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What's Hope Got to Do With It?

Everywhere we turn today we are facing new internal and external uncertainty and fear. More hate, more on fire, more loss. Optimism is the new answer. And it is not how much is in the glass.

In the past I believed that the statement “glass is half full or half empty” was the way to view optimism and pessimism. What I realized over the course of my adult experiences is that life is constantly altering the amount of water in the glass. In fact, life alters the container itself as well; or shatters it for that matter. Its more about flexibly working with whatever container you’ve got and collecting liquid over time. Making the best of it.

To make the best of it, my posture must be hopeful. My ability to cope with stress and uncertainty is directly affected by how much hope I feel. Think about it for a minute. How much hope do you feel for a brighter tomorrow? A better future in 2022 and beyond? When we can look forward with optimism, we don’t get pulled down as easily.

In leadership, hope is a positive motivational state based on willpower and goal planning; it inspires people to trust, follow and believe in your goals. Hope is the foundation for all the other feel-good emotions like love, joy, and peace. Stop and think for a moment about any positive emotion you want more of and if you can have it right alongside hopelessness. Impossible.

To 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. It is the confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good; the source of ineffable, unspeakable happiness. (Websters 1828 dictionary)

What I discovered after studying the definition of hope was that, if I have anxiety or pain then I must be wishing and not hoping. Hope has confidence. It is unflappable. It gives pleasure and is the source of happiness. Is your hope doing that for you? How, in these uncertain times do we build up a hope tank?

Here is a simple framework for building up more Hope – its spelled B-R-I-G-H-T.

B- Build your circle. You have got to have support. Build your inner circle into a shelter. It needs to be a safe place to get support and share.

R -Reflect and Repeat. Reflect on the things you can look forward to and begin to anticipate their arrival. Repeat that to others. Keep talking about it out loud. Plan and get excited.

I - Imagine it. Build your vision board, imagine yourself doing that thing or having that thing. Look at it every day. Let your thoughts be captivated by it.

G - Let GO! You must lean into this plan, this idea, this new future and let go of all other thoughts. Let go of plan B, let go of yesterday. Let go of the idea of control. Let go of failure. Let go of fear.

H- make it Happen. Start incremental changes and steps in your life that can make that future happen. Action steps, one at a time toward the goal. Have a heart filled with gratitude about it happening. Give it away. Hope multiplies when we release it to others. Become a hope monster.

T – Tie to it. Hope can be an anchor; it can become a part of you. This thing, this new future, this hope needs to become a part of you. It’s not out there, it’s in here. Nothing in your life moves without it. It is attached.

Having hope changes the container, the vessel, the glass. It can repair and renew. Hope can collect more liquids in the glass or make do with what is there. Hope sees no limitations. Hope releases the anchors of anxiety and worry and allows us to move forward with confidence.

This holiday season as we turn over a new calendar year, let’s all try to set on minds on good things to come, larger containers filled with hope and assume positive intent. Happy New Year!!

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