| 22 Feb 2012 | 07:47

    Not just hope As far as my young friend Wendy is concerned, 2008 couldn’t end soon enough. It’s been one of those years for her, you know? Illness, injuries, work issues, money frustrations, school hassles, two car wrecks and -- oh yeah -- her divorce have all taken their toll. You might say that has been “the best of times and the worst of times” for Wendy. Only without “the best of times.” Which is probably why she wasn’t exactly sprinting toward ’s finish line. She was limping, partly because she dinged her knee last week in that second car wreck (she’s fine, but her car isn’t), and partly because the year’s events have left her drained -- emotionally, mentally, physically, financially and any other “-ly” you can come up with. “I know there are lots of people who have had a tougher year than I did,” she told me recently. “I’m not out fighting some war somewhere -- I’m home, safe and sound, with a family that loves me. But still, I hope 2009 is better. I just.. hope.” And who can blame her? Aren’t we all hoping 2009 is better, happier, kinder, gentler, more fulfilling and more prosperous? We hope that every year, don’t we? In fact, I have it on good authority (in other words, I’m making this up) that that’s what “Auld Lang Syne” really means. It’s Scottish (or is it Greek?) for: “I hope the New Year is a darn sight better than the auld one.” And that’s OK. Hope is a good thing. It is faith-affirming. It is positive. It is confident. It is resolute. It is.. you know.. hopeful. It can make all the difference between success and failure. Just ask any Cubs fan. Without hope, Washington surrenders at Valley Forge, Lincoln gets out of politics before he runs for president and Michael Jordan quits basketball when he gets cut from the 9th grade team. As good a thing as hope is, however, it never hurts to mix in a little goal-setting and a lot of hard work. “The future does not get better by hope, it gets better by plan,” said business philosopher Jim Rohn. “And to plan for the future we need goals.” At the same time, business consultant Nido Qubein reminded us that “you may have the loftiest goals, the highest ideals, the noblest dreams, but remember this: nothing works unless you do.” So that’s Wendy says she is going to do on New Year’s Day. Sometime in between the start of the parades and the end of the football games, she is going to sit down and think about and the lessons she has learned from it, and then she is going to strategize her goals for 2009 (which will not, she promises, include getting married again). She will not think in terms of “what do I want to do?” but rather, “what do I want to have happen?” Then she will formulate a plan for what she will do to make those goals happen, and she’ll being immediately to work her plan to make 2009 better, happier, kinder, gentler, more fulfilling and more prosperous. And then, after all her goal-setting and planning and strategizing and working, she will still hope for the best. She’s going to hope like crazy. But she’s not going to just hope. Hope will fill in the gaps between what she can control, and what is beyond her control. She’ll do all that she can do, and hope that it is enough. And that she won’t be quite so anxious for the year to end on Dec. 31, 2009.