We are living in a time when strong leadership is crucial. We witness a time when many leaders are confused because of the enormous pressure and global uncertainties. It is during such times that leaders must make sure they have one vital ingredient in their leadership arsenal: hope.
When I think of Mr. Oommen Chandy, the former Chief Minister of Kerala, I often wonder how he could survive, let alone serve well, in that position. The allegations brought up against him and few of his Cabinet members, as well as the daily pressure of meeting and satisfying everyone’s needs in a coalition government could drain anyone’s strength. But that was not the case with Oommen Chandy. He appeared to face every day and every challenge with a ‘giant hope’ which in turn affected his team and governance. And that was proved time and again in the results they created.
Whether you are at the topmost position of leadership or not, the truth is, you and I need hope. Hope is not some goofy emotional state. It is strong as an immovable mountain. It can withstand any hurricane coming its way. That is why today’s leaders must make sure they have this powerful ingredient in their leadership repository.
How can we become hope-full? Here are five ways to consider in order to accomplish that.
- Start with your heart. I am talking about the mindset, not the physical organ. Just as the heart is a vital organ, mindset is vital when it comes to living productively every day. Hope is a mind thing and it works with one’s thoughts and imaginations. When you are passionate and focused on your work, there is room for hope to rise up in you. As your mind dwells on the possibilities available to you (about what you can and not what you can’t), your thoughts and imaginations align with those possibilities. That is when hope comes alive and fills your mind.
- Take an inventory of your skills. If hope has to remain and increase, you need to make sure that you have what it takes to do your work. The awareness that you have all the necessary skills and expertise to accomplish something successfully will automatically build hope. For example, if you are a manager, assessing your managing skills (which you acquired through education and practice) can boost your level of hope.
- Enlist supportive associations. If you find yourself enjoying the needed skills, congratulations. But if that is not the case, don’t worry. Here is a way to break that issue. Find some good people whom you can enlist to support you emotionally and technically in your work. That way, you substitute the dearth with good people resource. It, in turn, nurtures hope.
- Feed on inspiring life-stories. We love stories. They inspire us. Read life stories and accomplishments of successful people in your field. Watch their video clips on YouTube. Subscribe to their blogs. Listen to their podcasts. It will give you hope to move forward and create similar feats.
- Put your faith to work. This is purely a subjective point. If you don’t like, you can ignore this one. I value my faith. I believe in a God who loves people and provides for their well-being. When facing tough situations or decisions, this belief makes me hopeful. It encourages me to keep moving forward. If you are a faith person, you know what I am talking about. This hope breaks fear and brings peace to the soul.
Scottish author, Samuel Smiles once commented, “Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” That is the power of hope. It creates better results, always.
Question: During adverse situations, how do you make yourself hope-full?