Hop on Hope

We begin our Talent Catalyst conversations with this simple question: “What are your hopes?”
Here are a few reasons why it’s a great question:

  1. It’s fresh. Although it might seem rather basic, it’s not a question we are asked very often. We remember asking one senior executive the question and his immediate response was, “Wow, you don’t mess around!”
  2. It’s expansive. We’re used to getting questions that are more targeted: what are your goals, what’s the deliverable, what’s the objective, when will you have that done. These are all useful questions when executing a plan, but the Hopes question takes a step back and asks you to wonder about the bigger picture. Initially, it is meant not to make final decisions, but to create possibilities.
  3. It’s forward looking. It is asking what you want to move towards, not what you want to move away from. It is asking about a future with an open canvas, not one that has been decided by the past. This kind of question stimulates the most creative parts of our brains.
  4. It’s a question that improves with time. In the Talent Catalyst Conversation we ask the Hope question twice. The first time you hear the question you give the best response that you can. As you explore the concerns, resources, and growth opportunities that naturally flow from the question, your response to the hope question becomes even clearer.

How it works
Asking people about their hopes and why they are important to them stimulates a cascade of positive dynamics. What we call the virtuous cycle of hope creates a sense of possibility. In turn, this sense of possibility opens our minds to the resources available to us. With a greater awareness of resources, we have more energy and confidence to act. The following diagram illustrates the cycle.

Virtuous Cycle of Hope

This cycle is also self-reinforcing. When we are hopeful, we see more opportunities and take more constructive actions, which create more of what we hoped would occur. This encourages us to pursue more resources and actions.
You can validate this cycle for yourself. Take a few minutes to answer the following questions.

Hopes in action for you
Describe what the following are like when you have a hopeful frame of mind:
Your thoughts:
Your feelings:
Your behaviors:
Your effectiveness with others:
Do you recognize the pattern for yourself? Do you see how having a hopeful frame of mind will make a difference for you?
So why not try it out? If you haven’t been asked the question recently, ask it of yourself. With or without the whole Talent Catalyst Conversation, it’s bound to stir up something interesting. Or ask someone you love. What could be a better expression of authentic care than posing this question to your kids, your spouse, your parents, or your friends?
Wellsprings of Talent will help you plumb the depths of your hopes and translate your aspirations into reality.

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6 Comments » for Hop on Hope
  1. Don Maruska says:

    Welcome to our first blog entries. Please add your comments.

  2. Harry Shade says:

    When I have a hopeful frame of mind, which is about 99% of the time by the way, my thoughts and feelings are lighter, more expansive and full of positivity.

    I behave in a way that allows me to take actions towards my dreams and goals and my effectiveness with others i enhanced in a positive way.

    I describe what hope means to me by using the word in the following acronym: H.O.P.E = Helping Ourselves Prepare Emotionally because hope puts me in a positive state of mind which then leads to my feelings, thoughts and actions being positive in nature, which then opens u potential and possibilities which leads to me taking positive steps and making positive decisions.

  3. Axel says:

    The question about hope introduces the possibility of change into the conversation. In the last 10-15 years it has become very common to ask for goals and vision. Goals are firm. Vision is defined, and has pictures and results associated with it. I believe that asking for goals and vision, while valuable to determine where we want to go, which obstacles might have to be removed, and which solutions we can find, goals and vision reinforce the focus on solutions. Since we started school, we were told to find answers and solutions. Our inherent curiosity to ask questions has been replaced.
    Asking about our hopes opens that curiosity up again and at the same time it is not so firm and determined that we can’t dream, imagine and be playful when thinking abut our hopes. In turn it opens a whole new way of looking at the present and the future. TCC is a great tool to discuss our hopes.

  4. A question about hopes also stirs people’s passion, the “fire in the belly” that sometimes doesn’t get stoked because we’re too busy meeting our obligations. Almost every one of us is over-scheduled and our energy gets zapped by marking things off the list. A conversation about hopes invites us to slow down, take some time for ourselves and to re-ignite the flames.

  5. I love the expansiveness of hopes. The brain opens up to a wider peripheral vision and clients connect to their hearts more when I ask them about their “deepest” hopes.

    The real power comes when we delve into why they are important to the client. I might hope to create something but why it’s important to me taps a wellspring of energy that helps me get into action about my hopes.

  6. Andi Roberts says:

    This is a great article. A couple of things really resonate with me.

    First off is that the question triggers the process of taking time to reflect and look at all of the great things you want to do. This has now become a standard in my life. Journalling and reflecting helps me look back at the week and use my journal to support my plan to my hopes.

    Secondly being positive and future orientated is a great way to create a good future. With all of the news and pressures of work and life in the 21st century it would be so easy to remain dis-empowered and focus on the short term AND on the negatives.

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