Optimism in 202‪1

To kickstart our podcast for 2021, we dive into a full conversation about Optimism and how an optimistic outlook grounded in a sense of reality can help businesses and individuals create a sunnier, healthier and more fulfilled future.

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Christy Mori (00:10):

Welcome to ‘Gears, Action, Growth’, shifting business cultures, one conversation at a time. My name is Christy Mori, and I’m joining Dr. Josephine Palermo whose superpower is to create business cultures that transform organizations team by team. So to kick off the New Year 2021, we have an extra long episode for you and we’ll be chatting about optimism and business. Hope you get value from it.

Christy Mori (00:40):

Happy new years, everybody! We’re back. I hope you’re having a great start of the year.

D Josephine Palermo (00:46)

Happy new year to you too, Christy.

Christy Mori (00:49)

Thanks Jo. I know we’ve seen each other already, so, but for our listeners, thanks so much for hanging in there and yeah, we’ve had a break ourselves, so we’re hoping you guys did the same. But yes, we’re excited to connect with you and definitely want to know where you’re at this 2021. Always use our email at the bottom of the description. And we’d love to just hear from you. So to, I guess it’s already been kick-started, but we thought for our first kind of 2021 podcast, we’re doing the topic of optimism and business. So we hope that you’ll get value from it. But before we start, since we’ve been away for so long, we’re just going to catch up and chat about, you know, what we were doing in the break. So Jo, you were flying off to Queensland?

Dr Josephine Palermo (01:45):

I was because my sister has been in the Gold Coast for the last two years. And so I’ve missed her and her family. And so I took my mum and we flew direct to Queensland, which was lucky because we didn’t have to go through New South Wales on the way back because it was so stressful. I’m sure for so many people with border Southern border closures between Victoria and New South Wales. But we were, we weren’t impacted. But yeah, it was lovely just spending time with family and really just slowing down a lot because it had been really hectic up until then. And it was interesting just slowing down because my whole mind was, and body was kind of fighting against it. I don’t know if you experienced this too, but you know, and we were talking about this a little bit in the last episode around burnout about how that will, the adrenals are kind of just so hot in high alert when you have a, you know, stress and and then when you suddenly slow down, there’s almost like you know a conflict,contrast is a little bit strange and so you, you, you fight against it.

Dr Josephine Palermo (02:57):

But I, I was, it was lovely. I relaxed a lot and, and, you know she lives in the Gold Coast, so a beautiful place to be.

Christy Mori (03:06):

Australia definitely is a great place to be on vacation. So I’m not unhappy that we are stuck here in quarantine. I’m actually just curious to know, I haven’t been on a plane for about a year and I’ve not been to the airport or anything. How was that experience?

Dr Josephine Palermo (03:23):

You know, what? It was pretty good. I mean, most people, you know, I love, I love Australian culture. We are in the main, just such lovely people, really.

Christy Mori (03:31):


Dr Josephine Palermo (03:33):

That’s my optimism (laughs).

Christy (03:35):

Yeah, I agree. I agree. Yeah.

Dr Josephine Palermo (03:37):

Everyone was everyone was wearing a mask doing the right thing in terms of social distancing, wearing a mask on the plane, which was, you know important, which is, you know, uncomfortable, but, you know, important. And just everyone was very patient with each other and giving each other the, you know, the space and the respect that we all need to give to each other during this time. So, and it was, I was expecting maybe some long delays or you know, extra delays, but it wasn’t the case. So it was pretty good. It was, you know, I was really impressed. Yeah.

Christy Mori (04:13):

Yeah. I’m glad to hear it. That’s awesome.

Dr Josephine Palermo (04:15):

What about you, Christy? Did you go away?

Christy Mori (04:18):

Yeah, I’ve been away quite a few times actually, but not all because I’m just lying around in the sun, but well some of it, some of it, yes. So Andrew has the Alpine Challenge here in Melbourne. It’s up in Bright. He’s actually doing it this weekend. So this is his due day. So he was trying to, yeah, Andrew is my husband, everybody for those that don’t know, but yeah.

Dr Josephine Palermo (04:44)

And he’s lovely.

Christy Mori (04:45):

Thanks! It’s, it’s good to find a good spouse. I feel like that’s part of the optimism. I think we had a relationship podcast, I would say, you know, finding your partner in life or spouse is one of the most important things you can do for your optimism. Who you do life with, so, yeah, so he’s been training cause his ride is crazy. People always ask me and I always forget because it’s, so it’s 250 kilometers in a day. Wow. Yeah. So I guess he is really optimistic person, pretty motivated to think like I’m going to do this event to ride 250 kilometers in a day. So I get to just tag along because I’m not a cyclist. Like yeah. I even leisurely cycling kind of like, I don’t really like cycling on the roads and stuff with cars. I don’t know. It just yeah.

Dr Josephine Palermo (05:38):

Yeah me too. You really have a lot of practices, I think.

Christy Mori (05:42):

Yeah. I don’t mind like a, maybe like a seaside leisurely cycle, but apart from that. Yeah. yeah, definitely. So while he was training with his friend and they have a cabin up in Mt Bulla, I think that was my first time there. Have you been there?

Dr Josephine Palermo (06:00):

Oh that’s stunning. Yes. I love it in the winter and summer. It’s a stunning place.

Christy Mori (06:06):

Yeah, right. It does remind me a little bit of back home in Canada where I’m from is Vancouver. So the mountain scenery is pretty rare for me here in Melbourne is kind of hard to kind of see, but it was cool to see up there and lots of farmland and things like that.

Dr Josephine Palermo (06:22):

So it’s so nice to experience Australia through your eyes, Christy, because new people, I mean, I know you’re not new, new, but you’re relatively new to Australia.

Christy Mori (06:33):

So two and a half years. Yeah. Yeah. I love Melbourne as a city. I think it’s one of the best cities probably in the world and the rankings are correct as a city. I think it’s amazing.

Dr Josephine Palermo (06:41):

Yeah. There you go, seal of approval from you.

Christy Mori (06:46):

Yeah, so definitely a great place to be. Yeah, we’re really fortunate. So today we’re going to talk to you, everybody about ‘Learned Optimism’ is where we’re getting our information from, and this is a book by Martin Seligman. And if you’re in psychology, it is known as positive psychology. So he’s very, very famous in that field and beyond. And I actually was glad that Jo sent me one of the articles, cause I was like, Hey, we have this on our bookshelf and it’s not like we have hundreds of books, but this is one of the books we do have as a physical copy because it’s like a very important book and I reread it every year actually. So yeah. So the best thing is that we can all learn to be optimistic and it’s going to help benefit all of us in our lives. So today we’ll be discussing what are the benefits of being optimistic, can optimism be learned and how do we become more optimistic? And there’s an ABC technique that Dr. Seligman touches on. So we’ll, we’ll try to get through it as much as we can, but we are thinking that we might even break the podcast steps. So it’ll be another session as well. Cause it’s a huge topic topic. Yeah. I feel like it’s so good that we could just do our whole, we could just change to business and optimism.

Dr Josephine Palermo (08:15):

We can do the whole year or not, but yeah, Christy, I’m really curious though. Yeah. You have this book on your shelf, right. So where did you, why did you, you know, when did you come about this book and why is it the one that you go to every year? Tell me about that.

Christy Mori (08:34):

Okay. So I, so my husband actually picked this book up and we’re book people. We like love to read and especially in terms of he’s really into self-improvement being an athlete and being a designer. So he’s always, and his personality is extremely motivated, which I, sometimes I’m not. So it’s really good to be married to someone who’s always, you know, trying to better themselves cause it’s, you know, where our core values align. So I remember he picked it up and he said, Hey, have you heard about this? I said, no. He said, we got to get this it’s really, really good. And I ended up reading it first and I thought, Oh, this is so good because it touches on all aspects of our life, not just health or business, it’s just so much of how we go through life and the areas that we can stumble in.

Christy Mori (09:28):

So there’s certain ways of thinking we all have picked up from childhood or in young adult years that we’ve never really corrected, I think. And he does talk about like different scenarios in every parts of life. And I read it every year just because I’m not optimistic 365 days. So yeah, it’s just something I just thought this is so good. And I really yeah, I really want to keep training myself and my own mind so that I can, because if I’m better for myself, then I can be better for other people. And that includes the people who I’m family with friends and also people who I work with, like for you, Jo, as well. Like yeah. If we can always like continue this like level of optimism, then we can also take it to the workplace. So yeah. Very conscientious about that.

Dr Josephine Palermo (10:28):

That’s wonderful. And it, yeah, it it’s, I think that, you know, as, as I keep saying, we bring our whole selves to work, so we, we can never really separate work business and ourselves, it’s all one package. And so, so yeah, it’s, it’s great to be continually working and improving ourselves. And I always say, you know, life is like a it’s, it’s really an experiment and it’s a lifelong learning process. So well done, Christy, Christy and Andrew!

Dr Josephine Palermo (11:00):

Go Christy and Andrew for having learned help, help, help helplessness. That’s another topic

Christy Mori (11:08):

That’s the opposite of what you’re trying to say. I thought you might say Life is like a box of chocolate. That’s why I laughed.

Dr Josephine Palermo (11:13):

I love Forest Gump. That’s one of my favorites!

Christy Mori (11:17):

That’s where it’s from. Yeah. I couldn’t figure it out. I should put it on social media.

Dr Josephine Palermo (11:25):

We will put a link there because Forrest Gump is one of those movies that when you feel like you need a little bit of a kick around, you know, more positive kind of thinking that is the, the, the movie to go to, you know?

Christy Mori (11:38):

Yeah, that’s right. It’s on Netflix, Australia now. I noticed so yeah, if you’re in Australia, you can stream it from Netflix. Yeah. And Netflix, if you’d like to sponsor this podcast, we’d be pretty grateful. That’s right. Yeah. So should we just start with like, what are the benefits of being optimistic? So everyone knows that being optimistic is way better than being the other way, pessimistic, but we don’t always know exactly how it helps us, like in terms of health, for example. Yeah. Optimism and overall health.

Benefits of Optimism

Dr Josephine Palermo (12:15):

Yeah. There’s a lot of benefits to, to optimism and, and, and, you know, I think that before we, we kind of go there, we, we sort of need to talk about what optimism is and optimism is a way of thinking and it’s, it’s it’s almost like a default position that you, you go to in the, in the kind of remuneration in, in the self-talk that you have in your, in your in yourself. And so but particularly the optimistic mindset or the optimistic way of thinking is one where you will usually see you’ll anticipate good things rather than bad things happening in the future. And so and, and that’s, you know at a very basic sort of definitional level. So if you’re, if you think about that, if you’re thinking about anticipating good things in the majority, rather than bad things in the future, that’s going to have benefits to your health, for example, and, and a lot of studies, there’s a lot of research behind this and we’ll put some links in the episode notes around some of the articles that go into it.

Dr Josephine Palermo (13:30):

Yeah. But we know that, you know, people who tend to be more optimistic tend to have, they tend to be more aware of their health status. And so they tend to also then be more informed of, I guess, risk factors and then and they, they approach their health in a, in a more positive way. And so, so they’re, they’re more likely to put in preventative measures or you know, apply certain strategies to, to, to, to prevent ill health. And I think that a lot of the studies show that and, and, you know, the other benefit to something you were alluding to particularly around, you know, Andrew and his sort of, you know elite cycling. Optimism has been linked to motivation in a lot of studies. And, but it’s not just motivation, it’s intrinsic motivation. So intrinsic motivation is that, that motivation that comes from an internal source, you know, cause motivation can actually be driven from like an external source.

Dr Josephine Palermo (14:38):

Like for example, if you are really focused on the rewards, you’re going to get, that’s an external motivation to getting a job done, right. Or, you know, some people for example, might start a business because they know there’s a lot of profit to be made in that particular business. And that’s why they start the business and that’s external motivation. But intrinsic motivation is, is about the, the, the kind of drive that comes from an internal place. It comes from our interests and our values and our, our own beliefs about what we should or could do as individuals. And so that’s much more internally focused and much more goal-focused behavior. And so people who are highly optimistic are more likely to have more intrinsic motivation and therefore they, they’re more likely to work harder and persist at something and endure you know, barriers and endure those stressful circumstances, not give up those kinds of things.

Dr Josephine Palermo (15:39):

So, so it’s, it’s, you know, it has, it’s been linked to intrinsic motivation. And then of course, you know, with all of that, you can sort of see how that can lead to things like success in business, success in career, job satisfaction, you know, all of those things that help us in life to, I guess, lead a more happier sustained meaningful life. So, so optimism is it’s a construct, it’s just a concept. But it’s a nice way of kind of packaging up all of those thoughts that really enhance us. And, and, and kind of put a bit of a stop to those thoughts that, that, you know, I guess deteriorate our performance and our motivation.

Can Optimism Be Learned?

Christy Mori (16:29):

So can optimism be learned is the next question? Yeah.

Dr Josephine Palermo (16:36):

Yeah. And, and, you know, and Martin Seligman did a lot of work in this area and it’s actually luckily something that can be learned, it can be something that’s a characteristic of people. But it’s not fixed. It’s not part of our kind of disposition. And so you actually can learn optimism so you can learn in other words, to see the world differently, to perceive the environment around you differently. And that’s not just with optimism, by the way, it’s with other kinds of I guess ways of thinking, or even characteristics, you know, strengths. So, but, but like anything, if you, if you’re going to learn a new way of thinking or a new way of perceiving the world, it actually takes a bit of practice. And so it takes so, so you can’t just and I guess, you know, I was going to say, you can’t just read a book and then it happens and it’s, and it’s so true to your experience Christy, cause you go back to, to Seligman’s book.

Christy Mori (17:36):

Right? Yeah. Like a often. Yeah.

Dr Josephine Palermo (17:40):

So you’re reinforcing that. You’re reminding yourself, you’re checking in. And I don’t know if there’s strategies you’ve put in place around that, but

Christy Mori (17:48):

Yeah. There’s two things I’m working on. I can share them with everyone. So one of the things I had really noticed, and then what my husband Andrew had noticed was for the last couple of years, since we were married, he like, I use language that is actually quite, what’s the word for it? So things like always, never, is two big ones because sometimes the, that those words are okay use, but it really, if I said like, I, I’m never smart or something like that, that means that I’m completely condemning myself. Or if I say like, Oh, I never do this. Or I never, you know get this or like along those lines, that’s quite negative and absolute. Yeah. Thank you. Absolute thinking. So like to counteract that, like anytime I, now I’m very conscious about, if I say those two words, it’s just two words ‘always’ or ‘never’.

Christy Mori (18:51):

And sometimes when I use them, I’m like, Oh, this is the right context, but I’ll actually either stop myself or I’ll just say, Hey, actually sometimes right. I’ll fix I’ll correct it. Yeah. If I said like never, always in a very negative context, I’ll just say, Oh, actually it might be sometimes or even few times not always. Yeah. So I’ll say that out loud so that I know for myself, like where, so that’s how I I’m fixed, trying to fix that area. And then the next one is probably rumination is a big one. And when I when we say rumination in the book, it says a lot of like thinking, overthinking about past the past, like past circumstances. And sometimes like during COVID basically we had a lot more time, isn’t it? So even if we’re not wanting to think about some weird past experience that it has passed, and we can’t change anything about it, like if I’m sitting still, or trying to do like a meditation, like I’ll have past experiences come and speak to me in ways that are not helpful.

Christy Mori (20:06):

So meditation is another one is like, I will, if I notice I’m ruminating on something and it’s affecting me in an emotional way, I will look at it like, as it’s walking, like as if I’m a passer or a sitting on a bench. And that past experience is just passing by like walking like a walking person in a park. So I’m just sitting on a bench. I just imagined myself sitting on a bench. That’s one of the ways that I learned to kind of counteract it is not get emotionally attached. We don’t sit on a bench or a bus or, and get emotionally attached to people sitting on public transit. So it’s like, they’re just passing by as well. So it’s almost like that’s the technique I use if I’m ruminating on the past and it’s not helpful. It’s good to reflect. I think if it’s pulling me into a direction that I can’t do anything about it, then I just say, well, that’s, that’s the past. And I just think of the lesson of what I learned from it and then just move from it. And,

Dr Josephine Palermo (21:11):

And, and all of that is fabulous. I love that, that you’re very self-aware there and what you’re doing is there’s just a few things you’re doing in terms of strategies. You’re, you’re reflecting. You’re noticing your, your noticing, your thinking. So you’re noticing that rumination and what you’re doing is putting some alternative thoughts in place. So that’s, that’s a really good technique to put those alternative thoughts in place. And sometimes we, we, that’s a great strategy, regardless of whether you believe that alternative thought, you don’t have to believe it. You just have to keep saying that to yourself until you believe it. So I don’t know if you do that Christy in terms of, are you faking it till you make it, but those alternative thoughts, like, hang on. It’s not always, it’s just, sometimes it can, that can actually work for people, regardless of whether they really believe that or not.

Dr Josephine Palermo (22:04):

It’s just the cause. Cause it’s the frequency of the thought that actually causes our beliefs. So you keep saying something to yourself you’re going to, and that’s why people do get into you know, kind of pessimism. And they do get into maybe some darker places because it’s the thoughts that they’re having that got over and over and over again, which actually then spiral and, and we then believe that that’s, that’s true, you know, but really it’s just a thought or it’s just an experience. And that’s what you’re doing again, by sitting on that bench, you’re creating distance and you’re creating perspective and you’re observing yourself from a place of actually compassion because you’re not judging yourself. You’re not getting overly emotional about what you’re seeing. You’re just accepting. And that’s actually about that compassion because part of compassion is also, you know, you’re, you’re wanting to change and do something about it. So, so well done. So you’re doing, you’re putting all those things in place and there’s lots of, kind of, I guess, psychological processes that are behind that and, and really drive why those things are working for you. So well done. Well done.

Christy Mori (23:21):

Well, we’d like to, we’d also like to know if our listeners have challenges in these areas and if you guys some of this stuff will resonate with you, obviously. So yeah. Let us know. We would love to know actually.

Dr Josephine Palermo (23:36):

Yeah, I think particularly because of the year we had in 2020, and also the year we will have in 2021 because no, I just heard you know, the news this week has been about, for example, the fact that maybe you know, borders will be closed to international traveling for the next year. So we may, we may not have those the opportunity to do any international travel, which then has flow on effects to the hospitality and tourism industry in Australia, which then has flow on effects to other industries like education who really rely on overseas students. So you know, it’s got, so we we’re looking at Oh and real estate also, which relies on international visitors as well. So we’re, we’re looking at, I guess the, the impacts of 2020 in 2021. So, you know, as a business owner, I look at that and I think, wow, this is actually something that, you know, isn’t going away the impacts into our economy.

Dr Josephine Palermo (24:43):

And you know, and also just the risks around COVID are still very present, even though, you know luckily we’ve been able to open up you know, a lot of the, an ease, a lot of the restrictions in Australia in particular, but you know, globally, that’s not, that’s still not the case. So, so when you put all of that together, there’s a lot to actually, you know, I could be thinking about the future in a very negative way. I could be thinking about all the things, the bad things that are going to happen, all the things that could really derail my business because of the economic situation, et cetera, but what I’m instead choosing to do, and it’s a choice. What I’m choosing to do is think about those opportunities in that environment. So I’m not, I’m not in denial about some of the risks, I’m not in denial about the environmental factors and the drivers and the way in which it might change.

Dr Josephine Palermo (25:44):

You know, consumer behavior, it might change the way my clients, for example willing to pay or not, you know I’m not I’m not blind to that, but what I’m doing is taking all of those factors, I’m looking at what are the opportunities, what are the, what are the things that I can still do in that environment and succeed on? What strengths can I bring to that new environment or that environment that might be slightly challenging. And so that’s the difference. That’s the difference in kind of, I guess, an optimistic outlook, outlook versus an pessimistic outlook because it, and, you know, cause I think a lot of sometimes optimism gets a bit of bad press in terms of people talking about, Oh, you’ve got Rose colored glasses on and you’re not seeing the reality. And so I just wanted to kind of mention that because optimism isn’t about being in denial about the reality, it’s actually being, but it’s being a bit more objective about it. It’s actually saying, well, look, that’s it. I can understand that, but I know that there are some things that I can do that I can still you know, control where I can still contribute successfully in that environment. So, and, and to your point, I don’t, if I get into thinking that for example, these, these factors or these negative circumstances will always be around, then, then I wouldn’t be in business. I would close my business.

Christy Mori (27:16):

Yeah, yeah. If you looked at the future and thought you’d probably just leave business.

Dr Josephine Palermo (27:25):

To tell you the truth Christy, and in all honesty, there were times in 2020 where I had to have a real hard look at myself and look at, do I, do I close my business? So, and I, you know, I, I run three businesses. They were two in particular where I was thinking, is this a, is this the time where I close my business? And it’s okay to have that conversation, as I said, you know, it’s not about not being real, but then, but then I went from that to, okay, what can I do? What reality can I create? Because our thinking creates our perceptions and the way in which we then perceive the environment around us. So if I was thinking more pessimistically, I wouldn’t be looking for opportunities. I wouldn’t be creating you know, I wouldn’t be adapting to the things that I can see. And we know, you know, there was a lot of discussion in business last year about needing to adapt, needing to look for those opportunities. And there are a lot of great success stories around that. I was talking to one of our members at Higher Spaces actually, and he’s an accountant and he’s one of his clients are milk producers. They run a farm, you know, a dairy farm. And what they did during COVID is that they started delivering milk in bottles to your door.

Christy Mori (28:47):

Wow, because they, they didn’t do it before that, they chose to do it?

Dr Josephine Palermo (28:55):

Yeah! They actually had a drop in you know, a lot of their a lot of their revenue was particularly, during COVID when there was a lot of lockdown. And I know that supermarkets, et cetera, was still around, but they were, you know, a lot of hospitality you know, venues were closed, et cetera. So a lot of the supply chain gets affected by that. And then, you know, like on the end of that supplying milk, right. So, but what they did is they actually started this new service. And I, and can you imagine, I mean, I don’t know if you remember Christy, you’re younger than me, but when I was a kid, okay.

Christy Mori (29:35):

A little bit.

Dr Josephine Palermo (29:37):

[Laughs] Thanks Christy. When I was a kid we used to get bottles of milk delivered to our door. I was very young then, you know, and but you used to get like six bottles, glass bottles of fresh milk, right. Cause I saw small bottles of milk. And, and can you imagine creating a service like that again? And the comfort it brings just to people who, you know, they might be in lockdown, but they get their fresh milk delivered to the door, but it’s not only that it looks like it reminds them of the milk of yesteryear, you know, the way that we used to do things at a time where life was simpler perhaps, or, you know, when we, when we look at childhood memories for most of us, it, it makes us smile. You know, it kind of reminds us of some other, a better time. So that business, that product for them went into like, it saved their business in 2020, like it was such a boom product for them. So, yeah. So, but if they hadn’t been thinking perhaps in an optimistic way, looking for opportunities, then perhaps they wouldn’t have been thinking that way. And so, so there’s lots of, I guess, benefits of changing our thinking in order to change then the, how we perceive our environment.

Christy Mori (30:57):

Yeah. Actually, as you were talking about that, I remember reading an article about a pizza place in Chicago and they had these full fire wood oven stoves for the pizza. But now that people couldn’t go out, they realized they had an oven that can melt plastic for shields for COVID. So they kind of started making shields instead of pizza cause they had the oven and then no, I think nobody was fired. Like all the people who were cooking or staff you know, who are waiters, they basically just said, Hey, like you still have a job here. If you can help us go in this new direction. And if you could help us package this, there’s like a lot more different jobs than what a restaurant would entail. So they kind of did this in saying like 360 from pizza to creating like COVID like plastic shields and yeah, they were thriving. And I think they’re still thriving cause people still need them in the States. Like, yes, there’s definitely some amazing human ingenuity that comes out of really bad situations.

Dr Josephine Palermo (32:11):

Exactly. And, and, and in some of the articles that we’ll share, it talks about some of the distortions of thinking that go on that, that you really need to tackle to, you know, kind of change your thinking towards more, more optimism. So I just wanted to talk about just those three P’s, cause I think that’s useful and it kind of brings to life what we’re talking about, because what happens is when, so when we perceive an a challenge, you know, environment or a negative experience or it’s, or it’s a, well, we might, we might look into the future and think about think about something as perhaps being negative. And it reminds us of maybe a negative experience of the past. So we’ve, you know, where either remunerating about the future or the past, what we tend to do is we can distort our thinking around three areas.

The 3 P’s of Emotional Resilience

Dr Josephine Palermo (33:06):

One is Personalization. So we, we, we tend to blame ourselves for things that go wrong. And we, we can attribute external factors to things that go, right. So what that means is that every time something bad happens, we say it’s our fault. And every time something good happens, we go, well, that was luck. Or you know, I didn’t have much to do with that. So what that, that kind of thinking does, is it sets you up for you know, really a diminished view of your own sense of agency in the world. It kind of leads to helplessness because when you think about it, yeah. If I blame myself, everything that goes wrong, but you know, I’m not kind of taking kudos for that things that go, right. That’s actually not a position where you’re going to feel motivated from. So that’s one thing. So, you know, when, when we’re talking about these businesses that kind of look around and go, okay, what can I do? They really you know, that they are attributing their success to their ability, their strengths in terms of adaptation, creativity, you know, all of that sort of stuff.

Christy Mori (34:23):

Also in our society, our behavior is like, we shouldn’t really, we shouldn’t be like a little bit more like downcast about ourselves. Like if someone said, Oh, you’re really beautiful. I think a lot of people would be like, Oh yeah. Like, Oh no. Or like, thanks. Or, you know, instead of just saying like they, Oh, thank you. I think, you know, a lot of people say like, Oh, I’m not that. Or, you know, like we tried deflect a compliment even.

Dr Josephine Palermo (34:52):

Exactly. Exactly. And especially in Australia, we have that particularly in our national culture, it’s that that kind of, and you know, it’s called top Tall Poppy Syndrome or, but we do have that. We do have that it’s it’s it’s, you know, and I think, you know, it’s, it’s good to be humble as well and be grateful for what you have, but, you know, you should notice, you know, how many, how often are you really like, you know, punching a fist in the air and taking kudos for the great things that have happened. And if someone gives you a compliment, what do you say? You know, do you like, like, imagine, you know, I, if someone says to me, you’re beautiful, I could, I could be saying, well, yeah, I really, I really put a lot of work, you know, in staying healthy and positive and, you know. I value that. Like, that’s it, that’s it. Not me, you know, having tickets on myself, that’s actually…

Christy Mori (35:47):

That you’re working for your health. Yeah. Yeah.

Dr Josephine Palermo (35:54):

Because beauty is inside and outside. Well, you could even say the same thing about, you know, you do a lot of work on developing myself as a person, you know? So, so there’s, yeah, absolutely. So there’s that Personalization is the other thing. And the other piece we’ve talked about already, which is Pervasiveness with you were talking about, you know, how we, we, we view perhaps a negative experience or a negative event in terms of just it’s, we, we kind of look at it in absolutes. So for example, if we, you know we lose a job or we, we go for a job interview and we don’t get the job or where, where we’re pitching for a client and we don’t get that client. Real pervasive response would be something like, I, I’m terrible at this. I will never achieve this, you know,

Christy Mori (36:49):

Or that, Oh, they obviously didn’t like me or yeah.

Dr Josephine Palermo (36:57):

Yeah, just like something always happens, you know, I’m really crap at pitching to my clients or, you know, they none of my, none of my clients are ever going to see the value that I bring. It’s that kind of thing. So that’s a pervasive way of thinking about things. It’s also it can also lead to really Catastrophizing that situation. Cause every time you say those absolute words, ‘never’, ‘always’, you know, those kinds of words are words that, where you’re kind of taking one event, one thing and you’re blowing it out of proportion.

Christy Mori (37:32):


Dr Josephine Palermo (37:34):

And I find, you know, I find that I have to talk through I have to do a lot of self-talk around, for example, things that maybe are not, I don’t have a strength in, because sometimes you tend to have pervasive thinking around it. So for example, I’ve, I’ve you know, I’ve got to do a lot of selling in, in my businesses. And I actually don’t see it as selling. I see it as just helping people, but, you know, I will get rejected. There will be clients that don’t want my services or I don’t, or they’re interested in, then I don’t convert them. And so one response would be, Oh, I’m really bad at converting or that, you know, nobody nobody’s gonna see the value in that product or whatever it is, but I have to stop myself from thinking like that because the alternative responses is “They’re just not the right client for me”. Or you know, I’m really glad they were able to get maybe that service somewhere else, but there will be someone else who wants my service. So it’s, it’s, it’s not taking that one event and really it a big deal, really making it about everyone.

Christy Mori (38:38):

Yeah. I had sales is a really great example and yeah, there’s, there are bits about sales and ‘Learn Optimism’ the book by Martin Seligman. But that he does talk about a sales scenario. And then I used to, I thought it was like so scary to do sales, but I didn’t realize that I was doing it for many, many years in terms of hospitality, having repeat customers. And it’s like, I didn’t realize like what sales really entailed and it’s about providing a service. People want to come back to where people want and not, and it’s also a numbers game. So it’s like not getting discouraged about like even if a hundred people say no, like I actually wasn’t discouraged as much as I was at the beginning or people didn’t come back or whatever the situation was because there were many people who did come and there were many people who did want the service. So it was like, yeah, I just was like, Oh, there’s somebody out there. If it’s a good service or a product there’s someone out there who wants this and it’s okay that some people don’t. Yeah. Cause that’s just how I am as well. It’s like, I don’t want every product or service. So yeah, just having that kind of like overview really assisted me in those fields.

Dr Josephine Palermo (39:57):

Exactly. And you know what, there’s a great example of this. Where, and I know we had met on the podcast in episode 10 from Bonjoro and I’d been using the Bonjoro app. So I want to do a plug for Bonjoro, but I had someone who was very keen for a service that I was providing. And then, and then he kind of went quiet and I thought, Oh, he’s not going to buy, you know, cause I thought he was just going to buy, you know, gonna sign up really close. And so I sent him a Bonjoro video and I sent him a video saying, Hey, you know, how you doing? Just wondering, you know, how you going? Are you close to making a decision? And he wrote back and said, you know, I really love what you do.

I, I, I think it’s high quality, but I’ve just chosen some someplace else. Thank you so much for your help. And if I ever need something in the future, I’ll, I’ll let you know. And I thought that’s actually a really lovely outcome because even though I didn’t convert him, even though he didn’t become my client, but we’ve had this really positive interaction because he he was, you know, and I think, I actually think he gave me that feedback because I sent him a Bonjoro video by the way, because it was such a personal way of doing it. But yeah, he was, he was, it made me feel good because I thought, well, you know, he’s kind of that, that lovely avatar of that client that really values what you do, but maybe they just found something else somewhere else that fits them better right now. And it, but it doesn’t mean that they they may not come back eventually another time or they may not, he might refer someone else. Lots of opportunity, lots of opportunities.

Christy Mori (41:42):

If he said, Hey, I enjoyed you know, this, the interaction I had, but this wasn’t the place for me, but he could say it might be for you to someone else.

Dr Josephine Palermo (41:52):

Exactly. That’s right. So, so there’s always that. And, and, and the last distortion that I wanted to talk about was this idea of Permanence because optimistic people tend to look at negative situations as being more temporary than lasting and unchangeable. So they have a greater sense of self-efficacy around their ability to change a situation as well. And I experience this in both when I’m in both of the kind of performing roles that I do. So I do a lot of speaking in conferences and things like that workshops, et cetera. And then I do a lot of performing through belly dance and sometimes, you know, I’ll do a speaking gig and it doesn’t go as well as I want you know, it doesn’t meet my expectations and sometimes I’ll do a performance, you know, a dancing performance and it doesn’t go as well as I want. And so the, but the optimism in me says, Oh, well that was one experience. I’ve had lots of other experiences in the past where I’ve performed really well. I’ll perform really well next time. Like that’s the optimism in me that, that does that. If I was more pessimistic, I would be saying, Oh my God, that was terrible. I’ll never be able to do it well again, I’d lost my mojo. I’ve lost my spark. You know, I was, I used to be talented now I’m rubbish, you know,

Christy Mori (43:27):

Like final, like yeah, yeah.

Dr Josephine Palermo (43:30):

And a lot of performers go through that. I think a lot of people that do speaking, cause you’re when you’re in that, I think of speaking as performing. Cause you’re, you’re, you know, and yeah. And, and I know you’ve done some performing as well, so you can probably relate. Yeah. Yeah. So, so you can, you, you have to notice the thinking after those kinds of experiences and, and permanence is one of those things where we have to really challenge ourselves because I, and I often challenge people that I coach, because I often say to them, your you’re assuming, you know, the future, but by the sort of the assumptions you’re making and you actually don’t know.

Christy Mori (44:17):

Right, right. Yeah. And not yeah, and not basing our identity on those kinds of things. I think the external circumstance is very important because those external circumstances, whether we get the part or whether we get the job or, you know, it’s like, that’s not what, the only thing that makes us so… Hmm. In terms of who we are. Yeah. Yeah. So those things could, yeah, definitely be considered when we’re all trying to get the next thing, whether, you know, starting up a business or getting a job or yeah. Maybe speaking. Any sort of scenario is just we have to realize that these are just the situations that we’re going into, but it doesn’t make us like, and that’s it, there’s plenty of other chances if we let ourselves have them.

Dr Josephine Palermo (45:14):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Optimism In the Midst of Adversity

Christy Mori (45:18):

This is something we already touched upon Jo, and you’ve already spoken a lot about it, it’s that, how can we change our thoughts and behaviors to be more ex to be more optimistic? So you have really talked about this actually. Particularly, we were gonna talk about Seligman’s adapted version of Dr. Albert Ellis’s, ABC technique, and the ABC acronym refers to a is adversity. And the example that he gives is fighting with a friend. B his beliefs, while I’m an awful friend and always will be. And C is consequences. You don’t try to make peace with your friend because you can’t change who you are. So these are the kind of ABCs that he goes through. Do you want, should we kind of talk about this in the context of business maybe?

Dr Josephine Palermo (46:12):

Yeah. And I think, I think maybe what we’ll do too, is we gonna we’ll, I’ll touch on it briefly, and then we might have another conversation about when we can kind of go into this in a bit more depth than talking about, talk about kind of the consequences of being overly optimistic as well. So there’s that as well, but yeah, I think so, so adversity relates to, you know, there’s a negative situation. And so within business, there’s lots of negative situations that business owners often deal with. It can be internal situations. I get a lot of business owners who come to me because they’ve got problems with staff and problems with the people that they’re dealing with. It could be a supplier, partner, staff there, they, you know, completely team that can really derail you as a business owner.

Dr Josephine Palermo (47:05):

And then obviously the other, the other you know, adverse consequences are more external, but if we deal with that one, so, so you have a problem with a staff member and the belief around that could be about them. So for example, they could be, they’re just awful or they are, they are difficult or they will never change. So then the consequence might that as a, as a manager or business owner, you don’t look at what, what you’re doing in that relationship. You don’t actually ask them that person or those staff members questions about what’s happening for them. And you may ignore, ignore, ignore, which I see a lot of people do. And that to the point where you end up with a staff member working in your organization, that can really drag the rest of your team down. So, because the problem with not dealing with performance, it’s not just that you have someone who’s inefficient and not, you know, not being productive in your, in your business.

Dr Josephine Palermo (48:02):

You actually have that person dragging everyone down. Cause everybody’s you know, in teams, people look at each other and if they, if you have one person who isn’t pulling their weight or isn’t performing the rest of the team will look at that. And then you they’ll set their expectations of what you know, behavior is, is about in relat, in relative terms to that person. So you have to deal with performance issues. So that’s the consequence. But if you had the belief of, okay, so that person is difficult or there’s a problem. I’m, I, I don’t know. I don’t know what that’s about, but I know that people can, can work through difficulties. Like if that’s your belief that I can work through difficulties and I know people can work through difficulties and change, then the consequence of that is you’re more likely to have a conversation, which is a more curious conversation.

Dr Josephine Palermo (48:53):

It might be number of conversations where you talk about what’s going on for that person. What are their expectations about work? Where are they maybe, where are they expectations not being met? You can talk to them about how your expectations aren’t being met. You can talk to them about maybe there’s something happening on a personal front. Sometimes it can be a mental health issue or a physical health issue. Sometimes it can be just family getting in the way. Sometimes it can be because people are in the wrong job and they’re not feeling that they have enough meaning in that job or maybe they’re feeling sometimes it also can be because they, that they themselves are not feeling like they’re achieving, or there’s a, there’s a barrier to that. There are so many reasons why you can have difficulties with people at work. And we can hone in on that if you, if you ask the right questions and actually that’s probably, you know, we can, we can sort of do a little bit of a discussion around that at some point too. You know, what kind of questions would you ask to in terms of really honing in, on getting, getting to dealing with difficult people in business, but you can see how that consequences completely different. It’s the other end of the spectrum to ignoring the situation.

Christy Mori (50:28):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That’s part of leadership as it is. Everybody can be a leader by noticing. Yeah, absolutely. All right. So I guess we’ve gone over quite a bit. We tried it, we tried this podcast. I know when we started, we wanted to give people tidbits, but we can just say that this is an extra long podcasts because we’re excited about 2021, it’s almost an hour. So if you guys are driving or doing the dishes or doing other things while listening, this is a good one to listen to hopefully. And as always, we want to thank you for listening and your support in that. And we hope that you actually reach out to us : [email protected] growth.biz as always. And we do want to hear more about what you want to listen to, what kind of topics about business that you would like to listen to. And in the meantime, we’ll do our best to answer. We, and I think this is such a good topic that we might actually do a part two somewhere about in optimism and business. Yeah. So in the meantime, we hope you guys stay well this week and during the summer, if you are in Melbourne and Australia and if you’re on the other side of the world, enjoy snow and being warm and we’ll chat again everybody next time. Bye for now and take care. Thanks Everyone. Bye. Bye.



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