Optimists Whistle While They Work

Motivational concept with handwritten text TODAY IS YOUR DAY

Recently I spent some time at The Happiest Place on Earth. Strolling down Main Street, I encountered some pals of the lovely Snow White. Based on personality type, three of these characters reminded me of individuals we alI know.

Three Personality Types:

Happy, the dwarf providing laughter and adding joy to the lives of the others, is easy to love. He is the personification of my optimist friends who consistently find the good in every situation. An optimist excels at positive thinking and knows tough times won’t last. This admirable characteristic is worth emulating. Granted, finding the silver lining amidst stormy dark clouds is not always an easy feat,

Create Your Sunshine

but if you work hard enough, it is doable. In addition to creating a sunny persona, optimism promotes an aura of peace, increases patience and helps develop resilience in the face of adversity.

The polar opposite of the endearing Happy is the formidable character Grumpy. Easily irritated by the troop, this dwarf is argumentative and prone to finding fault. Labeled a pessimist,

crazy monster

we all have experienced and typically avoid individuals possessing the Grumpy personality.

The Huntsman is the realist in this fantasy film. Chartered by the jealous Queen to lure Snow White into the forest and kill her, he realizes this task clashes with his moral code. Bottom line, our Huntsman urges the fair maiden to escape. Who can fault realistic people? They often take a zero expectation stance. Much can be said for keeping your expectation level in check. It’s like entering life’s stage in protective armor. You cannot get hurt or disappointed if you expect nothing from a situation. This quality helps eliminate an individual’s need for kudos and constant appreciation. Realists do their best and that’s where it ends. They to not measure success by how many likes a post gets on Facebook, or the number of “atta-boys” tossed their way.

Perhaps a large segment of the population are realistic-optimists, a scientific term I just made up. (Smile). Individuals possessing this personality type know success is far from effortless. Planning carefully, and working diligently at achieving set goals, realistic optimists go about their work with a upbeat attitude.

Whether you fall into the realist camp, the optimist group, or somewhere in between, beware of pessimistic tendencies. Negative thinking spirals into lethargy and depression. According to Web MD and other medical experts, attitude matters

Beautiful blond girl jumps over green grass

when it comes to your health. Studies reveal pessimists are more likely than their counterparts to suffer from diabetes, elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol.

So this week, take a lesson from the Disney gang: Be happy, mix in a large dose of reality and experience pleasure in your journey. And, if possible, follow Snow White’s sage advice.

“When hearts are high, the time will fly, so whistle while you work. “

Eraser Magic: A Lesson In Failure

Ballons

Yesterday I called my eleven-year old niece, Aisalynn, to wish her a happy birthday. My favorite pre-teen responded by telling me she really needed the eraser. Go figure. I sent a gift certificate to her favorite store, a book (my continuous agenda is encouraging reading) along with some silly, sparkly fake nails and a huge eraser shaped like a birthday cake. Who would have guessed the eraser was the biggest hit?

Later that day it occurred to me an eraser is a “must have” tool for a 5th grader. Those soft pink beveled erasers came in handy when you messed up on a math problem, misspelled a word or had to remove the boy’s name you had a crush on before your dad noticed it artfully displayed across your spelling notebook. I smiled wondering was an Aidan, a Caleb or a Connor Aisalynn’s crush of the week?

notebook paper with little girl

Whether it’s a blunder on a math test or bombing a job interview, mistakes happen. When you cannot erase away the actual evidence of a misstep, you can own it and profit from the experience.

In my book, mistakes are as natural as breathing. The late, great coach John Wooden put it this way: “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything. A doer makes mistakes.”

Certainly mistakes range in severity. Some errors are mere speed bumps encountered on the road to success.

Success road

Others, like business bankruptcy, create noticeable failure but whatever the blunder, recovery is possible. Need proof? Walt Disney declared bankruptcy in 1923 when he couldn’t cover his studio’s overhead. Five years later he created a character named Mickey Mouse, and  you know the rest of the story.

Making a “do over” successful requires passion. Need an example? Check out your condiment shelf. When H.J. Heinz was 25, he founded a company that made horseradish. The firm tanked in 1875. Not one to quit, Henry John reorganized and launched a new ketchup producing venture. Fun fact: Heinz now sells 640 million bottles of its iconic Ketchup every year.

You can find the magic in making mistakes by considering the flip side. Analyze that failure and list the lessons learned. Change the nomenclature and think of a blunder as Henry J. Kaiser describes it, “an opportunity in work clothes.”

 

Thought For the Week:

If someone buys me an eraser for my birthday, I think I’ll leave it on my desk as a reminder that failure

eraser and word mistakes

is a gift called experience.

Bouncing Back After Going Down Swinging

Back view of business woman with boxing gloves on a white

As a career coach I encounter clients who are down on the mat and often temporarily out for the count. Many have lost their jobs based on corporate restructurings; others experienced a bad break due to personal relationships, business ventures or other significant life zingers. At one time or another, each of us has experienced a severe left jab or even a devastating one-two combination.

English Bulldog dog eye contact, closeup

 

When you find yourself dazed from a blow you never anticipated, there is nothing left to do but plan your comeback. Begin by acknowledging it might have been unfair, but it happened and it’s okay to admit how much it hurt. Throw yourself a pity party but keep it brief and then crash your own party by employing some techniques to help you bounce back.

Review the circumstances and challenge yourself to find one positive nugget in the mix. There is always something constructive to be gained from a negative situation. If you are coming up blank, talk to a trusted friend or advisor to help you glean a glimpse of that silver lining.

Know your situation is temporary. You have the ability to work through the crisis. Boxing legend Muhammed Ali carved out his amazing career by never giving up on himself. Ali said, “It’s a lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges and I believe in myself.”   To bounce back you must be self-reliant.

Believe

Regain your footing by asking for support. Don’t try to go it alone. Engage your network. You can never have enough cheerleaders. Let your friends provide help and encouragement to boost your morale. Positive reinforcement from positive people around you enables you to start rebuilding or reinventing your life.

Think about it. Now may be an ideal time to start fresh in a new direction. If you lost your job, perhaps you realized it wasn’t the best match for you anyway. Define your passion. What kind of a career or position would make your heart sing? Get curious. Do some soul searching and research. Then come up with an action plan and set some short-term and future goals.

Whatever it was that brought you down, the wrong Price Charming

Cute Monster King with white panel

or the dreaded pink slip, making a comeback begins with the first step. Once you initiate that move away from ground zero the remainder of the journey is pure momentum. Go for it. You are ready to power through any obstacles and show the world you are a resilient winner who, armed with a new plan, can go the distance.