We have entered a season of joyful celebrations. After three weeks of meetings with amazing people impassioned by their work, I too find myself full of joy about the work that I get to do and the people I get to meet. Thoughts of joy lead me to thoughts of hope and hopefulness about the bounty of the year ahead.
Some of you may have read the books “Hope is Not a Strategy” by Rick Page or “Hope is Not a Method” by Gordon R. Sullivan. Here’s my position: Hope IS a strategy.
Without hope we’re left with pessimism. Without hope, what do we aspire to being and becoming? Without hope, where is our foundation for joy? Without hope, a new business would never be started. Without hope, we won’t learn new skills, innovate, or strive to make things the best they can be.
The Kevin Costner film “The Postman” from years ago, while largely criticized and put down as a poor film, included the powerful message that “without hope entire communities and civilizations are doomed to give up and die.”
Again, I say that hope is a strategy. The model I propose is based on hope as an acronym full of action. Hope stands for: Heroic daily acts from an Optimistic outlook and with Peaceful or prayerful attention can Evoke change.
“Heroic daily acts” include making a decision based on multiple perspectives, asking for input even when you’re afraid you won’t like what you’ll hear, and saying no to anything that is against what you believe is right. Heroic acts and decisions are being made every day. They are the acts that bring hope back into the world.
“Optimistic outlook” ranges from having a positive attitude to having an overly-optimistic outlook often labeled “Pollyanna Thinking” which stays so focused on the positive that a blind-siding can occur because of not paying attention to multiple perspectives and possibilities. Having an optimistic outlook means that you see the challenges and can still find positive solutions that lead to action.
“Peaceful attention” describes the way in which you can listen to others as you work together, as you serve customers, and as you interact with friends and family. Peaceful attention does not mean you agree with everything someone else is saying or doing. It does mean listening long enough to understand other points of view and reasoning together in order to solve problems.
“Evoke change” refers to the actions that occur when peaceful listening and optimistic thinking result in change-oriented decisions that serve the highest good of a situation or of a group of people. Hope is not a passive, sitting around verb. Hope is an active, change-making verb.
ACTION ITEM: Bring hope back to life in your daily decisions, interactions, and activities. From your hopeful endeavors, more joy will abound. Now is the time to include more HOPE in your life.
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