HOVER stands for the five core ingredients you must have, or will need to move beyond a stumble-hope, optimism, value, enthusiasm and resilience. HOVER symbolizes looking down, surveying the situation, and then strategically tapping these five basic ingredients to create change both internally and externally and bounce back from mistakes.


Hope is vital. Believe that you can leave past mistakes behind you, and you will find a way to do so.


Optimism involves taking an upbeat view of your life. This ability to have a can-do approach lets you snap back quicker from mistakes. It also opens your eyes to see how “you can” bring about change or fix it, not focus on how “you can’t.”


One way to cultivate optimism is to focus on what’s going right and stop thinking so much about what went wrong or how you screwed up—or could. Keeping a journal can help you do that. If you notice that the same old worries and regrets keep going through your mind, write those thoughts down and decide whether you want to let them go or address them in some way. And start keeping a record of the good things. At the end of each day, write a few lines about what went well and what you’re most grateful for in your current situation.


And always keep a “good” list, or a gratitude list, as some people call it. Use your list to reset your day, every day. Be grateful. It’s a dose of mental relief and an opportunity to push the restart button.


Value means having the inner confidence to know that if you put out the effort, you will get results or see progress. It means you yourself value your own work and skills and talents. It means you believe in yourself. That inner confidence, will help you give yourself a break when you occasionally slip up. Keep lists of what your skills and talents are and refer to it when you get down on yourself.

 

Enthusiasm is the intangible get-up-and-go factor that boosts your energy and helps you tackle problems that may arise when you make a poor decision, or take an action you regret. Once you realize the mistake, be eager to make things right, or at least energized and determined to progress beyond it.

 

Resilience, or a knack for springing back in the face of adversity, a misstep, or failure, is vital in achieving happiness in life and at work. Resilient people resist the urge to get bogged down in the past, and instead keep looking toward the future. They’re curious. They keep learning. They forge ahead.


Bottom line: stop thinking so much about what goes wrong and start focusing on what goes right.


Kerry Hannon is unaffiliated with TIAA, College Retirement Equities Fund, and their affiliates and subsidiaries (collectively TIAA), and TIAA makes no representations regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information made available by her. Hannon’s statements are solely her own and are not endorsed or recommended by TIAA.

 

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