7 Ways To Inspire Hope

He had all the signs and words of stuck. “I can’t” “No one will help.” “No options.” He’d stop trying to improve the situation and was looking to numb it. His “sports ready” stance had withered to hunched and clenched. He still had an occassional “wish” for a miracle. But, wishes without action are another side of hopeless.
And yet, from the outside looking in, I saw huge possibility, talent, and relationships worth leveraging. I yearned to help him adjust his lens to see new beginnings.

Why I Subscribe to Hope

Hope encourages hard work, risks, and meaning. Not the “want without work” kind of dreaming. The feeling deep in your gut that there’s something more.

I’m ridiculously yet pragmatically hopeful. Ridiculous, because I dream big and set goals beyond my reach. Practical because I work like a dog to make wishes come true.
Hope brought me through a divorce and into a loving marriage
Hope led to “impossible” jobs that made a difference
Hope in people transformed careers
Hope inspires my kids
Hope matters
Hope Inspires Others.

7 Ways to Inspire Possible

Leaders are ambassadors of possibility. When tired eyes look your way, engage them in gentle challenges. Help them realize more.

  1. Start with your own heart – Connect with possible. Remember feelings of turnaround and triumph. Export passion in your connection.
  2. Ask possibility questions – Sit with them in the silence of consideration before narrowing to questions of feasible.
  3. Discover stories of past success – First excavate positive feelings then connect to potential actions.
  4. Identify folks to crew the lifeboat – Who do they (and you) know who could help? Encourage the fortitude to ask for it.
  5. Open doors – Sure, they need to do the heavy lifting. But when your hands are full, it’s helpful when someone opens a door.
  6. Commit to continued support – Ensure that this is more than a one time “pep talk”
  7. Your turn – What would you add?

*Photo source: http://seattletimes.com/special/mlk/

Posted in Authenticity & Transparency and tagged , , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.


  1. Hope is the thing which gives us strength throughout each day. When the news of the day punches us in the face, it is only hope which keeps us moving forward. Martin Luther King, Jr. was only able to move forward because of his HOPE it would be better one day. Without it, where would we be today? My addition for inspiring possible would be catching someone doing something right and encourage them. This could be the only person who says something nice today, thus providing HOPE that tomorrow will be better than today!

    • Dave, Thanks as always for contributing to the conversation. Beautiful addition. We can inspire hope in the small moments each day. Let’s see how much hope we can inspire today.

  2. Wonderful post, Karin and one that truly resonates with me! I am a believer in hope, because it does begin the process of action and promise. In fact, I would even say that hope is the precursor to excitement and can inspire a team to reach even higher.

    I begin each day with a sense of hope, looking forward to what my personal and professional work may bring. I think hope is also contagious and when it’s part of a leader’s soul, it can motivate a team and others they connect with.


  3. I love this article…it’s so full of hope! Seriously, you raise some great points and my personal favorite is hinting at the possible by asking questions…questions have an amazing way of drawing people out, and when that happens all sorts of things become possible.

    As far as adding anything, I would add “instilling others with a sense of purpose gives them hope.” Purpose allows us to see something bigger and better beyond ourselves and into the future. Isn’t that what we want for our children, and why hope is the greatest gift we can give to them.

    Thanks, Karin.

  4. Dearest Karin
    I love your post. but you know how I feel about hope.

    Hope to me is another word for TRY.

    I will (hope) try to leave this marriage
    I will (hope) try to lead myself to making a difference.
    I will (hope) try to transform my career
    I will (hope) try to inspire my kids.

    “Hope” and “try” are attached to an outcome and If I am attached to an outcome I just might be setting myself up for disappointment.

    TRY, HOPE, EXPECTATIONS are all in the same family. When we create expectations, hope, trying we create connection to a outcome! and it leads us out of the present moment.

    Hope is based on fear.
    Try is based on trepidation
    Expectations suffering.

    Life is about the letting go of all the hoping and making the present moment its gift.

    Lead From Within

    • Lolly, Thanks so much for your beautiful reply. It’s a wonderful expansion of this conversation. I wonder… how do we inspire possibility in the future, without attachment?

    • LIFE is more about intention and then letting go ( detachment)

      The moment we hold on to something is the moment we open our opening ourselves up to disappointment, suffering and pain and lose.

      If we attach ourselves, if we hope -we put ourselves in a box.

      a box of our own thinking.

      if we state an intention and let it go.

      it opens it up to something beyond our imagination.

      something we could not have thought of with our past thinking and doing.

      What I speak about is expansion of self, its the language of the heart.

      Makes sense?

    • Lolly, Ahhhh, yes… that helps a lot. I need something for the future… intention works well 😉

      We can work with all our heart toward positive intentions, but stay open to the moments and the journey along the way. That makes sense… and brings up many experiences… it’s the old Rolling Stones motto… get what you need. I’ve got a lot of that going on in my life right now.

      Thanks for caring so much.

  5. Thank you Karin for your inspiring words which also show us how to take action.

    Another question I would ask is “What do you WANT to do?” Gives them permission to have it their way (which may include not taking action) and helps me to let go of being responsible.

  6. I’m one year late into this post, but I absolutely appreciate your advices to inspire hope first in oneself then in others. I stumble to this post because I find myself becoming negative and my conversation usually depicts nothing-can-be-done and hopelessness. Thank you!

    • Moses, Thanks so much for sharing your struggle. I do hope you will join our community (just enter your email address, it’s free). There are a lot of folks who are their inspiration and hope. There’s always something that can be done. You have more power than you think.

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