Monday Moments with President Bergman: January 31, 2022Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on January 31st, 2022 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Spring Semester 2022 begins this week! One of my favorite aspects of an academic institution is the fact that each semester is a new beginning. I hope that you, like me, are looking ahead with enthusiasm and optimism to the new opportunities for learning and growing in the coming weeks.

Tomorrow, as part of a series of professional development sessions for Gustavus employees, I am speaking on personal leadership and being “My Best Self Every Day.” I believe that successfully leading oneself is an essential and important characteristic that effective leaders demonstrate in both their personal and professional lives. Further, I believe that everyone can be a leader by consistently applying the principles of personal leadership in their daily lives. For me, one of those principles is optimism and positive thinking.

Being an optimist means having a positive outlook on life—seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty. Optimism equips you with a positive bias about situations and outcomes, and it has been shown to have a measurable benefit on health and wellbeing. This does not mean being a “blind optimist” and ignoring the potential costs and consequences of any given situation. Rather, it means having a positive attitude and generally approaching life with confidence rather than fear.

Would you say that you are an optimist? Like all good habits, being an optimist takes practice. Think about whether you are consistently demonstrating these key qualities of optimism in your daily life:

  • Optimists believe in what they do and are self-motivated to pursue their goals and dreams.
  • Optimists see the future as a series of opportunities for learning and growing.
  • Optimists look for the good in situations, are resilient, learn from failure, and try again.
  • Optimists surround themselves with upbeat people and bring positive energy to relationships and conversations.
  • Optimists are grateful for the big and small blessings of life.
  • Optimists are in the habit of wearing a smile and creating a happy environment for others (even when wearing a mask).
  • Optimists inspire others to be their best selves.

Strong leaders make a point of practicing good leadership behaviors every day, and I believe that being an optimist is one of those good leadership characteristics. We live and learn, and we continually strive to become our best selves. One of the most wonderful benefits of living in the Gustavus community is that we get to practice good leadership skills together. We are a community whose members care deeply about each other, who support and affirm each other, and who lift each other up during stressful and challenging times. Each of us contributes to the community and benefits from it—the positive power of the collective is one of our greatest assets.

So, here we go, Gusties! Let’s all lean in and have a wildly successful spring semester.

Yours in community,

President Bergman


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