Discover more from Super Sunday
Unpopular Opinion: Hope is a leadership skill. Here’s an empirically-validated framework to activate it.
Use this at work and for you personal goals.
Hello friend! 👋
This week’s newsletter is dedicated to a skill that is not often appreciated.
While many people may think that hope is a soft attitude, science has validated that it is necessary for individuals, organizations, and societies to grow and foster. There’s nothing soft about that.
Moreover, science tells us there is a validated 3-part framework to make hope happen.
Let’s dive straight in!
Having a goal is the first and guiding principle of being hopeful.
Without a clear goal, energy is diluted and spread too thin to make a significant impact. You may see this play out for you at life when there are too many things happening at once with not much progress in any.
The reality is that we only have 24 hours in a day, with 1/3rd of that spent sleeping leaves us only so much to deploy where it matters the most.
Why do we do this? Well one way to see this is that we get distracted from our goal with another new and flashy new goal. We do this multiple times while old projects/goals collect dust in our imaginary shelf of “What-ifs”. We lose hope in those projects.
And given the way technology and how most people operate nowadays, it is very hard to avoid being distracted.
Having ONE goal that is wildly important and crystal clear can help force all distractions away, without much effort. It also helps guide and orient our energy on one place that creates massive impact.
(by the way, the trick here is not to worry if this is the right or wrong goal - moving FAST on a goal means you get to know the answer real quick and can make adjustments real quick too!💡)
The second pillar of creating hope is to have a sense of agency.
Science calls this self-efficacy. The concept of self-confidence that was pioneered by Albert Bandura in the 90’s - it is the confidence in the abilities to the task (not the confidence ).
There’s two types of confidences:
Confidence in things and situations, whether positive or negative.
Confidence in one’s own ability to do what’s needed to make things succeed.
Agency is all about the latter - and it relates very much to the origins of the word confidence; from Latin Confidere meaning INTENSE TRUST (in what? in your abilities to do what’s needed).
Building self-efficacy (or agency) is linked to many things including keeping commitments, previous wins, positive self-talk, positive encouragements, or even following other role-models.
As you create a clear goal, remind yourself of your strengths or previous wins - think of how these strengths and experiences can serve you as you embark on the journey towards this goal.
Finally, having different ways to get to get to that goal.
If agency is about having the WILLpower to do what’s needed to be done, pathways is about having the WAYpower to be flexible and resilient.
While this is not used by the literature on hope, it makes you ANTI-fragile. Growing stronger with challenges, not only bouncing back up after facing them.
Once your goal is clear and you’ve activated your agency, plotting out the different barriers that you expect that can come in your way of achieving that goal - for each of those barriers draw out a mitigation plan or pathway to overcome it.
For example, if your goal is to workout daily then you may think of creating different pathways for
With these variables you’d be able to draw out solutions to any of the barriers that are idiosyncratic to your lifestyle and life-situation.
Remember the acronym GAP (Goal, Agency, Pathways)
Operationalizing your hope can help you boost happiness (expected) but also helps you and your team increase performance!
All that while you are achieving goals, creating impact you wish to create, and helping others become hopeful as well.
Take 5 minutes to reflect the process on a paper (digital or physical), and have a Super Sunday! 💪
With much joy,