Profoundhopeindustries Hope Is Your Keyword For 2024

Hope is Your Keyword for 2024

A reminder for the change-makers.

Before I was a consultant, I was the Chief Executive Officer of a small CDFI credit union in Chicago. It was small enough that I knew quite a few members by name. One quiet afternoon, I was standing at the teller station with an employee. We struck up a conversation with a woman who regularly came in to make transactions. Then she suddenly told us, “you know, when I started using your services, I was homeless. I was referred by [name of a local social service].” I was surprised. It was not a story I had expected to hear from her. She proceeded to explain that she had been a member of the credit union for years. In the beginning, she started receiving credit counseling services and using small dollar payday alternative loans to build her credit. As she kept going, she saw her credit score increase and life begin to change. She ended by proudly declaring that she is stably housed and now holds a Master’s Degree. Although the products and services were tools she used along her route to her goals, she finally saw a viable path to get where she wanted to go when her journey intersected with our organization.

“For the first time I had hope.” These powerful words signify someone’s life is in the middle of a transformation. Those moments of hope usually start out as a spark. Someone recognizes a person’s talent that normally goes overlooked. A chance or opportunity was offered. A door opened that showed there was another possibility. Hope does not start with the outcome guaranteed already. It emerges when a vision of a different future appears. Hope is one of the most powerful forces in the world. It will keep a person going when all the odds are against them. It is at the root of stories of overcoming. It is the invisible common thread in the testimonies of people who have turned their lives around.

You are in the business of hope. Most days it might feel like you are in the business of affordable housing, consumer finance, financial education, violence intervention, ethical tech, or a one of the many areas that provide opportunities for people. The delivery channels can distract us from the real WHY of what we do, especially because there is so much to do and know in each sphere. At the core, you chose your field of work because you believed there are circumstances in the world that are worth trying to change. You need hope to get up and continue to do your work in a world with forces that might tell you a situation is too big to change.

As we wrap up the year, be encouraged that change often happens in the most unnoticed of ways.

Change does not always show up in the grand moments such as the ribbon cutting or the winning funding announcement. Change can happen through the ONE client, the ONE conversation, the ONE sentence you spoke that inspired someone.

Although we often spend December in review and January in renewal, the in-between months of your work mattered. They mattered in 2023, and they will matter in 2024. Much of your most significant impact is not represented by a number on a balance sheet, and some of your impact will remain anonymous to even you. But as you see into 2024, see hope. See hope for yourself and for those who are impacted by your work. Hope is always at the root of the good we see. And when you deliver hope, you will not be forgotten by the people you serve.

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