Good Morning, Friends!
September 24, I980, I boarded a plane to basic training in San Antonio, Texas. I was leaving my home state, my family, and everything I had known. Once, I read you are either running away from something or running towards it. I was running away, and boy did I have a chip on my shoulder as big as Texas.
I went to basic training mad at the world. I was sarcastic and cynical. The world was messed up, and everyone was out to ruin my day. I am not sure how I got here, but I would not say I liked the start of each day. My inner voice feed my angst, and consequently, I saw the world as a problem, and every situation was a challenge – my challenge.
One day shortly after completing basic training, I looked at myself in a mirror as I was trying to shave for the first time. I asked, “if I liked who I had become.” The simple answer was no – I did not like who I was and where I was going. The fundamental problem was less about the world than it was about me.
I could not change the world, but I could transform who I would become. I realized that I did not particularly appreciate looking at the world as half empty, and I could do something about my perspective. I could be the change that I wished to see.
I started to change the way I looked at each day. Every day would be AWESOME regardless of what was happening. At first, it seemed disingenuous. I was saying the word “awesome” and trying to fake my way through it. But being truthful, I did not always feel awesome. Some days, I was just plain miserable.
One morning, I asked, “why was I AWESOME.” I started thinking about all the things I should be grateful to have in my life. It began with the placement of my feet on the floor and the sensation coursing through them. I stretched and felt my body wake up, and the energy was surging through me. I was vibrant and, more importantly, alive.
During my daily routine, I became aware of how much I had in my life. I was overflowing with abundance, but I was living a life of presumed scarcity. Soon I found the thoughts of fear, abandonment, scarcity, and negativity fading. Over a few short weeks, I rewired my mindset. I was shifting from a pessimistic worldview to one of pure optimism, which I maintain to this day.
I still wake each morning and place my feet on the floor, grateful for that simple sensation. I contemplate all the moments in my life that I appreciate. I express gratitude for my journey, including every bump and bruise. I have surrendered to my abundance.
Forty years after my re-awakening, I walk through my day feeling AWESOME. The most important lesson that I learned from this journey is that you become what you put into the universe. And ironically, we can become anything we want.
So, go forward and be AWESOME!
How can Intentional Leaders cultivate a culture of positivity and optimism in our workplaces? And what impact would that have on our employees, clients, partners, and outcomes? Just imagine being able to double the number of people on your team who felt like the company was going in the right direction, even during an incredibly challenging time. What impact would that positive engagement have on your business’s or department’s results? I found this Harvard Business Review Article, “What Leading with Optimism Really Looks Like,” very interesting and the outcomes achieved are incredible.
[VIDEO] Are You Reaching Your Potential?
Do you remember the 2008 Monster.com commercial called “Are You Reaching Your Potential?” It features a stork intent on delivering a beautiful baby boy to his expecting parents. The stork crosses a desert, flies over the ocean, and even fights off a pack of wolves to bring the baby home.
How many people have helped us in our journey? How many obstacles have we faced and overcome to be here at this moment in time? I recently pondered the question, “Am I happy with the man that I have become?” I found my answer particularly interesting. What would your answer be?
Back to the commercial: years later, the stork revisits the now young man with the hopes that he has made something of himself. Well, check out the short video to see how this story ends.
The big question to ask we should be asking is, “Am I reaching my potential?”
By the Numbers
According to Tali Sharot and her book The Optimism Bias, optimists are 40% more likely than pessimists to achieve work promotion within the following year.
Many people view optimism as overconfident, avoiding reality, or delusional about facing our realities. But to me, optimism knows those challenges, obstacles, and less than pleasant realities exist but choose to face them head-on.
As Intentional Leaders, we adopt positive perspectives and build intentional actions to ensure these difficulties (realities) do not stop us from living the best life possible or becoming an incredible version of ourselves. Intentional Leaders view every difficulty, challenge, or crisis as an opportunity.
Here are a few quotes that keep me inspired when it is hard to be optimistic:
“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it does not pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore faith in yourself.”
– Lucille Ball
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
– Helen Keller
“Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind, for they are weeds that strangle confidence.”
– Bruce Lee