The Value of Hope

Dr. John Townsend

March 21, 2016

Leaders and counselors must be focused on hope, which I define as an expectation of a desired outcome. Both groups of specialists are applying their expertise, time, and energy on some result that, by definition, can’t be achieved today. The project, the healing and the goal are targeted to be accomplished in the future.

It is nearly impossible to persevere, meet challenges, and recover from failures, if you do not have hope. How many times have you been working way too long and hard, with no success in sight, and felt yourself begin to lose hope? A lack of hope drains our energy and slows us down.

So be intentional about finding realistic hope. Leaders and counselors can go to several sources to feel that positivity that they need to experience, for example:

Your realistic assessment of the outcome. Sometimes it simply helps to review the project list and see that while the goal is a bit scary, you have prepared, thought through things, listened to experts, put a plan together, and have marshaled your resources. Readiness brings confidence, and confidence brings hope.

Your own history of success. One of the best predictors of the future is the past. Winners often remember other times that they have pulled off a significant success. That memory serves to remind you that you have done good things, and that there are reasons why.

Your insides. My model for success is that people who get things done have both Competence and Character. Your most important resources are these two: the fact that you have become skilled and expert in some areas; and that you are a person of integrity and connectedness.

God’s guidance. If God is behind something, it simply cannot fail: He has unshakable plans to prosper us (Jer. 29:11). When we surrender our future to Him, and He is leading, all is well.

The success of others. Knowing and talking to people who have overcome in tough times is also a great hope-builder. Find those whose challenges are similar to what you face, and gain strength from their stories, both face to face and in histories and biographies.

A Brief Warning: Stay Away from “Defensive Hope”

There is a type of hope that won’t help you. Psychologists call it defensive hope. This is an expectation of a good outcome that is based on nothing but wishes and desires. There is no reality to the expectation, and it will fail you. For example:
• I hope my company does better, because I really hope it will
• I hope my kids succeed, because I really want them to
• I hope my marriage flourishes, because I’m a positive person
Optimism is a good thing, but defensive hope makes us work hard on something when it might be time to prune back and face reality

So be a hopeful person, and do it the right way! Best to you.

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