Leaders often confuse optimism with creating.

The other day, a client asked me, “What’s the difference between the two? People tell me I am an optimist.”

I said something like this:

Optimism is a state of mind, a way of being that some people may regard with skepticism in the midst of whatever is happening. And we usually say someone IS optimistic or the opposite, pessimistic.

We tend to use the term as a default way to describe a person – “Oh, she is just an eternal optimist,” or “There she goes again; she is always pessimistic about things.”

Optimism isn’t generated; it seems built into some people’s automatic way of being.

A leader who is creating, however, does it intentionally, from nothing, from a place where things are neither good nor bad, they just are.

Creating is an act of speaking in the moment, ideally after “completing the past,” after saying all there is to say about a person, a situation, a company…after emptying all the always-there decisions, beliefs, and opinions from the minds of the creators who are intent on bringing forth something new.

Creating takes setting aside whatever is already there and being deliberate.

Making it all up.