Not Without Hope – Karen Tiede

Karen and I met through a couple of different business networking events. As we talked at length, I was impressed by her quest for continued education and to apply her skills to help other people. I was equally moved by her positive spirit in the face of some daunting challenges. So I asked her to share some of her thoughts in this post. You can learn more about her organizing company at

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Karen Tiede

Karen Tiede

Hope is bigger than life.

I never quite understood what people meant when they said, “there’s no hope…” to mean, “there’s nothing medical science can do to bring a person back to a full and healthy life.”  If there is any truth to the Christian message, and if there is a brighter future in store, then hope clearly HAS to be bigger than this life we stumble through. It’s helpful to ground myself in the largest sense of the word in order to bring perspective to the smaller events that offer a decision point about hope or despair.

I spent 20 years with a company that was reasonably satisfied with my contributions to their bottom line and, similarly, I was happy with their contribution to mine.  Now that job’s gone on a flight to China.  I could not create any amount of assurance that any similar job available locally would not be similarly off-shored before the first anniversary.

I have an aging body, but an agile mind.  With limited financial resources in a “bad” economy (whatever that really is), the opportunity to indulge the demons of despair and unfairness lurked, especially when some co-workers were called back.

And yet, I’m an American, and the flow of immigration indicates more people see this as a land of opportunity, and hope, than not.  My grandparents came here to figure out a better life (and a new language), and managed.  Am I less able than they?  Every business around me was started by someone, and I can’t be less capable than every single one of those people.  In the service of full disclosure, I have already learned that there are a lot of business opportunities that will not work for me.  I am not going to make a reliable living if the business demands sustained physical fitness.  I am not able to make art that will sell at a living wage in the amount of time between now and when my money runs out.

Thomas Edison knew a lot about how not to make a light bulb but didn’t let that body of knowledge affect his hope. I have more ideas; they are in the test stage now; I expect something will bear fruit.  Businesses fail for a lot of reasons, but mostly because people give up on them.

Having a penchant for thoughtful organization, I’ve started a new company helping people bring order to their lives in such a manner that will allow them to sustain that order. As with any new endeavor, the initial momentum seems slow but it is building. I believe if I don’t give up, it’s going to work.

Hope is a decision.  ~ Karen Tiede


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