulfilling.
Just as limiting beliefs can put you into a descending cycle–where failure becomes ever easier–powerful beliefs can put you into an ascending cycle, where success becomes easier. Here are six powerful beliefs of successful leaders*:
- I always act with a purpose.
- I take responsibility for my results.
- I stretch myself past my limits daily.
- I don’t wait for perfection; instead, I act now.
- I take my job seriously, but I do not take myself too seriously.
- I am careful about what I put into my mind and body.
* Excerpted from Geoffrey James, Positive Thinking: How to Change Your Future, published in Inc., August 13, 2012
Flex your optimism muscles. Learning any new skill, similar to learning a new exercise routine, requires a structure for working out and building new muscles. For the next week, practice the two exercises below every day. Notice what shifts for you.
1) Identify one limiting or “pessimistic” thought or belief that you told yourself today. Write it down. What’s true about it? What’s not true about it? How is it serving you or limiting you at this time? (i.e.: you won’t be good at that; he thought my idea was a bad one; there’s no way we’ll finish this on time…)
2) Experiment with an optimistic or powerful belief alternative. Consciously replace the limiting thought with the positive thought. (i.e.: I am willing to stretch and try ____; I am curious about his perspective on the topic/idea I presented; I am proud of the progress we’ve made so far…)