Learn How to Prepare Your Child for Future Success

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Come and join our 6 week group for parents of Middle School children!  You will be equipped with tools to assist you in preparing your child or children for future success.

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Overcoming People’s Fear of Change

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Overcoming People’s Fear of Change

By Doug Howardell

Introduction

Implementing change in an organization, any organization, is a challenge. Challenge must be taken here to be an understatement. It’s an undertaking that fails more than it succeeds. The difficulty comes from two areas. The attempt to design a process that is better than the existing process, and the attempt to get people to accept and embrace the new process. Anybody who has attempted to implement significant change will tell you the latter, getting people to change, is the more difficult of the two.

fear of changeConventional wisdom says people fear change. That is not true. Most people like variety in their lives. They wear different clothes every day. They buy new clothes even though the old ones still fit. Lots of folks rearrange their furniture just to introduce a little variety in their lives. Many people like to go to new places on vacation. One time it’s north to colder climates, next it’s south to some place warm. We like to go places that are different from where we live everyday. If we live in the city, we may be likely to vacation in the country. If we live in the country, we want to see the big city. Change in everyday life is considered good. Why, then, do we believe that change in our work is bad?

It’s because many of us fear the unknown. We are afraid that the proposed change may involve loss. We may lose power, prestige, or position. We may fear loss of our ability to perform our assigned tasks. We may fear losing our place in the group, as an accepted member of the community of our fellows. When we perceive this potential loss, maybe even loss of our job itself, we feel threatened. It is this threatening change that we fear.

Test this idea in yourself. If you thought that your company or customers were going to change in such a way that everything you learned in school or through experience was no longer of any use, how would you feel? Everything you’ve done in the past is of no value to you now. THEY are giving you one week to learn the new way of doing things or else. Would you feel good about the change? Would you help implement that change? Or would you do everything in your power to slow the implementation down? Now, how would you feel if your company or customers were changing in a way that guaranteed you a promotion, a raise, a bigger office and more time off? Would you now help to implement that change? If you’re like me and most other folks, in the first case you’d be afraid. Afraid for your job, afraid for your lifestyle the job affords you, afraid for your sense of accomplishment and you sure as heck wouldn’t help implement the change. In the second case you would feel completely the opposite.

When we feel threatened, we resist change. We fight it as if our very life depended on stopping it. Change resisted is change delayed. Change delayed may be change denied. While most changes we attempt to implement in the work place do not have the clear, obvious consequences laid out in the above example, people will make up their minds about the change as if it were that straightforward. In the absence of clear evidence of positive personal benefit, most people will assume negative consequences. That is why so many people resist all change in their jobs. To be successful in implementing change we must understand that resistance and know how to overcome it. It’s as simple and as vastly complicated as that.

So, how do we overcome people’s resistance to change? Three steps: Understand the nature of that fear; identify the specific reaction to the fear; apply the tool that corresponds to that reaction.

Understanding the Nature of Fear

The first step we already covered briefly. People do not fear all change. We fear change that we, rightly or wrongly, perceive threatens us. We fear change when we believe it threatens our sense of belonging, our sense of our ability to participate and contribute, our feeling that we have some control over our lives. Caldwell Williams of Management by Inclusion, MBI, calls the overall feeling we’re describing as “Inclusion”. He says that Inclusion is a basic need of every human being. It is our need to feel that we belong to a group; that our abilities and perceptions are taken seriously and are not discounted; that we have some control over our environment. We fear change when our sense of inclusion is threatened.

Let’s look at the example of implementing a new computer system, say a new ERP system. Implementing a new ERP system will change everything; how our work is performed and how we interact with others inside and outside our department. It may require new skills. It may make some of our existing skills obsolete. Given that, it would not be unlikely that we may fear the change. We may fear that we will suffer a loss of power or control when the new system is implemented. We may fear that our hard earned experience and knowledge will be obsolete. We may worry that we won’t be able to learn or use the new system or that we won’t be able to keep up with the already overwhelming workload. We may even fear that all of the above may cause the loss of our job which leads to losing our home and that may lead to the loss of our family. Sound extreme? Yes, it’s meant to, but some people may take it that far in their minds.

We react in one of two ways when we feel a change threatens us. The first position reaction to threatening change is fight or flight. The second is surrender. The first position reaction is overt and visible. People who fight resist at every opportunity. They disrupt meetings. They are vocally negative to every idea. They may do whatever is opposite to the direction of the change. They give you all kinds of reasons why IT won’t work. People who resist through flight may just not show up. They miss meetings and appointments. They find all kinds of excuses why something else is more important. If they do show up, they are late. When they’re there, they are distracted. They may not pay attention, drifting to thoughts of their own or doing other work when they should be focusing on the issues at hand.

People who use the second position, surrender, become the pitiful victim. They talk about what others are doing to them, how forces beyond their control are pulling the strings and affecting their lives. They blame, point fingers, and do nothing proactive.

We inhibit the ability of the change to go forward when we adapt either of the first two positions. Whether we are resisting or surrendering, we are not contributing. Our ability to learn is greatly reduced or is nonexistent, and we are certainly not developing creative solutions to the issues arising around the implementation of the new methods. When resisting or surrendering, we take no responsibility for producing positive results. The implementation of the change will be delayed and maybe destroyed if even one key person takes either of the first two positions.

Reactions to Change

When we understand where fear of change comes from and how it manifests itself, we are ready for the second step in overcoming resistance. In the second step we learn to identify specific behaviors that are the reactions to pending change. There is a range of reactions to change. These vary from specific styles of resisting to outright embracing of change. Understanding these behaviors is critical so we can progress to the third and crucial step where we address the behavior using specific tools.

Reactions to change can be broken down into six specific behaviors.

  1. Hidden Agenda
  2. Adversary
  3. Uncertainty
  4. Emergent
  5. Normal
  6. Abundance/Empowerment

These reactions represent a continuum of behavior. We tend to start at the low end and, with help and guidance, work our way to the higher level reactions. Each of the reactions has typical behaviors that we can observe. Our job, as the person reacting to the change or as the change agent, is to observe the behavior, classify the reaction and apply the corresponding tool that helps us or others move up the scale.

The first reaction is to develop a hidden agenda. The person with a hidden agenda has a plan or idea that they aren’t revealing. They may want to stop the project all together or protect some sacred cow. Whatever is hidden, they work behind the scenes to impede progress. Look for someone who’s attitude is sullen, suspicious, or apathetic. Typically someone with a hidden agenda would conspire with like minded others to bring about the results they desire. If they were in a position of power, they might threaten others to get them to go along with their ideas.

The second reaction to threatening change is to become an adversary. Someone who has chosen this reaction will attack at every opportunity. Nothing is right. Nothing will work. Every new idea is impossible. This is a step up from hidden agenda because they are at least out in the open. These people are easy to spot. They act arrogant, hostile, defiant or contemptuous.

When we get past being an adversary, we become uncertain. We are sure we are right and that we know what we’re talking about when we are working our hidden agenda or when we are openly hostile. We become uncertain of what is true when we are willing to admit that there might be a better way. This is a positive first step. If we admit we don’t know then we are open to other ways. But we also can’t get stuck in uncertainty. We must move past this stage if we are going to be positive contributors. People who are uncertain are indecisive and act evasive. You can’t get an answer from them. They tend to deflect questions and avoid making decisions. They infringe on others, asking for help or constantly questioning. Uncertain people are slowing down the implementation of the change by not fully contributing to its forward progress.

If we can move past uncertainty we get to Emergent. Here the possibilities are starting to become clear to us. New ideas and thoughts are drifting to the surface. We aren’t clear yet so when we are in the emergent stage we may appear cautious or distant as we explore new ground. We require time to think about things before offering an opinion. This is a great improvement if we started in hidden agenda or adversary but we can move further along the continuum and become more positive and productive.

Normal is the reaction of someone fully engaged in helping implement the change. In this stage we appear cheerful and admiring of others who support the desired ends. We are clear on what needs to be done and how to get there. We are productive. We may even take a role in facilitating the change when we have evolved to Normal.

Abundance/Empowerment is the highest stage in our reaction to change. We welcome change and are enthusiastic about it because we see the opportunities change brings. We reach out to others and help them make the transition. When we feel abundant we share what we know and what we learn. Feeling empowered ourselves, we seek to empower others.

It can be a long journey from having a hidden agenda to feeling abundant and empowered. We need to take it one step at a time. If we are trying to make the journey ourselves, we would do well to seek guidance and support from others. If we are trying to help others evolve we need to know what to do to overcome the obstacles that keep people locked in the lower ends of the scale. The following tools are designed to be applied to the specific reactions. Remember the first step is to identify the reaction, then select and apply the corresponding tool.

For the complete article, including tips on implementing the tools for change, go to http://www.theacagroup.com/overcoming-peoples-fear-of-change/

The Myth of the Church Divorce Rate

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The Myth of the Church Divorce Rate

By Seth Evans

Have you heard the oft quoted Barna study that reportedly says, “Just like the overall population, half of all marriages in the church end in divorce”?

The Myth of the Church Marriage Divorce RateIf you have heard and believed that “stat”, then like most of us you have bought into a myth.

Shaunti Feldhaun (a master of studying statistics and studies of statistics) beautifully debunks the myth – as well as many other depressing marriage myths – in her easy to read and thoroughly researched book (with lots of notes on the stats, endnotes directing you to the original studies, and statistical explanations): The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths About Marriage and Divorce.

Ready for some mythbusting?  Here’s the truth that has been lost about marriage and the church (quotes are from The Good News About Marriage):

  • In the infamous 2001 Barna study, it was stated that “professing Christians have the same divorce rate as non-Christians – roughly 33 to 34 percent“; not 50 percent as is so often stated in the myth (p 66).
  • “Barna specifically excluded church attendance from the analysis” (p 67), focusing on beliefs rather than practices.  Though attending church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than being in a garage makes you a car; it is equally true that saying you are a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean that you have actually accepted Jesus Christ as your unique Savior through faith (there are many who say they are “Christian” due to their family or origin, political beliefs, church attendance, etc).
  • The truth is that “numerous well-known sociologists, demographers, psychologists, and other researchers have found that when someone is active in their faith, it lowers their chance of divorce – usually significantly” (p 69).

I won’t go into the details of these studies (for that you will need to buy the book which expounds on these studies and many more), but I will give you some highlights:

  • In a 2008 Barna study that looked at both profession of Christian faithand church attendance in the “last seven days, the divorce rate dropped 27 percent compared to those who hadn’t…[and among] Catholics and evangelicals, the numbers were even more positive” (p 70).
  •  The massive National Survey of Families and Households study “found that regular [church] attendance (several times a month) had a major impact on reducing divorce rates…[with] an average drop of roughly 50 percent” (p 72).
  • The aforementioned NSFH study did further analysis and “discovered that even after controlling for many other factors, such as income, age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, and geographic region, the matter of church attendance trumped them all.” It found that “church attendance alone dropped the divorce rate 35 percent” by those who attended church several times a month (p 72).
  • The Religious Influences on the Risk of Marital Dissolution study showed that “couples who go to church or other religious services together on a regular basis have the lowest divorce rate of any group studied, regardless of other factors” (p 74).

BustedThese studies, and many more presented in the book, thoroughly bust the myth that “the rate of divorce in the church is 50 percent, just like the rest of the world.”

The Good News About Marriage chapter on faith and marriage goes onto describe the benefits of not only going to church together on a regular basis but also describes the major benefits of a couple praying together and mutually aiming to put Christ at the center of their lives and their marriage.  But for a look at those stats, you will have to buy the book yourself.

In case the above good news isn’t enough to help encourage a couple to start attending church regularly and incorporating healthy biblical practices in their daily home life, here is a little something from Les & Leslie Parrott’s Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before – And After – You Marry:

As strange as it may sound, there is a strong link in marriage between prayer and sex.  For one thing, frequency of prayer is a more powerful predictor of marital satisfaction than frequency of sexual intimacy. But get this: Married couples who pray together are 90 percent more likely to report higher satisfaction with their sex life than couples who do not pray together” (pp 150-151).

 

 

Memorial Day

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Today, we honor the brave men and women who died while serving and protecting our freedom.#MemorialDay

Memorial Day

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Originally posted by Grandview Christian Assembly

 

WHY (I THINK) EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A COUNSELOR

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WHY (I THINK) EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A COUNSELOR

By Jennie Allen

This past weekend Zac and I celebrated 18 years of marriage.

Before we get into the sticky stuff- I cannot imagine a more incredible gift of a husband. We are best friends, he supports my dreams, isn’t afraid to kick me in the tail and also loves me unconditionally. We love Jesus and we always have- we came into marriage with pretty minimal baggage and yet still…

MARRIAGE IS DANG HARD. And being in ministry for most of our married life- I can tell you that marriage gets difficult for almost everyone.

I believe this fact occurred to me soon after coming home from our honeymoon- it was our first huge fight. Huge as in…. complete with me throwing something, slamming the door, and driving away.

It was a scene from a movie…..in fact, come to think of it, I am pretty sure I ripped it off from Meg Ryan. But in the movie…when the girl runs away the boy comes after the girl.

So I waited and waited and waited for him to come chasing me, driving slowly around the block several times. This was before cell phones (can you even imagine?) so I knew if I went too far, he would worry and call the police. So I just circled the block.

IMG_2076After a dozen circles and no sign of a distraught Zac in the yard calling 911- I decided it was time to relieve my fraught-with-worry new husband… I opened the door to our little apartment and Zac had fallen asleep on the couch watching football.

Over the next 5 years, there were more slammed doors and a lot of football before I emotionally began to just shut down. Now to be fair, we got married as little baby children (20 year olds). Oh my word! What on earth? This was just barely legal.

And it wasn’t long before young marrieds became young parents and we found ourselves treading the deep waters of parenting toddlers and difficult ministry and unable to fight in a healthy way. I opened up to a mentor about some of our relational tensions and she suggested that we seek out a marriage counselor.

“A counselor?!” In my mind, counselors were for people about to get a divorce. While our marriage could certainly improve… we weren’t that bad?!

And looking back now we weren’t that bad- but we weren’t great.

IMG_2071Why settle for “not that bad” when you could have great?

Year 5 of marriage- we began a life altering journey through counseling. We learned about our families, about our wiring, about why we react to seemingly small things that shouldn’t hurt so much but they do. We really heard each other, and we acquired tools that we still use today: how to fight well and how to really forgive and reconcile. We had breakthroughs that shaped everything about the way we do life today.

It was hard.

It was costly.

It was brave.

It was SO WORTH IT!

Over the last 15 years of ministry, Zac and I have been privileged to see behind the surface of a lot of marriages and hands down the very best marriages all have been through very dark seasons. And the common thread in each great marriage is that during their dark seasons… and sometimes during the bright ones, they sought outside support.

So why am I writing this today?

Because we just walked through another dark season in our marriage. (With Zac’s permission I am sharing this.)

In the last few months we kept hitting a wall (issue) over and over… and the issue was getting more and more heated. Even with all our past work- we still couldn’t seem to reconcile it. Our marriage was in an amazing place otherwise. We are fully supportive of each other’s crazy dreams. And this wasn’t even a major issue, we should have been able to blow it off and get on with it… but we couldn’t.

So a few months ago- Zac and I reached out again to a local counselor. IF:Gathering had just ended, we were both neck deep in projects and kids and we didn’t have extra time or extra money for this but we just did it anyway and let me tell you….

COUNSELING IS GAME CHANGING.

Here is why…

1. We all need translators sometimes to really hear ourselves or the other person.

2. We all need to hear the truth about ourselves in a safe environment.

3. We all need space to sort out how we feel or what we need.

4. We all need help at times applying the truth of God’s Word into real life.

If you are still reading this and you aren’t married, I want to justify the title of this blog for you… I said “everyone” and yes I mean you too. I work at the IF:Gathering offices with mostly women who are unmarried. Many of them are in or have done counseling and have experienced more of God and more freedom as they have processed their pasts and their futures with a third party. While this post is focused on marriage- I just want you to also consider how a wise third party could affect your life in the same way.

So Jennie, do you really believe everyone needs a counselor? Yes I do. Here are some thoughts as you consider it:

1. Counseling only works if it works. It contains no magic…it takes two people fully committed to reconciling the relationship no matter the cost.

2. Start with your church– Everyone needs a counselor and some of you need to pay for it. And some of you don’t. Find a pastor, mentor, older couple but certainly some problems need professional help. Talk to the elders or your small group leaders to decide who might be a good fit.

3. Find counsel from a Christian perspective, because we know that ultimately our souls and deepest relationships were created by God and can only be sustained and healed through Christ.

4. Give Counselors a chance. Know that your first 3-4 sessions with a counselor will be he or she asking questions to actually get to know you and your spouse well enough to actually understand what is going on. In this time you will for sure wonder if you are wasting your money, especially if you just want the fire put out.

5. No counselor is perfect. And it may take meeting several before you find the right fit. Any outside advice you receive must be  Scriptural and processed in the context of your community.

Tim Keller defines wisdom as the competency to deal with the complex realities of life. And sometimes we need the humility to say that we do not possess all wisdom about all cirumstances- it is godly to lean on another’s wisdom.

May we never look to a human to fill the place within us reserved for God, Himself. But may we have the humility to seek help on our journey toward Him.

Hey guess what…. our marriage is really amazing. But we have done the work to get it there.

Don’t miss a great marriage.

Marriage Isn’t 50/50

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Great Quote: Marriage isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100.

From Les Parrott

Marriage is 100-100
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If you would like help enriching your marriage or working through a period of struggling in your relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with one of our counselors or coaches.

Stop This Divorce!

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heart healing divorce

Stop This Divorce!

By Hara Estroff Marano (Psychology Today, June 2015)

My spouse and I are divorcing after 25 years of marriage. We have adult children, and the split is amicable with no complications. There is no outside party involved, but due to issues that could not be resolved, we are going our separate ways. If we both agree that there are no strings attached, what is your opinion of our maintaining a sexual relationship? Neither of us wants to date, and to be honest, sex is one of the areas in which we are most compatible. What do you think?

I think you should call the divorce lawyer, thank him/her for his/her efforts, pay your bill in full, then call off the divorce. Let’s review the facts. You and your almost-ex are still attracted enough to one another to enjoy sex. You’re comfortable being with one another. You have 25 years of history together – something that will only grow in importance. Your kids are grown, but not all that grown; divorce coming when offspring are on the threshold of adulthood, launching their own relationship lives, is confusing and undermines all that they thought they know about love.  So it all comes down to unresolved issues. I’m unimpressed.

Every couple has “unresolved issues,” one or two core problems – relationship researcher John Gottman calls them “unresolvable perpetual problems” – on which they never see eye to eye or get what they want, and about which they fight over and over.  The problems arise from having different personalities, different histories, different perspectives, different metabolisms. Change your partner and you only change the specific unresolvable issues between you and your next partner. The matter is not whether you have differences, but how you manage them.

First, it’s essential to recognize that some problems are simply not resolvable; sorry, I know that’s contrary to the love-conquers-all message implicit in the idealized view of love that gets most of the air time in this country.

Second, you have to find a way to keep the recurring problems from overwhelming what’s good about the marriage.  A sense of humor helps. Think of your unresolvable problems as annoying but necessary members of the family.

Third, there are ways to complain and fight that preserve the relationship, and while you can’t take back words said in the heat of battle, you can – and must – engage in relationship-repair efforts so that you don’t emotionally disengage from one another. If you and your almost-ex can’t find a way to see your problems as inevitable annoyances, then get to a good family therapist who can help you develop ways to accept imperfection so that it doesn’t shred the goodwill and love in the process.

5 Small Ways You Can Practice Self-Care Everyday

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5 Small Ways You Can Practice Self-Care Everyday

By Dee Rene

Relax self-care1. Talk to yourself like a friend, not an enemy.

Your true inner voice is not a bully. Anytime you catch yourself hurling insults, being overly critical, or beating yourself up—stop. Stop right there and ask why you are talking to yourself like an enemy instead of a friend. Be reflective yet gentle with who you are and where you are right now. Self-care means building yourself up from the inside out.

2. Learn to unplug.

How many times have you caught yourself wasting hours away on social media or—even worse—comparing yourself to the fabulous lives everyone else seems to be living? Not only can the phone, TV, and Internet be time-sucks, but they can cause you to think the highlights you see of everyone else’s life are the whole story. Unplugging means turning off all the electronics to take some time to hear your own thoughts. It’s possible to relax while getting lost in a Netflix binge, but are you really relaxing or avoiding being alone with yourself? Unplugging can help you get back in tune with yourself.

3. Draw boundaries by realizing the power of “no.”

Say no and mean it. When you have nothing left to give, when you’ve done all you can, or when you simply do not want to do something, just say no. Your desire to be there for everyone else and handle every situation is eventually going to run you into the ground. Every now and again you can overextend yourself for someone, but if it’s a daily occurrence, you need to learn the power of saying no. Draw boundaries with people who want to dump all of their stuff on you. Listen to yourself when it feels like you are stretched too thin. It’s not selfish to acknowledge when you’ve reached your limit; it’s self-preservation.

4. Follow the 10 minute rule.

No matter what, take 10 minutes for yourself. Maybe that’s a quick lap around the office, or a dance party in your room. Maybe it’s a prayer, or reading a few pages of that novel you want to finish. Whatever you can do in those 10 minutes, make it truly your time to focus on doing something that makes you happy. How often do we get to the end of a long day and realize we didn’t even eat because we were too busy doing this and that for others? By giving yourself 10 minutes, at least you will be able to say, “I did something for me today.”

5. Practice gratitude as a daily habit.

Self-care is also about taking your eyes off your many obligations, stressors, and concerns, and getting in tune with being grateful for the good in your life. Don’t get lost in what feels like a never-ending to-do list. Take time to thank others, yourself, and your Higher Power for the things that bring you joy. The funny thing is when you put more focus on what brings you happiness—rather than what brings you stress—you find ever more reasons to be joyful.

Read more: http://www.forharriet.com/2015/05/5-small-ways-you-can-practice-self-care.html#ixzz3aUm3sKFn

4 Core Beliefs of Hope

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4 Core Beliefs of Hope

By Brent Flory

hope

 

For more on hope, check out Why Hope is the Best Indicator of Future Success.

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Looking for help cultivating hope? Contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with a coach or counselor.

Why Hope is the Best Indicator of Future Success

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Why Hope is the Best Indicator of Future Success

By Brent Flory

hopeWhat do the people you admire and see as successful have in common? Is it their great talent, or their incredible intellect? While ability and brains are important, you might be surprised at what serves as the foundation for successful people.

When I was going through pharmacy school at Ohio Northern University, I encountered an arch nemesis my sophomore year that was determined to keep me from graduating: organic chemistry. It was the only class I have ever taken that I couldn’t pass no matter how hard I studied. I had many classmates who left the pharmacy program due to organic chemistry at ONU, but I wouldn’t be deterred. A minor detour that summer at a community college got me over that hurdle.

What was the difference between myself along with fellow classmates who battled through the class and those who quit? Hope. Hope is what sets people apart and keeps them going when they hit a wall in pursuit of their dreams. 

C.R. Snyder, Ph.D, the late researcher and professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Kansas defined hope as “believing you have both the will and the way to accomplish your goals, whatever they may be.”

In a study conducted on 3,920 freshmen college students, Dr. Snyder and his colleagues discovered that the level of hope that students possessed was a better indicator of their academic success in their first semester than their high school grade point average or their S.A.T. scores. In anotherstudy, Dr. Snyder and his fellow researchers discovered that hope levels played a large role in athletic achievement as well.

Dr. Snyder found in his research that hope is a building block for success throughout life. Hope is key for students in school, professionals in their careers, for people battling an illness, and overall happiness. People who have high levels of hope chase after higher goals and believe they know the way to reach them.

According to Gallup senior scientist Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D, there is a key difference between hope and optimism. Optimism is the attitude that your future is bright. Hope combines the attitude of optimism with the drive to take action so that bright, envisioned future becomes a present day reality.

Dr. Lopez and his colleagues found in their research that hopeful people share four core beliefs.

The four core beliefs of high hope people include:

1) The future will be better than the present.

2) I have the power to make it so.

3) There are many paths to my goals.

4) None of them is free of obstacles.

Do you see yourself reflected in this list of core beliefs? Or do you find yourself struggling to have strong hope for your future? If so, thankfully hope can be grown in our lives. Next week we will look at ways to cultivate hope.