“No matter how our hearts break, we bend toward life, don’t we? We bend toward hope.“
The Here and Now
When I saw this quote I leaned back and thought about how true it was with regard to business — business owners & leaders & founders … and their customers. Of course, I then thought about people, in general, <because people are customers>.
But let me begin with business. And hope. And bending.
It is sometimes difficult to believe how many ways hope can come to life in business. I find it difficult because, in my mind, it would seem like hope is just … well … hope. And … well … hope is a good thing <one would think>.
But I have seen entrepreneurs blinded by Hope <losing sight of reason>.
I have seen Hope suffocate pragmatism.
I have seen Hope en-trance to such an extent that rational business people say, and do irrational things.
And then on the other side, I have seen some of the best and brightest big business people let cynicism and skepticism make them lose sight of hope.
I have seen some businesses get so mired in day to day detail … and some of the mind-numbing thousand cuts that detail can ruthlessly wield to a business … that they cannot even see hope <even if it rises on the horizon like a sun on a cloudless morning>.
Life makes hope in business difficult <at times>.
Because in business Life doesn’t really bend you as much as it bludgeons you. And as you get bludgeoned you have one of two choices:
- lean in to Hope and go <progress> or
- lean back against Hope and say ‘go ahead … but I will move no further back’
To be clear. This doesn’t mean Hope at the expense of everything else. It is more like a guiding light.
Which leads me to a business’s customers. What customers really want isn’t some functional rational widget.
Sure. They want shit that works, but, they kind of expect to receive shit that works. The truth is they really want to bend themselves <and their wallets> toward hope. That may sound esoteric and soe people will want to attach specific ’emotional benefits’ and they may be right. Or. It may just be as simple as Hope <be better, something better, do better>.
Now. As I type that, I will admit, I have seen some businesses that do such a fantastic job internally, culturally, with regard to building Hope into their own vision and their organization. Uhm. And then they treat their customers as ‘low price commodity shopper aficionados.’
How can that be? Why do they think that way? Hope will always be better, and more valuable, than any rational commodity-like widget benefit you are offering.
By the way this is not some hypothetical philosophical bullshit. People say they want lowest price but time and time again they show they are willing to pay more. We, in business, may suggest it is ‘brand’ or ‘emotional’ or even some irrational behavior that we cannot explain, but, in the end people are paying for Hope.
Hope for something a little better that will make them feel a little better.
Which ultimately leads me to people.
I actually think I don’t have to write or say much more.
You get it. Life tries to break us where it counts — in our hearts. And most times Life doesn’t really succeed. Despite its best efforts, at its worst, it typically just bends us.
And even at its worst what Life really does is to bend us toward hope.
Maybe it even pushes us to Hope. In fact. Maybe that’s the reason why Life does try and break us on occasion. To remind us of the power of hope.
Regardless. Life forces us to look at Hope … hold it … maybe hug it, but, at minimum … look at it in the eye and say “who are you?” Hope will almost always respond <as it bends close to you.> …
“I am something better.”
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This post was previously published on Bruce McTague and is reprinted with the author’s permission.
Photo courtesy Pixabay.