Beyond Hope (is Action)

Two weekends ago (back when it was 80 degrees out and NOT snowing!) I scouted out a couple of Bradford Pear trees for the yard. I had them planted in our front yard to replace the two trees  planted last year. Those did not survive. (For those of you who have seen my office plants, I’m sure this is of no surprise to you).

As I sat here contemplating what I wanted to write about this month I caught myself a little dazed, looking out my window at one of the Bradford Pears. I slowly became conscious of thinking, “I sure hope their roots dig in deeply and they find the nutrients they need to survive this time.” Gasp! Then it hit me. I’m doing exactly what I encourage my clients not to do. I’m a sittin’ and a hopin’. I know that hoping isn’t going to make my trees succeed any more than my sons driving their Big Wheels into them will. And that is our topic for this month. Hope in action.

Hope is easy. It’s a word. It’s a thought. It’s a feeling. Though I am a very big fan of hope, and I believe we all need it, alone hope will not lead us to our dreams. Until we transform hope into action (much like love needs to be an action to really have meaning) we are merely sittin’ and hopin.’

What do you hope? Jennifer hopes to find a new job. Mack hopes to lose 50 pounds. Terri hopes to find a girlfriend. Rhonda hopes to feel happy. Sam hopes to move. Vicki hopes to feel more passionate about her relationship. Tim hopes to run a marathon before he dies.

What are you doing? Jennifer isn’t looking for a job. Mack eats what he wants, when he wants and doesn’t work out. Terri works all day and comes home to an empty apartment every night and doesn’t answer her phone when it rings. Rhonda sleeps 12 hours at night and 3 hours everyday after work. Sam just bought a new house. Vicki doesn’t talk to her partner. Tim smokes.

Hope without action is denial at its finest. Hope without action is the illusion that we want something when in reality, our behaviors suggest we don’t.

Hope tells us what is possible. Action makes it happen. Hope gives us incentive to take risks. Risk is doing something despite your fears – not waiting for your fears to subside to do what you need to do. Hope creates a vision. Planning gives our vision shape.

A HOPE-FULL exercise:

  1. Fold a piece of paper in half
  2. On the left side, list every hope you currently have
  3. On the right side, across from each hope, list the steps you will need to take to make your hope a reality
  4. Consider the entire list and commit to at least one of the items (hopes) you listed
  5. Complete all of the steps you listed for that hope and watch one of your hopes become a reality
  6. Then start over with another hope and do steps 1-5 again!

Well I better get out and water my Pear trees so I can actually keep them alive this year! Happy doin’ and hopin’ to you all.

Doing makes the vision become a reality.