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By Michael Aun


It occurs to me that without hope, nothing is possible in life. It is tough enough to succeed with hope in your wallet… without it, you have no currency at all.

Maybe that is why I have always felt more confident with money in my pocket. My wife, Christine, once asked me: “Why do you carry so much cash?” My response: “Happy muggers don’t shoot!” Is it fear or hope that’s driving me?

No, I have never been mugged but growing up poor in the tiny town of Lexington, SC made me yearn for money in my pocket. I distinctly remember dreaming that I would one day earn a five-figure annual income. It is the seed of hope that drives those dreams. Now… my colleagues and I aspire to a five-figure speaking fee for a 45-minute gig.

There were 11 children in the Aun family, all of whom are still alive today. We are blessed in that way. We were also blessed with opportunity. Success for us was being self-sufficient. Hope drives that especially when there are obstacles aplenty. The key is to not allow yourself to become one of those obstacles.

Hope is about taking one more shot when the chips are down. Hope is about not giving up before the game is over. Afterall, persistence takes time and is often deceiving.

We question ourselves… that is called doubt. When things appear to be falling apart they might in fact be falling into place. When my sister-in-law Julie died at the young age of 40 of cancer, I questioned the God we worship. She was a beautiful young woman who never smoked or drank; in fact, she was an iron-man triathlete.

Why would God choose her? The answer came back in the acronym H-O-P-E… hold on, pain ends.

Fear is a powerful motivational factor… fear of loss, fear of love, fear of failure and yes, fear of success. There are four reasons we do not reach our goals in life.

First, we have been told about goals but not sold about goals. You will never set foot on the moon if you are unwilling to leave the earth.

Second, we have not been shown how to set a goal. Simply answer these questions: “Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?” …The answers will reveal the goal.

Third, we are legitimately afraid we are going to fail at the goal. Fear of failure is a powerful negative factor. No one wants to take that hit.

If you put those three factors in one stack, the fourth factor outweighs them all- FEAR OF SUCCESS! We are more afraid of success than we are of failure, possibly because endure more failure than we do success. In the end, we can only regret that chances we did not take along the path of life.

We cling to hope when all else fails… and make no mistake, there is a cost. Hope is not always comfortable nor easy and does not necessarily bear fruit. What is hope truly? It boils down to “taking action and doing something.” It forces us to make decisions. Carnegie said, “If you’re right 51% of the time you’ll be a winner.” Perhaps.

To be fair, the opposite of hope is simply despair. As a matter of fact, if you have no hope you should invent some or at least remind yourself why you held on as long as you did. That is a pretty good definition of faith, which is often confused as hope.

My five grandchildren embody the true meaning of faith and hope. They are endlessly optimistic and expect the best from life, from baby Adelaide’s crying for her next meal to her cousin’s Ashley (12) and Ava (10) competing in the pool for best diver.

Their three-year old twin cousins, Cameron and Keenan, could be the most competitive of all as they constantly remind one another that “It’s game on… journey on.” That’s hope!

Michael Aun, CSP®, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® is the author of “The Great Communicator” (Royal Publishing)