• Welcome to Day 1 of Growing Hope.

Our goal today is defining hope. There are many interpretations of what hope means. I’ll share with you how Merrium-Webster and Wikipedia define hope. Ultimately, your definition of hope is what really matters to you.

Hope can be lost when a person goes through losses such as divorce, death, change, abuse, or being exhausted and overwhelmed. A few years ago, I had so little hope, I wrote up Hope’s obituary. I was sure Hope was dead. Fortunately, I was able to go on. Eventually I found hope again. But it was a long road. With this course, I hope to shorten that time for you, from hope lost to hope found.

Sometimes the word hope is used lightly, “I hope it doesn’t rain.” or “I hope I win.” A natural inclination is to think that hope is a fleeting feeling. It’s not a tangible asset in life. Hope can get depleted and need refueling, how can it make any real difference in my life? Hope doesn’t last, but neither does bathing. I’d say both are necessary and need to be redone often.

There are hundreds of courses available online today. Opportunities abound on how to overcome physical, mental and emotional challenges. New skills can be learned to enhance careers, relationships, finances, parenting, pet-care, and many, many other things. But one thing is needed to begin those courses – hope. The students have hope that they can learn, change, or grow their life in the direction they want.

Merriam-Webster’s Simple Definition of hope:

: the feeling of wanting something to happen and thinking that it could happen : a feeling that something good will happen or be true

: the chance that something good will happen

: someone or something that may be able to provide help : someone or something that gives you a reason for hoping

Wikipedia defines it as: Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation”.

Hope is mentioned in the Bible over one hundred times.

1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

Having hope means having a belief, a goal, and a plan. Hope is not being blissfully naïve, walking around with blinders on. It is a will and a way. Hope is your map. It is a foundation that supports your move onward and upward. It is a skill you can learn.

Your assignment is to decide what hope means to you.

1. Do you accept any of these definitions?

2. Look for examples of hope around you. How do you know it when you see it?

3. What does hope mean to you?




  • Welcome to Day 2 of Growing Hope.

Why do we need hope? Shoot, you know the answer to this. Life is hard. I have never met anyone who didn’t have something painful in their life. Never.

Hope is what makes you a survivor and victor instead of a victim.

Studies in the military, studies in universities, studies in newspapers, studies in hospitals, all say you have to have hope.

Hope has been acknowledged as an important factor of healing.

…lower hope scores on Gottschalk’s (1985) Hope Scale were correlated with a greater frequency of reported total illnesses and reports of greater severity of illness…

…Athletes have higher levels of hope than non-athletes….

…There are links between hope and divergent thinking. Hope is connected to increased GPA’s….

…Dr. Shane Lopez, senior scientist at Gallup, says, “Hope is the leading indicator of success in relationships, academics, career, and business—as well as of a healthier, happier life.” New research shows that not only is hope good for your well-being, but it’s a measurable quality that can be increased with practice….

…A growing body of research suggests that there is a potent way to fight symptoms of depression that doesn’t involve getting a prescription. This potent weapon? Hope…

People with hope, expect they will master whatever is set before them. Hope can get you to places where ability alone cannot.

You can choose to believe the information I have presented here. Or you may do your own research and verify facts as you see them (this is something I always recommend – do your own investigation, get your own facts. Multiple resources with footnotes to scientific research is a very good way to separate facts from opinions.)

Your assignment is to figure out why you need hope in your life.

1. Why do you need hope?

2. Are there some physical, mental, emotional areas in your life where you need help coping?

3. Are there areas in your relationships, academics, career, or business you’d like to improve?



  • Welcome to the 3rd and final day of Growing Hope. Hope is something we create, it doesn’t magically appear. But how can we create it when there is so much negativity all around us? There are ways to deal with some of the negativity.

If the local news station is getting you down with horror that makes it hard to breathe, try this. Shut off the tv. Read the news – that way you only absorb what you are able to absorb. And then think, “is there a way I can help?” If there’s something good and constructive you can do, go do it. If not, then this isn’t your fight.

If you have co-workers, family, or friends who are constantly negative, there are a few things you can do. Avoid complainers when you can. If you can’t, set some boundaries for yourself. Redirect attention to the positive if possible. Don’t over-analyze situations. Choose your battles. Not everything has one view.

Everyone has positive and negative thoughts. You have to acknowledge both. Being hopeful is NOT just pretending negative thoughts aren’t there. If you can’t stop thinking about those things, try this. Decide how long you want to sit with this thought. 5 minutes? 10? Let the vision play out. Write a story or paint a picture. When time’s up, move on to something else.

That’s one way to deal with negative thoughts. There many, many more. Write them down in a journal. Write them down and rip them up. Draw, paint, weld, hammer, use them to create something of intensity. Physically do something different – move out of the room, clean house, go for a walk, work o your hobby, punch a punching bag. The trick is to find a positive way to release your emotions, that works for you. There is not one thing that will work for everyone. We are all different.

Once you have dealt with the negative thought, it’s time to refill your mind. Focus in on the best of life. Focus in on the good stuff. Focus in on hope.

Your assignment:

Answer this:

1. What are your hopes for yourself? What do you hope to learn and improve upon?

2. What are your hopes for the people in your life? What do you hope will happen?

3. What are your hopes for your career? What do you hope to achieve?

Wahoo! Now you have goals. You have X’s on your map. Now you need a plan. Brainstorm some ideas.

1. How will you get there? 2. What is the first step? 3. Who can help you? 4. How long will it take?

5. How will you know when you have victory?

To help you stay focused on hope, write out your answers. Or draw yourself a map. Create something that shows you how to get to the place you hope to be. Put it on your fridge, or office wall, or laundry room, or bathroom mirror. Put it where you’ll see it everyday. And put it where will it can encourage you to take the next step, make the next call, do the next thing.

Be brave. Don’t worry about if you will look ridiculous trying to make your hopes a reality. The fact is, you might. But the most ridiculous thing of all is not doing the thing that matters most to you because you are afraid. If it matters to you, it matters to someone else. Don’t let them suffer alone. Stay in this fight until the final round. Be strong.

Never give up hope.