In Transition: Hope and Optimism for an Analytical Thinker

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Numquam redono spes. Never give up hope. My wife and I thought we would not be able to have children and were married for twelve years before, after much heartache and several years of trips to the doctor, we finally started a family. Just before our twins were born, I pulled out an image of the family crest and made a pen and ink drawing of it for each of them. I added this Latin text to the bottom of both, adopting it as a family motto. It symbolized that through keeping hope alive almost anything was possible. In my recent career, I experienced all the troubles and frustrations with a job gone bad and not landing a new opportunity when I wanted it. After I left the museum, I noticed a continued decline in interest in my candidacy for a new position. Yet, I continue to believe that by picking myself up, dusting myself off, and bettering myself, I will prevail. This eternal optimism or sense of hope keeps me going. Despite never being labeled as a director in decision-making, I still believe that my analytical decision-making style will be valuable in my next position.

Bryce Hoffman of Red Team Thinking, wrote an article in Forbes where he explained that while “hope is not a strategy” may be a popular, “real world” based attitude, in fact the lack of hope limits creativity and bold decisions (Hoffman, 2018). As discussed in the Luthens’ text, psychologist C. Rick Snyder explained that hope is a “positive motivational state” that harnesses and directed both willpower and “way power.” (Luthens, Luthens & Luthens, 2015) Essentially, his philosophy was congruent with the cliché expression “where there’s a will, there’s a way” In his book, The Psychology of Hope, Snyder explained that the willpower to start on the journey is an internal motivation, and that by setting a series of small step goals between where one is and where wants to be, hopes and dreams can be realized by following the path through each goal (Snyder, 1994). Connecting the dots builds towards the end goal, incrementally increases confidence, and renews hope along the way.

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My goal has always been to lead a museum as its chief executive. Rather than simply imagine that one day I might whimsically happen into that sort of a position, I set my course long ago and built a resumé that should lead me there. That I ran into hardship at the exact moment when I might have experienced self-actualization was devastating. Instead of triumphantly moving my belongings from one organization into the new corner office of another, I packed my belongings and willfully left a bad situation with no employment. My choices were to continue with the same application and interviewing tactics and hope for a different and more positive outcome, or to change course, set new goals, and follow the same dream from another angle. Endeavoring to complete an MBA is one goal on my new path towards that same hope and dream.

Psychology Today contributor Dale Archer, M.D., wrote that regarding the psychology of dealing with hardships, roadblocks, and failure, there are two types of people: victims and survivors. The psychological victims wallow in their loss, hope for salvation from others, and refuse to change direction. Psychological survivors decide to actively help themselves with a belief – hope – that by making necessary changes and to transform their lives, they can live and fight another day (Archer, 2013). By doing so, they preserve the dream. Hope coupled with action is the key.

Deciding to follow a dramatically altered course is a process. The decision-making process can be difficult. While many successful managers are frequently labeled as directors – in both communication and decision-making – I tend to be more analytical. Many of the thoughts that were explained in previous chapters in the Luthens’ text dominated my concerns and career catharsis. Choosing to stay in my job was a choice to further erode my job satisfaction and to give up on my hopes and dreams. However, quitting a job after many years with one organization meant that I left the comfort of what I knew, the source of my income, and with no immediately known or realizable employment options. A director might just quit, with full confidence, knowing that they would acquire a new position. I weighed the consequences longer, but arrived at the same decision and took the same action. This is consistent with the decision-making styles and 2 by 2 style matrix. I am a thinker and analyst (Luthens, Luthens & Luthens, 2015).

When pondering on decision-making styles, I frequently recall reading a biography on Colin Powell, fifteen to twenty years ago, in which his 40/70 attitude towards leadership and decision-making style were explained. Powell’s philosophy is that an effective leader or manager should not attempt to make decisions with less than forty percent of the information in hand, and should not delay making decisions by hoping to collect every piece of information beyond seventy percent. The impulsive director that makes decisions based on gut instinct tend to make more mistakes. The over-cautious analyzer that will not commit for want of more information risks inaction when action is required. While he opined on decision-making in a military context, as chairman of the Joint Staff, the business world adopted his philosophy as it holds true across other disciplines (Trammell, 2015). Even Financial Advisor shared his philosophy to planners and brokers who may consider the idea when recommending investment decisions (Swaine, 217).

The message is this. While enthusiastic and self-confident directors are frequently perceived to be the classic “manager type,” their tendencies may not be balanced. The better manager is the one that can feel comfortable within the decision window of forty to seventy percent knowledge. Admittedly, my comfort zone is closer to the sixty to seventy percent range.

In summary, hope and optimism are not strategies but rather are motivators. The hope-filled optimist may find a road block, but decides to chart a new course to meet their goals and to achieve self-actualization. The decision on what path to take may be difficult. While some make decisions with speed and ease, others like to ponder the details before setting the right course. Provided that they are able to be self-disciplined enough to make their decisions within a reasonable window of opportunity, analytical managers can be successful. It has been my experience, so far. I hope that by following my current path, I will have a better chance at reaching my goals.

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In Transition: Hope and Optimism for an Analytical Thinker. (2021, Nov 08). Retrieved from

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