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What is hope and why does it matter at work?

Hope is a belief that it is obtainable. It implies some expectation of obtaining the good

desired, or possibility of possessing it. Therefore, it always gives pleasure or joy, whereas

wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety. Confidence in a

future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good… the source of

ineffable, unspeakable happiness (Websters Dictionary, 1828).

Reading through the definition from 1828, you see that hope implies an expectation of obtaining the good desired. Hope builds confidence and even happiness that something good is coming. Hope makes things possible that weren’t before.

Hope inspires movement from the probable to achieving the impossible. Bruce Kasanoff,

ghostwriter, executive coach and influencer says, “We spend our whole lives being told what we can’t do, so it becomes difficult to imagine all we can be.” His Expansive Life Plan asks us “Is this the best possible life I can imagine?” Clients typically go through 10, 20 or more revisions before they get a version that truly resonates with them.

Kasanof says that much like climbing a mountain, a person can't see the true summit from the bottom of the mountain. In a similar manner, we can't see our best possible life from where we are standing today. Hope creates a pathway for action. Hope opens up the corridors of the imagination to see possibilities above the probabilities.

In the TV series Ted Lasso, the coach has a sign labeled “believe” above the door in the

lockeroom. In his final speech of season one, Lasso launches into an explanation of hope. He

says, “I believe in hope. I believe in belief. Do you believe in miracles?” (Hunt, 2020) Lasso is

asking if the team believes it is possible. He goes on to say, “Believing that things can get better. That I can get better. That we will get better.” (Hunt, 2020)

We must believe in ourselves and believe in other people. Both sides of belief must exist in

leadership. Belief only in ourselves could make us achievement focused and self-reliant.

Believing in others makes us insecure and unable to be resolute in our goals. Believing both in ourselves, others and something larger than ourselves builds a reservoir of hope that sustains.

Ted Lasso says later in the series, “All you fellas need to do is believe it. Belief doesn’t happen because you hang something on a wall. The belief that I matter. Belief in hope. Belief that things can get better” (Lee, 2023) Lasso was teaching the players to be the best versions of themselves and that believing that and overcoming obstacles was more important that the traditional winning on the scoreboard.

Lindsay Recknell, president and CEO of Paradigm Corporate Wellness defines hope as “the

future will be better than today when we take action over the things we can control.” Science has discovered hope circuits in the limbic system in the brain. Instead of decreasing sadness, positive psychology founded by Martin Seligman discovered the impact of increasing happiness or satisfaction. The limbic system in the mind uses hope to motivate action in the hope circuits. Your hippocampus cannot distinguish between real or imagined memories, hence vision boards. Build it on a board, then your mind and it can become real.

Resetting at the beginning of each year and checking in with our satisfaction at work and our

hope circuits can lead to a more successful upcoming year. Specialized performance coaches do this for athletes all the time. Imagine winning. Imagine success and it will come.

Try sitting and imagining what you want to take place this year. Make a list, not like goals, but

the things you see taking place. Build a vision board visually or with words and look at it or read it daily. Then see what happens by the end of the year. You will manifest things from your hope circuits.

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