Humans@Work

Hope, Fear & The Power of Choice

We live in a chaotic world, often ruled by the duality of hope and fear.

At times, our human experience is a balancing act between what we want most, and what we are afraid we’ll need to sacrifice to get it.

Our choices are often informed by the environment we live in, and the variables (real or imagined) that govern our futures, and for better or for worse are instilled with the power to decide what that future looks like.

In the workplace, we experience this dilemma when considering a job change, asking for a promotion, raising an important issue, and the like. The boss, the institution has all the power.

But what happens when our choices are derived from within?

In her acceptance speech of the Cecil B. DeMille Award during Sunday’s Golden Globes, Oprah said, “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

Our truths are embedded in our experiences, our behaviors, our values. Sharing those truths, whether it be as a victim of sexual harassment, or being passed up for a promotion, or challenging the status quo and being treated differently because of it, lends to building a greater narrative, one whose power can illuminate past wrongs and most importantly, encourage the rights.

In the absence of these stories of choosing to share their internal visions, there is no voice. There is no movement. Socrates said change does not come about by fighting the old, but on building the new. This change comes from within, not from without.

Oprah also said there’s one thing she’s seen in common when sharing these stories as an interviewer and actor: they share “an ability to maintain a hope for a brighter morning.”

Nelson Mandela once said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

When our choices reflect our hopes and our visions for a brighter tomorrow, that’s when we’ve turned a corner, that’s when fear is in the rear view.

That’s when we feel safe and empowered in pursuit of our dreams.

How do we define hope? Every person has their own vision of hope, based on their own truths, which may inevitably conflict with others.

As human beings, we must commit to sharing our hopes and our fears, without fear of victimization or retaliation, in a space free of victimization and retaliation.

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