Is Hope the Project Hack We Were Missing?

Driving around the streets in Managua, I’m constantly face-to-face with drastic poverty. At every intersection, a group of children approach my car with squeegees in hand. They want to clean my windshield in exchange for a few cents, maybe a dollar.

There’s one problem: I don’t carry cash. No matter how much I want to thank these children for their work, I have nothing to offer them.

So, I ask them to stop.

I lower my window and say, “Hey, sorry, but I have no cash to give you. Please don’t wash my windshield.”

But they don’t stop. The water bottle gets poured onto my windshield and the squeegees go to work.

Frustrated, I insist, “Seriously, I’m really sorry, but I have nothing to give you. I wish I did. Please stop or I’m going to feel terrible because I have nothing to give you in exchange.”

They look at me, angry and reluctant to stop. For a second, I’m afraid I’m going to get a squeegee to the face, but I plead with them to believe me. I tell them that if I had the cash on me, I’d gladly help them out. I just don’t have any today.

They squint their eyes at me, wondering if I’m telling the truth. After a second, they relent and say, “Next time?” I tell them, “Yes, definitely. Next time I drive by, I’ll have cash, and you can wash my windshield.”

They smile and walk away.


It burns a hole in my heart that these children with their squeegees can be so full of anger one second and then so calm the next.

All because I promised them a “next time.” All because they have a bit of hope for the future.

Don’t we all do the same? Don’t we turn our own scowls into a smile when we think there’s a next time?

  • If a client turns me down, I get down on myself. The only thing that cheers me up is the possibility of the next one.
  • If I get tired during a workout and give up, I get down on myself. The only thing that cheers me up is the possibility of the next one.
  • If my husband and I miss a “date night”, I get downright depressed. The only thing that cheers me up is the possibility of the next one.

The role of hope in our lives is more uplifting than we think.

Enough with busy-bee lives, chasing goal after goal, validation after validation. Smile at the possibility that it may all work out.

If hope grants us contentment, I’m all for it.


 

From time to time, people ask me for advice via email or a Skype call. Most of these conversations end up focused on the same questions because people want to know how I “did it,” referring to being hopeful enough to jump into entrepreneurship and then disciplined enough to make the project sustainable.

They tell me:

  • “I just don’t know what I want to do yet.”
  • “I haven’t gotten that grand idea yet.”
  • “I’m not sure what my passion is.”

Why does everyone go about it the wrong way? Who says grand ideas are what matter? Who says we have one true passion we must wait for in order to do something awesome?

In reality, there isn’t one thing you’re aiming for. The direction you’re sailing toward keeps changing, and that’s okay — as long as you keep moving forward.

During these conversations, my message is always the same one:

You can live your dreams if you’ll just let go of the notion that something will “come to you” and start doing the work instead.

And what I mean by “doing the work” isn’t what you’d expect. Yes, I think that you need to learn constantly and develop amazing skills, but there’s something else you have to do, too.


It’s not like I “did it” because I knew what my passion is. I have no idea what my passion is. I’m “passionate” about many topics. I just do what feels good, and I follow what excites me in the moment.

All I’ve done is explore.

If there’s one thing I’ve accomplished it’s being brave enough to share my explorations with the world.

This is why everyone should start a blog. I don’t care if you share your writing, your videos or your photos. Just start a blog because you need to explore what’s inside yourself.

Nothing great happens without exploring your true self.

I know it’s scary. That’s why you haven’t done it yet. You’re thinking:

“What will my friends and family say? Will they make fun of me?” “What if nobody follows my work? Will I be a failure?” “What if I actually fail and everyone is watching?”

Everyone fears that stuff. The fear you feel in the pit of your stomach is so normal it’s boring.

Know what’s not boring? The people who do their work despite the fear.

Pinpointing one single passion won’t solve all your problems. Waiting around for that “grand idea” will do nothing but lead you into old age bored and regretful. But continuously exploring your interests will put you on a path to an awesome life.

  • All the greats put themselves out there to explore what moved them.
  • All the greats were vulnerable enough to share with the world.
  • All the greats trusted the hope that their journey would be worth it.

My invitation to you is the following: If you want to do something great, share yourself and put yourself out there.

To start, you don’t need to have it all figured out. You just need to have hope that you’ll figure it out as you go.