How optimistic are you really? Even if you define yourself as a 'glass half-full' kind of person, do you have the mental toughness to thrive during challenging times?
I recently had the privilege of being involved in a workshop with Theo Feldbrugge, who broke his neck a few years ago and was told he might never walk again. Fortunately he had some background before his cycling accident in leadership training and the importance of hope and an optimistic outlook. Experiential knowledge is both powerful and inspirational - Theo had to put all his positivity training into action to learn to walk again.
Top athletes and business leaders value mental toughness, which is essential for high level success. Optimism is like gym for the mind - you can re-wire your brain for positivity with perseverance.
Digital disruption and other challenges
All businesses face challenges of some kind. Whether you're responding to digital disruption or looking to scale your business, the line between engagement and overwork can be a fine one. Optimism is a mental attitude that future conditions will unfold as optimal. This is not simply a 'forced jolliness' style of thinking with no connection to reality. A focus on opportunities, possibilities and positive outcomes can often open doors in unexpected ways.
Increasingly 'happiness' is becoming quantifiable; indeed the United Nations publish an annual World Happiness Report which is being used to define new economic paradigms in the wake of the GFC. Bhutan has gone so far as to establish a Gross National Happiness index, moving on from GDP as the best measure of success.
Working hard for something you don't care about is stress; working hard for something you DO care about is passion. When you have passion and alignment with your goals, your potential for success is increased.
Xero recently released this 5 point checklist for business happiness:
- Have a vision that defines your future goals. And work towards it
- Build strong team relationships by nurturing a sense of community
- Help your employees to strike a balance between work and free time
- Support the personal and professional development of employees
- Give employees the opportunities and tools to be creative in their work
Just Do It
Perseverance is the key to developing resilience, which in turn increases hope and stimulates more optimism. How this might play out for your business could be setting up a digital marketing strategy with confidence this will generate business leads. Total commitment to execution of your marketing strategy over a period of time, with expectations of a successful outcome, will have a greater impact than a short-lived burst of enthusiasm followed by giving up.
Hit a roadblock? Optimists tend to frame adversity as a short term, compartmentalised event. This way challenges don't end up sabotaging longer term success. Optimism is language driven, and how we describe our experiences and challenges can have a huge impact.
Set yourself up for success.