“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” – Bill Vaughan
Much to the relief of a lot of people, 2020 is gone. However, as one leader put it to me a few days ago, so far 2021 hasn’t been much better. We still have uncertainty, we still have a global pandemic, we still have all the things that made 2020 stressful. And we will for a while.
One of the things that we all need to remember is that even when we’re surrounded by chaos, there are still things that we can control. We can control our work ethic. Not just that we work hard, but that we work on things that matter, and don’t just hide behind trivial work that makes us feel comfortable.
The other thing we control is our attitude. No matter what you’re faced with in a given day, you are not legally required to believe that things are hopeless. You are allowed to choose the belief that you have the opportunity to make change and make a difference.
As we start a new year, there are going to be countless things that happen that are confusing, concerning, disturbing, and just plain frightening. There always are. Right now it feels like there are more of those than ever, but they’ve always been there.
Every day, you’re going to have to decide what you’re going to believe about that day. The challenges you’ll face will be real, and not always of your own making. Will you believe that those challenges are insurmountable? Will you believe that there’s nothing you can do about them, so you might as well submit to a future dictated by someone or something else?
Or will you believe that you can change your own future? Will you believe that you can change the future of your organization, and the impact it has on your people, your customers, and your community?
I’m not suggesting that you be oblivious to the barriers you face. I’m not suggesting you be intentionally naïve. But don’t assume that making an honest assessment about the present means giving in to it. You can choose whether to retreat or attack. One option guarantees defeat. The other holds out hope for victory. You decide.