Is Hope a Strategy?

November 24, 2020

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"Hope is not a strategy," or so the saying goes. I am sure you have heard that before, perhaps you have said it yourself. And maybe even believe it - I did. I suspect that is because of the way it was framed up. You need plans. You need action steps. You need choices (aka strategies). And to simply hope, well that is foolish. Hope is not enough.


Key with Hope tag

While I bought in to the saying hope is not a strategy, I have come to realize it actually is. Hope is strategic. And I can prove it with math. It was in 9th grade geometry, where I learned my favorite equation: if a = b and b = c then a = c (my teacher, Mr. Apsley would be more amazed than proud I remembered that!)

So, If strategy(a) = choice(b)
and choice(b) = hope(c),
then strategy(a) = hope (c).

Hope is a Choice and therefore Hope is a Strategy. When people say hope is not a strategy, I think they mean it isn't a good choice. Perhaps they feel it is too vague or too simple or not relevant when it comes to strategy development and deployment. And if that is the case, I disagree. Hope is critical. Hope is defined as: "a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen. It is an optimistic state of mind. It is based on an expectation of positive outcomes." As a verb, hope is "expect with confidence."

With hope comes desire. And the best strategic plans and actions still need hope. A desire for them to succeed. An expectation that all the planning and work will lead to a positive outcome. Hope is absolutely a critical part of not only being strategic, but also having strategies and plans succeed.

I realize that for many, hope may be dwindling. With pandemic fatigue, with many suffering great personal and professional loss, with election frustration and fear of a fracturing country. And even this week, as many are missing their beloved family traditions. There are many reasons we could lose hope. My hope for this Thanksgiving is for us to not give up hope. To keep pressing on, to keep choosing strategies and making plans. To continue to take care of yourself and others. And keep hope alive. Hope is a choice. We will get through this, and in doing so, I believe (and hope) will be stronger than ever.

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

Kate Johnson
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