Use the Power of Optimism as a Leadership Power to Spread Good Cheer and Uplift Others
Can a smile and cheerful attitude change the world?
Your snap response might be “no.” But though a simple smile might not end wars or eliminate climate change on its own, your cheerful countenance could change the world by simply helping one person have a better day.
Think about how dogs greet their owners at the end of a day. They act as if you are the most amazing person they’ve ever seen, and they can hardly contain their excitement at being reunited with you.
Even if you’ve had the worst day in the world, you can’t help but be lifted up by their joy. Dogs are the very furry definition of cheer.
You, too, have the ability to lift someone’s spirit and help make their day a little better by practicing the power of optimism. Optimism is a leadership power!
This article is the eighth in a series exploring The Optimist Creed, written by Christian D. Larson, a renowned American New Thought leader, teacher and author. In this article, we’re exploring Promise #8 — “To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.”
Using the Power of Optimism to Improve Your Leadership
Leadership is about transforming ordinary into extraordinary. One simple way that we can demonstrate leadership is by leading other people into better states.
That’s where Principle #8 comes into play.
My recent experience is an excellent example of this principle in practice.
Have you ever had a day where nothing seems to go right? That’s the kind of day I was having recently.
I had a big meeting that day. So when I got up, I decided I was going to wear my favorite pair of pants.
I showered, then got dressed. As I was zipping up my pants, the zipper broke. I was a little frustrated, but realized there was nothing to do at the moment but pick a different pair of pants.
I finished getting dressed and went downstairs to get my cup of coffee, only to realize that I had forgotten to set up the coffee pot the night before. The coffee wasn’t ready — another hiccup in my day.
No problem. I grabbed the carafe so I could make coffee … and accidentally knocked it against the side of the sink when I went to fill it with water. The carafe shattered, eliminating my ability to make coffee at home.
At that point, my frustration was mounting.
All I could think was, “Are you kidding me? Hasn’t enough gone wrong today already?”
I decided I’d swing by Starbucks to get a coffee on my way to the meeting.
I went to the garage, hit the garage door opener … and nothing. The batteries in the opener were dead. So I got out of my car, garage door opener in hand, and went back into the house to replace the batteries.
Batteries replaced, I was able to open the garage door and head off to Starbucks. And you guessed it … a line. A long line, in fact.
I had a whisper of worry about being able to make the meeting on time. But I nipped that in the bud, affirming to myself that I had plenty of time.
Then I pulled out my phone and did what most people these days seem to do while standing in a line: I stared at my phone, checking my email and the news headlines, slowly shuffling forward every few minutes.
Then all of a sudden…
I hear a bright and cheerful voice asking, “Good morning! May I take your order?”
I looked up … and it was amazing. Have you ever seen a TV show or movie when everything goes out of focus other than the main person in the shot? That was my experience when I looked up at the barista. She had the most incredible smile on her face and was absolutely radiating good energy. There was a genuine sense of service about her in that moment.
I felt that energy wash over me, and it was transformative. She took my order, and as she handed me my cup of coffee, she gave me a huge smile. And I felt a sense of peace and calm settle over me … a feeling that the whole world was going to be fine. It was such a visceral reminder of the power of a smile and cheerful countenance.
The power of optimism can change a day – and the world – for others. It´s a true leadership power!
The Power of Optimism … “At All Times”?
Principle #8 tells us to wear a cheerful countenance “at all times.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty order for me. There are plenty of times when I really don’t feel cheerful, such as the morning I just told you about.
But as transformational leaders, we have the power to observe our actions and choose different actions when we are not in alignment with how we want to live and lead. Which means that we can practice deliberately putting on a cheerful countenance
Here’s a quick exercise to try. No matter how you’re feeling right now, take a moment and put your face into a smiling expression. Just put it on. You don’t have to feel like you’re cheerful, but you can easily look like it. We can literally with a thought command our face, no matter how we’re feeling, look like you’re feeling good.
Your smile and cheerful countenance will change the energy around you in a way that others can feel. Research has shown that smiling can even trick your brain into feeling happier. So practice smiling!
Share Smiles and Stories
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been touched by the cheer and good mood of another person.
Share your leadership power stories below about how a smile has changed your life – or even how your smile and good mood has impacted another person.