I remember thinking during my Marine boot camp in San Diego, “I hope I make it.” I was considered an underdog of who people would expect to be a Marine, and for most of my 13 weeks, motivation was an uphill battle. Hope in these moments came from a few affirmations I put on an index card and few good friends in my platoon who had my back.
Nothing lasts forever
One of the assertions I used during those crazy IT (intensive training) sessions was, “Nothing lasts forever.” This simple phrase would give me the power to push through the worst of what the drill instructors would throw at me. It gave me hope that at some time in the future I would be standing, catching my breath. This perspective didn’t come to me right away, but only by looking back after something hard, could I see that even though that sucked a lot, it did end. For me in boot camp, this mindset extended to my 13-week training.
If you have ever been to San Diego, then you know the training camp is right next to the runway. I created the mental picture in my head that allowed me to see myself looking down from one of those planes. When that 13 weeks ended and it was finally my turn to look down, it all became surreal experience. I remember reflecting on it all thinking “holy shit; I just did that.”
It was a constant struggle moment to moment to push past what my mind limited me in thinking I could do. But reframing my goal and the moments in a way that self-generated the hope I needed to bring power into the present.
Outsourcing your Hope
I recently read an article that hit me like a two-ton wrecking ball. It pointed out that many of us (me included) outsource our self-esteem and for me, I took this to the next level that I was outsourcing my hope.
On any given moment if I felt a little depressed, I would have answered, “feeling hopeless.” I had lost my power to run the present version of me. I would create all these reasons why I feel hopeless. Outsourcing allowed me to shift the blame for my situation away from myself and open the pity party of why things were the way they were.
By not accepting responsibility for my situation, I was outsourcing my hope and giving away all the power to create lasting change.
Operating System Runs on Hope
I learned a few years back after I had first heard this quote from John Maxwell that my operating system runs on hope. If I didn’t have hope in my future, I would blue screen, and everything would come crashing down. It would be just like a real PC failure where it can take a few days to get it back up and running. Then when I realized I was outsourcing my hope, I realized that a whole bunch of stuff was getting into my life and taking over.
It comes down to see what you want short term, long term, and in the middle. Using what you know today about who you are and developing the right mindset to self-power your life forward.
We have all heard growing up we need to be accountable, own our choices. Well when it came to outsourcing my hope, I realized I was leaving all of these on the table for someone else to accept responsibility. That person never came and on some day it would pile up quickly.
Power through Perspective
When I was a Marine, I had no clear path of where this choice was going to take me, but I knew that it was a hopeful future. Surrounding yourself with like-minded circles of friends who are heading where you want to be or maybe already ten steps ahead is the easiest way to keep your hope internalized and accountable only to us.
Robbers of Hope
We all know these people, they seem to suck the happiness out of a room just by walking into it. These are people we need to guard ourselves and beware of most. They are like cows who graze on happiness. Making sure you remove the cows in your life is a fundamental element of safeguarding your hope.
I find in the workplace cows show up as people who are cruel, mean, or just down right dicks. A tactic I find useful is to remember this quote by Zig Ziglar.
“Sometimes the only taste of success people get is when they take a bite out of yours.”
This quote resets my ability to own who I am, reconfirm my identity to myself, and restart the hope factory without having the blue screen.
And finally, recognize that only we can generate hope when we look for hope in others we disconnect our ability to power our future and the present. It’s like trying to gather your confidence from an old analog T.V. signal where a clear picture only every comes into focus every few minutes.
We are the hope and the power of our true purpose 4 life.
Also published on Medium.