Hope is a belief in a positive outcome, belief in the future, in what we can achieve. Hope is the belief that things just might turn out for the best. In our English language, Hope is both a noun and a verb, but either way, it’s the same concept. Hope is the act of viewing tomorrow with confidence in a better day. 

In our professional lives, we hit points in our journey where it is our role to restore confidence. In many cases, we have to instill in a team, a sense of direction and purpose. One reason people give up or give in is the sense that they are powerless to change their state, that they are isolated from others. That nobody cares about their concerns. Businesses underperform for a reason, and the beginning of the end is when the internal culture begins to view the future with resignation. It is often our job to restore hope. 


The campaign poster became iconic. The image on posters as Barack Obama ran for President used a single word and simple message. Hope. 

In 1992 an eleven-minute convention video introduction redefined a troubled campaign. The candidate closed both the video and his acceptance speech with a reference to the perfect political place of origin. Hope. Arkansas. 

A student of communications and politics, or a viewer of the footage on YouTube and CSPAN of great political moments, will say the greatest of all were those moments where a great speech transformed the national mood from despair to optimism. 

Sometimes it’s the moments of great tragedy, that teaches us how essential the gift of hope is to those who need it. thousands of people this moment doing that in more quiet ways, or simply by personal examples, every moment, every day. Whatever the moment, they believe in that “place called hope.” And we each have the chance to send that message, every moment, every day. 

There are those who study the communication of hope as a management and interpersonal strategy. Well before the term “Hope” landed on a Barack Obama poster, business leaders and behavioral scientists were studying how imparting hope as motivation and promoting a daily sense of well-being in the workplace, affected motivation and success on the bottom line. 

Whatever our politics say about Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama, each was able to engage enough people in their cause to get elected. Each inspired hope, by the goals they set before the electorate, their path to reach that goal, and a conviction that motivated millions of volunteers, donors, and ultimately voters. There is no question from this example that hope is a strength that can help each of us in our lives and can be cultivated to help others. 

Hope is a combination of an emotional state and a belief we can reach attainable goals. Hope gives us a rationale to address life issues, that we believe will advance our cause or those people and causes we care for. There are steps that can get us and our teams to that place we need to go. 

A pioneer in this research, was the late University of Kansas psychologist, Rick Snyder. His academic and life’s work was focused on the concept of hope. The positive-psychology movement looks at human strengths instead of weaknesses. Among some very prodigious academic output, Snyder personally wrote six books on the theory of hope. His books and 262 articles described hope’s impact on various aspects of life, including spirituality and work.

Dr. Snyder believed that hope was advanced by three factors:

· Having a goal in mind,

· Having the determination that a goal can be reached

· And a plan on how to reach each goal.

The underlying principles are the same, whether we hope for big things or smaller more achievable goals. Hope often is bound by an objective understanding of obstacles in our paths. Our tactics may have to include flexibility, and the ability to choose alternate paths between points A and B. Even with determination and a strategy on how to achieve our personal and professional goals, we may have to reach non-attachment to specific paths or even a specific results. It’s as simple as the parable of the little engine that could. We must keep telling ourselves and our teams, "I think I can, I think we can". 

Hope changes lives. No matter what the winds of the moment, we can deal with suffering or defeat while seeking out hope in our daily life. The positive psychology movement Rick Snyder believed in, “has helped to demystify hope and forgiveness for the world. “ Thanks to this body of work, we have much better tools to apply to our lives and those we touch each day.

To steal that phrase from President Clinton’s campaign, “ I still believe in a place called hope. “ 


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