12 Ways to Cultivate an Optimistic Outlook

Uncategorized Sep 09, 2019

Now that I’ve laid out the characteristics of Intentional Optimism, let’s get practical. Just HOW do you do it?  

Did I just wake up one day and say “yep, today’s the day - I’m Optimistic!” 

HA!      Nope.  

Honestly, this has been a way longer road than I’d like to admit. At my core, yes, these things are very much in my personality… but life can be rough.  Experiences shape us, and depending on what kind of tools or defenses we have available at the time, they may shape us more than we like. I know you have a story of your own… 

In the last couple of years, however, I felt a real need to to “come back to myself.”  I was tired of seeing the world through a negative, cynical or combative lens. I did wake up one day and said “OK, that’s enough.” I could remember being fascinated by the change of the seasons, or moved by a story on the news prompting me to DO something, rather than just think the world was heading down the toilet. I could remember what it felt like to take a deep breath, knowing that even though I’m not ultimately in charge I have confidence in a God who does.  

So I started. One thing at a time. One step at a time.  

I talk to women every day who feel like maybe this is as good as it gets - whatever it is. 

Two things I know for sure: 1) “This” is definitely NOT as good as it gets, and 2) It’s also NOT as bad as it may seem.

So - how do you change your lens?  How do you start? Below are a few things that will help. I’m STILL implementing them myself - I’m a work in progress… but like I said last week, I’ve decided this is how I want to show up… so here are the things that have helped me.

12 Ways to Cultivate an Optimistic Outlook:

  1. Open yourself up to hope - I heard someone say, hope is the hook upon which you hang your fears and doubts.  You may be in a season or circumstance that feels hopeless, but the prophet Jeremiah told his suffering friends, I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This is the kind of hope you can rely on.
  2. Be future focused - Look forward to the future.  This is the ONLY part of our lives we can actually affect or change. The things we do today prepare us for the future and determine our direction and destination.  
  3. Consider the possibilities -  We feel stuck when we think we have no options. The best way to start is by asking “What if ______?”  You’ll be surprised how many options start presenting themselves.  
  4. Check your perspective - Think of this like a Kaleidoscope.  From the back, it might look a mess of jumbled stuff, but viewed through the other end, what a beautiful picture!  Then a half twist, and it changes all over again.  
  5. Put a positive spin on it - Literally “flip the script.” Say what’s good or what you want, rather than what you don’t like or want.  It may seem a little hokey, but “petite” sure sounds a whole lot nicer than “short.” Trust me I know a thing or two about this one.
  6. Look for the half that’s full - Work with what you have, and seek solutions.  No situation is useless or unredeemable.
  7. Seek certainty - in a world where everything seems relative, there ARE things we can be certain of.  Referring back to our friend, Jeremiah, I believe God has a plan for us. That kind of certainty gives you confidence and helps you confirm your direction and you purpose 
  8. Believe you know how - You have enough information to move - even if it’s only one step at a time. You can always change direction, if necessary, so move forward with courage. As Marie Forleo says “everything is figureoutable.”
  9. Become proactive - Don’t wait for the dominoes to fall.  Look down the road a little, and make choices that will aid in an outcome that’s favorable.
  10. Prepare what you can- Any chef will tell you the importance of prep work. A little preparation for each week decreases daily stress and decision fatigue.  
  11. Promote unity - We all need connection, togetherness, community.  When we work together, we always accomplish more. 
  12. Live with your eyes open - There’s nothing new under the sun - trust me.  Be willing to see what has been, what is, and what’s likely to come. You can then make wise choices, and guide others to do the same. 

You may look at this list and think it’s impractical… or too much… or hard… what it truly is, my friend, is a choice.  

Which one do you choose to begin with?

Comment below, or head over to my Facebook page and let me know. 

Together, we can laugh at the days to come!! 

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There are events in life that define our journey. Once they happen, we begin describing everything else as “before X” or “after X”. For me,it was the day my mother died. Suddenly, I became aware of my own limited timeline. The drive to find my voice, purpose and place became urgent. I dove in, head first, and discovered the desire to help myself fueled a greater desire - to help others. Soon, I stopped defining myself in terms  of roles (wife, mother, manager),  but in terms of qualities: curious, determined, happy, adventurous. I've come to understand, that the qualities that make us who we are, are what we must celebrate. We each have a special purpose, unique perspective, and unlimited potential. Better yet, we can both discover and develop them.   

I do this through speaking, training, coaching and writing -  with a focus on helping women grow into the leaders they truly are. Intentional Optimism is my philosophy of life, and includes these five pillars:

          Optimistic - Hopeful, Positive Proactive

          Present - Seeking Wonder, Generous, Kind

          Courageous – Leading Others, Adventurous, Resilient

          Energetic - Industrious, Excitement, Life-focused

          Wise - In Respect, Words and having Understanding

          Intentional - Purposeful, Planning, Growth Mindset

I'm building a global community of women helping women. A place where we foster leadership from every stage or position in life. A place where we celebrate wonder; move forward with hope and openness; share wisdom and encouragement; offer each other a helping hand; ask freely, and share lavishly; and celebrate our differences as avenues of growth and expansion.

Let’s  change our understanding of what it means to work, provide for our families, have financial stability, and be a leader in the community. Life is an adventure - let's live it to the fullest!  

It’s time to laugh at the days to come! - Prov. 31:25

Won’t you join me on the journey?