One Question Away From Optimism
You can’t lead if you aren’t dissatisfied. Every new beginning begins with dissatisfaction. If the present is satisfactory, you have nowhere to go. A preferred future stands on an un-preferred present.
Dissatisfaction is easy, optimism is necessary.
Seeing the light dimly:
Things come together at the strangest times. During dinner with the CFO of a nationally known and recognized organization, it clicked for me. We were eating tuna at an outside table and I was listening. I don’t remember what he said but what I saw is still with me.
His suit and tie magnified his already military posture. He didn’t smile a lot. He didn’t frown much either. His posture, appearance, and accounting background made me anticipate a dark-cloud conversation.
While we talked problems and challenges, his quiet optimism peaked through. Seeing it back then is still changing me now.
He never minimized problems. But, he always expressed confidence things could be improved. His ability to see problems combined with confidence makes him a leader that changes people. He doesn’t know it, but he changed me.
Negatives to positives:
You’re constantly confronted with negatives. Leaders, however, never get stuck in negatives. You’ll never be great and negative at the same time. Thursday, over coffee, a successful business man told me his secret. “I always ask, ‘How can we turn negatives into positives?’” Interestingly, he doesn’t smile or frown much either.
“We” is necessary. Don’t think you need all the answers. All you need is the confidence you can find a solution.
How can leaders use dissatisfaction rather than getting stuck in it?
How do you turn negatives into positives?
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Luv this Dan! I practice remaining upbeat, for when I am upbeat, I see solutions more quickly…or even better, somebody who has a solution I am looking for, approaches me. The “we” mindset you note 😉
Thanks for sharing!
“You can’t lead if you aren’t dissatisfied.”
I think it was Thomas Alva Edison that said, “Dissent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man, and I will show you a failure.”
Or it could be Jefferson, I am not sure.
Thank you SO much for this Dan. I’ve just started a new managerial position and have been feeling overwhelmed by the negative. Your line “every new beginning begins with dissatisfaction” spoke to me in a very personal way. It wasn’t until the early hours of the morning of a sleepless night that I realised all that I had accomplished in the first week and then the optimism began to return.
You have my best wishes for success in your new role. Thanks for sharing your story and encouraging others.
Dan, Great One!!!!! I agree we don’t need to know all the answers. Great leaders know the right questions. Howie
Every new beginning begins with dissatisfaction. Great thought! This can be used as a tool to evaluate team members drive toward accomplishing goals and visions. If the person is content with the status quo, he lacks the mindset of a leader.
Interesting–but there is a down side to this as well. A misguided sense that things will get better or that we can find a way to make them better can lead to things like Vietnam, Afghanistan and various bubbles over the years, i.e., it’s always gone south before but I’m smarter than the other guys, or it’s different this time.
Very well done, Dan. This one resonated.
I do hope it’s acceptable to juxtapose the optimistic focus on problems with lots of smiles and laughs. It can be a lot of fun kicking the snot out of problems.
I love the quote posted by ldsrr91.
Great opening line Dan. Very timely and appropriate. I’m in the process of implementing some restructuring in my organization and this will help to articulate the “why” which seems to always be the hang up for most people. “A preferred future stands on an un-preferred present”. Thanks for sharing.
Awesome post, Dan. I work with a group of “optimists” that fear questions, yet as you so succinctly tell us, questions are just as necessary as hope to move as forward. Thanks.
I count daily blessings and what I am grateful for. Faith is born of Gratitude. When I am in Faith, I’m not in fear.
I don’t have a team, but I have a coach; therefore, someone to bounce ideas off of who knows more than I do about the best way to promote my business. It can be very hard to be your own business, because you take on all roles. So even though I don’t fit your model of ‘team’ playing because I don’t actually have a team, (but I do have to be able to work with the public/clients), I thoroughly enjoy your posts because there are people here to encourage me when it gets tough. Thanks.
If “every new beginning begins with dissatisfaction” then I guess I’m in the right place. It does have to get better, because too much dissatisfaction becomes weary. When you are collecting salary, you have room for mistakes because you still get paid.
“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change.” Dyer –I keep moving forward.
Unfortunately, I don’t care about finance people optimism. A real leader it is not a CFO, for sure. God forbid these type of people, that only bring misfortune for millions. Of course they are optimistic guys, they live their lives getting from the others.
However, I agree with the lesson of transforming bad on good.
I believe that every negative statement is hiding a positive wish. If we don’t like the way things are it is because we have a vision of how things could be better. Instead of dwelling on the negative, ask people for their vision of what could be.
I like that, Bonnie. Thanks.
Thanks – this was just the message I needed. I love your feed!
positivity combined with perseverance can surely make a lot of difference.
Good, better, best; never let it rest until you good is better and your better is best. Simple but guides me everyday and produces optomism in our customers.
Hi Dan- I think what is key also is having a support network- I feel blessed to have this both professionally and at home. That gives me the added confidence needed to face any problem. It may be a good excuse also to know that if I fail I am still supported.
Nicely said Amy. I love the truth of your statement for two reasons. First, having people in our corner lifts us. Second, because we know it works in our own lives, we can be the corner-people for others, too. Cheers, Dan
Love this message! I’m going to share this with some of the job seekers I’m helping. Many are dissatisfied and are drowning in those feelings. Your words may help some see being dissatisfied can just as easily empower them as demotivate them.
Personally, I’m always on the lookout for improvement, but in doing that, I don’t necessarily feel dissatisfaction (though sometimes I do). These days, I find that I simply enjoy looking for improvement. Interestingly, I find that this keeps me so busy, that I rarely have time for dissatisfaction (smile).
Sometimes my search for improvement dead-ends, or I hit an unexpected roadblock—now THERE’S dissatisfaction.
When that happens, there’s a need for quick pivot of attitude (as you suggest) towards what can work, or where a solution might come from—or a modification of a desire, or alignment of expectation and/or a rescaling of scope or incremental steps is indicated.
A tricky bit this balance of optimism and “realism,” but too often I find that the mental model of realism includes too much emphasis on what we believe is possible, and not enough consideration, and invitation, for what is outside our ritual or customary resources and thinking.
A good and thoughtful discussion, for sure. 🙂