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Hope Is Not A Strategy. (#90)

The Confident Leader

The phrase, “hope is not a strategy,” is often used in business in response to someone saying, “I hope our team will rebound after the pandemic,” or “I hope we will achieve our vision.” The overeager strategist in the room usually offers, “BUT hope is not a strategy.” While true, why are we critical of hope when we are at a time when we need it most?

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
— Albert Einstein (American scientist and inventor)

This Week’s Edition

I’ve decided to dedicate an entire newsletter to the concept of hope. I hope you like it. 

Clarify Your Thinking

The loss of hope over the past two years is at an all-time high. I see it every day in the conversations I have with leaders about their leadership and their teams. 

One leader shared that his team member confided in him, “I’m lost. Gravity is pulling me down. I’m mourning the loss of the dream of what was possible. I feel like I’ve lost two years. The team is imploding. There is a labor shortage. Clients have gone out of business. Don’t even get me started on the supply chain issues.”

As we began to dig into the role hope plays in a leader’s life, my research assistant delivered his findings. His email subject line read, “The stats on hope are sparse.”  That doesn’t seem hopeful.

Digging deeper, it turns out hope is a difference maker. Hope accounts for more productivity than intelligence or self-efficacy.  A hopeful person does the equivalent of one day a week more work than a less hopeful person. On top of this productivity, hope is the basis of all positive change. No hope leads, no effort to change or make things better.

Old Thinking: I feel relegating to a type of quiet resignation. I feel like the thought bubble over my head is, “Well, I guess it is what it is.” 

New Thinking: While this set of circumstances is tough, I’m going to face it today with creativity and resilience, hopeful for a better outcome and persevering even in the little things to make it so. 

Thoughts Lead to Actions

My leadership development model is based on the principles of sport psychology, a deep science simple at its core: thoughts lead to actions; actions lead to results. Once when sharing this concept, a new client said, “Robin, I understand, but I think you might be missing something. Where is belief?” 

She said, “I think what you believe, your belief system, informs what you think.” She was right. 

If you don’t believe in what you do, it will be hard to maintain the motivation and energy to do the work to achieve your greatest professional vision. This requires optimism. 

Optimism is the belief that the future will be better than the present and you have the power to make it so. The best part about optimism is that it is an emotional intelligence skill, and it can be trained. 

Here is what you can do to improve your optimism or your hopefulness.

Step 1: Capture your thinking in your journal, recording what you believe.

Step 2: Enroll someone to help validate if what you believe is true.

Step 3: Determine if your thinking needs to change about what is possible in the future. 

Since that sage client offered the thinking that what we believe is at the core of our thought life, I’ve added this exercise to my coaching. It has helped hundreds of leaders reflect on what they believe and ask themselves what else can be true. Beliefs based on truth. New routines of thinking. Better informed decisions and actions. Outsized results. That’s something to be hopeful about. 

Boost Your Performance

Hope is everywhere. You’ve got to tune your ear to it. I watched an interview with Mark Wahlberg and his comments about hope and the future caught my attention. Learn more in this week’s video about what this superstar thinks about hope, the future and his role in making a positive impact in the world. 

What’s Your Opinion?

What is something about which you are hopeful? Share with me at:

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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