Want to be World Class? Try becoming an Optimist.

In Relly Nadler’s book, Leading With Emotional Intelligence, he posits that Star Performers don’t have to standout in every competency, but generally have 9 to 10 strong competencies (out of 20) balanced across the four areas of emotional intelligence:  understanding yourself, managing yourself, understanding others, and managing others.  One of the biggest bangs for your buck in improving your emotional intelligence is to become optimistic.  Optimism, defined as an inclination to remain positive or anticipate the best possible outcome, despite setbacks, is often a key differentiator between Star Performers and everyone else.  It permeates almost every aspect of emotional intelligence, from inspiring resilience, to helping you see change as a good thing.  (EQ-i 2.0).   Optimism is the difference between “I’ll never win that oral argument (or account) (or promotion)” to “I might win that oral argument.”  Learning to develop optimism will allow you to see opportunities and possibilities that others might overlook or simply reject as being too difficult, or time-consuming, or uncomfortable.

So how can you learn to become more optimistic?  Start by writing down your negative, unhelpful thoughts.  Then think about whether they are supported by the evidence.  Is your negative thought rational, or are you being overly judgmental?  The more you practice challenging your negative thought patterns, the more automatic it will become to not just accept your unhelpful thoughts as truth.  From there it’s a short hop to thinking about your positive experiences, and giving yourself due credit for making them happen.

Remember, optimists don’t just tend to be better leaders with high emotional intelligence, they’re also generally happier and healthier.  So what can you be optimistic about today?

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