I remember the first Halloween my daughter was actually excited to go trick or treating because she wanted candy. We had just moved into a new neighborhood, which exacerbated her already shy nature.
As we prepared to walk to the first house she excitedly exclaimed, “I want candy, I want candy!” Then as the door grew closer she became more timid and stopped dead in her tracks.
“I thought you wanted candy?” I asked confused.
“I do, but I don’t want to knock. You knock.” She pleaded with me.
We are committed to fostering a sense of independence in our daughter and so I explained, “If you want candy, you have to knock for it!”
This charade went on for the entire evening. Her begging me to knock or ring the door bell and me insisting she do it herself, all while standing by her side mind you.
My daughter was three years old at the time (we didn’t actually let her eat candy for a few years so she was blissfully ignorant until then). As I reflect on Halloween right now, this lesson about asking for what you want feels pertinent at all stages of life.
Seth Godin encouraged readers in his book, The Icarus Deception, “Our cultural instinct is to wait to get picked…No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.”
A few months back I gave a talk at an event. I was meeting participants before the formal programming began when one person observed, “well you must be good at what you do, they asked you to speak here today!”
I felt this heat rising in me. They didn’t ask me to speak, I asked them if I could speak. I was too filled with a sense of shame and humiliation to correct her, so I just nodded and played along.
As I strive to model picking myself and asking for what I want for my daughter I am aware of this tension inside me. There’s a perception of notoriety in being chosen. As though, we aren’t qualified to pick ourselves, like it doesn’t count. And yet, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I always waited to be picked.
Sometimes it is easier to ask for what I want. Those are the times I feel such a strong conviction, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Or instances where being picked isn’t even an option, participating is my choice alone. Also, it’s a lot easier to ask when I feel confident in myself.
As I battled depression, asking for what I want is one of the things that fell by the wayside. I didn’t have the reserves to handle rejection; I wasn’t in a place where I could recognize that my self-worth was independent from getting what I wanted.
As I’ve emerged from that dark space, I have been embracing my innate tenacity. A few months ago I made a conscious decision to be tenacious and experiment with asking anytime I felt the inclination within me. I’ve asked for meetings with people, for introductions, the chance to participate in events as a columnist, for help with a new project I’ve been working on, and so on.
Not all my asks have been well received. In fact, early on I asked a friend for help with my new project. When he said no I felt devastated and contemplated quitting on this project all together (which is what I would have done a year ago). Instead, I let myself sit with the feelings then redirected my attention by writing about it in my journal.
That no actually led me to go further with this experiment, so it’s becoming a way of life. If I want my daughter to knock on people’s doors this Halloween, I have to model that for her by being tenacious myself. And so, I encourage you to reflect on asking for what you want as well.
- When have you felt tenacious and comfortable asking for what you want?
- What do you need to ask for now but haven’t?
- What’s stopping you from asking for it?
- How can you reframe this situation so asking for what you want becomes a positive and empowering thing to do?
What’s Rosabella Consulting Up To
Ariana has been publishing monthly columns on InnovatioNews about communication, neuroscience, culture, leadership, entrepreneurship and personal mastery. Some of her most popular articles include:
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Just Out! Ariana was featured on The Reset Podcast with Franklin Taggart. Checkout this fun, inspiring conversation on your favorite streaming service or online here.