During the election of 2008, the catchy little platitude of “Hope and change” was bandied about like it was the embodiment of a certain candidate.  When that candidate got elected, there were cheers, tears of joy!  Hope and change was in reach!

The only problem is that things got worse.

People got frustrated, disappointed and downright angry.  The fighting and bickering between factions got worse.  There were demonstrations.  Approval ratings plummeted.  This was not the “hope and change” they had envisioned.

Because the “hope and change” they looked for depended on someone else.

As 2011 approaches, I challenge people and businesses alike to find enough hope to be the agent of change themselves.  Sure, policies change, circumstances go awry, people disappoint, but you are the only one who can change yourself for the good or bad.

Hope without change is nothing more than a dream, and change without hope is pointless.  One supports the other.  I read a comment on a blog I read this week that said “Hope is not a strategy.”  You can forever hope that business will pick up, but unless you make changes to see it happen it will remain a dream.  But changing for changing’s sake will be wasted effort if there is no goal in mind.

If you’re not getting the desired results out of life or business, one needs to make a change.  As they say, they definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.  Change, while sometimes painful and uncomfortable, is necessary in life.  We should always be adapting, evolving and reinventing ourselves and our businesses to reach the goal.

Keeping hope alive is a daily and purposeful thing – and that requires strategic changes.  Change that brings forward motion…and inspires more hope.

As 2011 speeds closer, take the time to not only dream, but to develop strategic changes to accomplish those dreams.  Whether they be small or big, being strategic about the changes we make in life and business will keep those hopeful thoughts of better days, more clients, or bigger revenues within reach.  Don’t wait for some charismatic leader to inspire you or for the stars to align just so.  Start with the only thing you can change – yourself.