We’re often told to think positively and we’ll manifest whatever we want in life, and I’m all for that. I have always been what some might say is an overly optimistic person. I firmly believe that we should picture that positive outcome and go after our dreams. Still, I think that it’s important to be a bit of a realist too. We are not always going to get what we want, it’s just not realistic. Things won’t always turn out like we planned because we can’t win all of the time. So, as such, it’s critical for us to find a balance between optimisim and realism. Here are some of the ways that you can do so:

  • List the pros and cons of something working out (or not) before the outcome. Nothing in life ever comes with only good and no drawbacks. Make a list of these pros and cons before the event happens. That way, you will have it ready to refer to no matter what the result.
  • Plan a celebration either way. Even if things don’t turn out the way that you hoped, you deserve to be celebrated. Your hard work, positive attitude, and strong effort will allow you to have a different outcome the next time.
  • Figure out your plan B or C even before you need it. It always helps me to have a backup plan ahead of time even if I don’t need it. Start working on yours well before it’s necessary (just in case and for the peace of mind that it will give you).
  • Ask yourself two questions: Did I do the work? Did I do my best? If your answer is yes to both of these questions, then it’s out of your hands now. You can’t control anything other than what you do next.
  • Picture yourself getting to that success. Although you want to plan for what you’ll do if it doesn’t work out, you also want to picture it working out too. After all, chances are very well that it could! You put in the work and you deserve it.
  • Get help and talk it out with others. Is there anyone that you can consult with to improve the chances that you’ll achieve the outcome that you want? If so, reach out to them for a consultation or a bit of advice. It takes a village sometimes!
  • Understand that your life isn’t defined by a single moment, but by a series of moments instead. You win some and you lose some. Everyone does. Even the most successful people have faced rejection and setbacks, so never let one outcome define you whether it’s good or bad. There’s so much more to come.
  • Talk to yourself with love. Never talk negatively to yourself about anything in anticipation or as a result of an external event that you didn’t have the final say over. You are smart, kind, and have a lot going for you! Remind yourself all the time.
  • Don’t give up. You are a contender- today and always. Stay focused and put in the work! In my experience, it always pays off eventually.
  • Find the good in all outcomes (both positive and negative). As hard as it is, even when something happens that I didn’t want or expect, I look for the good in it. What can I do now as a result of this setback that might be even better? How has this outcome freed up my time or enabled me to take another path? Look for your own silver lining in these cases, and celebrate the good when you get what you want!


  • Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD

    Author, Corporate Trainer, Business Mentor, Consultant

    Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD, LLC

    Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD is business mentor, higher education and writing consultant, corporate trainer (Charlene Walters, MBA, PhD, LLC) and author of Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur (McGraw Hill). She is also the host of Launch, a TV show which streams on Amazon Fire, AppleTV and Roku (D B TV), and an expert on Quora's Business, Education and Society spaces. Additionally, Charlene teaches business and entrepreneurship courses at UCONN and the University of Alaska, was selected as one of 150 Marketers to Follow by Rubicly, and is featured among other CEOs, influencers and celebrities on the BAM Network.