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Instead of closing my Friday afternoon emails with “I hope you have a good weekend”, I instruct my colleagues to have one. To my friend going through a rough time, I don’t hope things work out… I offer you my conviction that they will. But, as I look up the definition of “hope”, I realize that this is exactly what hope was intended to capture.

hope
[n] a feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
[v] to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence

Have we lost a little “hope” within the true essence of hope? When you hear, “I hope this comes through…”, can’t you feel the other person’s doubt, their lack of conviction…the sense that the stars must align, a divine lottery must be won in order for things to actually come through? It seems “hopefully” could just as easily be replaced with “doubtfully”.

But, hope is not doubt. And, hope should not be discarded. It should be revered as essential to life-giving endeavors and personal transformation. Hope is what turns hard work into joyous work. The mundane into the meaningful. Drudgery into inspired action.

Hope aligns you to your finest acts of life.

“It’s all about the journey” reveals the gift of hope. The act of going for something brings you closer to knowing yourself. It elicits growth and transformation from within the process…not from the outcome of the process. In the process of training for a race, writing a manuscript, or working toward a goal, we discover who we are and what we are made of.

Outcomes are over-glorified. Losing the game could be even better than winning it. Have you ever experienced that?

All outcomes provide feedback and guidance, not permanent glory and distinction. Sure, a win feels good…extremely good. And when we win, we should savor, recover, celebrate, and bask in the glow. But, it is the inspiration that follows, which matters more. The inspiration that nudges us ahead to the next event…or the inspiration that points us to new things.

Absent hope, we stop going for things. We don’t see the point. We are more confident in our failure than in our success…or more pointedly, that there is no benefit in the “going for”. We have given up before we have even reached the starting gate.

1974203_10202794441175104_8370793391511801415_o1Hope and self-worth are intertwined. We do not become worthy through struggle. We already are. And, from there, hope is natural. True hope. Looking-forward-to-with-desire-and-reasonable-confidence hope. Define ‘reasonable’. Yes, you get to define it. That’s subjective. That’s up to you. What is reasonable in your world? With hope as your companion in life, you continuously get to expand upon what is “reasonable”.

Your playing small does not serve the world.” ~Marianne Williamson

Transformation is possible because free will exists. Every day, we have the option to choose…how to engage…whether to dwell on a life-taking thought pattern or to reach for a life-giving one. We are free to choose a new direction…a new way of being…a new way of looking at our situations or surroundings or…ourselves in the mirror. Take a new breath…with hope.

  1. Bring to mind a current situation or area in your life where things come easily. Acknowledge how your hope is not lacking here and you can easily see yourself successful in said endeavor. Don’t overthink it. In my world, it is teaching fitness. In your world, it could be baking bread. When I’m about to present to a room full of bankers in Tokyo, I bring to mind the ease in which I get up in front of a room full of BodyPump-ers. This is how I rationalized teaching fitness to begin with…to help me get over my shyness and fear of presenting.
  2. Find hope in the beauty and ease of the sunset. Take a moment just to acknowledge the day…and any challenges from your day…with ease and compassion for yourself. Then, celebrate your victories…that is, places where things flowed easily…and supported your vision for how life should be.
  3. Find the feeling first. If you are waiting for the test result or desired outcome in order to “feel good”, don’t be surprised if it stays out of reach. Results flow from an emotional trail. Our only job is to find the good-feeling place aligned with our dreams and desires.
  4. Evoke the conspiracy theory from others. People will mirror back what you’re putting out. There is always internal work that must be done, that others can’t see, that only you can feel. In your worry, though, others cannot give you anything other than something that matches your worry. In real time, they are reflecting what you’re feeling. Find a way to feel something different that they can reflect.
  5. Become a genius. Genius is just attention to a subject. You can be a genius at chaos…or you can be a genius at life-giving things. We become what we repeatedly do…and think. Live out your desires through practiced thought, action…and rest.
  6. Create momentum. Each time you choose, see what feels best. Be playful with it. When you create something you don’t want, smile and say thank you…thank you for showing me what I don’t want. Then, back it up and choose differently next time. This is how we create positive momentum…from a place of empowerment, worthiness…and hope.
  7. If it’s freaking you out, you’re not ready yet. You’re getting ahead of yourself. Back up until there is no worry or doubt intermingled with your hope.
  8. Focus on the improvement in the way you feel, rather than the ulterior motive to get what you want. Haven’t you ever thought you knew exactly what you wanted, only to discover something better? From this standpoint, hope becomes easy. Because we trust in the unfolding no matter what the outcome.
  9. Get your body in congruence with your dreams. Get off the soapbox of proving worthiness through struggle. Hard work for the sake of struggle damages us…and everyone around us. It creates dis-ease and contagion. Instead, seek ways to spark the creativity and disciplined effort from joyful sources.
  10. Find acts of hope all around you. At a wedding. In a pregnant woman’s caress of her belly. In viewing a sporting event on TV. At your child’s piano recital or school play. How many acts of hope can you find this week?

The more you notice hope, the more hope will show up in your life.

Do you want to explore HOPE further? Click here for quotes, mantras and our willPower dedicated weekly exercise!

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit www.starslocker.com.

2 Comments

  1. Jennifer DeLuccia
    Jennifer DeLuccia
    Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 at 3:51 pm ·

    This is such a fantastic blog that I’m having a hard time putting it into words so I’ll just say thank you:-)

  2. Sarah Ingmanson
    Sarah Ingmanson
    Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 at 4:23 pm ·

    Wow, thank you very much for the kind words! I’m glad to hear it resonated with you, Jen.