What Are Your Hopes and Fears?

What Are Your Hopes and Fears?

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The professor I worked for in college would often ask me, “what are your hopes and fears?” It was something one of his college professors would often ask him.

You are to answer in the form of: I hope ______ but fear _____.

The idea is to identify a goal and why you’re afraid of it. Openly stating this hurdle helps you to better address it. You become aware of your fears and can plan ahead to overcome them. Putting your fears out there give you direction so you can make a plan of how to avoid your fear from happening.


Some Examples

  • I hope to get a new job but fear that I am asking for too much money.
  • I hope to adopt a cat but fear the responsibility.
  • I hope this person feels the same way but fear I scared them off.
  • I hope this project will end on schedule but fear communication complications.
  • I hope to full-time freelance but fear I won’t make enough money.

I Hope to do well But Fear that I won’t

Tomorrow I am running the Brooklyn Half for the third time. I’m not necessarily nervous but I do have some concerns. Thinking of these off the top of my head I can list: blisters, not stretching enough, eating too much/not enough, wearing the wrong clothes, not getting enough sleep, pacing myself.

Yet, if I were to list my hopes and fears about the race, it’d be this:
I hope to run the best to my physical ability but fear not being emotionally together enough to maintain focus.

I’m not actually afraid of blisters or not stretching. I already know how to deal with them and have a plan. When I really break it down, I’m afraid of being able to mentally focus on staying positive during the run. I know from experience that thinking negatively while running kills all my momentum. I can’t process emotions while running. If I get too upset during a run, I just give up and start walking. I can only focus my energies on physical efforts or emotional ones; but not both and definitely not at the same time. Since I’ve been feeling off and on down lately, I’m worried my brain may get the better of me tomorrow.

Now that I’ve identified my goal and fear, I can come up with a plan. I don’t need to spend time laying out my clothes and going to bed early. I mean, I will do those things. But more importantly, I will focus on relaxing and clearing my thoughts. I may try some meditative exercises. Writing down things that are stressing me out then telling myself to address them after the race. Coming up with several positive mantras that I can repeat while running. I don’t want to have to come up with them on the fly. Two that I’ve used in the past are: One mile at a time and Run your own race.


Being able to identify your fears from the beginning can help you to better plan for them. If you have a plan, then you don’t need to feel discouraged.

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