Many of us are excited to see 2020 in the rear view mirror. It certainly has been a year like no other. But how do we approach the upcoming year as an individual and as a leader? The truth is that the world may not change simply because the calendar reflects a new year. What does it mean to look forward with optimism in the midst of difficulty?
It is important to make the distinction between positivity and optimism. Choosing positivity sounds positively wonderful. However, positivity is not the same as optimism, and the difference can impact your ability to lead – especially in times of crisis or change. According to Simon Sinek, positivity is telling ourselves (and others) that everything is good, even if it isn’t. Optimism, on the other hand, accepts reality as it is and looks forward to a brighter future” (Chio, 2020). This is a subtle difference, but an important one.
Ignoring the negative in the name of positivity does not allow you to appropriately address the needs of a situation. Dismissing the feelings that accompany a trying situation to focus on a “positive only” outlook can be disconcerting to those holding these concerns.
Rather than turning a blind eye to the difficulties of a situation, optimism examines the tough realities and chooses to move forward with the belief that you have the power to make change.
So, as we say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to 2021, let us explore all the good and the bad that was 2020. Let us clearly understand the difficult year it has been – both professionally and personally. Then, and only then, let us also move forward to achieve our goals and dreams in spite those difficulties.
Chio. (2020). Simon sinek on the difference between optimism and positivity. Throwingclay.org