After the Phillies had just surrendered 3 runs to the Colorado Rockies last night at the bottom of the 8th inning, erasing a 1-run Phillies lead, Jayson Werth had what you might consider an irrational thought:
“I came running off the field feeling that we were going to win the game,” Werth said, as quoted in Phil Sheridan’s sports commentary in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.
“In the dugout, everybody was on the same page,” he continued. “Everyone was calm — cool calm and collected. We knew what we had to do.”
Werth’s comments reflect the essense of optimism: When things are going wrong, optimists count on their own skills, pluck and guile to get them through it. They remain calm when others get flustered, and they believe that they can succeed, even against what seem like daunting odds.
Corporate leadership in difficult economic times is no different than being down by a few runs with just one more chance to turn it around.
Optimists tend not blame themselves for tough situations. They see them as temporary, not permanent. And they tend to put them in perspective (“that was a bad inning”) instead of generalizing them beyond the situation (“we’re a lousy team with bad luck”).
The entire team felt that way: Everyone believed they could win.
Anxiety is infectious. So is calm. When leaders demonstrate the ability to stay focused even when things seem dire, it shows others how to act.
It’s also easier to think clearly and productively when you’re not overwhelmed by emotions.
So, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the top of the 9th, or the beginning of the 4th quarter of the business calendar: Optimistic action is a key ingredient to overcoming the odds.