This is Part 2 of a series entitled “Hope.” In our previous post we established that entrepreneurship is hope, and startups are fueled on hope. We’ve realized in the past 3 years that the driving force of our nonprofit clients typically comes from one place: hope.
Hope to make a difference, for change, to convince people of a new way of thinking, or that a cause is worthy, or that an existing problem is not acceptable. We can all agree that if you do not have hope, there isn’t much of a reason left to move forward.
So how do you keep hope alive? And perhaps even more importantly, when do you keep hope alive?
Hope is kept alive through progress. It is also kept alive through investment. Someone starting a company, or pouring everything they have into an already established company/job, knows you will put hope into the things in which you invest. Otherwise, what would warrant the investment? If your investment is “bearing fruit” (seeing progress) there is probably some legitimate grounds for hope. But what if you are not seeing progress? What if you pour everything you have into something and it does not generate a return, or yield the outcome you were hoping for?
In his book “Necessary Endings,” best-selling author, psychologist, and leadership speaker, Henry Cloud observes:
“Hope is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. With hope, we can endure almost anything, and certainly more than if we lose it or don’t have it to begin with. In short, hope keeps us going. And that is the problem. When it comes to seeing reality, almost nothing gets in the way like a hope distortion, in either direction. Hope can keep us going down a road that has no realistic chance of being the right road or making what we want come to pass.”
He continues to explain that entrepreneurs, business leaders, and high-performers typically possess the trait of hope; that is what got them to the place they are now. The problem comes in when hope becomes irrational; it does not match the past track record. It is clear that outside of a substantial new factor, the same actions you have been making up to this point are going to continue to generate the same results into the future. The question to ask yourself is: What reason, other than the fact that I want this to work, do I have for believing that tomorrow is going to be different from today?
Today may be the enemy of your tomorrow.
Perhaps it’s time to make a change! As we mentioned in our previous post, hope is not a strategy. Leaders look at the facts. They face reality. They look beyond their hope and determine what will bridge the gap between where they are now and where they want to be. Sometimes, in the process of doing this, a leader may need to face some daunting facts..and make changes.
Are you refusing to end something that’s obviously not working? Are you clinging onto an old vision or an old way of doing things? If so, it is a great idea to sit with yourself, and perhaps your team, and determine why. Ending or changing some things you are currently doing or thinking can be challenging or even daunting…but this may be necessary so the tomorrow you hope for can become a reality.