“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” — Mark Twain
15 years ago, at a Burger King restaurant in Omaha, NE, I sat across the table from an important mentor in my life named Rudy. I had questions about my future. Specifically, I had doubts about a path I had chosen with my life. I needed some encouragement to continue.
After describing the emotions and fears I had been experiencing over the past several months, Rudy responded with a simple statement, “I think you can do it. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that you can accomplish what you are seeking. I have complete confidence in you.”
15 years later, I still recall that specific conversation as one of the most influential moments in my life. Not because it solved my problems or eliminated the hard work ahead of me. But because it gave me the one resource needed to persevere: hope.
Hope is one of the greatest assets in the entire world. It is one of the greatest treasures we can ever find for ourselves. And it is one of the greatest gifts we can ever give to somebody else.
Hope provides us with motivation to persevere. It calls us to dream dreams of significance and influence. It begs us to work diligently with optimism and promise.
And as I discovered that Tuesday afternoon on 114th and Dodge, hope is often found in the relationships we have secured around us. After all, when hope in ourselves begins to diminish (as it will at times), we must look elsewhere. In those moments, we look towards those around us for confidence and hope.
Surround yourself with people who speak confidence in your life. Nurture relationships with optimistic people who have overcome trial and hardship. Remove people from your direct sphere of influence who discourage you, trample your creativity, or who are so self-absorbed they never help others. Instead, seek people who inspire and believe in you.
In turn, do the same for others. See the good. Believe in potential. Encourage daily. And sow hope in the souls of everyone you meet.