Understanding optimism is important to elevating your performance. Finally, the power of feelings and emotions are beginning to be openly discussed within the context of science, business, and leadership. Historically, the term "touchy feely" has been used to dismiss important aspects of ourselves that we were not comfortable dealing with. We perform at our best when we approach performance from a holistic perspective.

We human beings are an 'eco-system'. We are not just a mind in a body. We also have spiritual and emotional aspects to ourselves. Optimism points to the important role that feelings play alongside our intellect in making decisions that influence our future performance - in all areas of our life. Optimism is an attitude that chooses to look for the good in situations, with positive feeling. So how do I define optimism as it relates to performance?

Optimism is not about denial of current reality; it's about the resiliency to rise to life's challenges with faith, hope, and courage.

Often when I hear the discussion of optimism there is a connotation of ignoring the facts. There is an implication that one is looking through rose-colored glasses. There is a type of cynicism or stigma that if one is optimistic, they must have their head in the sand. No, I disagree. I'm an optimist, and I know that this attitude has elevated my performance over the years, and it is not because I pretend that there are not roadblocks or challenges.

Quite the contrary; optimism allows me to look right at the scary issues, stand my ground with composure, and stay open to insightful solutions to overcome them. We need to stop 'facing reality' as the pessimists do. I assess the situation that I am currently in and address what needs to be immediately addressed, but I divert my intention and attention to solving the problem, not continuing to 'face it' and talk about it. That is where negative attitudes and pessimists fall down in performance; they need to stop facing reality so much and focus on finding new solutions. Besides, as Einstein said, "Reality is an illusion; albeit a persistent one."

It tends to be persistent because we keep our focus on 'it' instead of envisioning our new future reality and changing our current behaviors. We are more likely to find new intuitive insights when we are not worried. We are more likely to have more energy and vitality when we are not being drained by our fears. We are more likely to behave as likable people when we are upbeat, joyful, and embracing the challenges of life instead of dreading them. This is all about mindset. Optimism and pessimism are mindsets. Mindset impacts your performance.

In summary, optimism:
1. Is a choice
2. Can be developed
3. Is determined by how you focus your intention and attention
4. Builds resiliency
5. Is based in faith, hope, and courage - not fear

Performance is not just about 'doing'; 'Being' powerfully impacts it - your attitudes, beliefs and values. Activity is not the same as productivity. Learn to slow down and tap into the power of positive emotions and understanding how mindset impacts your behavior. You are a spirit with emotion, an intellect, and a body - you need to address your whole self if you want to perform at your best. Optimizing your whole self optimizes your performance.

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at http://www.ValenciaRay.com.