How hope can boost your career confidence

by | May 29, 2018

Hope is the key to achieving goals

In order to achieve your goals and dreams, you need hope. It will give you the confidence to go for what you want. 

Did you know hope is one of the most important ingredients for feeling confident? I don’t mean that vague sort of hopefulness, but hope as defined by the academic Professor C.R. Synder in his Hope Theory. You need to have:

  • A goal
  • Clear pathways to achieve that goal
  • Methods to achieve that goal
  • Belief in your ability to achieve that goal

In my opinion the key thing is clarity. Being clear about the goals for your career, and being clear about how you are going to go about achieving them, gives you confidence and a sense of purpose, as well as hope.


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I once worked with a client who was stuck in a job that she was really unhappy in. It didn’t play to her strengths. Her performance was dipping and she wasn’t getting support from her manager or the organisation. For a long time she had considered the idea of retraining as a counsellor, but felt it was impossible. She worked full time, had no savings, was in rented accommodation and she couldn’t see how she could make it work. She kind of felt it was a hopeless dream.

But after visualising what her future might look like as a counsellor, and together identifying goals and routes to achieve those goals, she could see how it was possible. Yes, it would take a few years to get there but she could see how the hurdles, including the financial ones could be overcome. She was so enthused she signed up for some taster courses and started researching volunteer openings. She felt hopeful and more confident about her future.

How hopeful do you feel about your future career?

If you’re not sure, why not try writing a Hope letter. A Hope letter can help you articulate what you want and how you might get there. Here’s how to approach it:

  • Write down what you hope your career/professional life will look like in that time frame. Imagine what you might be doing, what your surroundings look like, what you might wear, what skills you are using. Make it as vivid as possible.
  • Include what your hope for your career enables you to do. For example, maybe you’ll have more free time so can start a new hobby, or maybe you’re earning more so you can book a mini-break, or maybe it’s giving you the chance to do something challenging such as speaking at a conference.
  • Identify the routes you can take to achieve what you hope for. Be as detailed as you can about the possible pathways. Also identify who can support you along the way.
  • Make it accountable. Put your letter in a stamped addressed envelope and ask someone to send your letter to you in the time frame you set for yourself.
  • When you receive your letter celebrate what you have managed to achieve in the letter and learn from what you haven’t.
  • After you’ve written your letter, check in with how hopeful and confident your feel about your career now.

Confidence is so important for success. If you think this is something you need to improve, check out our Returner Roll-Up Session on Building your confidence.

Originally posted in Career Tree 

Sarah Archer Contributor
Author of Developing your Inner Coach, Fellow C.I.P.D.with an MSC in Career Coaching, Sarah specialises in career change coaching. A regular media contributor delivering expert Q&A webinars, specifically around interviews, CVs, and career change. Sarah is a regular contributor to The Guardian Careers expert Q&A webinars, specifically around interviews, CVs, and career change. She is also a regular contributor for WomenInTradeUk magazine, and a guest blogger on careers for LondonMums Magazine and the CareerBuilder site. She recently completed an MSc in Career Coaching (Distinction) and is a Fellow of the CIPD.
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