Cultivating hope for a positive future
As we move into a new year, we enter a natural time to reflect and take stock, to gather feelings of hope for the future. Hopefully looking towards new horizons, new ideas, and new beginnings, maybe after a difficult year a change to re-purpose our current intentions motivations, and aspirations, as well as celebrate where we are.
But, what is 'hope'? The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines hope as:
"to want something to happen or to be true, and usually have a good reason to think that it might."
We often talk about goals and targets, however, in coaching, I find intention (what)and motivation (why)can be more natural, and just as effective. A sense of being curious, present and more open to what we don't know or haven't quite worked out!
Open to what appears on our journey, the people, the opportunities, and the delights that we didn't quite expect. To trust and take heart in the synchronicities and happenings that you could never have anticipated to meet. Goals and targets can be helpful, yet put emphasis on passing or failing (good or bad and often measured by others). Who knows if we have even set the best or most suitable target for ourselves anyway!
How does coaching help cultivate hope?
Coaching brings professional support, and time to focus, relax and reflect on what we hope for. With support, we can make wiser choices; in relationships and in our careers - coming from a place of kindness, rather than criticism (which research suggests only motivates us for so long!) And, by aligning our intentions and motivations to our core values, then we are more like to stay in harmony and keep motivated when we run out of steam, which can happen along the way in the ups and downs of life.
Being realistic and having patience with ourselves and with others will help with the changes we wish for. Taking note that where you are now has taken time; years of conscious and unconscious habits, patterns, and conditioning. Remember, realigning our paths and journey takes a lot of purpose, effort, and energy before it becomes natural and effortless. That is why change can be tricky and we can give up. Slow, supported and purposeful applications can take us to where we need to be. Coaching support helps people to know they are not alone.
The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are the moments when we touch one another.
Learning to focus on what is good can help us to keep going. Remember, our imagination is a powerful tool, it can take us to dark places but if we flip it, we can relish in the good - the small joys as well as the big joys - to bring in positive energy to help us to refuel. Notice what you are consuming (people, ideas, experiences) and what you are taking in; is it toxic and draining or healthy and nurturing?
Gratitude and appreciation can help to keep us motivated. It is easy to forget and undervalue what we have, the simple things from warm drinks and food, a place to live, our connections with others, including pets. However, sadly not everybody can take these basic needs for granted at this time.
Kindness and self-compassion help too. We can learn to 'mess up' quicker, rest, and restore with a healthy dose of self-compassion to avoid self-shaming, with less rumination and overthinking. Compassion enables us to take a gentler approach to face and cope with life challenges that cause suffering.
Check my events for groups compassion training. If you are leading others, you may be interested in compassionate leadership coachingsessions, linked to my MSc Research at Aberdeen University.
Showing empathy and compassion to others is important to our wellbeing. Not everyone can access hope.Some people experiencehopelessness (including our loved ones and friends). Christmas and the New Year can be so difficult for many people.
I came across a really helpful factsheet from Extern that talks about hope and hopelessness. There are some great tips to share with others also. Cultivating hope can touch the heart of others and bring joy and inspiration.
I hope this blog brings a little hope and wellness to all in your coming year.
Warmest Wishes, Lou.