Optimism Skill: Set Your Intent

Close up of old English dictionary page with word intentional

I read Brian’s post about intention based resolutions this morning – the morning of Christmas Eve, 2020. Two things struck me. First, what a great idea. Without purposely following the format Brian outlines, I spent a year developing the habit of curiosity (as opposed to immediately falling into the response of ego driven judgment). Am I perfect at avoiding judgmental responses? No. But I land on the side of curiosity over half the time, and it has made my life better, lighter and more joyful.

My second thought about Brian’s post: everyone I know is focused on New Year’s resolutions and saying goodbye to 2020 waaaaaayyyy earlier than normal. In a week and a few hours, the world will be living in 2021. Will everything magically be great? No, I don’t think so. Will 2021 be better than 2020? I am choosing to be optimistic, and making choices to fuel that spark of optimism.

I needed some motivating thoughts, and good news. Normally, I would be spending this evening with my family; it is Christmas Eve. It should be a night of extended family gift exchanges, Christmas time drinks that are mixed a little too strong, familial harassment and well-worn family stories. It is also my parents’ 54th wedding anniversary.

In light of the context, I needed a little more distraction tonight while making dinner than my regular cooking dance party. I pulled up some TED talks. I was encouraged by Amy Edmondson’s talk How to Lead in a Crisis. Although I’m optimistic about 2021, I think as a world we all need the skills of both: a) optimism and b) leading in a crisis. One of Edmondson’s points is that leaders in a crisis do not have all the data, they do not have all the information. Sometimes the way forward is not clear, there has been no one through this territory before to cut a trail or create an exact map.

When what you know is limited, pretending that you have the answers isn’t helpful. Amidst upheaval, leaders must share what they know and admit what they don’t know
We follow this new kind of leader through upheaval,
 because we have confidence not in their map but in their compass

Amy Edmondson https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_c_edmondson_how_to_lead_in_a_crisis/transcript?language=en

This quote reminded me of Brian’s post about New Year’s resolutions. Lead with intent, ditch the map. Let intent be your compass.

Why? Because intention is something we can fully control — how we show up everyday is a choice.

Brian Hackerson

I didn’t know where this entire Optimism Series would land or what I would learn. But as the conversation has evolved I have a clearer picture now. My first post in the series was I Suck at Optimism. And I firmly stand by that post. It didn’t help that the universe (true to form) threw me a curveball. The day I wrote that post was the same day a family pet had to be put to sleep due to advanced health problems.

And now I have a clearer picture of where this series will land for me.

Agile Best Self Principle #2: Welcome change with curiosity.

I’m not only welcoming change with curiosity, I’m inviting change in and asking it to live in my spare bedroom. Will 2021 be easy? No. Do I have a map for 2021? No. Will there be curveballs? Yes. Do I know my intent for 2021? Yes. For me, 2021 is the year of intentional optimism.

Copyright © 2021 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Published by MichaeleBestSelf

Connector, Catalyst.

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