Posts tagged "doubt"

How to Be Optimistic Yet Realistic

March 19th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, Inspiration, Leadership 0 thoughts on “How to Be Optimistic Yet Realistic”
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An optimistic outlook is required if you’re going to run or manage a business.

Without a little optimism, no one would ever start a business because they would assume it would fail. Optimism can encourage you to push through when everything else is telling you to give up. It can give you the strength to do things better because it allows you to believe that things can be better.

But optimism unchecked can quickly transform into naivety or arrogance. That’s why you need to balance that optimism with a touch of realism.

Do Realism and Optimism Contradict Each Other?

It’s very pessimistic to think that these two concepts are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, by seeing the importance of each and learning to combine them, you can be ready for any situation that comes your way.

The Benefits of Positivity

The business world can quickly become stress filled with surprises, uncertain outcomes, and uncontrollable variables always surrounding you. Constantly worrying over problems can cause you to make poor decisions or worse, become paralyzed with fear.

Studies show that positive people are consistently less stressed, allowing them to stay focused and look towards their future goals.

Related – Luck does Exist

There’s a degree of forward momentum that the optimist has. This can motivate when things look grim. It can inspire your team and produce better work. And of course, it can make your own work much better.

But it can’t change cold, hard facts.

The Importance of Realism

Numbers don’t lie. If you’re losing money or there aren’t enough hours in a day to finish a project, optimism isn’t going to change that. There come points in the business world at which you need to make choices and decisions based off of cold, hard facts. That’s the nature of the beast.

But even then, optimism can serve its role in leaving you comfortable with your decision.

Finding the Balance

There are essentially two kinds of optimism: The idealistic and the realistic. The idealistic optimist believes that things will always work-out and be fine regardless. They find themselves and their coworkers far less in control and responsible for the situations.

Related – Overcoming Self-Doubt

Studies have shown that optimists tend to fare better in business, entrepreneurial, and even academic environments. They also live longer. But these same studies favor the realistic optimist who takes control of the responsibilities they have.

Though a realistic optimist might be a little more prone to anxiety than the idealist, they’re also equipped to handle the stress because they believe in their ability to control the things around them.

Can I Choose to be Optimistic

Renowned psychologist Martin Seligman says, “One of the most significant findings in psychology in the past twenty years is that individuals can choose the way they think”.

As a business leader, you can choose how you’re going to view the situations that come your way.

Seligman coined a method called “Learned Optimism”. He considers it a talent or skill, and just like any other talent and skill, it can be developed and strengthened. By choosing to silence negative self-talk as it comes your way, you can push forward and achieve more.

The positive person believes bad events are temporary, they learn to compartmentalize failures as expectations, and they internalize positive events.

These practices combined with realistic business leadership can take you very far in your work.

5 Ways to Deal With Doubt

February 11th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Delegate, Entrepreneur, Goal, Leadership, Objective, Owner 0 thoughts on “5 Ways to Deal With Doubt”
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The Serial (Entrepreneur) Killer

You don’t have to own a business to act with an entrepreneur’s spirit. You can take ownership in whatever role you play, no matter how big or how small the company or organization.

In this week’s podcast – The Serial (Entrepreneur) Killer – my guest, Pat Thackery, and I discussed some things that are sure-fire ways to kill an entrepreneur’s dreams. Some of the primary killers we discussed included:

  • Not surrounding yourself with smart people (hopefully smarter than you)
  • Freaking out over the daily numbers
  • Micromanagement (the “I gotta do it myself” syndrome)
  • Assuming that being the owner makes you better than the employees
  • Not setting a clear vision for your business
  • Not having and being flexible enough to adjust your plan

Doubt – 1 of the Biggest Killers

But there are several other things that can kill the entrepreneur’s dream. One of the biggest is doubt. Unless you’re a narcissist, you probably have at least some doubts. That’s only natural. How you handle them is what is important.

There are many schools of thought out there but here are a few things you might try to keep your doubts in check.

  1. Identify your strengths. What makes you good at the things you do and how can you play to those strengths in your entrepreneurial endeavors?
  2. Identify your blind spots. Ask people who know you well, and don’t get defensive or angry with them when they are honest with you. Thank them for their input, then start thinking about how to “cover” the blind spot. Is it something you can turn in to a strength, or is it something that will save you a whole lot of time, energy, focus and heartache if you “outsource” it to someone else?
  3. Change your perspective. Don’t get caught up in a mode of saying “I can’t do this” in a whiney, defeatist kind of way.  Start practicing the “I can’t do this, and therefore I am going to get someone to do it for me – because my talents are better spent on other tasks” kind of way.
  4. Set small, achievable objectives that lead to bigger goals. If you set huge objectives right out of the gate, you will begin to lose faith when it appears to be taking too long to reach them. Set smaller milestones and objectives along the way. Celebrate when you hit them, double down and make adjustments when you don’t…but keep moving.
  5. Practice saying “I’ve got this. I can do this.” In my recent article at, I discuss the topic of luck. In it I ask and answer the question “Does luck exist?” Studies show that to a great extent we create luck and that a major key to it is simply believing.

You’ve got this.

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