Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ask nicely


When I was a kid I hated making phone calls. Yet, despite my known hatred for the activity my mother always insisted that if there was a call to be made--I would do it without her calling for me. If I wanted to arrange a play date--I had to call. If I wanted to find out if a store had something--I had to call. In fact, I distinctively remember her making me book a hotel room for one of my birthday parties-true story! {And if you know my mother, it’s really not that surprising.}

One summer when I was 13 and wanted a babysitting job, despite my begging and pleading, my mom forced me to call up the lady and ask for the job. I spent hours agonizing over it. My mom and I wrote out a script before I finally dialed the number. The lady picked up and in what I'm sure was the shakiest voice she had ever heard, I point blank stated that I was interested in the babysitting job, gave her my qualifications, and asked if I could please have it. Before we hung up, I had scored my first {paying} summer job.

I know now that my mom was insisting I do those things to teach me a lesson and hopefully one day get over my fear of the telephone. Despite her best efforts, my fear is still very much in tact {we can blame that on the convenience of text messaging} but I did learn a great lesson in all of those years—one that I’m still working on today…

If you want something, all you have to do is ask for it.

A few months ago I asked for a raise at my job. Thirteen-year-old Annye would have been put to shame with the nervousness I felt that day. Walking into my boss’ office I’m pretty sure my hands were visibly shaking. But, just like the day when I called about the summer babysitting job, I had practiced a script and thought of all the reasons I deserved more money. Not knowing whether or not I would have been offered one had I not asked, I’m so glad I did because I ended up getting what I wanted.

Life is too short to sit back and be passive about the things you want. Asking for things is one way you can control what happens to you. It’s way too easy to sit around and talk about something that you wish you had—the hard part is actually getting up the guts and asking for it. The worst thing that could happen is the word “no.”

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