In thinking about hope, I came back to the paradox from eastern traditions that nothing matters and everything matters. I find it liberating when I can release my attachment to and dependencies on outcomes (over which I often have little control). Across our lives and careers, some 'wins' vanish as a result of changing circumstances and some 'losses' become our finest hour as a result of changing perspectives. Hope, then, is more about how we live in the present than about how the future turns out. Hope is more about spaciousness for our full humanity than certainty about our final impact.
When we allow ourselves to truly be accountable in the moment, we can often make better decisions and take more courageous actions. This enables us to do the same for our clients. For example, we can pull ourselves and others out of the trance of busyness to focus on what is essential. We can pull ourselves and others out of analyzing whether something is good or bad to get on with learning from and making the most of what is.
As Viktor Frankl noted, “Everything can be taken from a [person] but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way…every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom.”
What is ours to do?
• Be more courageous with our questions: Be willing to ask, "Is this the conversation we need to be having?"
• Be more compassionate with our presence: Be willing to notice, "What does this person need most right now?"
• Be more conscious with our time and energy: Be willing to discern, "What is mine to do in this situation?"
Want to learn how to work this way?
Dr David Drake is the founder of the field of Narrative Coaching.