Learn Optimism and trash Helplessness
Here are 3 tips to turn the corner from feeling Helpless to Optimism
Imagine, you are at work pitching a great idea and you hear:
"we tried that before", "yeah right, that will never happen", "management will never buy into that"
That’s a tough defeating moment, because of #LearnedHelplessness
Now, imagine you are at home, your child is sharing a fantastic idea
“Let’s make soup in the hot tub!” Once you stop laughing...How do you respond?
Finnish Country Sauna’s Stan Henerson, Ida Gianopoulos, Barbara Henerson and Japhy’s Josh Solomon brew some savory stew. TMc | Eye
Likely, you aren’t so blunt as your coworkers. Of course not, you smiled and tried to hear the logic and work through the ‘Soup-er opportunity'.
a classic example, LEARNED HELPLESSNESS
What is this psycho-babble? Here is a quick video (1:36) for some context. Essentially, that feeling of powerlessness you get in a situation that makes you feel like you cannot succeed or make change happen. You know, that time last week when a Co-worker or Leader shot down your idea without hearing it out or gaining understanding. They reinforced (almost always by accident) that suggesting new ideas is a risk you shouldn't take.
Own your outlook, LEARNED OPTIMISM
So when these professional situations happen, you need to learn from them. Here are my 3 tips of things that all of us can do to avoid that powerless feeling, understand others and have a realistic view of situations and keep your mojo working for you.
- That peer didn't intend to be defeatist. More likely they are trying to expedite the conversation. See, they perceive that this is a lesson they learned, and want to save you the time in learning. You could ask follow-up questions, gain their knowledge and challenge assumptions. After all, a lesson 5 years ago may not be the same today. Borrow from them and challenge norms.
- Plan a little further ahead. It doesn't have to be a slide show or anything fancy. Just take a few seconds and anticipate 2-3 questions and your reply to each. You could work your replies to into your pitch. This can avoid any misunderstandings or assumptions others make.
- We are all Leaders at some point. As an Informal Leader in a meeting, or a Formal Leader with a Team we play a unique role to create the culture we want to work in. You could set a new tone; there are many polite ways to address these situations and support people to take appropriate risks. After all, if we want to empower Employees to meet promises to Stakeholders and Customers. In the end, no one can settle for doing new things in old ways. Here is a set of 8 techniques for all Leaders: Overcoming Learned Helplessness in the Workplace (Juarez, V.)
Check out this brief video (4:44) on how to make a shift towards #LearnedOptimism.
So go ahead, be bold in finding new ways to work. Be wise to help each other overcome that powerless feeling.
- Juarez, V. (2017, November 02). Overcoming Learned Helplessness in the Workplace. Retrieved from https://inspiringhr.com/overcoming-learned-helplessness-in-the-workplace/
- LEARNED OPTIMISM BY MARTIN SELIGMAN | ANIMATED BOOK REVIEW. (2015, June 19). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/2hHNq45rEnU
- Overcoming Learned Helplessness [JPG]. (n.d.). https://collegeinfogeek.com/learned-helplessness/
- What is Learned Helplessness? (2015, October 07). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/87Vuqvp2V7w