Optimism and The Dakota Way

Optimism and The Dakota Way


“Optimism is an activating force that fuels us, even when faced with the most overwhelming obstacles, to envision a promising future and to pursue compelling goals.”​
~ Danita Bye


​​My dad dealt with quite a few stalled and stuck tractors over the years on the TTT Ranch where I grew up. Even so, he never made excuses, never blamed anyone or anything, and, most importantly, never gave up on the stuck tractor. He carefully assessed the less-than-ideal predicament and went straight into problem-solving mode.

Dad always found that the simple fact of being stuck, whether  literally or metaphorically, was no match for the internal resources at his disposal. My dad’s attitude toward adversity was one of hopeful realism.The world seems to be filled conflict, confusion, chaos, and challenge! The problem is these situations sometimes cause us, and especially our emerging leaders, to lose clarity and hope. A courageous character core generates optimism.

Why is realistic optimism important? Researchers tell us that high morale is tied to high creativity, high productivity, better critical thinking, and better decision making. This is not a rose-colored-glasses brand of optimism. Don’t worry, be happy, doesn’t quite cut it.True optimism is to be keenly aware of the issues at hand, and yet making a deliberate choice to stay positive. No matter what is happening around you, focusing on solutions is key.

Activate Optimism is the fourth action step in our acronym to cultivating a courageous core in Next Gen Leaders. Optimism is an activating force that fuels us, even when faced with the most overwhelming obstacles, to envision a promising future and to pursue compelling goals.

Tips to help you inspire today’s emerging leaders to nurture healthy Optimism:


Tips to help you inspire today’s emerging leaders to nurture healthy Optimism:
Optimistic leaders, r
emind Millennials that their resources are greater and they are more flexible than the adverse conditions they face. Do this by sharing from your wealth of personal experience in overcoming daunting challenges.

Encourage emerging leaders to:

  • See humor in life. Healthy, wholesome laughter is like a multi-vitamin for our souls. Really! Research reveals the endless benefits of laughter. Encourage your young leaders to build it at work and home.
  • Take a few deep breaths. Cope with chaos and uncertainty in a non-anxious manner.  (The alternative is a knot in your stomach, shortness of breath, and other physical and emotional side effects.) That seems easier said than done, doesn’t it?  Take a few deep breaths, and if necessary, remove yourself from the source of chaos and conflict so you can think clearly and calmly.
  • “See” the good outcome even before it happens by visualizing how the problem is solved.
  • Focus on the truth. Chase fear away by realizing that it’s false evidence appearing as real. Focus on today’s truth, not on tomorrow’s uncertainty.
  • Hang with the right crowd: Surround yourself with other optimistic people, who energize you. Limit exposure to people who drain you.

Optimistic people know their hard work will produce positive results. This energy quickly spreads to those around them and their environment becomes motivating and inspiring. This is precisely the kind of mindset we want to instill in future leaders. Then they will be able to creatively deal with conflict, confusion, chaos, and challenge and advance your business growth strategies.

Dakota Way Leadership question: How do you stay optimistic when everything around you feels chaotic and many people are pessimistic?

Dakota Way Leadership lessonOptimism drives creativity, productivity, and critical thinking—all essential qualities for your business growth and succession strategies.

© Copyright Danita Bye, 2016

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