Upon doing some research on the concept of hope, I surprisingly found a limited amount of data on this topic. There was a significant amount of research on optimism, and hope and optimism could in fact be strongly linked to one another. However, they are in fact different. Part of the reason for this is because it has been harder for both sociologists and psychologists to do research on hope as a stand-alone concept. Additionally, it is hard to qualitatively and quantitatively measure.
In the context of a business scenario, whenever I heard the expression that hope is not a strategy, I always disagreed with this statement. Why? Because although strategy is grounded in looking ahead and formulating a plan of how to move ahead and grow, in my opinion, and from my experience, the basic concept of hope is also formulated and can be applied in a similar way.
Having a strategy does not necessarily provide you with energy and enthusiasm. It can provide you with a focus and direction. However, this needs to be supported by energy which can be derived from being hopeful the strategy is a sound and strong one. One of course, with the desire to provide a positive outcome.
Possessing the right experience is also part of the equation when we are talking about strategy. However, hope still plays a factor in your strategy, because you need people to buy into the concept of the strategy. Analytical data will be required to support your strategic plan, but you still need people to believe, and buy into your concept. Hence, being hopeful they will.
One of my past articles talks about having a positive attitude, and asks you to consider altering your thinking and imagining that everything will work out well . Yes, in my opinion positive thinking is involved in having hope. Some others might call this faith. However, I’m not going to get into the aspects of faith, as it can be interpreted in so many different ways.
When I think of having hope towards a situation working out favorably, I literally feel like my brain chemistry changes. I also am aware that my attitude frees up my brain to focus my mind differently. In a much more creative and insightful way. An example of this would be the concept of brainstorming. Brainstorming in the sense of being challenged with a scenario, and having to come up with solutions for how to solve the situation.
Let’s consider some ways you can apply being hopeful to any situation. Perhaps one you are facing which might be considered negative, or less than desirable.
- If you are on a sports team, and your team is losing the game, when you and the rest of your team are hopeful your team can win, you will notice a dramatic shift if everyone rally’s behind the belief this can happen.
- Let’s say you are a salesperson, and you are not making your number for the month. Having hope and thinking both strategically and positively, versus giving up and accepting you will not meet your number for the month requires a healthy dose of hope.
- When you are faced with hearing bad news of any kind, you have a choice. You can accept the bad news and wallow in it, or have hope that the bad news might in fact be the catalyst to have you consider different approaches to altering the outcome of the news.
- Asking others to be hopeful for you may not seem practical or something you would consider. However, when you surround yourself with more positive thinking people, it can have a dramatic impact on your situation. I’ve seen this happen hundreds of times.
- Life is a journey, and is hard if not impossible to predict all of your life and business outcomes with 100% certainty. However, you can be more hopeful with your attitude, which takes less energy than being negative about future outcomes.
Since there is no such thing as a crystal ball to predict our futures, my point about considering hope as part of your life or business strategy, is to get you to think about a concept which you might not be comfortable with. The flip side is that hope may in fact provide you with the positive outcomes you would want to achieve. Having hope is a choice, and a fairly easy one to embrace. My hope is that you give this concept some further thought.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.
Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.