Michelle Tucker

On a typical October day, my evening might include late meetings at the office, dinner at a local restaurant with my husband, then catching up on the latest news. But, like many of you, the past six months have only offered occasional use of words like “typical” or “normal.” Our routines have been uprooted and disrupted by the complex challenges we are all experiencing right now. 

With so few things remaining familiar, I find myself searching for sources of inspiration and something to look forward to. As I take stock of what’s now a significantly reduced list of constants, the concept of hope rises quickly to the top.

Though certainly not a standalone strategy, hope is indeed one of the daily choices we are continually faced with as we traverse through life’s most challenging times. Hope remains a potent ingredient that many times can serve as a North Star for us. Hope can even help inspire a monumental task, like visioning for how we create a better tomorrow for our children and neighbors.

Conversely, fear and a lack of optimism can serve to limit our actions, producing constrained or predictable results or even shut down evolved thinking and innovation. Fear can fuel negativity and influence our conversations and threaten our collective sense of security.

In the absence of intentionally choosing hope, we stifle our ability to vision bold and game-changing growth strategies that position our region to recover and compete culturally and economically. In times like these, where not just our future, but even the thought of tomorrow seems impossible, I encourage you to choose hope and not fall victim to fear.

Hope, in times like these, can help energize us to make the necessary decisions and take actions to solve our present dilemmas, including confronting racial and spatial inequities in St. Louis. Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” yet we all must take the first step toward what’s possible.

That is the beauty of hope; it is a beacon that can be leveraged to overshadow uncertainty as it guides our way to a better tomorrow now, and for future generations.

Michelle D. Tucker is president and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis.

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