When you embark on a bold dream, such as The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease, you activate hope. The dream isn’t achieved—and may not be realized in your lifetime—yet the sheer act of committing to it blossoms hope within you and others. Let hope drive your actions.
Think of this human capacity of hope as a lifeline. Over this past year, which was permeated with a pandemic, we learned that no matter what vision of wellness you or your organization seeks to attain, your plans can completely upend.
But, as this TEDx Talk shares, hope can enable us, individually and collectively, to grapple with the temptation of despair when things fall apart. It helps us hang on when we think we can’t take the next step forward on our wellness journey, and it invites us to turn traumas into opportunities for growth. With hope, you and your loved ones, coworkers and organization can reimagine a future of wellness, yes, even in tough times.
HOPE MAKES LIFE BETTER FOR EVERYONE
In language, hope gives us options! As a noun, having hope means you have confidence in the future and an expectation of something desired. As a verb, you can hope, that is, wish for or trust something to be so.
For our health, hope is an agent for stress-buffering and healing. As described by the Oxford Handbook of Hope, hope helps us better manage pain (e.g., during an illness or surgery) and a host of health challenges (e.g., cancers, cardiovascular diseases, visual impairment or traumatic injuries). People with high hopes are more likely to take positive actions today that empower a healthy future. This means, when your hope is elevated, you are more apt to create clear goals, identify pathways and people to support you, and sustain the determination required for meeting those goals. In essence, hope fuels the essential behaviors for making and leading positive changes, whether that’s to eat healthier and integrate movement into your day, contribute to your local community’s efforts to provide everyone access to clean water, or build new skills for adaptability in your team.
When we lead, hope supports our resilience during demanding times, and it nurtures our leadership development, coherence and commitment. Full of hope, we are internally resourced to imagine new ways of working (as these educators did during the pandemic) and increase our organizational effectiveness. Clearly, hope is a key instrument we can use as wellness leaders to bring about personal growth and positive social change.
LET HOPE DRIVE YOUR ACTIONS
Hope is a nourishing foundation for living and leading. How can you consciously let hope drive your actions as a wellness leader? Try any of these practices with your team and organization—as well as in your own life.
Leading Your Team and Organization
Invite your team to connect through hope. Tremendous problems in our world are eroding wellness for people and the planet. (The UN Sustainable Development Goals outlines those here.) And pressures from the global pandemic have, in most cases, made matters worse. Yet, we always have reasons to hope! Invite your team to identify up to three opportunities that have emerged this past year—perhaps better ways of working, strengthened relationships at home, or a new priority for self-care—as new avenues for connection and wellbeing.
Create a social contagion of hope with your brand. Caring brands don’t just sell a product or service; they are an authentic source of upliftment. In a world fatigued by the pandemic on top of the many other challenges we face, identify how your brand can inspire people to see a positive, connected, empowered future ahead. Need a muse to get started? Check out these brand campaigns by British Gas, TikTok, Nike, The Coca-Cola Company, and Mulino Bianco. And use #wellnessmoonshot on social media to share how your brand is making life more hopeful for people during these demanding times; we’ll spread your inspiration to others. Don’t forget that a brand can be a company, product, school, cause or you.
Ask: Am I experiencing hope? Hope is often defined as a positive emotional state combined with an internal sense of agency and paths to achieve your vision and goals. Assess your level of hope by reviewing the Adult Hope Scale. If you score high in hope, then explore ways to amplify hope in others. (The strategies in the Leading Your Team & Organization section are a start.) If you score low in hope, then experiment with practices in this Leading Yourself section or reach out to helpful resources, such as a coach, mentor or mental health professional, to rebuild hope within yourself.
End your day with hope. When you make a conscious effort to connect with gratitude, goodness and growth, a deep sense of hope is a natural byproduct. At the end of each day, write down your responses to these questions: What am I grateful for today?What was good about today? What did I learn today that will benefit my wellbeing and the wellbeing of others? Do this exercise with loved ones or your work team to deepen your relationships through hope and wellbeing.
Tap into spiritual practices. When things seem dreary or difficult, return to or learn new practices that help you respond to life’s situations from a transcendent perspective. Prayer, reading sacred texts, meeting up with a spiritual community, meditation, and conscious breath are but a few ways to recenter yourself in the wholeness that you already are, including your capacity for hope.
Safeguard your hope. Too many sources, from media to gurus, attempt to sway human behavior through fear, manipulation and bias. Remember: Your capacity for hope is a precious resource. Be discerning about who or what you let influence your perceptions of your future and yourself.
The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease Initiative is a dream powered, in large part, by hope. It is forged from the belief that there is no such thing as us and them. On this planet we call Earth, there is only all of us—the hope we share together is our bond and our sustenance.