Realistic v Fake Optimists in Life, Sales, and Service Roles

The difference between realistic optimists and fake optimists is obvious.

Realistic optimists understand and don’t shy away from the reality that life isn’t always easy, kind, fun or positive.

Judge me as you will, but I can’t stand fake optimists, and yet, I know at times in my life, I’ve unintentionally been one!

Fake Optimists

Fake optimists are the ones who always put a positive spin on everything. They’re the ones who live in hope and often talk things up, but don’t really live up to their talk.

They’re the ones who tell people who are suffering to ‘stay strong’ … ignoring the reality that this other person is just surviving in moments of despair. Strength isn’t what they need …

I first learned of the term ‘Toxic Positivity’ during my Master of Science degree in Applied Positive Psychology. Basically you’re practicing toxic positivity if you’re avoiding, suppressing, or rejecting difficult emotions (often wrongly referred to as ‘negative emotions’) or experiences.

A note of caution here, as some psychologists dismiss the notion of toxic positivity because the term could persuade or influence people in ways that could impede resilience or further emotional issues.

However, we all need to be mindful of how we personally handle difficult times in our lives and how we support others going through difficult times in their lives.

OK, that’s heavy, and important.

However, I want to quickly switch lenses for a moment and talk about the problem of fake positivity and fake optimism at work – especially as it relates to sales and service roles.

As I’ve just mentioned, I know there have been times in my business life where I’ve been a fake optimist … talking up the opportunities … talking up my pipeline of potential sales … talking up success.

The problem was my thoughts and actions were misaligned with my fake optimistic words.

The outcome … poor sales results!

So, if you’re in a sales or service role, or leading others in sales or service roles, this is just a reminder that it’s our actions that create our results … not our thoughts and not our words.

Despite the book titles like ‘Think and Grow Rich’, and ‘Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude’ or self-help notions like the Law of Attraction (believe it can be true and will be) etc., positive thinking and fake optimism without appropriate marketing and sales activities will not result in winning more new, repeat and referral business.

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