There is no escaping that 2020 has been a challenging year. Hope can seem elusive. At various times I have felt fear and anxiety as I grappled with what was happening and looked to make sense of it all. All of this whilst getting a new business off the ground.
To keep going we must have a sense that things will change, things will get better. These are the foundations of resilience: that whilst things are difficult right now this too shall pass.
Christmas for me is always about hope. Hope that, as we get into a season that is about giving, we focus not on what we can get but on what we can give. Somewhere in those acts of giving and kindness, hope is found. For me, as a person of faith, Christmas brings a reminder of the hope I have in Jesus Christ, it may be something different for you.
What gives you hope?
This quote below is from Nelson Mandela who spent over 10,000 days in prison for confronting those who wanted to oppress his people:
“I never lost hope that this great transformation would occur. Not only because of the great heroes I have already cited, but because of the courage of the ordinary men and women of my country. I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps for just a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”
Having hope does not mean that you are not aware or that you’re ignoring the reality of your situation. Hope is about the expectation that things can be different. In many ways, life, and the continuation of business, is uncertain. Yet in all of that we can, like Nelson Mandela, look for the glimpses of things that give us hope. We can be reassured that crises like war or financial downturns have happened before and likely will happen again. But people and organisations have recovered in the past and will continue to recover long into the future.
Hope can spark from simple words of encouragement to a colleague or member of your team. Sometimes we need to sensitise ourselves to look for the good, the things that give us hope, that inspire us.
Let me ask you again what gives you hope?
Most of us are not languishing in prison as Nelson Mandela was. In what was a dark place he managed to look up. Hope causes us to look up from our circumstances and adopt a different perspective. Hope helps us to look beyond ourselves and our circumstances.
Hope carries with it a creative energy that I believe sparks innovation, and invention causing us to look at things differently. I believe it starts in the soil of thankfulness. Being thankful for just one thing can begin to change our view.
As we approach Christmas and look forward with hope to a vaccine that brings back our connection with colleagues, friends and family, ask yourself:
What am I thankful for, what gives me hope for 2021?