Cultivating Optimism When You’re Two Quarts Low

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 6.00.48 PM

You just got a phone call from someone you used to have a great relationship with. But since they had a switch in leadership, they have dealt with you in a less than respectful way. Today, the voice on the other end of the line nailed you to the wall. You get off the phone feeling shaken and wondering what you had been thinking when you decided to ……. a) start this business, b) go into this field, c) serve in this capacity …….  take your pick.

Developing optimism when your energy is low, is a skill. Discouragement hits when you’re tired or sick or when you’ve had too many difficult challenges in a row. Your normal optimism is weakening, and you feel yourself looking into a bleak closet. There are a few tricks you can use to turn your boat back around, chugging along in the right direction. Here are a few tips — they may at first seem simple, but there is solid positive evidence behind these  techniques. Simple is good, right?

1. First, step back a moment. Take a long deep breath, let it out slowly. Remove yourself from the scenario. Imagine yourself separate from what is happening. This technique cultivates space between you and whatever nasty pessimistic bug is developing.

2. Remember what it is you have to offer. Write these down. List your past wins. Your clients who love you and why. The research you’ve done recently that you are very proud of. The evaluation that  made you swell with pride.

3. Set down in words, how this moment can help you improve what you do. For example: Clarify agreements with the people you do business with. Create more choice in your work. Pull the plug on a relationship or job. Is there some change that you can make that would take the pressure off?

4. Spend 5 minutes with your Mission/Purpose statement outlining why you’re here doing what you do.

5. Take a 5 minute walk outside your office. Down the hall, around the block, to the coffee shop, wherever you can clear your head.

You were put here with spectacular gifts, meant to be shared with the world.