Choosing Hope in 2013

It’s day 8 of 2013, and we’re all getting back into the swing of things after the holidays. Back to work, back to school, back to the routine…and I’ve seen many people post status updates and tweets about getting “back to the grind.” Every time I see those words, I cringe.

Is your life really a grind? If so, that is most definitely a choice you’re making. The attitude you have about your life and its direction is yours to decide. If your life felt like a grind in 2012, there’s a new year in front of you, and you can choose to start the year with a fresh perspective and a belief that your life is amazing.

I know that, for some, this is much easier said than done. As an advocate for those experiencing poverty and homelessness, I have witnessed the enormity of human need and the lack of hope that can be part of the human condition. Interestingly, though, many of our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness have more hope and a better attitude than those of us who have far more than we need. Why is that?

I strongly believe that we always have a choice. We can choose hope. We can choose optimism. We can choose to believe in ourselves. Granted, these choices are often incredibly difficult. At times we are faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and pain that we wouldn’t wish on anyone. But even in those times, there is hope. But only if we choose to see it, to feel it, to experience it.

My plan for 2013 is to choose hope. I am optimistic about this year and its possibilities. In the same moment, there is also fear. In much of the reading I’ve done about leadership, there’s often an underlying theme that fear doesn’t have a place in our lives if we want to lead. I reject that idea completely. We all have fears. When I heard Dr. Brene Brown speak recently, this quote resonated with me, and I repeat it often to myself, “We can be afraid and brave in the exact same moment. It’s where courage comes from.”

In the year to come, I accept that that I will be afraid and brave, and I will choose to be courageous. I will be happy and healthy. I will lead, while striving to empower other leaders. I will choose hope.

So what do you choose for 2013? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section.

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