“What is wrong with this picture?” I asked myself. Why were the people I was coaching not seeing how easy it would be for them to achieve their goals? I felt like I was dragging them up a hill toward the very things they’d claimed they wanted.
I wished they could see their brilliant selves through my eyes.
That experience was over two decades ago, before I had formal coach’s training. Now I know how to meet the client where they’re currently standing and assist them in moving forward at a pace that feels comfortable for them.
I naturally default into thinking that everything is possible for anyone if they believe in what they say they desire.
People who don’t know me well sometimes think I am inauthentic because they don’t think I could possibly be telling the truth about all the things I love in life. They say I’m just giving compliments to be kind and that I say I love too many people. What?!
My mom is the same way. She thinks just about everyone is great! But do we just have our heads in the clouds? Are we being realistic with so much optimism?
Maybe, maybe not. Let me first make the distinction between optimism and denial. Optimism is about having confidence that there will be a positive outcome about whatever the topic is. Denial happens when you’re unwilling to face what is already happening and it’s getting worse fast.
I have experienced denial before that was covered up with faux optimism.
I was in a relationship that I knew in my gut didn’t feel right. I thought, “It is not normal to be this stressed out.” But then I kept thinking, “What if I really work on myself and learn to communicate better? Maybe then my mate won’t rage.”
No matter how I twisted myself up, my mate became more detached from the world around him. My friends and family later told me that they had tried to tell me he was bad news, but I wouldn’t listen. This, my friends, was denial.
Now, let’s go back to true optimism. In his book Happiness, Matthieu Ricard gives a great description of the benefits of being an optimist. He says that these types of people see obstacles as a temporary situation. They are confident that they will figure out a way to get to the desired outcome. They are committed to finding solutions. They tend to set higher goals, so that even those who fall short of the original goal are still ahead of the folks who didn’t believe it was possible and didn’t begin.
People who do not think that a goal is achievable won’t be very passionate as they move forward. They’ll make an attempt to make it work, but they do not stand in conviction of their success.
Pessimists think, “Why bother?”
Optimists are totally inspired and make the impossible possible. They take into consideration the facts and choose the route that feels best. They don’t take no as a concrete answer.
Being in possibility keeps your mind open to new information. Trusting your internal wisdom will help guide the way whenever the world around you says your idea is crazy. Just because it seems as though an optimist may not be grounded, don’t make assumptions. They know exactly where they are going and like to have a good time getting there.
Try it, you’ll like it.