Thrive on Optimism

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“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” — Colin Powell

Let eternal optimism be your driving force.

Don’t let people who thrive on misery bring you down.  And don’t bring yourself down.

Thrive on optimism.

Eternal optimism is the fire that burns inside our hearts and minds.  Eternal optimism isthe hope inside that helps us enjoy the setting sun, as we look forward in anticipation to the dawn of a new day.

And eternal optimism is the force that helps us find the silver lining in every dark cloud.

In the book, Grit In Your Craw: The 8 Strengths You Need to Succeed in Business and in Life, Robert Luckadoo gives us some insight and perspective on the power of eternal optimism.

Don’t Ever Give Up

Coach Jim Valvano had eternal optimism, and reminded us to do the same.  Even when he battled a very aggressive form of bone cancer, which took his life.

Via Grit In Your Craw:

“During his battle with this terrible disease, he said something that still gives me chills: ‘Don’t give up … Don’t ever give up.’

And his inspirational final speech, delivered during the 1993 ESPY Awards, was even more moving. 

‘I’ve just got one last thing,’ he said in closing.  ‘I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have.  To spend each day with some laughter, and some thought to get your emotions going.  To be enthusiastic every day.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm.’  To keep your dreams alive in spirit of problems, whatever you have.  The ability to be able t work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.’”

Eternal Optimism is the Fire that Burns Inside

Eternal optimism is the fire that burns inside our hearts, minds, and souls.

Via Grit In Your Craw:

“As performance-based professionals, we all need to watch Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPY speech from time to time.  The eternal optimism evident in his words was the fire that had burned inside the hearts, minds, and souls of that 1983 NCAA-champion basketball team.

The team, that against all odds, found ways to overcome deficits, eke out unbelievable wins, and somehow prevail against stronger opponents.  So much of what Jim said in that speech can be applied to the sales profession and to our careers as managers.  You can pull off virtually any feat  with an optimistic, enthusiastic, energetic attitude.”

Carry Your Vision with Great Enthusiasm

Use your eternal optimism to help you make the best of every situation, no matter how bleak.

Via Grit In Your Craw:

“People want to buy from someone who’s excited about what they’re selling.  People want to be led by someone who’s excited about their mission and excited about leading.

Carry your vision with great pride and enthusiasm.  Go into every  day with an optimistic outlook, and always check your troubles at the door to your office.  And most important, when you’re out on sales appointments or dealing with your staff,bring lots of energy with you

Not every appointment is going to work out the way you planned.  Not every encounter with a client or an employee is going to be a positive one.  But as the leader, as the agent, as the sales person, you have some control over the situation.  You have the power to make the best of the situation.  Turn the part you can control into something positive.”

Beware of People Who Thrive on Misery

Some people thrive on eternal optimism.  Other people thrive on eternal misery.

Via Grit In Your Craw:

“Within your office, your company and your life, there are always going to be people who thrive on misery.  You know who I’m talking about–those naysayers who see the worst case scenario in every situation and drag you right into the middle of it.  I bet you can name a few without having to think very hard. 

They’re the ones with the perpetual scowls on their faces. 

They’re the ones who have a smirk or a negative comment for everything.  They’re the ‘time sucks’  who plop down in your office every morning and try to convince you how bad the company is, how awful your supervisors are and how life generally stinks.  Have somebody in mind yet?”

Don’t Get Pulled Down by Negative People

Don’t let negative people and the people who thrive on misery pull you down.

It’s a fast spiral down.

Use your eternal optimism to rise above the miserable, and to light the way for others.

Via Grit In Your Craw:

“Well, don’t get pulled into that cesspool of misery.  Run as far as you can.  These negative people are like human quicksand.  If you dip your toe into the mire, you might be lost forever.  If you spend time with these pessimistic drama-lovers, their misery will creep into your own life.  It’s your career, your family’s livelihood, your life.  Don’t let these negative people convince you that your life is any less spectacular than it is.”

Let Eternal Optimism Be Your Driving Force

Use your eternal optimism to be a driving force in your life, and an inspiration and strength for others.

Via Grit In Your Craw:

“Make a point to be a source of positive energy at your office every day.  Let eternal optimism be your driving force.  Let your light shine as a positive beacon for your product, your office, and your company.  Be a role model, a supporter, an a cheerleader for a colleague, and try to find a role model in your industry who can support you. 

Even the most positive people sometimes need support.

You’ll be amazed to see how success follows from optimism and  a positive attitude.  When you’re positive and optimistic, your colleagues will notice, your super-visors will notice and your clients will notice.”

Let me be the first to say that I have good days, and I have bad days.

And I have ups and downs in my days.

But what helps in all cases is starting off with a bit of optimism, and embracing it wherever I can.

Today.  And, each day.

Here are some wise words from A.A. Milne, to remind us how to do that:

“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”

How to choose your friends!

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“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

How do you choose a friend?

A reader asked me for tips on how they can choose the right person for a friend.

I thought it was a great question, given how much choosing to have the right people in our lives can make us or break us.

Opposites Attract, But Similarities Bind

First, it’s important to know that opposites attract but similarities bind.   That’s why it’s so important to know your own values, sincevalues are the common bond.

Second, it’s important that you stand strong from the inside out.  In other words, address any personal issues like low self-esteem or inner critic issues.  Otherwise, you’ll have a tendency to choose the wrong people, attract the wrong people, or fall prey to people that prey on weakness.

Those aren’t your true friends.

The best way I heard it put is that a friend issomeone you can hang out with, have fun with, and depend on.

With that in mind, here are five effective strategies for choosing better friends.

1. Be your own best friend.

Wherever you go, there you are.  You will always bring you with you, wherever you go.   Wouldn’t it be great if any situation, you had at least one person you could count on?

That might sound trivial, but there are a lot of people who don’t even have that.

They are their own worst enemy.

If you choose to be your own best friend, to the end, then right off the bat, you’ll have a better mindset.   You’ll be your own coach, not your own worst critic.   You’ll practice self-compassion, which will inevitably show up as compassion for others (which helps make friends.)   You’ll also avoid co-dependent relationships, because you’ll have a firm foundation and a shoulder to lean on. (Here is a great cheat sheet on codependency for dummies.)

If you choose to be your own best friend, you’ll give off much better vibes, and attract the right people, versus somebody who hates themselves.

After all, if you don’t want to be friends with you, why should anybody else.

Everybody’s worth it, everybody deservers it, everybody needs it, so make this choice, and choose it.

2. Be the friend you want to have.

To have good friends, you need to be a good friend.  It’s give and take.  When you drive from the right place, the right heart, the right intention, the right things happen over time.

It’s over time that counts.

People will take advantage of you, bad things will happen, and things won’t work out.  That happens.   But it’s the long haul that matters.  Don’t let how other people treat you become an excuse for how you treat other people.  Don’t let yourself down.  Take the high road here.

It’s like panning for gold.

You’ll sift the gold from the sand over time.

Let the sand go.

3. Surround yourself with amazing people.

It’s easy to surround yourself with the wrong crowd.  If you’re a negative person, like attracts like, so it will be very easy to find people who will agree with you about how the world sucks, and how other people are to blame, and how the world is against you.

Don’t buy it.

Seek the high ground.   And you can find it by finding amazing people.  Amazing people help you see what’s possible in life.  They own their future and they shape their destiny.  They march to the beat of their own drum.  They push the envelope.  They challenge themselves.  They take on big challenges.  They use their gifts, talents, and special abilities to blaze trails, move mountains, and change the world.

Or at least their world.

And they inspire you to do the same.

Add more amazing people to your life, so that you have a constant barrage of brilliance that can’t help but lift you to new heights.

Amazing people are all around you, if you know how to look.

4. Surround yourself with people who lift you higher.

Your best friends in life are the ones who make you a better person.   They get you, and they know what you’re capable of.  They may even know you better than you know yourself.

They bring out your best by either by supporting you in little ways that add up over time, or by calling you out on your bad behaviors, or by helping you see what your best can be.

Some people lift us.

Others drain us.

Spend more time with the catalysts in your life, and less time with the drains.

5. Have 3 essential people in your life.

Have a mentor, a mentee, and a sparring partner at your level.  If you want to be great, these three special friends can help you get more out of life.

The mentor.  A mentor will help you see what’s possible and help you find the short-cuts, or at least avoid the dead ends and pitfalls as much as possible.  They can also provide more personalized feedback and more specific guidance that suits your situation.   In life, it can be life Chutes and Ladders, and the right mentors will lift you faster than any other approach..  A mentee, somebody that you mentor, will help keep you inspired and will remind you of how far you’ve come.  It’s also your chance to really help somebody get a better start in life, and that’s priceless.  If you don’t think you can truly mentor someone, you have to remember that it’s all relative.  What might seem like a mighty oak to one person, is just  sapling to another and vice versa.The sparring partner.  You need somebody that’s at your level that can relate to your situations and challenges.  You can push each other.  You can bounce ideas off each other.  You compliment each others skills.

Side note – I have several mentors, I mentor several people, and I have a close connection of sparring partners.   This helps me continuously learn and improve over time, while giving back and helping others change their game.   It’s the most important thing I do to go beyond just existing, and it’s been one of my best life strategies.

Checkpoint:  Do you have the right friends?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you check whether you have the right friends:

Are you surrounding yourself with amazing people?Do your friends bring out your best? (does your wolf pack help you shine?)Do your friends help round out your skills and capabilities? (does your wolf pack help you thrive?)Are your friends there for you when you need them? (a friend in need is a friend indeed)Is there give and take? (not one way)Do you feel good about yourself with your friends?Do you feel good about your friends?Do your friends support your aspirations? (does your wolf pack grow you?)

In the words of Jim Rohn:

“Don’t join an easy crowd. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform and achieve are high.”

Keep these wise words of wisdom in mind:

“There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.”

And one of the best articles I’ve read on the impact of the right friends in your life is Buford Taylor’s, You are the Average of Your Five Closest Friends.  Here’s the punch line:

“If the main topic of conversation you have with your friends is not how you can better yourself, you need to get new friends.”