I have a lot of crazy dreams. They’re ideas I’ve floated around in my head for years—careers, accomplishments, lifestyles, opinions. My family knows about some of them, and they think some are less crazy than others. My dad has been particularly supportive, always trying to give me the benefit of the doubt when I tell him an idea, even when it’s—objectively—insane.
When I told my dad about my plan to travel the world and write about something (sorry, can’t tell ya what or else you’ll steal the idea haha ;)), he went with it. He helped me think about logistics, told me the world was my oyster, assured me that I’d have at least one reader. He told me it would be okay if I failed.
When I started a blog, he would share it with his friends with adorable little comments about “what a big deal I was” (hilarious because I had, like, 10 readers at the time).
As I reflect on Father’s Day, I am so thankful to have him in my life. It’s possible I wouldn’t have many of the dreams I do have were it not for him.
But, still, he’s my dad. He’s supposed to say those things. He’s shown himself through and through to believe in every crazy idea I have, so how do I know which ones are actually good?
And that’s why I am so thankful for Wednesday night and for Ari Krasner, Nina, and the Coca Cola Scholarship.
Wednesday night, I attended a dinner for the scholarship I received my senior year of high school. They offered a reception for any scholars—of any year—living in the DC area. I ran into a scholar from my year, Ari Krasner, an up-and-coming singer with a huge following and the founder and creator of Givebutter, an extremely successful fundraising website. I was intimidated to talk to him (and I mostly just wanted him to talk at me so I could nod my head and not think about how he was probably going to ask about me and I had nothing to contribute, etc etc etc). Many times he tried to ask me what I was passionate about, what I was doing, and what I wanted to accomplish, but I played it off. I’d usher him to another scholar nearby and praise her, asking him if he knew all the amazing things she had done. I’d sidestep the conversation and say I was “just interning” or “just figuring things out.”
But he knew there was more to my story. He believed in me.
At the time, I felt unworthy of being in the room. I felt I hadn’t measured up, that my 9-5 internship wasn’t as inspiring and influential as all the jobs everyone else in the room had—from successful nonprofits to multiple degrees to huge startups to a life of service, where did I fit?
But then a girl tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around. It was Nina, my best friend from the Scholars Weekend three years ago that I hadn’t seen or talked to since (that’s a complicated story but we are still very close; just logistically got hard). She gave me this huge hug and started telling everyone around us about how I was her best friend, how we had so many things in common, how I inspired her and had made her night.
I realized that THAT was what I brought to the table. I brought relationships. I brought trust. I brought an ability to believe in other people.
And that’s when it hit me. How come I believe in other people so easily, but rarely believe in myself?
Ari so easily believed in me, and I so easily believed in him, but I didn’t believe in myself.
I looked over my shoulder, and saw that Ari was still there. I deliberately walked over to him, and said confidently—so confidently that in retrospect I probably should have toned it back a little—“I write a blog and I have 20,000 readers. I started it three years ago, and people really like it. I write about goodness and emotional vulnerability and I have a natural following. I want to be a writer.”
His jaw dropped and he looked at me, “Well why didn’t you say so?!” he exclaimed.
We then exchanged numbers and for the next four hours discussed our hopes and dreams, how we were going to be different, why we mattered and what we could bring to this world.
“Artist to artist,” he had said.
I forgot about Intimidated Hope: the Hope who shied away from telling the world who she really is, the Hope who pretended like she didn’t bring much to the table, the Hope who invested in people, but not herself.
We sat on the steps of the Washington Monument and told each other our life stories. For some reason, he found my life so interesting, so worth knowing, so crucial to the change I wished to see in the world.
I found myself telling him every huge dream I ever had, all the crazy ones my dad had heard about, and some new ones, too. He didn’t laugh, or question them, but found them fascinating. He found them risky, and he found beauty in that risk. He told me how excited and honored he’d be to read whatever I wrote, that I had passion and drive and I couldn’t let it go.
I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who so quickly and fervently believed in me.
But more than that, he challenged me. On the walk back to my dorm, he asked why in the world I hadn’t tried harder, why in the world I hadn’t dreamed bigger, and most importantly: why I hadn’t asked for help.
I realized that Intimidated Hope was getting in the way of more than just “bragging” about myself at a dinner party. Intimidated Hope was getting in the way of voicing my dreams to people who would truly love to help make them a reality.
Ari is so driven and so smart. He has skills in areas that could take me years to acquire. He has natural talent, too. Why in the world was I sitting back not asking him for advice?
I realized that all my dreams only seemed crazy because I approached them from the lens of having to accomplish them myself—allllll byyyyy myselfffff.
That is insane!
Who accomplishes their dreams by themselves?!
I’ve been writing a blog for almost three years and I’ve done everything almost entirely by myself. Can you imagine the kind of reach I could have if I just asked for help?????????????????
I can’t thank Ari enough for telling Intimidated Hope to just go the Hell away. “You know, I have some skills that could really help you,” he said. “I know some people who could really help you. But you have to see that you have a lot that could really help me, too. You have to know that asking for help isn’t a one-way street.”
Intimidated Hope didn’t want to ask for help because she convinced herself that she didn’t bring anything to the table. But true confidence lies in the ability to ask for help. And I do bring things to the table.
Ari is going to help me reach more readers. He introduced me to influential people in the “Vulnerability Space” (all us crazy people who love vulnerability) and gave me the confidence to invest in some necessary resources to learn more blogging skills. And I am going to help him establish written content and strong stories for his company. He is going to help me because he sees things in me, just as I am going to help him because I see things in him. And through our own confidence, drive and passion, we are going to change the world…. Together. We are going to achieve our insane dreams because dreams aren’t insane when we are doing them together.
For the second half of this summer, and all of senior year, I’m going to be asking for help. I’m going to ask for help to achieve my dreams, because I can’t do anything alone and because I finally understand that help is a two-way street.
There are so many people who could help me – Betsy with branding, Dylan with start-ups, Carly with journalism and speech writing, my friends with sharing my posts, the list goes on and on. But I haven’t been believing in myself enough to ask for help. So that’s why I’m saying goodbye to Intimidated Hope and hello to Confident Hope. Thank you to everyone all along this journey has been so ready and willing to help me, and know that I finally will take you up on it.
Hi, I’m Hope. How can I help you?
**If you want more information about Ari Krasner and his music, check out his instagram: @arikrasnermusic http://instagram.com/arikrasnermusic
And if you want to know more about his company, Givebutter, check this out: https://givebutter.com