Before you are able to get your Guarantee (as described in part 1) it is important to understand exactly what “Hope” is. I like the definition of Hope that comes from C.R. Snyder who describes it not as an emotion but as the combination of three different cognitive processes. I found Snyder’s work in Brene Brown’s excellent book The Gifts of Imperfection.
This is the kind of Hope you need to have if you want your Guarantee:
1. You must a have a dream, vision or goal you want for your life.
2. You must have the know-how to accomplish your dreams, vision or goals and the resolve to accomplish them.
3. You must have the confidence that you are actually able to accomplish your dreams, vision and goals.
You know from Part One that the life you are living is an effect — and the preceding cause of the effect are the choices you have made. So, if you change your choices, you can absolutely change your life.
Unfortunately, changing your choices is really, really hard. For every part of you that wants to change there is also a part of you that is doesn’t want to. And that part of you will cling to they way things are.
If you can’t change your choices, then your life won’t change either and you won’t be able to fulfill your dreams. It may very well be that the reason you haven’t been able to achieve all of your dreams is because you couldn’t change — which means you couldn’t apply all three of the crucial aspects of Hope I describe above.
To be successful and achieve your dreams you need to apply all three Hope aspects.
Consider what happens if you apply only one:
1. You have a dream, vision or goal you want for your life.
Let’s say you are sick of being overweight and decide to lose 20 pounds. You have your dream and you hope it comes true (that is aspect #1). That’s a start! Except now it’s 7 PM, you just got home from work and you’re starving for dinner. You open the freezer for the Lean Cuisine but five minutes later find yourself in front of the TV eating Cherry Garcia right out of the tub. Having a dream clearly isn’t enough — and just having a dream is almost worse, because you and I both know how terrible you after you finish the ice cream. Now you’re not only overweight, but you feel like a failure too.
But don’t give up! Let’s see what happens if we add another Hope Aspect:
1. You have a dream, vision or goal you want for your life + 2. You have the know-how to accomplish your dreams, visions or goals and you resolve to accomplish them =
You want to lose 20 pounds ( This is aspect#1) AND you decide to figure out how to lose weight (this is aspect #2). You go to the weight loss section of the book store, you get a couple of books about healthy weight loss, you go to a Weight Watcher’s meeting or join an online diet program, you figure out an exercise program. You really start to understand how this can work and you make a great start applying what you’ve learned. Then comes somebody’s birthday at work and you’ve been feeling kind of down lately. You know the having the cake isn’t in line with what you’ve learned about losing weight, but you think to yourself that this is just too hard for you to sustain and you basically give up. You have the cake and then some more cake thinking that maybe you are just not cut out to be a thin person and that you knew you’d give up anyhow and who were you to think you could lose weight? And that is just the beginning of the negative self-talk.
So having the hope and then figuring out how to accomplish it is not enough to defend against the part of you that overeats. Let’s see what happens when you add aspect #3 to aspect #1 and #2
1. You have a dream, vision or goal you want for your life + 2. You have the know-how to accomplish your dreams, vision or goals and you resolve to accomplish them + 3. You have the confidence that you are actually able to accomplish your dreams, vision and goals =
Let’s say everything is the same in the above scenario, except after you eat a piece of cake you don’t beat yourself up, but you remember that this journey of losing weight is going to have it’s difficult points and that sometimes you will give in, but that you know that you can do this. You know that if you put your mind to this, that you really can do it. You are determined and know that nothing will stop you. If you keep failing, you will continue to learn more about why – maybe you hire a counselor or coach to help you figure out what gets in your way, but you won’t give up because even though it is hard – you got this!
Imagine…if you approached all of the things you wanted with all three aspects of Hope – there is nothing you couldn’t accomplish! When you live with that kind of gusto and determination, what you Hope for is Guaranteed.
But there is even more to the story. I believe there is one more aspect of Hope that is crucial! And….you’ll learn about it in the next part (Part Three) in this series. And in Part Four, I will give you more proof that you really are just a few steps away from beginning the journey to achieving all of your dreams.
Resource: Brown, Brene (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to be and Embrace Who You Are.