Life is good!

I would describe myself as an optimistic, ‘glass half full’ kind of girl. Sometimes I have to wear this sweatshirt to remind me of my fundamental belief:

Realistic optimism

but I generally keep a pretty positive perspective on life, the universe and everything.

I recently read a fascinating book called Better Under Pressure: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Themselves and Other by Justin Menkes: it’s about how some CEOs seem to deliver their best results in tough times.

Menkes is an executive search consultant and as such assesses candidates for CEO positions in the top companies in the US. To write this book, he interviewed 150 chief execs working in a range of industries. One of the three key common characteristics he identified amongst them was ‘realistic optimism’.

Realistic optimism is defined as ‘confidence without self-delusion; the ability to pursue audacious goals while remaining cognizant of challenges’. What a fantastic character trait to have! He goes on to list the six capacities that such people have:

  1. See the world as it is – don’t hide your head in the sand.
  2. Let the world see you for who you are. Don’t feel shame around personal failure and imperfection.
  3. Be sensitive to, and aware of, others.
  4. Reject overconfidence.
  5. Enjoy self-reflection.
  6. Embrace agency.

As someone who would love to be described as a realistic optimist, I see this list as a challenge which I can incorporate into my personal and professional development. I think item 6 is really important for me: to grasp the nettle and recognise that it’s up to me to take action.

How about you? Is the thought of being a realistic optimist an appealing one?

Today’s pebble for your thoughts:

How can you be a realistic optimist in both your personal and your professional life?

What do you think?


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we can work together?

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