It seems appropriate this week of Thanksgiving to reflect a bit on the relationship we have with others.  Specifically I’ve been thinking a lot about help vs hope.  Last week I saw the TED video of Becky Blanton, a brilliant writer/journalist.  She talks about, and it is not always easy to watch or hear, how any one of us can slip into being invisible.  She also talks of how help and hope are different and how without hope life dissipates into vast nothingness with a feeling of no control. Ms. Blanton says, “If I killed myself, no one would notice.”  It is through seeking help, some homeless people, including a college professor, help her identify the necessity of hope.

How are you interacting with co-workers, subordinates, friends and family?  Offering help has great value.  It is often the bridge to a better place.  But without hope help can not serve anyone long-term. We have many social services and employee programs that provide help at the cost of hope as they do it in a demoralizing way. A way that highlights ‘this is where/who you are’ rather than ‘this is your great potential.

It doesn’t really matter if it is within a personal or professional realm, when we provide hope we provide growth and a future.  Hope can take the form of an encouraging word, belief in the ability of one to succeed, delegation of a project, a promotion, etc.  Hope is the essential ingredient needed to providing others vision, strength and belief in self.  Such a lofty and hefty statement is the prior sentence; yet so easily implemented.

As we kick off this holiday season I cannot think of anything greater to be thankful for, or a better gift to give than “hope.”

If you’d like to watch the clip of Ms. Blanton you will find it at