Strategies of Hope

The Multipliers of Hope

A couple of months ago I shared a cup of hope with you. The weeks appear to fly by in spite of all the Covid-19 drama and tragedies. I find myself paging through the diary, reviewing what has happened since September. My viewfinder, scanning for the positives, zooms in on one particular afternoon.

It was the first time, since eased lockdown restrictions, that I was invited to facilitate a team afternoon. Not on zoom – but in real life! In a well-sanitized venue, tables and seats were arranged so widely ‘socially distanced’ that we had space in between for a Jerusalema challenge.

However, the team was not in the mood for dancing. They were health workers and they were glad for a chance to sit down and catch their breath. At last… sharing an afternoon of ‘time out’. Each person in the team had endured the stress of long and demanding shifts for 6 months on end in an uncharted environment of crisis. They had stood in for each other during emergencies. Plus each one had looked after their families and managed the demands of ‘the new normal’ at home as well.

Listening to them totally justified their Covid-status as ‘Frontline Heroes’. But they were having none of that. As a matter of fact, what they shared was humbling and inspiring.

We started by checking the past months for any positive aspects and by finding out what each one was proud of, having achieved it against all odds. You could hear a pin drop while everyone anonymously wrote something down and added their message to the letterbox.  Then we passed the box around and everyone picked a message at random and read it out loud:

“I am proud of…

  • I am proud of being part of a dynamic and proactive team during extremely tough times
  • I am proud of the team I work with
  • I am proud of my immediate team
  • I am proud to be part of this team and part of the people that ‘fought’ this pandemic
  • I am proud that I have kept my family safe and that I have maintained a cohesive team reporting to me
  • I am proud of the way we learnt to work together as a team
  • I am proud of the way the team has worked together and bonded as one. We are generally happy and have fun whenever possible
  • I am proud of our team efforts, finding solutions to impossible situations, being adaptable  and having others jump in when asked for help
  • I am proud that not one of us in the team ‘lost it’ and shouted at others
  • I am proud that I had colleagues who had my back and who made me feel I was not alone

We don’t have to be master coders for spotting that the Number 1 positive that stands out is “team”.

Coming up as Numbers 2 and 3 the messages revealed the following:

“I am proud of…

  • I am proud of adapting to change, finding new ways to get the job done and achieving our goals
  • I am very proud of how resilient and adaptable I have proven to be
  • I am proud of my ability to stay focused the past 6 months and my ability to adapt
  • I am proud of my resilience and being able to bounce back, my flexibility to adapt to daily changes
  • I feel happy that even though there were times that I felt overwhelmed and that I would not cope, that I did

No.2: “Adaptability” and managing change… and last but not least “family” at No.3:

“I am proud of…

  • I am proud of being able to run a family besides work all through this difficult time
  • I am proud of coping all alone while I was ill and my husband in hospital
  • I am a proud father and husband and son; I appreciate examples of growth around me and the connection with my partner
  • I am proud that despite the challenges my family thrived; our family unit is closer and happier than ever.

While reading out and listening to these messages, I saw members in the team sitting up straighter, lifting their heads, looking around, eyes above the masks looking at each other. The movement going through this circle of people was like a flower opening its petals.

In this reflective mood, I also invited everyone to dream a bit – and to also jot down what would ‘recharge their batteries’ if they had the luxury of time and resources.

Most wishes were simply to have some free time with family and friends. Going somewhere for a getaway holiday or a long vacation. The most adventurous travel wish came from someone who wanted to travel the world!  But the favourite destination was simply being in nature: ‘communing with nature’, ‘watching the ocean and just be’, ‘a sunset horse ride on the beach’ ‘star-gazing in Sutherland’.  Just having some leave, without worrying about work or information overload.

The conclusion was unanimous: we do not need extravagant luxuries to restore balance in our lives.

Working with a team, living in a family, having friends is where we find the support, the reason to live and the energy to cope. These are the circles where the flowers of hope grow, open and  multiply.

Thank you, No.1 MULTIPLIER team, for allowing me to spread your inspiration!