When Accomplishment Leads to Optimism
Today as the sun shines into my office, I am feeling like I am feeling accomplished and ready to tackle another project! There is a whole new attitude exuding from me! Why you ask? What did I do that was so life-altering?
Did I get a new job? No - nothing that big. But I finally completed a job that I have put off for a long time - because I guess I didn't have the necessary motivation to tackle it! I have finally re-sorted the books on my shelves that I so deliberately put in alphabetical order by author when I first moved in a couple of years ago. Why is this a big deal? Because I look for TOPICS not authors, so I have had to look through every book to find the appropriate resource unless I know who the author is. Today's little accomplishment has organized my office, made resources more available and useful, and will help my friend who needs some information from my wealth of resources. Yes, her request was the necessary motivation I needed to overcome my procrastination. She believed that I could help her and suddenly the state of my resources took on new importance and made me not only want to do the job, but do it now! I feel proud, energized and ready for the next project!
Believe In Me so That I Can Believe in Me
So you think it might be silly to blog about such as reorganizing my books? I think not. Optimism and hope are reasons to get out of bed each day regardless of our age or vocation. Without those things we feel unmotivated and irrelevant. Every day I walk into my office, look around, shrug and think I'll reorganize another day. What does it matter? It's just me in my office. Everyone else can stay out. But when someone else needs you, then suddenly, it matters - because what I am doing matters to that person, and as a result, matters to me.
Relationships are important to the quality of everyone's existence. We rely on others to help us see more clearly, provide us with feedback, to share our hopes and dreams, and to help us feel validated or relevant. What messages are we sending to others? Do we let them know we believe in their ability to succeed, and recognize their progress? Our words and actions let others know that we believe in them or not; that we value them or not; that we support them or not.
The Power of Positive Intent
What is Positive Intent? It is not merely optimism. It is a belief of ability, that what can happen will happen, of expectation rather than failure. It can be held by the individual, by others about the individual, or by groups. It's what you think about, how you phrase your self talk or what you say out loud to others. It is an expectation. It's a big deal and it sets people up to succeed... or not.
Establishing expectations is a way of providing someone with belief in their ability to succeed. It is positive and intentional. You can... you will... In school, we provide rubrics so students can guide their own learning and know when they have met the expectations. In everyday life, we provide parameters of time and quality to do the same thing.
Allowing someone to do a job independently helps that person to believe in themselves because you "allowed them" to do it on their own. Give them the tools to succeed but don't do the work for them. Watch their face light up as they accomplish what they set out to do. Remember the first time you tied your shoes, rode a bike, swam across the pool, or finished that first 5K, ALL BY YOURSELF? It's that feeling of satisfaction that provides us optimism for the next job at hand.
As individuals, we have the ability to regulate our own thoughts, control our motivation, and ultimately our actions. Like the Little Engine that Could, "I think I Can" gets us through a lot of tough situations, but may not be enough. Without the feedback or reinforcement from others, we are often unkind to ourselves. We fail to appreciate what we can do or realize how much we matter. Humans rely on reinforcement. We don't need external reinforcement as much as we need to feel appreciated and valued. And with those feelings comes the attitude of optimism and hope. Life is worth living!
Are you the sunshine that someone needs to emerge from their gloomy day, the encouragement they need to take the next step? Make a difference for others and for yourself. Find a way to focus on the positives and share that optimism with others. No one wants to be irrelevant. I have another friend that closes every workshop by saying, "You matter." I truly believe that and I challenge you to help make someone else feel like they matter too!