Hope Is a Thinking Process

By Ann Elliott

mountain top
Many consider hope as an emotion that evokes warmth and optimism. All things are possible with hope. Thanks to Dr. Brene Brown and her qualitative research, I have found another way of looking at hope. Actually, C. R. Snyder, a former researcher at University of Kansas, Lawrence, changed Brown’s way of looking at hope and she changed mine. Here’s what I learned by reading The Gifts of Imperfection (2010)by Brene Brown. The underlying cause is that people see hope as an emotion when, according to Snyder’s research sited in Brown’s book, it is a thinking process. Emotions are support players not the main attraction. The good news is that we can learn to think in a new way—if we are willing. Giving up an old thinking pattern can be challenging. The first step is to acknowledge the cognitive process—the old way of thinking. mountain top The three simple steps (Snyder calls it a trilogy–goals, pathway, and agency), give us the ability to do the following:
  1. Set realistic goals that you believe are attainable. Can you take a million dollar business and increase your revenues by 10% in a year?
  1. Determine how to achieve these goals despite detours and roadblocks and to remain flexible on the journey. Look out for the idea that you can achieve your goal only by taking certain actions. Remember there is more than one way to skin a cat.
  1. Have confidence in yourself. Small, consistent steps build a belief in yourself as you steadily move closer and closer to your goal.
Just because you have never accomplished a challenging but important goal, such as increase revenues by 10%, does not mean that you do not have the ability to do it. It merely means you have not done it yet. Practice hope and resilience. Even if it is harder than you thought it would be, stay the course. Ask for help when you need it. Gather around you people who want you to succeed. Embrace the mantra of The Little Engine that Could with a slight modification:  “I know I can.  I know I can.” In addition, I know you can, too. © 2012 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved

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Ann Elliott

Ann Elliott, founder of The Berkana Company, excels at leadership strategy

An expert at helping business leaders enjoy more profits and improved productivity with less stress, she blends fun and excitement with executive coaching and training to yield results for her clients.

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