Have you ever secretly wanted to be a superhero?
When we unleash our very own Super HERO within, we will possess enriched mental, emotional and physical wellbeing; experience higher levels of job and life satisfaction; and be well on our way to thriving and flourishing at a whole new level, in life and career.
Who is this HERO we speak of and what is their secret you ask?
This HERO within each one of us is built on the four pillars of psychological capital – Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism (HERO).
These four pillars, when combined with leading authentically, is the secret to how individuals and organisations gain their competitive advantage. Psychological capital refers to an individual’s positive psychological state. This HEROic state is only achievable when an individual is fully betrothed in ALL four of the pillars.
The concept of psychological capital is greater than the sum of its parts. Herein lies the secret. To excel as a HERO, one must be well skilled in each pillar AND have the capacity to link all four together to gain the competitive advantage.
Over the next four weeks we will break down each pillar for you to gain an understanding of its singular components. Then in week four we will combine together the four pillars to elucidate the opportunities and the power that awaits, as you unite your HERO within with Authentic Leadership.
The Four Pillars
Hope – is having confidence in a successful outcome. It is believing that things will go well and we will gain a positive result out of the situation or event. It is having the ability to look forward and follow through with action.
Efficacy – the individual believes in themselves and their abilities to attempt, carry out, and follow through with tasks. It is the belief that we can produce what is required to complete a task. How you perceive obstacles will impact how you deal with them.
Resilience – is our capacity to adapt and be flexible in the face of adversity and not just bounce back, but bounce forward! This is where we dig deep to unleash our HERO within and rise to a whole new level.
Optimism – reflects the belief that outcomes of events or experiences, will be positive. Optimists will see adverse events as temporary (there is an end-point), local (this does not consume all of me, or all of my life) and changeable (I may not be able to change the situation but I can change the way I think about it).
The first pillar of psychological capital is HOPE. Having ‘hope’ is being able to look forward and have confidence that a successful outcome will result. When individuals are able to perceive that they can create a pathway forward, no matter what limitations may be present, and know that they will reach a specific goal through engaging their agency or action – this is Hope.
Hope has two components – Pathway thinking and Agency thinking. Pathway thinking is your ability to look beyond the current situation, to a future space and place. As you create options, opportunities, and possibilities to reach that future oriented goal (the pathway), you must then engage your Agency thinking. This is when you take action, carry out the tasks and complete each aspect of your pathway forward. You follow through. You accomplish each goal along the way.
You make it happen. Agency thinking, requires you to be internally motivated. Not relying on others to make it happen but stepping into your personal power with courage and belief in yourself, that you can and do, make it happen.
People who exhibit high levels of HOPE, view barriers as challenges and opportunities to overcome. They instigate their pathway and agency thinking, with haste and sound judgment.
Viktor Frankl (Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor), enslaved for three years in three different concentration camps in Germany during WWII. In his book ‘Mans search for meaning’ he identifies Hope as one of the key factors to his survival of the atrocities he endured. He sums up the overarching concepts of Hope exquisitely in the following statement:
‘One must learn the courage and tenacity to strive for a future goal, no matter how horrific, hard or tough the situation is. Everything can be taken from a human but one thing: the last of the human freedoms and that is, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.’
Frankyl portrays that regardless of the situations that we face, the only thing we get to choose is our attitude. Whether we face the situation with optimism and potential moments of joy and meaning, or see only desperation and limitation – is our personal choice. This is HOPE.
If we want to realise our secret fantasy of becoming a super HERO – we can! When we focus on the future goal with clarity, instigate our pathway and agency thinking, we will expand our possibilities, levels of hope and find meaning in our actions.