Optimism is a key tool of leadership. Why? Because it creates energy in yourself and others, helping people to focus on moving forward rather than retracting in despair.

But the word “optimism” tends to feel a little bit forced these days; it sounds like maybe it’s something you’re either born with or not.

So I’m working on building my intentional positivity.

What does it look like?

First, it’s about recognizing and celebrating any positive things that happen. A great meal. Something that actually happened the way you wanted it to. Someone who lifts up your spirits for even a few seconds.

The second thing is asking, “How could I interpret this in a positive way?” It’s the glass-half-full versus glass-half-empty mindset. For instance, I was a part of a networking meeting recently with just three people. I could have gotten depressed, but in fact being a small group meant we could dig a lot deeper and have a more meaningful conversation.

The third thing is to pay attention to what you immerse yourself in, particularly news and social media. Right now, these can be intensely negative, so it might be best to ration your intake of stressful information. And replace it with things which are positive for you: family, nature, music, whatever.

This is about managing your own mindset, yes. But it’s also about who you are as a leader. When you are positive yourself, you’ll help your team to be more positive. Energetic. Creative.

That’s what we all want, right?