Hopeless or Hopeful?

by Edward Henkler on November 4, 2014

Challenges in life can make us feel hopeless but I also think there is potential to help others feel hopeful. For the third time in the last year, someone I know well has become so overwhelmed with life’s challenges that they perceived only one option. Unfortunately, that sole remaining option was to take their life. In two of the three cases, they also left a family behind, which becomes even more incomprehensible for me. I don’t want there to be even a hint of a suggestion that I’m blaming the victims. All three people were exceptionally nice, well liked by everyone who knew them. I will also say that I’m not even close to being an expert on mental illness. The focus of this post is on the things all of us can do to help people who find themselves in hopeless situations. Anyone who has followed my blog for a while will know that I’ll work the Dream Manager into the conversation. Before I do that, I want to tell a story of someone in a hopeless situation who was helped by others.

Howard Lutnick is the Chairman of Cantor Fitzgerald. He has donated $65MM to Haverford College, including a recent donation of $25MM. It would be natural to think he’s just another rich guy who wants his name on a building on a campus but that would be a misjudgment. The real story is that Howard’s mother died of cancer when he was a high school junior. Rather incomprehensible but that’s not the worst. One week into his freshman year at Haverford College, his father succumbed to a cancer that his son didn’t even know was present. I can’t even begin to imagine how he must have felt. Then the President of Haverford called Howard to let him know that his full college tuition was covered. I don’t know all of the details but I have to believe that gesture converted a lost life to one of the highest possible accomplishment. The positive stories continue if you research what he did to weather the challenges of September 11, 2001 when 2/3rd’s of his employees perished. Btw, it may change with his recent donation but to date his name hasn’t been added to any of the buildings.

Howard Lutnick, Haverford College

As forewarned, I’ll also bring Matthew Kelly’s The Dream Manager into the picture. I typically talk about Dream Manager principles for the relationship between the employer and employee. In this case, I’ll suggest they can also be applied between two individuals, perhaps people that are connected through networking. What if each of us sought to know someone else’s dreams and then did everything in our power to help them be realized?

There are no magic answers but I’d encourage you to uncover the dreams of at least one other person, then work to make those dreams become reality.

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