Hope Isn’t a Strategy

hope isn't a strategyI was listening to a conversation the other day (I was supposed to be listening) between two women, when I heard something that shifted by mindset about the tough slog that is solo marathon training.

One woman was expressing discontent about something in her professional life. She said, “I hope this doesn’t keep happening.”

The room did not have time to fall silent, because the other woman responded quickly and with strident confidence.

Hope isn’t a strategy.

No one could argue with her. No one did. Her words were as much a charge as they were encouragement.

In just four words, the second woman reframed the conversation, and reshaped at least one attitude – mine. I can’t speak to how the initial speaker responded, but this sentence has been knocking around in my head since she spoke them.

Hope is not a strategy. I can hope all I want to hit my goal time at the Chicago Marathon in October, but that isn’t the same as getting my rear out of bed in the dark mornings. Hope won’t run the laps around the track when everyone else is sleeping. Hope doesn’t hoof it up the hills and neither does it lap the tiny river trail here until I have memorized the placement of leaves on trees. And hope certainly won’t lug me through the long miles I am tackling solo, or keep me entertained and out of my head that long.

No. Hope is not a strategy. But there is room for hope. Hope is the undercurrent of will, it is a foundational, if nebulous, contentedness that tells us we can and should reach for what feels, what is, audacious.

So no, hope is not a strategy, but I wonder if I have to have one to create the other.