This morning I was asking a friend for some advice on soliciting corporate sponsors to help finance the promotion of Self-Care Awareness Month, September each year.
We were discussing what to put in a letter and at the very end he added, "Ask for what you want." That question gave me pause for thought. "What is it that I do want," not only in my professional but personal life as well? Recently I read some statistics on why people made their last donation. Overwhelmingly, the answer was because they were asked to. Yes, that's right, simply because they were asked.
What do you suppose that we leave on the table in our own lives simply because we haven't mustered up the courage to ask? And beyond that, what do you suppose that we miss out on, in life because we don't know what it is to ask for?
Discovering what we want isn't such an easy task but asking for it can be even harder.
Many of us were taught that asking questions was impolite. And asking for something for ourselves was, well, I don't really know what the word is, it's worse than impolite, deplorable, that's it! It was deplorable for you to ask for something for yourself. You were viewed as being selfish or self-centered. Well, at least that was my upbringing. But it couldn't have just been mine as not asking for yourself was even depicted in the old movies. I remember one where the nuns weren't allowed to ask for the salt at dinner. They had to wait until someone noticed that they may possibly enjoy having the salt. Are you flippin kidding me? We can't ask, we're not allowed to ask. Or perhaps we just don't ask because we're afraid of the answer.
I had been struggling with this all summer... saying what I wanted to say.... asking questions I wanted answers to but didn't have the courage to ask. When I wrote in my journal, "If I ask, I have to much to loose." Then the answer simply wrote itself on the paper. "If you ask, possibly you have more to gain." Eventually I did ask and while the process wasn't easy to go through, I actually did have more to gain than loose in the situation.
I've come to a place in my life where any question is fair game... to anyone and visa versa. It's not that we have to answer every question posed to us or that we pose to another, but I feel like it is up to the person whom the question is being asked to set a boundary if they don't want to answer it. Otherwise, how will we know if we've left things that we wanted to know but were afraid to ask, out there in the void somewhere.
As the holidays grow ever so near, perhaps we could take some time to decide what it is that we want need or desire or what questions we want answers to... and then ask for it. Yes, it will take some courage. But like me, perhaps you'll have more to gain from asking than from not. If you don't ask, you won't know if it's even a possibility.