Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve spies that Moses sent to explore Canaan, came back and reported that the land was good and that the Israelites could go in and take possession of it. The other ten wanted to turn tail and run. Joshua was optimistic because he trusted in the Lord. He had been mentored and discipled by a person of deep faith, Moses.
Optimism is an activating force. It invigorates us when we face overwhelming obstacles, in our personal or professional lives. It helps us to envision a promising future and pursue compelling goals.
Optimism is a confident belief, or mind-set, that expects good outcomes even when facing tough circumstances. This is not a rose-tinted-glasses brand of optimism. A true optimist is aware of the issues at hand, and yet makes a deliberate choice to stay positive and trust in God.
How do you mentor optimism? Here are a few insights.
See humor in life. I love what Solomon said. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT). Show your own ability to find humor, even amid a tense and difficult situation.
Cultivate gratitude. When your emerging leader is stuck, it’s easy for them to focus on what’s discouraging. However, the more exercise they give their brain in being grateful, the more they can defeat hopelessness and see God’s hand at work in their lives. Invite them to create a gratitude journal and commit to recording at least three things in the journal each day.
Stay connected. This enables us to remain optimistic that we’ll reach a positive outcome, through the mental and emotional support or active assistance of one or more people around us.
In the book The Happiness Advantage, the author affirms this point, “Researchers have found that the ‘physiological resourcefulness’ that employees gain from positive social interactions provides a foundation for workplace engagement—employees can work for longer hours, with increased focus, and under more difficult conditions.”
Remind your millennial leader to reach out for help! The conditions we face are often beyond the scope of our abilities, but not beyond the scope of our mentors, church, or God.
When you mentor a character core that includes optimism, your disciple can develop greater optimism and faith and be a Godly influence on others in their life.