Student Challenge

I had an interesting conversation with a student recently who was challenging the idea of viewing life through a positive and upbeat lens, because as she stated, “Sometimes it just doesn’t work and you need to be realistic.”

Wow, what a great challenge to dive into! I love the honesty and push toward a discussion on the most beneficial life lens to use in any given situation. Too rosy and it loses authenticity. Unwilling to consider anything other than the current facts? The much needed space to grow and develop will be stunted.

Lens for Life

Before we dive in too much further, do we have to choose between a lens of optimism or realism? I would offer a resounding no. Both view-points have value and can help us move forward.

A steadfast belief that people and situations can change will take you a long way in life.

The ability to open-handedly hold in tension it can take longer than desired for change to happen, will give those in our lives the much needed breathing room to grow at their own pace.

Add in the truth that you or I might not be the right person to walk beside a particular individual in their journey, and we set those in our lives free of the weight of any limiting beliefs we may hold on their behalf that are disguised as, “just being realistic.”

The Power of Yet

Carol Dweck’s work on mindsets is an excellent example of how we can offer ourselves and those in our lives an authentic look at what is real, as well as an environment to grow and move toward amazingness. Carol put together a great Ted Talk on what she refers to as, The Power of Yet.

The premise is that we are all in process, and there is power in focusing on where we are honestly at in life and relationships, (realism) combined with the idea that we are not stuck; we are just not there yet (optimism). In this framework, there is immense potential and possibility that we can learn, grow, and succeed through hard work and effort. Love that!


Thanks for checking out my blog! I am an ICF certified Academic Life Coach and train youth advocates in the Academic Life Coaching 1.0 coach training program. I’m also an adoptive mom, youth advocate, and a licensed therapeutic foster parent. For more information about this program for the student in your life or on how to train as a coach, please contact me here.