Hope Is Not a Plan

Hope Is Not a Plan

“I sure hope…” How many times have we heard (said?) this during our law enforcement career? We are once again forced to raise our collective hand here at Command Presence. Too many times we have relied upon the “hope fairy” to carry us through a particular situation. Now we aren’t against hope – people, groups, societies need hope. When there is no hope there is despair. That’s not the kind of hope we are talking about.

What we are addressing is a tendency sometimes to trust our very survival and/or health to hope. Rather than planning, training, and acting appropriately we rely on some good force in nature to carry us through. As our good friend, Rick Mitchell, likes to say, “Hope is not a plan.” In this situation, hope is required because the proper planning has not taken place.

Many times, when you ask a young person in our organizations where they want to be in 5 or 10 years, they respond that they “hope” to be a detective, or a sergeant, or a chief. But when you ask them what they have done and are doing to reach this they have no answer. Their only plan is hoping that it falls into their lap.

Or there is the supervisor (could be at any level) that talks of the “hope” that they have that their folks will do the right thing. The energy spent hoping would be better spent and would produce better results if it was directed towards training to influence the decision-making process.

How about the individual officer who “hopes” that they go home safely at the end of the shift? Yet, this officer does no training on their own time or own dime. And, they only go through the motions during the training provided by their agency.

Hoping that something good happens while doing nothing to ensure that it does is foolish. It leaves your well-being, your career, and survival to chance. And that, folks, is a horrible way of going about things. This fatalistic view of things decreases officer safety and contributes nothing towards personal and professional growth. As John Maxwell wrote, “An unintentional life accepts everything and does nothing.”

Hope is not a plan. Rather, it is a dangerous “strategy” that can have disastrous consequences. Choose instead to be deliberate, intentional. Take control of yourself and your situation. Prepare.

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