Hope Springs Eternal for Career Change

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

What do you hope for in 2014?

Empirical studies indicate that most episodes of hope involve achievement-related goals, e.g. success in some academic, artistic, athletic, career, relationship, and so on. “Hope is the passion for the possible.”

When it is allied with our highest aspirations and deepest values, it can give us a general orientation to life that motivates us to take actions…and propel us towards our desires.

Hope is grounded in desire

In the quote above, Pope refers to the desire to be blessed. Do you know someone with the first name, Hope? Ask them why their parents gave them that name.

One friend told me she was born prematurely at 1.5 lbs in a place and time where there were no medical facilities to treat her. Her mother and father put her in an incubator—where she stayed for 4 months—and prayed, then hoped for the best. They were elderly parents and Hope turned out to be their only child—a true blessing in their lives! She felt truly loved by her parents, deeply cared for, and relishes the time she had with them. She feels blessed as their child.

Caring about our future

Hope belongs to a constellation of feelings and attitudes related to caring about our future. On the positive side it is related to optimism, confidence, courage, faith, gratitude, and contrasts with fear, pessimism, resignation, despair. Usually, it is felt less intensely than fear, more like a sentiment that has a positive moral value.

One function of hope is to give goals far away from us their due importance. For example, making a career change usually takes time. Hope rouses feelings necessary to influence our conduct, to motivate us to take actions towards future goals. It helps us to overcome everyday difficulties by looking beyond them to a better future.

Hope motivates us to plan

Having made several career transitions myself, and helped hundreds of individuals make significant career changes during the past 20 years, I have learned that hope—as a general orientation towards achieving future goals—increases the effectiveness of career change tools and techniques, such as visioning, goal setting, planning, implementing, adapting actions, prospecting opportunities.

In the quote above, Pope uses the word expatiates, which means to speak or write at length or in detail. I guide my clients through a process of speaking and writing to uncover their hopes and desires.

I strive to help my clients develop clarity about their strengths, particularly their talents and motivations, in order to foster realistic hope. Clarity feeds confidence and increases self-understanding, both necessary for taking effective actions to realize goals. But hope provides the framework for action.

Hope is the well spring of desire and we deserve to be in a state of desire!

After all, if we have no hope for a better future, why take any actions?

I will leave you with some words of hope from the wise…may they nurture and sustain and help you persevere through the difficult times of the year ahead.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. (Dale Carnegie)

Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success; for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles. (Samuel Smiles)

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” (Pope John XXIII)

Hope & Joy in the Rubble!

If work is about creating what matters to us, why create anything if not for the hope of a better moment, or hour, or day , or year, or future?

Did you catch the flash mob video of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus that was performed in a Food Court at the Welland Seaway Mall in late Nov’10.? It garnered a few thousand views before it went viral and watched around the world 20 million times in the past few weeks.

Hallelujah Chorus in Food Court

The creativity of human beings never ceases to amaze me. I love the tremendous display of creativity everywhere this time of year, such as the wonderful Xmas tunes that play nonstop on radio stations; the reruns of beloved movies that crowd the TV schedule; the new movie releases for the holidays; the abundance of goods that can be bought for presents; the vivid colors of home and office decorations : each one the product of creative minds, hearts, and hands.

Embedded in this creative explosion of sight and sound is a message of hope. Yes, the holiday season is commercialized. Thousands of jobs are involved in producing, marketing, selling, distributing, and servicing what we enjoy during this season. But, the mere fact of their existence doesn’t account for their success. All these holiday goods and services tap into our human nature.

Why bother to create anything if not for the hope of a better moment, or hour, or day, or year, or future?


The holiday products of our creativity are an expression of the Hope that beats eternal in our human breasts, captured poignantly in the photograph featured here, shot in Seville (Spain) in 1933, by Henri Cartier-Bresson, who became known for his photographs of apparent contradictions: pictures that left mysteries unexplained.

This famous photo depicts a run-down alley surrounded by decaying walls, strewn with rubble randomly stacked in thick piles lying on the street, and riddled with bullet holes dotting gray walls. The setting alone evokes feelings of sadness and despair.

The photo reminds me always of my travels in the Mediterranean, where I often saw school children kicking soccer balls against the walls of ancient churches. Coming from Canada, from the new world, with its recent history of European settlement, I often thought to myself : “Hey, you kids, stop that, don’t you have any respect for the sacred!”

The sacred, of course, is clearly visible–not in the bricks and mortar of church walls—but in the children. Within the grim alley scene of this photo, children are playing. They wear dirty and tattered clothes, as one might expect in such a setting, but like playing children everywhere, they laugh with carefree joy. In the foreground, a tiny boy on crutches hobbles away from two other boys, his face lit up with a broad grin. One boy is laughing so hard he has to hold his side. Others lean on the cracked walls, beaming with delight.

It is easy to spot the contrast — and the point. Joy amidst the rubble of life. Laughter amongst its ruins.

Life is full of contradictions. Even as we spread good cheer throughout our homes, offices and neighborhoods, others suffer unspeakable tragedies.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

Life is hard, excruciatingly so for many people on earth. Hope keeps us going through trials and tribulations. Hope for more joy in life!

The creativity of the Christmas season is like a brilliant flash of light shining in winter darkness. Joy breaks through to touch our common humanity. It reminds us, perhaps, of why we labor.

We cannot avoid pain, however hard we try, as old Scrooge learned only too well in the wonderful classic A Christmas Carol. But we can avoid joy.

We cannot escape hardship and trouble, but we can miss out on much of life’s peace and laughter.

If you feel as if you could use more joy this holiday season, try the following:

Spend time daily creating something you truly enjoy—a special moment, an event, a gift.

Laugh heartily and frequently with family and friends, even strangers.

Cultivate within yourself an attitude of hope, and give free reign to where it takes your thoughts and ideas.

Enter a sacred space—a church, temple, mosque, synagogue, or chapel—and wrap yourself in the knowledge that you are not alone.

You’ll still have problems, but through it all, you’ll find hope and joy, even in the rubble.

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