We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. Click OK to use our website.

Leadership goes beyond hope

01 Jun 2018 / Wellbeing Print

Leadership goes beyond hope

I hope as you read this it is a warm and heady summer’s day. I hope your window is open – sounds outside muffled by heat.

I hope your tie or suit jacket are abandoned and you close your screen down soon; give in to the pull of a cloudless sky. I hope. We all hope. Hope is a delightful form of time travel, allowing us to believe change is possible, happiness is possible.

Of course, the uncomfortable truth about hope is that it has no power of its own. My wish for you is just that. It may or may not come to pass. As tantalising as hope is, if change is what you desire, you will need to draw on something deeper, more active.

Social and emotional supports

Having ‘good enough’ social (and emotional) supports, coupled with a sense of personal agency, are reliable indicators of how long you will live – as well as how healthily and happily.

Personal agency is defined as intentionally influencing your own behaviour, environment, life circumstances, and future.

Personal agency is, of course, also the cornerstone of effective leadership – an increasingly valuable skill for professional success. Let’s think of a desire you have right now. How you approach this is personal to you.

Some of us have ready access to an internal ‘leader’ that we can mobilise with ease. For others, it is more complex. We clearly want something – and yet we meet our resistance.


We self-sabotage, prevaricate, or isolate from the support of people who could help. Or we release doubts, become lost in the ‘what ifs’ or ‘shoulds’. Meanwhile, the moment of opportunity passes, and we are left with disappointment.

Some of us have no difficulty tapping into personal power – releasing an inflated forcefulness and often alienating others. The challenge, then, is that success, if it comes, can feel hollow and go unshared. So we set off again and again, in blind pursuit of a completeness that somehow can never be reached.

Go beyond hope

How do we become leaders of our own lives? By going beyond hope – going deeper until we really know ourselves and our personal relationship with power, with self-agency. It is journey of self-discovery, but one well worth making.

A longer, healthier – and indeed happier – life awaits those who take the risk.

Antoinette Moriarty
Antoinette Moriarty is a psychotherapist and heads up the Law School’s counselling service