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By David Harder on November, 1, 2017

Hope – The Baggage That Can Sink Us

I hope that things will change.


I hope that I will get a new job.


I hope a client will come through the door.


I’ve been hoping everything will turn out.


The common thread through these statements is that hope requires nothing from us. In other words, when we take a look at each sentence we find there is no call to action. There is no risk. There is no discomfort. I often equate hope with helplessness. If we want our circumstances to improve, optimism is a far more reliable fuel than hope. Optimism is the belief that our actions are going to lead to positive results. Successful people take action regardless of whether they fail, make mistakes, start over or get someone to help them. Inaction and hope are states-of-mind where good or bad circumstances are happening to us.


I just returned from a wonderful vacation in Kauai. While I was gone I kept getting e-mails and texts that added so much joy to the experience. One of my clients got a job that will change her life in stunningly positive ways. She is leaving a company that she loved for over 20 years. She is brilliant and kind. Most of all, she is humble and followed every suggestion. She asked the right people for help. We literally watched her transform during the search process. I suggested she take a wide variety of actions that were new and in some cases produced quite a bit of discomfort. But, she recognized these feelings were transitory and she believed everything would turn out for the good.


Optimism isn’t about controlling outside circumstances. It is about taking the action that will increase our probability of success. Optimism includes the practice of trusting and believing in ourselves. Hope is often the default mechanism we go to when we do not believe in ourselves. I have met many, many people working in circumstances that are stagnant and soul sapping. But, they hope, often for many years, that things will get better. The problem is that all of the actions that could have changed everything are never taken.


Another client recently called me to share that in the first year since he launched his business, he made more money than in his highly compensationed C-level position. Becoming an owner was all new for him. During that call, we both became quite emotional because he is the sole breadwinner for a large family. Despite the fear and pressure, he became the personification of taking the kind of action that leads to wonderful outcomes.


The famed 20th-Century Psychologist, Sylvano Arrietti said, “The world’s mental institutions are filled with creative thinkers.” Real creativity requires action. Real creativity requires courage.


A few years ago, a chief human resource officer walked me across a studio lot to introduce me to an executive client. She was spectacularly beautiful, spun around in her chair and proclaimed, “Welcome! You are my solution!”


I couldn’t help but laugh and respond, “What a nice greeting. How do you know that? You don’t know me!”


“Have you watched The Secret?”


“Ancient wisdom that solves all of our problems for only $29.95?”


“That’s the one! I watched the video this weekend and practiced the exercises. I actually wrote that someone would walk in my door on Monday morning with the answers to my problems.”


Today, she works for one of the world’s most celebrated media icons. She lives in a beautiful home in another country. She is one of my best friends. When we are together, she skips down the streets. Luck did not change her life. Once again, she followed every suggestion, took right action, and kept moving forward. In that journey, she developed new level of self-confidence and she turned down several opportunities that didn’t fit the person she had grown into.


All of us have the capacity to choose our outlook.


Here are a few suggestions in how to build and develop optimism as a foundation to our lives:

  • Every day define the actions that will help you realize your vision
  • Define and Commit to a mission, vision and purpose that you love
  • Shift your energy from living with the problem to focusing on the solution
  • Hang out with people who are succeeding rather than failing
  • Rather than watching the news, let others tell you the important events of the day


Hope certainly has its place in life. Hope can be the one thing that keeps us alive when everything falls apart. But, optimism helps us build the life we will love.


At least for me, there is no hope.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work Services, Inc.

(C) Copyright, 2017, Inspired Work, Inc. – (All Rights Reserved)

If you would like to discuss your workplace or your career with David Harder, schedule fifteen-minutes Here.