Thoughts on Leadership: How to Be Optimistic about Achievement

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels found me first in Minneapolis for a HomeServices of America board meeting. From Minneapolis it was off to Des Moines, Iowa for dinner with HomeServices of Iowa CEO Kim Bakey and her management team. On Tuesday morning, I presented a keynote on mindset/routine to the company and then I presented the West Coast Offense for Geometric Growth to the management team.

In the afternoon, I presented West Coast Offense for Geometric Growth to Adam Wright, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy Company and his key leaders.

Finally, I finished my week on the East Coast, speaking at REALiTY 2020, a conference for Canadian real estate leaders to glean insights into the future of the Canadian real estate market. It’s perfect timing because we were able to announce the signing of Blue Elephant Realty, who we expect to begin operations as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Toronto Realty next month, Blue Elephant Realty is Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ first Canadian franchisee and expands the global footprint of the brand.

As I presented to teams across the country about mindset and goal-execution, I kept thinking about the theme of our last few blog posts: achievement.

Psychologists have proven our brains are wired with mediocrity as a default. If we don’t work on excellence every day, our brain will simply default to an average state and our lives will, in essence, be average. To achieve great things, we must overcome this neurological factory setting in our brains and work every day to become a little bit better.

The good news is, as we put in the hard work to improve and resist the default of mediocrity, our self-esteem and self-confidence increase, and this unleashes our ability to generate new ideas that will help us reach our goals. In a sense, the journey to achievement is just as important as the destination.

Still, it’s one thing to say you’ll improve and another to possess the positive mindset necessary for that improvement. Because if you aren’t optimistic about your continual growth, it simply won’t happen. Here are three simple ways to unlock your inner optimist:

1- Visualize your ideal future. Simply thinking about an exciting future will motivate you to create it. When you visualize and idealize the life you want to live, your brain programs itself to help you build it, each and every day.

2- Make sure your goals are stated in the present tense, expressed as if the goal was already accomplished. For instance, if your goal is to make $100,000 this year, state your goal as: “I earn $100,000 a year.” This type of present-tense goal-affirmation establishes a dynamic within the non-conscious portion of your mind to work every minute and every hour of every day to construct your new reality.

3- Your goals should also be stated with a positive framework. Psychologists widely agree that our brains can’t accept negative commands. As an example, if your goal is to eat healthier, you shouldn’t say, “I don’t want to eat cookies.” Instead, your goal should be: “I will eat more fruits and vegetables.” On a related note, make sure all your goals are stated using “I” + an action verb. This signals to the non-conscious portion of your mind that you’re giving it a command to fulfill.

Another aspect of optimism is the ability to successfully deal with pessimism, adequately facing problems and obstacles with positivity and a plan to conquer them all. As singer Dolly Parton once said, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you [have to] put up with the rain.”

And really, the rain is sometimes the most valuable part of a situation. When you solve problems, you gain knowledge to solve even more. Your self-esteem and self-confidence rise and your overall level of optimism improves. Pessimistic people harp on the problems. Optimistic people set out to solve them.

So, what’s the message? Try this simple exercise to boost your optimist this month: Go on a 30-day optimism diet, about the amount of time it takes to solidify a habit of medium complexity. Commit to stating your goals in the present tense and in a positive and personal way. Write them down each morning and review them regularly. When a challenge presents itself, approach it with a solutions-first mindset and the confidence to know that by getting through this difficulty, you’ll be even more prepared to resolve the next one. Try this optimism diet for the next 30 days and then you can stop. Although I can promise you won’t want to; after 30 days of optimism, you’ll be surprised by how much richer and more joyful your life as a leader will be.

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