Hope: When Can it Lift You Up? When Can it Let You Down?

Emily Dickinson famously said, “Hope is the thing with feathers/ that perches in the soul” and I agree. Delicate and sometimes elusive, hope can keep us going when we are most in need.

Hope is also a building block for creating a better future.

Noam Chomsky summed this up when he said, “Unless you believe the future can be better you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope.”

So why—and when—do I think hope can let you down?

Last week I was helping a client prepare for an important meeting. As we ran through questions he might be asked, I brought up a potentially sticky one.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come up,” said he.

Um, no.

Hope is not a strategy.

This is why I request that every client, and you, think of the worst three questions you might be asked before every single meeting or interview. More importantly, think through the answers to those questions.

Similarly, if you are launching a new product or service, think through three worst-case scenarios that might occur during your rollout and how you will address them should they occur.

Finally, should you have a team that might be asked difficult questions should a situation happen, put together scripts addressing each potentially hideous question they might be asked—and the answers—and distribute these to every team member.

Anything else is likely to let you down with a thump.


* Please note: at no time during this post did I use the word “crisis” to describe difficult scenarios.  Why? Check out, “My Brand is Situation”