I love Chet’s brilliant architecture of the BTL Twelve Essentials of Excellence. Yesterday we wrapped up the Build Your Knowledge of Self essential and today we move right into the Build Your Optimism essential. Chet always has a purpose. These two essentials are directly connected. As we build greater self-knowledge we can see our integrity gaps, experience where our core is still weak, and start to hear our self-talk for what it is. And we can begin to see if we have taken up residence in victimhood or not.
I am a huge fan of Seligman’s pioneering work in the field of positive psychology. His book, Learned Optimism is a keeper. Ironically Positivity is my #1 Strength and has been consistently for over 20 years of taking the StrengthsFinder assessment. It has never changed from being my #1. So why would I value Learned Optimism? I love how Seligman describes what he means by learned optimism and what it’s not:
‘So optimism’s benefits are not unbounded. Pessimism has a role to play, both in society at large and in our own lives; we must have the courage to endure pessimism when its perspective is valuable. What we want is not blind optimism but flexible optimism – optimism with its eyes open…the benefits of this kind of optimism are, I believe, without limit.’ Learned Optimism p.292
Far from being ‘fluff’ or ‘naïve’ my positivity and optimism are grounded in my Core, specifically in my Worldview. This has helped me to endure through some very hard MOT’s in life. And it has also helped me as a Builder to be clear about my Why when I give feedback. Truth in love. CCD. Grounded, flexible optimism. Belief that sees a positive future, a good outcome if they’re willing to do the work.
I met with a leader this week who is a dear friend and colleague. We have been trusted truth tellers for one another for many years. He reached out to me to ask for my perspective and get some feedback he could use given the challenge he’s in right now. He’s on the road to chronic pain if he doesn’t make some changes. He knows it. And he knew it before we talked this week. But he took the initiative to ask for help and hear some truth. We ended with identifying his Productive Actions this season.
Leaders – We need to learn to ask for help to stay out of chronic pain. Make sure you have trusted truth tellers who will give it to you straight. Don’t wait. Reach out. And if you have a trusted truth teller on your team, Leader, you are blessed.
Team members – Don’t wait until it’s too late if you see your leader floundering. First be super clear about your Why before you ask them if they want to hear what you think. And my guess is that your Why is because you want to help the team improve performance, including your leader. Good.