If your mindset lately is more can’t than can, it may be time to make some small changes, beginning with how you talk about your life, goals and well-being. Optimism in the workplace is contagious.

There was a time when I called myself a ‘realist,’ thinking ‘optimist’ made me sound too Pollyannaish. Now, I embrace my optimism and positive thoughts fully – realizing that by being optimistic, I AM being real.

Optimism is realizing that you are in control of your life and that you have the ability to create the life you want. But it is not easy. There’s negative energy everywhere – in the news, Facebook, gossip, or at our children’s schools. However, you have to rise above it, with kindness and hard work.

Becoming an optimist is a series of small changes beginning with how you talk to yourself about your life, goals, and well-being. Here are 5 things you can do to make yourself see the brighter side of things.

1. Start the day expecting good things to happen: Some people start the day with a positive affirmation or incantation. Mine is an incantation, said every morning while I sip my first cup of coffee. In our business we lose more than we win. I expect that people will pick up the phone to talk to me. I expect that someone will want to work with me. It’s this small mental shift that sets the tone for the rest of your day. I start the day anticipating that the person on the other end of the phone will be excited by my call.

2. When a challenge is presented, reframe it: It’s important to reframe challenges in a way that becomes a learning opportunity versus a failure. Allow it teach you vs. school you. Optimists know that life is one big lesson and mistakes are merely stepping stones on our path. I expect to fail. I know that failure leads me closer to success.

3. Spread gratitude vs. gossip: Optimists don’t allow water cooler chatter to influence their mood or day. They don’t engage, which can be hard, because gossip is fun. It’s easy to poke fun at someone else versus taking time to examine our own words and actions. Instead, always take the higher road, by offering praise, support, constructive criticism, and humor.

4. Optimists make things happen: Optimists know they are the drivers of their own life and they choose who they take along, who they drop off, when they speed up and when they need to rest. Optimists know that they set the pace and they are fully accountable for the energy and life they choose to live.

5. Smile: In everything you do smile. The simple act of smiling raises your energy. Optimists believe in the law of attraction: you get what you give. Even when I engage in tough conversations I do it with a smile on my face. If you find you can’t authentically smile, wait to have the conversation. So smile, perhaps you will attract energy that allows your call, plan and day to flow.

What types of behaviors do you think have the biggest impact in your workplace? Share below.