One component which could hold the key
2020 has been a somewhat different year to usual: plenty of changes, and adjusting to different lifestyles. Being happy or sad about it doesn't mean you can't feel positive about the future.
One key component leaders show, and those with strong self-leadership can develop, is that strong sense of optimism.
Glass half empty, or half full?
You may not realise you are a pessimist, or perhaps do you, however, it doesn't mean this is an identity. It is a mindset, a competency that can be worked upon and improved.
Ultimately, if you're a pessimist you've probably already viewed the challenges and the problems this would bring and have already defeated yourself. Are you looking down at that glass and thinking there's not much left, it's going to be empty, or could you look upwards and say I can see the top, and with a little bit more effort this glass will be full.
I told you so
We all love to prove ourselves correct. I bloody well know I do! You only have to ask my family (I think I got better over the years). Therefore, when a pessimist identifies those problems - but go along with the journey anyway - they will stop at the first struggle and be able to turn round and say 'I told you so'.
What could an optimist do?
They would see those same challenges, but rather than see a problem they would view it as an opportunity. An opportunity to achieve something. Whether that is new learning, a milestone or growth, the list goes on. They will identify what the opportunity would bring and be able to also turn round and say I knew I could do it.
Three core components
On the Emotional Intelligence workshop, I deliver we delve into the three components of optimism. These are:
- positive mood
- opportunity sensing
We've all be there, walking in somewhere and being greeted by a wave of negativity. That negativity is no reflection upon you, but someone else imposing their mood onto others. That energy is contagious, and exposure is best limited.
What gets you into a positive, upbeat mood? What is your go-to? What does the positive voice say to you?
As Tubthumping once said: "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never going to keep me down." What is your bounce-back ability like?
There will be a few bumps on the journey but they're just little lessons along the way. Make a mistake, doesn't go well, learn from it. Go again, make another, doesn't go as planned, learn from it. Go again, get a little better, but still not there, take the learning from it. Finally, attempt again goes to plan, still learn from it.
Keep going, and be persistent.
As mentioned previously, an optimist will sense the opportunity rather than the problem. They visualise their future and make it a reality. The vision they have created won't mean a straightforward path but it provides a direction.
An optimist with good skills in sensing opportunities will be constructive. Not only can they be constructive with piecing together their vision, but also constructive with their thoughts. They'll realise that just because one area of their life isn't going well, it doesn't mean their entire life isn't going well. They will put it to one side, and not let it affect other areas.
What if you told yourself, "I am not unresourceful, I can just have unresourceful states"? You will allow yourself to change your state, and therefore your outlook.
Remain optimistic. 2020 has been a challenge, but it won't last forever. Changes are ever-present and bringing optimism on the ride of change allows you to keep progressing.