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Show notes: Episode 15, Optimism

Optimism, episode 15 of EQ and You, with David Cory and Kim Cairns

Kim and David talk in this fifteenth episode about Optimism. Optimism is the third competency in the Stress Management composite, and the second last episode in our series on the MHS model of EI.

Join us in two weeks for our bonus episode, the 16th episode, on Well-being! Interested in staying up on these broadcasts? You can subscribe to our broadcast reminders.

Optimism is an indicator of one’s positive attitude and outlook on life. It involves remaining hopeful and resilient, despite occasional setbacks.

Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl, 1946

The happy secret to better work, TED, Shawn Achor

“Emotions and Leadership: The Role of Emotional Intelligence”, Jesse H. Jones


Partial Show notes

0:00 Introduction, by David
0:30 David: Remind me again, Kim, why optimism has a bad rap…
2:00 Kim: [Laughs] Yes, I think over the years, optimism has sometimes been seen in opposition to reality testing. Optimism is seen, wrongly, as rose coloured glasses. In fact, I like to see optimism as relying heavily and working in congruence with reality testing
4:20 David: Yes. We have a choice about how we think about things. It’s a very difficult thing to wrap our heads around sometimes. But we have a choice about how we frame the situations we find ourselves in. Looking for good in bad situations, is a choice… there’s an interesting connection between optimism and hope… life can serve up very dismal, very dark contexts. How do we remain positive? How have you and I become, and remained, positive…
6:50 Kim: I’ve been very lucky to have solutions-oriented mentors and role models. Nurture is huge. Getting guidance and learning to work through difficult situations is huge… self-talk can be very diminishing here… optimism is often just knowing one’s self, and having an understanding of one’s own capacities…

9:20 David: Humans are also, genetically, a very resilient species. So there’s nature as well as nurture. So we can tap into our “hardware” for optimism too… while we all have that, we all have it at different levels. If we keep getting shut down we way lower our sights and our expectations. We may all have a set-point for optimism. And we balance optimism with other capacities, like reality testing…
11:35 Kim: Leaders have a lot of pressure to have all the answers. I love working with people who make the shift into having optimism about other people’s capacities and ability to solve problems and have answers… support groups often guide people’s optimism. People can see growth and movement and relief for others…
13:00 David: Optimism is a huge factor for leadership. Optimism and enthusiasm are an important part of teamwork and working together… Good team players rely on the optimism of others to keep them going and positively framing situations… optimism is a very attractive quality in humans…
15:30 Kim: I personally find immense optimism at just being able to step back and review the fifteen dimensions of the EQ-i model of EI. I can fan optimism for myself and my situation by reviewing my emotional operating system and review my choices and behaviours. It’s a kind of liberation…

Being authentic is huge. – Kim Cairns  Tweet This!

17:20 David: Yes. The fundamental idea that we can improve the learned part of our EI is optimistic. Just knowing that EI is a series of skills and traits that one can develop, is optimistic. It’s part of what we love about the work we do… one danger is thinking that wishing is optimism, when it’s not. That’s part of what gives optimism a bad name.
20:10 Kim: [Laughs] Yeah, and there’s sometimes a mode that learners get in, that they want to be masters of emotional intelligence. But it can take time, focus and practice and process …
22:00 David: We’re all on this journey. We sometimes expect someone in a higher management role or a supervisory role to be further ahead in this, and it can be a mistake… one reasonable technique is simply to disclose and be authentic about your high or low optimism. Saying “I’m a little low on optimism today, and I may need some help seeing the bright side” can be a nice device.
23:50 Kim: Being authentic is huge. Being seen as leading the cheer leading squad can hurt your credibility…
25:00 David: False optimism, or shallow optimism is not helpful. Authenticity is key… Victor Frankl is an inspiring example of the power of choosing hope, and optimism in absolutely terrible conditions…
27:40 Kim: I recommend Frankl’s writings and especially Man’s Search for Meaning… Get in touch! We have one more episode!
29:00 David: Yes, we originally thought this would be the fifteenth and last in this series, but we’re going to have a sixteenth episode in two weeks, on well-being!

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