A Survey For Hope

Chances are you’re basking in the glow of a delicious holiday meal, feeling optimistic about the world around us. Or at least I hope you are.

What is hope all about, anyway? According to Therese Lask, a training and organizational development specialist at Colorado State University, it’s about having goals and a belief that you can overcome obstacles to achieve them. The future seems bright to those with hope.

Lask trains employees within workplaces on how to increase their feelings of hope, based on research by Shane Lopez, Ph.D. Using data gathered in schools, and combined with his experience with the Gallup Research organization, Lopez has created a hope scale and interventions to raise others’ beliefs about their futures. As a byproduct, they’re able to increase their morale and productivity also.

Lask uses that scale to help others understand their hope status, and then recommends these activities to pump up optimism:

–          Start with a visualization exercise. Close your eyes, and think about waking up five years from now. Picture yourself going to work:  what are you excited about, what does the environment look like, how do you spend your time, and what gives you energy?

–          Based on what you imagined, think about an aim you’d like to work toward, and then create a SMART goal around it: make it Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic  and Time-based.  Consider your unique strengths, and factor those into your plans to increase your chances of success, but be careful to not take on too many goals at one time, as it can be overwhelming.

–          Realize that you’ll have maintenance goals—things you aim to do every day, as in packing a healthy lunch, as well as enhancement goals—bigger picture targets, such as completing a masters degree in five years.

–          At your workplace, do what you can to include others in the goal setting process. Coworkers will be more hopeful, and more invested, if they’re a part of solving challenges.

And if you’d like to put a number to just how hopeful you are, visit shanelopez.com and take his free hope survey.