My mother planned to write a book — it would help our family. She collected clippings, “sayings,” notes and quotes, all on yellow pads and white index cards. She held a belief system moored to her Bible and letters to the editor. Without trying, she pulled the curtain back on being human and trusting in better times. Hope. You can’t really Google it. There’s no way to Twitter it, Instagram it or Parler it. It’s like having a silent agreement with the secret that makes us human.
I believe the recipe for hope is: one part knowledge; one part action and one part faith. We need to stop mistaking information for knowledge. In fact, too much information blurs understanding. Taking action sparks change and highlights mistakes in time to fix them. Faith is what lets the founder sleep at night or the parent trust that a sick child will heal.
The essence of hope is like planting a peach tree — you seek knowledge about climate and soil; you take action by purchasing the sapling and digging the hole; you water and fertilize in the belief of the miracle of fruit — or books published, dollars earned, vaccines injected.
I can pluck three or four great leaders from among my past employers and clients who instilled that essence of hope in their people. Most who didn’t make my list used fear. They knew little about the heart and how it clings to anything that might deliver a solution or lessen pain. What I’ve seen in the best is how they took time to chat, listen and reflect and still got the important things done. Maybe that’s the answer. We need to be smart enough to investigate our world and separate the “signal” from the “noise” — rarely attending to the clutter and useless clatter exploding around us. Hope is tethered to proven history and current truth.
Hope is watching three of four living former presidents and their wives, from both parties, chatting amicably before a new president is welcomed into the club. The smiles, fist-bumps, hugs and caresses seem to ignore every artificial line of separation.
Hope is suddenly remembering that you or your practice set funds aside and made plans to access resources for family or business needs. You didn’t make a big scene as you thought and planned for the future.
Hope is knowing a beloved pet will recover as a paw heals or a blockage passes. Or insisting a child will be safely rescued and out of harm’s way. We may pretend to be “business all the time” but most really are good humans on the inside.
Hope is witnessing the percentage of vaccinations among an entire population creep from 5% to 10% to 30% trusting the continued climb to victory. Hope sees it before it happens. Some leaders, bosses, and family members have a knack for helping weary travelers “see” hope early — on the horizon.
Hope is like a pain-killer you’d rather not need — you want to be tough. There’s something about being human that even makes a placebo or sugar-pill calm our injury. In business and in life, there’s something magical about hope. Those who summon it, nurture it and spread it offer a gift to those in their wake.
Hope is knowing there will always be a new day. Maybe not tomorrow or next week or next month, but a new day will surely come. Not everyone on the team believes this as true. It just takes a few to magnify hope for the rest of us.
My mom is gone now. Her files of scripture and letters bulged. I’m in wonder how she raised five and kept food on the table (most of the time). I thank her for the soaring, chest-filling hope she spread by having a lofty aspiration that strengthened our family. She never finished that book but her peach trees produced fruit for over 20 years.
Rick Griggs is a former Intel Corp. training manager and inventor of the rolestorming creativity tool. He runs the 10-month Leadership Mastery Academy. firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-690-7327.