Having a conversation with one of my clients recently, we tackled a judgment she had on herself about being a pessimist.
This is for you, and anyone else who may be judging themselves in a similar way.
While going for a job interview, she – lets call her ‘Sam’ – was coming across as effervescent, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, capable and…well bubbly. (Definitely not the way she would describe herself.) Everything this company wanted for their new role, as well as the technical and creative skills required she had, and was delivering it in the interview. She got the job. Congratulations ‘Sam’!
After leaving the interview and thinking about the role ‘Sam’ then stressed she may have misrepresented herself. After all, how she can come across that way all the time? She started to judge herself as being less than suitable. Compared to whom? I asked. She started comparing herself to her sister who she considers very optimistic. ‘Sam’ started to devour self-help books looking for answers on how to change herself to be more like her sister before she started her new job.
In her perception she was a pessimist and couldn’t see any benefits to that trait.
We first looked at where she was not a pessimist and was actually optimistic. (No one can be a pessimist all the time.) For ‘Sam’ this was towards her future and what she wanted, what she was planning, setting goals and taking action towards, and saving for. She also interviewed for a role that was going to stretch her and got the role.
We then looked at all the benefits to being a pessimist. For the role that she now has, she realizes that a healthy dose of pessimism is vital otherwise she will come across as this person who has no way to measure, test and evaluate her performance. Sometimes when you are overly optimistic you can constantly chop and change onto the next best thing without fully finishing one thing fully. She would probably not listen to her co-workers. There would be no trust when hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on projects. She realized that by just being herself, with the ability to activate both sides of her personality with this trait, she will actually be very well suited to her new role.
It’s really wise to ask how is ………(fill in the blank with something that you’re judging yourself for) a benefit or service to you. Remember there is nothing random in the Universe at all…nada; nil…so there has to be a reason for it. So rather than judge it and you, wouldn’t it be better to see how this supposedly negative side to yourself is serving you and your life.
Like my friend ‘Sam’ the self-titled pessimist – she now realizes that there are just as many benefits being pessimistic as there are being optimistic.
The detail that she will have to envision for her new role requires a problem solving and pessimistic mind at times. Being able to think ahead and look at all the potential problems that can happen in her course of work will allow her team members to have more confidence in her. She has optimism to get the job done. But she can evaluate and calculate all the potential obstacles to any job by allowing herself to have and use both traits.
A trusted employee who has the potential to be optimistic about a project, and pessimistic enough to look for all the obstacles and challenges that may come up, sounds like someone that can be relied upon to do a brilliant job for her new company. Good luck ‘Sam’.
Have a pessimistic and optimistic week.