Survival of the Optimists

Small to mid-size businesses are aware that the damage to our economy from the recession was severe, and the process of rebuilding would take time. We’ve proceeded with caution long enough. In 2012, it’s time to get optimistic!

Several surveys released indicate business optimism is on the rise and the confidence amongst business leaders continues to slowly build. This is a reassuring sign that businesses now feel in a more confident position; that they have weathered the worst, and are holding tight for an expected upturn in the economy.

The economy is cyclical and after every recessionary period comes an expansion period in the business cycle. Optimists see the recession as a forest fire that clears out dead brush, making room for new growth. I personally believe that tough times create opportunities to reach further, learn more, and find a whole new world of possibilities.

I believe that our attitudes in 2012 will be extremely important to our success. We must exude a sense of confidence, optimism, focus, and a belief in the human capacity to meet new challenges. A deficit of optimism has much to do with why the US economy has not recovered as quickly as it should.  There’s no question, as business owners become more optimistic, it will help propel the economy in a forward direction. Small to mid-size businesses are at the heart of the U.S. economy and optimism on their part may just help boost us out of the snail’s pace growth.

Businesses that prosper are the ones that look for the aspects of their business that are going well, or likely to improve, despite the current struggles. To make progress, we need to be able to imagine alternative realities – better ones – and we need to believe that we can achieve them.

Every study clearly shows that productivity and attitude will improve when leadership demonstrates optimism.  As business leaders, we must find a “realistic” silver lining by remaining optimistic, and strive to get our companies to the light at the end of the tunnel. By being optimists, leaders can provide the hope, energy and strength needed to carry on.

“Optimism is faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence. … No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to unchartered land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit”.  ~ Helen Keller

I firmly believe that pessimism gets in the way of productivity. There is a lot to be gained by cultivating an optimistic outlook. Optimism is an emotional competence that can help boost productivity, enhance employee morale, overcome conflict and have a positive impact on the bottom line. The overall success of any company is taken to newer heights when its corporate culture is one of optimism despite any circumstances.

We must face the future with hope and optimism rather than with fear and cynicism. Being an optimist is a choice business leaders must be willing to make. As leaders, our job is to steer and inspire. Business   leaders that remain optimistic provide the real fuel for our enduring financial success as a nation. By delivering words of hope, we contribute to a more robust economic recovery.

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP


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