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How To Stay Hopeful When It's Really Hard To See A Clear Future

Hi, I’m Lydia!

Your work matters in the world, and my job is to help you get it out there.

We want to feel in control of where our lives are headed.

The pandemic has made it hard to feel that way.

We want to feel optimistic about our future, it’s what gets us up in the morning.

Many of us have felt grief and have had to grief the things we’ve lost this year.

And with grief can come the feelings of hopelessness.

It’s completely normal to have trouble being optimistic right now.

It can feel challenging and we may say to ourselves, “Why even bother being hopeful when things look so uncertain?”

Last night, I was on a Zoom call with close friends from around the world that I haven’t seen for a long time.

Part of the reason to get together was to create a space to share honesty and transparency about what’s going on in our lives.

To facilitate this conversation, we added a bit of games and fun…so it can be easier to talk about hard stuff.

We each brought an item for “show and tell” with a story, and shared “two truths and a lie” for others to guess (I loved this because there are so many things we find out about our friends that we may not have known!).

But the most insightful part of the conversation for me was the discussion we had about depression, losing hope, and the difficulty of seeing future dreams that motivated us.

Through holding this space for one another, some wonderful perspectives emerged from this circle of friends.

I want to share some helpful nuggets that might also be helpful for you today.

Acknowledging It Can Be Hard To Feel Hopeful Right Now Is Relieving. 

We can be gentle with our feelings and even verbalize “I don’t feel hopeful right now, and that’s OK”.

Just the act of recognizing that we don’t have to have our shit together right now frees us from the self-imposed pressure we may be putting on ourselves.

During the call I had with my friends, it was important to note that we didn’t try to bypass the grief and hard stuff people were going through by saying, “Oh, it’ll all be fine soon, don’t worry about it”.

I could feel a sense of relief by everyone when we all simply acknowledged that this is a tough time, and I feel you!

It was also good to remember that this is just one moment in time, and that it isn’t forever.

Our lives will always move with ebbs and flows, and we will feel hopeful again, even if we don’t exactly feel that way right now.

We Can Regain Back Control With A Commitment To Rituals.

When we’re dealing with uncertainty for the future, it can be easy to feel that we’ve lost a sense of control with our lives.

As humans, we feel better when we have some sense of control.

Having consistent rituals and routines can support us in knowing what we can expect from our day to day lives right now.

Our brains tend to feel calmer when we now what to “expect”.

Even if things may chaotic in the outside world, how can we create inward rituals to give ourselves a sense of balance with healthier habits each day?

This doesn’t have to be a regimented routine. It can be as simple as starting the day with something that grounds you and offers you spaciousness to reconnect with yourself.

Rituals can even help us commit to healthier habits that we’ve wanted to experience in our lives anyway, like my friend who discovered a running app that has made running fun for her again.

It can be a gift to ourselves by doing nourishing things that we’ll probably want to continue doing post-pandemic.

It’s Important To Keep Our Dreams Alive And Keep Planting Seeds.

As humans, we need to see a positive vision for the future in order to feel motivated with our lives.

Research have shown that both our mental and physical health can decline quickly when we don’t have hope.

But it can be hard to think about goals when the vision for our future looks blurry.

An interesting insight that came up when a friend vocalized this was questioning, “How do we continue to keep our eyes on the prize for our dreams when we can’t see a clear road towards those goals right now?”

Well, we can certainly keep dreaming these dreams. That’s one thing no external circumstance can take from us.

We can keep planning our dream lives even if we’re not living it yet by giving ourselves permission to Keep On Dreaming.

We can adjust our goals to what we can actually control right now.

I had a wonderful dream with my partner that we would be living in Spain or Portugal this year to potentially find a second homebase there.

And though we can’t do this for the foreseeable future, we can keep pinning locations we love on our Pinterest board.

We’ve even started a Whatsapp group just between him and I that’s dedicated to sharing articles and Instagram accounts that feature places we want to go.

On Sundays, we do Pancake Adventure Dates, where we just share freely about the wonderful places we want to explore…in our pajamas and with yummy pancakes.

I’m diving into researching how places in the EU are potentially offering remote working visas to help instigate more travel in the future (this is great news!).

This is how I’m keeping my dream alive.

Sharing Hope Can Be Wonderfully Uplifting For Our Psyches. 

When we’re more isolated and alone these days, it can be hard to hold onto hope on our own.

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the pandemic, is how much we need people.

To pull ourselves out of the greyish bleak and to feel inspired again, we need to rely on people to help us dream again.

To offer enthusiasm and excitement for the ideas we are hoping for.

When more hearts and brains come together to do this, we don’t feel so alone in needing to hold that space for ourselves.

Get together however you can. Make it fun to gather again (one of my favourite books about this is “The Art of Gathering” by Priya Parker).

When we gather intentionally to share our hopes and dreams, you might also discover new and surprising things about people you think you know everything about.

It helps to appreciate and understand the people we love even more, and most importantly, to know we can indeed go through hard things together.

What has been something you’ve been doing to keep hope alive for you these days?

Do leave me a comment below and tell me about it!

I hope this letter brought some “hopeful” calmness to your heart,

Lydia

 

PS: During this time, you may have been feeling a call to reinvent how you want to live and work.

As we wrap up a doozy of a year, it may be time for you to create steadfast commitments to new things that spark joy for your new year.

I’ve received a number of emails from this community about getting support to create a fresh vision for their lives in preparation for 2021.

Here are some next steps you can take:

1. You can start by watching my free masterclass: Reinvent Yourself – How to Live Out Your Vision For A Meaningful Life & Career.

2. Learn more about my Reinvention Coaching experience designed to help you reimagine what’s next, do something different, and take action for the meaningful life and work you want to have.

3. Book a Free 30-Minute Discovery Call with me to see how I can help you get clarity on the life and work path that’s right for you and create the right actions to get you there. 

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