The Case for Optimism

  1. Negative times abound – don’t get sucked in

– Alan Weiss, making lemonade out of lemons.  Sees the value in swimming against the stream.

– My own consulting business.  Started it in the dot-com bust.

  1. The case for optimism

– Creativity comes from optimism, not pessimism

  1. How optimism affects you as a leader and project manager

– Positive expectations for how your team will perform (you will likely get what you expect and what you signal you expect).

– Optimism is attractive.  We rely on our people and optimism is a factor in attracting and retaining those high-performing team members we need.

– Optimism affects our ability to succeed.  Whether we know it or not, what we project is often what we achieve.  So if we are pessimistic, this may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  We often make happen what we say we most want to avoid.  Or, we want so much to be right that we create failure just so that we can say – “see, I told you so”.

  1. Action steps
  • Bill Hybels talking about why downturns are good
  • Without the lows, we don’t appreciate the highs
  • Allan Weiss – how to prosper in a down market
  • Optimism, Self-Confidence
  • Positive outlooks
  • creativity comes from positive thinking – it is about what is possible.
  • We all know people who are negative and critical
  • Always reasons to be down or negative – and to feel good when our predictions become self-fulfilling prophecies (term?)
  • Seth Godin – Failure as an Event (10/28) can teach us about viewing the current economic downturn in context.
  • Feels better to take action, and here are some ways:
    • to focus on helping others who are less fortunate
    • be a conductor of positivity
    • be the best you can be at your current job;
    • serve those you work for, including your your boss, project team, your project sponsor. Ask, what can I do for you?

 

It’s easy to get down in these times.  It’s easy to comiserate with everyone around us.  Wow, did you see the Dow?  Or, as a co-worker said to me yesterday when I asked how they were doing, down 100 points.  What???

Considered a 5 question mini-quiz addressing the optimism attributes below.

Hope is the ability to see a connection between your current situation and your goals or desired state.  It is those who see no connection – the people who have lost hope – that are not able to see anyway to get to where they want or even to escape their current situation.

Hope vs. hopelessness – hopelessness is when you don’t believe your efforts are going to make any difference at all or when you see a particular event as a string of negative events that you have no power to change.  With hope, we see the negative events in some context and are able to believe that things will change and get better.

Hope also results in people believing that they are in control of their destiny, rather than just some pawn.  The alternative view is that we are simply victims of our circumstances; we are not empowered to overcome what others or events happen to us.

Optimist tend to see a setback as an opportunity to learn and to try something else.  I have also heard it put as “fail faster”.  Setbacks are an inevitable fact of life as well as an opportunity to learn and grow.

I have told the story several times about my experience qualifying for the boston marathon.  During my training, I was hit with 3 injuries and a couple of failed attempts to qualify by running in Phoenix and Las Vegas.  The truth is that I learned more from my setbacks than I did from my successes.  And, my success in the New Orleans Marathon was larger and felt more satisfying because it was so hard for me.

Back when Daniel Goleman wrote “Working with Emotional Intelligence”, he included Optimism as part of his framework.  This is how he defined optimism:

People with optimism:

  • Persist in seeking goals despite obstacles and setbacks
  • Operate from hope of success rather than fear of failure
  • See setbacks as due to manageable circumstances rather than as a personal flaw

Self-Awareness

  • Emotional Awareness
  • Accurate Self Assessment
  • Self-confidence

Self-Management

  • Emotional Self-Control
  • Transparency
  • Adaptability
  • Achievement
  • Initiative
  • Optimism

Social Awareness

  • Empathy
  • Organizational Awareness
  • Service

Relationship Management

  • Inspirational leadership
  • Influence
  • Developing Others
  • Change catalyst
  • Conflict Management
  • Building bonds
  • Teamwork and collaboration

The case for optimism

1. Negative times abound – don't get sucked in

– Alan Weiss, making lemonade out of lemons.  Sees the value in swimming against the stream.

– My own consulting business.  Started it in the dot-com bust.

2. The case for optimism

– Creativity comes from optimism, not pessimism

3. How optimism affects you as a leader and project manager

– Positive expectations for how your team will perform (you will likely get what you expect and what you signal you expect).

– Optimism is attractive.  We rely on our people and optimism is a factor in attracting and retaining those high-performing team members we need.

– Optimism affects our ability to succeed.  Whether we know it or not, what we project is often what we achieve.  So if we are pessimistic, this may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  We often make happen what we say we most want to avoid.  Or, we want so much to be right that we create failure just so that we can say – "see, I told you so".

4. Action steps

         Bill Hybels talking about why downturns are good

         Without the lows, we don’t appreciate the highs

         Allan Weiss – how to prosper in a down market

         Optimism, Self-Confidence

         Positive outlooks

         creativity comes from positive thinking – it is about what is possible.

         We all know people who are negative and critical

         Always reasons to be down or negative – and to feel good when our predictions become self-fulfilling prophecies (term?)

         Seth Godin – Failure as an Event (10/28) can teach us about viewing the current economic downturn in context.

         Feels better to take action, and here are some ways:

o        to focus on helping others who are less fortunate

o        be a conductor of positivity

o        be the best you can be at your current job;

o        serve those you work for, including your your boss, project team, your project sponsor.  Ask, what can I do for you?

 

It's easy to get down in these times.  It's easy to comiserate with everyone around us.  Wow, did you see the Dow?  Or, as a co-worker said to me yesterday when I asked how they were doing, down 100 points.  What???

Considered a 5 question mini-quiz addressing the optimism attributes below.

Hope is the ability to see a connection between your current situation and your goals or desired state.  It is those who see no connection – the people who have lost hope – that are not able to see anyway to get to where they want or even to escape their current situation.

Hope vs. hopelessness – hopelessness is when you don't believe your efforts are going to make any difference at all or when you see a particular event as a string of negative events that you have no power to change.  With hope, we see the negative events in some context and are able to believe that things will change and get better.

Hope also results in people believing that they are in control of their destiny, rather than just some pawn.  The alternative view is that we are simply victims of our circumstances; we are not empowered to overcome what others or events happen to us.

Optimist tend to see a setback as an opportunity to learn and to try something else.  I have also heard it put as "fail faster".  Setbacks are an inevitable fact of life as well as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

I have told the story several times about my experience qualifying for the boston marathon.  During my training, I was hit with 3 injuries and a couple of failed attempts to qualify by running in Phoenix and Las Vegas.  The truth is that I learned more from my setbacks than I did from my successes.  And, my success in the New Orleans Marathon was larger and felt more satisfying because it was so hard for me.

Back when Daniel Goleman wrote "Working with Emotional Intelligence", he included Optimism as part of his framework.  This is how he defined optimism:

People with optimism:

  • Persist in seeking goals despite obstacles and setbacks

  • Operate from hope of success rather than fear of failure

  • See setbacks as due to manageable circumstances rather than as a personal flaw

Self-Awareness

  • Emotional Awareness

  • Accurate Self Assessment

  • Self-confidence

Self-Management

  • Emotional Self-Control

  • Transparency

  • Adaptability
  • Achievement
  • Initiative
  • Optimism

Social Awareness

  • Empathy
  • Organizational Awareness

  • Service

Relationship Management

  • Inspirational leadership
  • Influence
  • Developing Others
  • Change catalyst
  • Conflict Management
  • Building bonds
  • Teamwork and collaboration