Hope is NOT a Strategy – It’s Fuel For Your Dreams

If you’re a fan of the show Lost you may recall the episode during season one when they discovered a hatch on the island they’re mysteriously stranded on. Before they figure out how to blow it open, there are many discussions about what could be in this covered opening.

John Locke brilliantly points out that whether it’s Twinkies or equipment enabling their escape, it’s clear that the one thing this this hatch holds is hopeHope for a future. Hope for a better life or the achievement of one’s dreams. I thought this was brilliant and in this month’s newsletter I will share a few stories of hope that have inspired and motivated me.

If you’re located in New England, remember to Register for the National Small Business Week Celebration at the NERD Center in Cambridge on May 15. It promises to be an incredible day of networking and learning for small business owners.

Hope Helps Us Take Critical Leaps of Faith

With this issue I launch the fifth year of writing this newsletter, designed to provide tips, guidance and hope to small business owners. One of my first articles was entitled, “Hope is Not a Strategy.” I wrote about the importance of not waiting or hoping for positive business achievements but creating critical action steps to ensure you turn your dream into reality.

Looking back I wonder if I was too dismissive about the role hope plays in success because without it, the best tactical plans will not likely work. Why? As I’ve learned over the years, hope on its own won’t ensure your dreams but it clearly is the fuel that powers your plan. It’s what motivates us to work late into the night, on weekends, even in the shower thinking about our next steps. When it’s lost (even temporarily) the energy to move to the next phase of growth or make a risky move isn’t there. We become lost and either find ourselves standing still or thinking only about the past… without any motivation to move forward.

Like all of you, my business and personal life have taken hits that temporarily damaged my hope. We all go through negative turns in our lives, but once we find that thing we call hope, we discover the power to envision our lives or businesses as they can be.

The First Hit is the Hardest
This past fall my son Ben was presented with a personal challenge that hampered his hope. He was quite happy during his first six weeks in college in the Midwest but his situation suddenly turned ugly (very ugly) and he was put in a position where he needed to withdraw from school and return home. He didn’t have a Plan B since this turn of events was quite unexpected. He decided to take classes at a local university until he could determine next steps. You could see that hope was no longer a part of his every day life.

As an 18-year old this was quite clearly the first major blow to his spirit and he didn’t have the benefit of past experience to know and truly believe that things would improve. The first blow to hope is always the hardest. It wasn’t until he began the application process in January that I saw the light come back on… his spirit lifted and his sense that ‘all would be alright with his world’ once again returned. As a mother, it was devastating to watching. However, I am confident that this important life lesson – while brutal and hard to experience – will be one that will empower him in the future… and allow his recovery time from the next hope-destroying experience to be much shorter.

Lessons from the Boston Marathon

The running of the 2014 Boston Marathon was Monday.  A few weeks ago I was honored to moderate a panel held at Boston University run by Boston’s former Mayor, Tom Menino (he now heads up  a program at the university entitled Initiatives on Cities). The forum,   “Leading Cities Through Crisis: Lessons learned from the Boston Marathon” was a fascinating and informative assessment of how the city of Boston came together during and following the bombing, a crisis unimaginable to many people. There were panels of survivors and first responders who spoke to the audience of city officials from around the country. It was quite clear that hope played a key role in their ability to move forward and provide the support needed to overcome the crisis. It was also inspiring to hear how much individuals acting collectively could do to help others in need.

PhiloSophies Heads to the Big Apple

My final thought on hope focuses on Joanna Alberti, owner of PhiloSophies. I wrote about her Kickstarter campaign in February and many of you have asked about her final results. With a great tactical and strategic plan, Joanna managed to more than double her goal of raising $3,000…. hitting over $6,200 in donations. She’s now furiously planning for the May conference where she’s sure to be a huge success. Hope fueled her through the last few months and gave her the strength to take some calculated risks to scale her business.

Share with me! What gives you hope for the future? What motivates  you or has motivated you through hard times? I love to hear your stories and look forward to being inspired.


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