Foresight: Survival of the Optimists

“Optimists have a sixth sense for possibilities that realists can’t or won’t see.” ~ Warren Bennis, leadership professor

There is a dramatic difference between people who react to roadblocks with a sense of futility and pessimism and those who react with determination and optimismand see possibilities.

Psychologist Martin Seligman has validatedthat the most successful business leaders are inspired by a sense of optimism. I can say that of the people I’ve worked with, the ones who succeed most often display a sense of realistic optimism. They are grounded in reality, but see things in a positive light. Setbacks are temporary, impersonal, and challenges to be overcome.

Those who learn to be optimistic about life and work are far more likely to be successful than those who view a current event through the pessimist’s lens. Being optimistic doesn’t mean ignoring reality or the hardships required to getgreat results. Leaders can define a business reality, yet defy a negative verdict. By being optimists, leaders give people the hope, energy and strength needed to carry on.

The more you understand the big picture, the more prepared you are to endure hardships and adversity. Optimism, and a vision for what’s possible, supplies the energy and hope to keep going, persist through challenges and come out on the other side.

One of the best ways to expand your potential leadership abilities is to work with an executive coach like myself, who can help you expand your capacity for inspired leadership. An experienced coach will stimulate your thinking about what’s possible.

You Can See Forever

To become a better leader, or to be seen as a high-potential leader, spend more time in dreaming and imagining the future. In time, a future focus will permeate your thinking and saturate your communications.

Everything you do and say will remind people of the future you believe is possible —for yourself, your colleagues, your customers and the organization. You will draw upon your past experiences, your core values, your strengths and your guiding purpose.

You will become well-read about trends as you study the future and talk with other people about the exciting possibilities. There’s no doubt that we live in interesting times, and game-changing ideas, products and services are popping up all the time.

Being part of the future allows you to contribute to its creation. You can’t do that without taking time to develop your capacity to be future-focused. And you can’t become future-focused without discipline and action.

What are you doing to express a future orientation in your communications? Where can you interject more forward-thinking and anticipatory thinking? How are you asking your people to think about the future, for your products, services and customers? I’d love to hear from you.

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