How many times have you heard this- Hope is NOT a strategy.  When we hear it we tend to write off hope and not give it another thought.  I had a great discussion the other day and our consensus was that people get hope mixed up with the word try. Like when you say I will “try” to do something, but all that really means is that there is just a good a chance I won’t do it than I will. Or that I don’t believe I can do it right from the get go, so I am leaving my self a back door.

Hope is not like that- that is, if you are taking smart actions along with your hopefulness. If you sit around on the couch and hope for something, chances are good you are not going to get what you hoped for- unless a nap is what you hoped for. You could hope for something totally unrealistic, too, and all of the hope in the world will likely not help you. That would be like me thinking if I hope hard enough I can play for the Celtics next season. Not going to happen.

Lets look at hope as a strength.

Hopeful people expect the best in the future while working now to achieve it. They believe that a positive future is something that can be created.

Hope isn’t the whole strategy, but it is part of it. An important part. And cultivating the strength of hope is well worth your while.

Here are some facts about people who have hope as a character strength:

-They are less anxious or depressed and if they do feel those ways it does not tend to go as deep or be as long lasting.

-It is one of the strengths most associated with life satisfaction, happiness and living a meaningful life in today’s world.

So being hopeful is good for your well being and your health!

My favorite thing about hopeful people: they tend to be goal setters who persevere, are resilient and love to solve problems. It kind of makes sense. You wouldn’t set a goal unless you had some type of believe somewhere that you could achieve it, would you? That’s hope.

Belief in a positive future.  It sounds refreshing, when many of us tend to focus on what can go wrong. Hopeful people shine the light of possibility on challenges. They help to uplift belief in the possible when they and/or their teams get stuck.

How can you increase your strength?  Ryan Niemic and Robert McGrath offer a couple of ideas in their book- The Power of Character Strengths.

-Write down a goal you would like to achieve in the next year. Then boost your hopeful thinking by writing down all of the possible pathways you know of that you could achieve it. Then write down the many reasons you WILL be able to do it.

-Journal about good and bad events. Write about the good in this way- that it will last, that it will spread and that is was related to things that you did- in other words, give yourself credit.  Write about the bad in this way- that it will pass, it is limited and how you are not entirely to blame.

Working with these two suggestions alone will help to cultivate over-all hopefulness. The more you use the strength, the stronger it becomes.

How would being more hopeful about your life impact you?  As I like to say, it’s free- so why not explore it!?

** If knowing and learning about your own character strengths intrigues you, contact to me to find out about the one hour strength sessions I offer- learn about your strengths, how to use them and how to make then stronger.**