Review and Reflect: Living and Leading with H.O.P.E. — #reviewandreflect

by | Jul 8, 2020 | 1 comment

8 min read

Model for Living and Leading with H.O.P.E.

This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #reviewandreflect, wrapping up our focus on leading with H.O.P.E. 

Major Takeaway for this Month:

Hope is not a passive act of wishful thinking. There are tips, tools, and tactics that leaders use when people need hope. Let’s be clear, humans always need hope. Following the H.O.P.E. model below will help you to lead better with hope at the forefront.

Breaking the Model Down


Humor is medicinal. Laughing actually “reverses hormonal changes brought on by cortisol and other stress-related chemicals.” Your body can boost your mental state through increased endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine simply by listening to a fun story or telling a joke. Remember, this type of humor is for people to have an outlet to lighten the burden they feel, not to minimize or reduce the seriousness of the situation.


Optimism is a way of thinking. It doesn’t mean that you see everything through rose-colored glasses. It just means that you believe that taking action to make improvements is better than self-pity. An optimistic outlook actually helps with sleep, resilience, and even life expectancy. All things that people need in times of trouble. 


Needless to say, a positive mindset is a trait that great leaders possess. But imagine the immense benefits that come with this type of outlook–lower rates of depression, coping skills during hardships, cardiovascular health, and better psychological well-being. Wow. 


Sometimes the worst part of a stressful situation is that it zaps all of our energy. The time in which you need to be at your best, you find yourself overly fatigued, unable to rest, and incredibly anxious. Worse yet, in order to be an effective leader who is able to find proper ways to instill a bit of humor, to remain genuinely positive, and to offer optimism for those you lead, you need to be in a resourceful state-of-mind, which requires an immense amount of energy. 

Humor, optimism, positivity, and energy are four aspects of hope that we all need these days. As leaders, especially in schools, we can serve people using a dose of each, remembering that it starts with remaining hopeful ourselves. 

So, what steps can you take today? 

Throughout the month we offered 3-Minute Challenges to take the necessary action steps to lead with hope. 

How well did you do on the challenges this month?


You don’t have to be a comedian or even a great joke teller to take the following three steps in using humor as a tool to create hope on your team. 

  1. Reflect: Think about the weight of the situation that you’re trying to lighten so that hope is in sight for your team. Allowing the heaviness to sink in provides the needed recognition regarding the weight that you want to lift. The burden of the pandemic is an example for educators who are working to plan what school will be in the fall. 
  2. Identify: Identify something humorous that you came across recently–this can be something that happened to you or that you did (even a silly mistake you made). Think about, for example, something funny that one of your kids said. “This 5th grade car parade is better than my graduation. All I got to do was sit on a stage in an itchy shirt and sing a song that I didn’t even like.” 
  3. Do: Tell the story at the start of a meeting or when the time seems right. Have others share a funny story as well. Be sensitive about the context of your humor, but note that humor heals and laughter lightens. 

How well do you infuse appropriate humor into your work culture?


Optimism is something that conditioning so that we can better pivot from uncertainty and doubt to assuredness and hope. The following challenge is meant to help you become more optimistic in the midst of clouds and obstacles, even when they won’t go away. 

  1. Reflect: Think of a situation in which you were recently involved where you felt a lack of control or simply overwhelmed. We often experience these moments quickly, and they have the potential to hijack our entire emotional state. 
  2. Identify: What were the specific aspects of the situation that caused you the stress or anxiety? Take a step back and identify the bigger purpose behind why you engaged in those aspects in the first place. 
  3. Do: Next time you start to feel stressed, remember the overarching purpose or goal that you set as you dig into the weeds of the scenario. The minutiae is what bothers us but our why will always put things into perspective.

How well do you lead with an optimistic viewpoint?

Positivity and Energy

To lead at your best and grow in your role, you can’t just rely on your regular thinking; you must actually think about your thinking, putting metacognition at the forefront of everyday problem-solving scenarios. 

  1. Reflect: Think about the words you use when you talk to yourself during tough times. Are they negative or positive? Do you see opportunities or do you default to road blocks.
  2. Identify: Words are powerful. Make a list of the defeating words that you use when a problematic situation arises. Be mindful that we rarely recognize how often we engage in negative thinking. The slightest daily issue can cause negative self-talk. 
  3. Do: In a great article by Margaret Wehrenberg, she teaches us to use two powerful words: Until Now. For one day, evaluate your self-talk and when you find yourself engaging in defeating thoughts or negative self-talk, simply add, Until Now at the end of the sentence. I wasn’t able to… _______, until now.

How well do you lead with positivity?

How well do you lead with energy?

Read to Lead

3 Books You Need to Read to Provide More Hope for Yourself and Others — #readthisseries 

Don’t miss this vblog on books you need to read to lead better and grow faster. We recommend three titles that are must reads on the topic of hope–providing hope for both yourself and the people you serve. 

How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

Passionate Leadership by Salmoe Thomas-EL, Joseph Jones, & T.J. Vari 

Solid Ground by T.W. Lewis 

What an expert has to say about leading with hope:

We truly enjoyed having Tom on our onethingseries podcast. He provides incredible insight on how effective leaders don’t sidestep reality. His views on vision, trustworthiness, and compassion are powerful and can be used effectively through his simple steps. Tom also introduced us to a new concept he called “esteemable.” It’s a powerful way to view ourselves, others, and situations. Listen here for more.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple and maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Please let us know how our leadership posts are working for you, what you are reading to improve yourself, and your thoughts on leadership and growth here on our blog and Twitter. Follow our #onethingseries podcast on iTunes and our #readthisseries on YouTube. 

Joe & T.J.

1 Comment

  1. Victoria Morse

    What a great post! I believe we have a duty as leaders to instill hope through our actions daily. As you mentioned it can occur with humor, optimism, positivity, and energy. 100% true! It’s that mindset of…see your problems as opportunities. I am a “people first, paper last” kind of leader and intentionally make hope visible throughout my interactions with our school community and beyond.


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