“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

 “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

– Helen Keller, author, activist and lecturer

One of the factors most associated with success in a coaching relationship is optimism. Perhaps one reason for this is that optimists see setbacks as temporary and summon the courage and tenacity to stay the course toward their goals. Pessimists, on the other hand, tend to see setbacks and failures as more permanent, and often give up far too soon with “what’s the use?” or “it’s far too difficult.”

Keller was faced with major life obstacles: she was deaf and blind from the age of 19 months. But she became the first deaf and blind person to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and she was an activist for women’s suffrage and workers’ rights, and many other progressive causes. She even published 12 books during her lifetime.


If you would like to exercise your optimism muscle, consider one of the following resources:

Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness, both by Martin Seligman

Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar (a well known professor at Harvard)

#7: “I long to accomplish a great and noble task…”

“…but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as if they were great and noble.”

– Helen Keller

People know me as a bit of a junkie for anything to do with personal growth and development. I encourage my clients to reach for the highest heights, realize their visions, and turn their dreams into reality.

And yet life doesn’t always look this way. We all have chores to do, meals to prepare, beds to make, even, for me, cat litter to clean up.

This quote helped me not to struggle with the seemingly small and menial tasks of life. At the end of each day, when I shift from being a business leader and coach that top people come to, I clean the kitty litter, change the water, and make sure the cats’ world is OK.

I could pay someone else to do that for me – but I find some nobility, honor, and humanity in serving these little creatures.


Where can you shift your perspective and find nobility and greatness in your small, daily tasks? It’s easy to think that the drudgery isn’t our “real life” … but we need to find that nobility in the day-to-day.

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