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Can You See Yourself as an Optimist?

Most people know about the Disney amusement parks and movies, but have you heard about how all of that started for Walt Disney? In this blog article by Bruce Jones on Leadership Lessons from Walt Disney: Choose Optimism he details some of the early situations that occurred. Reading through his story and how he handled what could have been seen as a failure is really a learning opportunity. Being able to take a difficult situation and shift your mindset to see it in a positive way is not easy. But Walt made it seem easy. He didn’t let the defeat overshadow what he really wanted. He jumped back in with both feet and made it happen.

A few quotes from the article that hit home with me were:

  • “Every leader is telling a story about what he or she values in the way they behave. When leaders choose to be positive in the face of intense adversity, the story tends to be widely shared, and often repeated.”
  • “Walt Disney’s leadership legacy teaches us all that, while there are many qualities of great leadership, optimism is certainly one that can make a dramatic and lasting impact.”

Being able to shift your mindset to take a negative situation and put a positive spin on it is definitely not easy. I have used an exercise in classes that I have taught where I ask the class to think of a negative situation and then have them give me 5 positives from that situation. It is a fun exercise to do and just gets people thinking differently. Doing this regularly starts to shift your thinking and is a good way to start seeing everything in a more positive way.

Special thanks to Lynelle Thompson for recommending this article to me. If you have a favorite article on leadership that you would like me to write about, feel free to forward it to me!


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