The Power of Optimism
Embracing a healthy, happy work culture
At ProVantage, we believe having optimism in your work and teammates can help build team chemistry and improve the quality of work — not only for yourself but for those working alongside you.
Being optimistic directly correlates to many of our Core Values. Maintaining a positive mindset, you will work with a Spirit of Excellence, have a We Before Me attitude, and give Grace Through Generosity in everything you do.
The study, "Employee Engagement Is Less Dependent on Managers Than You Think," surveyed 11,308 employees about their inspiration at work and their feelings about their careers. According to the study, having certain mindsets, such as optimism, can increase engagement and happiness at work even more than having a great manager.
Unfortunately, based on that study, only 13% of people have a high level of optimism, while nearly 33% have low or moderately low optimism. This matters because people with high levels of optimism are far more inspired to give their best effort at work.
Optimism is one of the 18 outlooks that can dramatically increase career satisfaction, inspiration, and employee engagement. And yes, you can develop more optimism.
Below is a quick exercise to help increase your optimism:
Step 1 - Increase your optimism by eliminating pessimistic language from your speech and emails.
Optimism — or a lack thereof — often gets expressed in our intuitive thinking, which tends to leak out in words we use, especially in less formal settings like emails.
If you can cease and reframe pessimistic language in that context, it creates a more optimistic mindset.
The most commonly used pessimistic words in business emails include: bad, canceled, cautionary, challenges, complaint, concern, conflict, difficult, error, fail, and impossible.
Step 2 - Identify a few recent emails you wish you hadn't sent.
We've all sent emails where our recipient reacted poorly, angry replies flew back and forth, and maybe we even had to pick up the phone to resolve the issue.
Often, the root of email blow-ups is pessimistic language. Look at those emails you wish you hadn't sent and find those negatively-charged words.
Step 3: Once you've found those emails and identified the words, rewrite the email and make your point without pessimistic language.
Even though you're not going to resend the email, it's a critical skill to be able to communicate with a more optimistic framing.
For example, imagine I wrote an email that said, "It's going to be impossible for us to make this deadline if we don't hit this new milestone." Is there a way to rewrite that email, communicating that we are falling behind on the deadline without using the word "impossible?"
Instead, you could say: "Here are the steps we need to achieve to meet this deadline," or "Can we assess where we're at on the deadline and ensure we're on the same page?"
These examples still address the deadline but are doing so without negatively-charged pessimistic language like "impossible," which can damage our optimism.
This exercise takes a bit of work, but it's necessary to break our use of that pessimistic language so we can begin developing a more optimistic flow of automatic thoughts.
Having more optimism won't just improve your career satisfaction. Optimism can also help reduce a person's stress and increase longevity, which, in turn, leads to lower levels of worry and anxiety. These are benefits that every one of us could use.
Originally written by Mark Murphy
Edited by Houston Hawley, Vice President of Operations