I used to be afraid to ask my parents anything if I thought the answer would be no. See I had gotten to know them over some time and I pretty much had a good idea of what would fly and what wouldn’t. What I didn’t realize was that I was setting myself up in life to be fearful to ask anything if I thought the answer might be no. Instead of saving myself from the rejection, I was really just limiting my possibilities. Sometimes the habits that we have develop way before we know what we are doing or how they could be detrimental to our success. We have not because we ask not and it’s taken me some time to realize that.
This thing is deeply rooted. I don’t know where it came from either. So many times I would tell my friends, “nah, that ain’t going to fly.” And in the moments where I did ask and got a no I would be so crushed. I did not like people telling me no. Not anyone. I still don’t like the word no. At all. But I’ve learned the importance of it. See the more No’s you get out of the way, the closer you get to your yes and so it’s become more and more of a game. How many No’s can we knock out today?
I remember writing my first book proposal to shop my unreleased book. I was encouraged by a mentor to even try because I just thought it was silly to try to shop my book because no one knew or cared who I was. But, I figured this was a respected person and so I would try. I never even thought it was possible, but once you position yourself, you begin to have expectations. And so the first paper response I received in the mail that said NO, crushed me. I thought, “See this is stupid.” I didn’t even want to do this and now I have to figure out how to handle this rejection that I didn’t even ask for. But it built me up. It made me stronger. I began to see the good in even the fact that paper and a stamp was sent to me to say no. It’s all in our perspective.
I went on to publish a completely different book anyway, Dear Love. I still have that initial book that I was shopping, waiting for the right time. But now as I work on my second book, I had decided in my mind that I wasn’t going to pitch it all. I was scarred. I am the type of person that once you tell me no, I will work to make sure that I never need to ask you for anything again. But as I mature, I realize how silly that mentality can be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great not to let anyone hold you back. I mean someone told Katy Perry, no. And someone told Kanye West no. You get my point? But they still had to put themselves out there again and again to eventually find their yes.
So, I will pitch this next book as well. It won’t hurt. The power is knowing that even in the midst of No’s I will have the same option I did last time to simply self-publish my own book. No harm, no foul, but it is worth a try. There is a quote that says “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill. And I believe this. When you see the end goal, you really can’t get caught up in all of the “Who said no, who said yes,” you just have to keep going with the same vigor and determination that you started with. I will be a best-selling author. Period. And there will be a lot of No’s in between, but that my friends is the end goal.
This year, I am really challenging myself to no longer be afraid to ask. What will it hurt me to ask? Why do we act like people are so precious that we can ask them to be witness to our dreams? Or to help us do something? Or to support our efforts? These people are not THAT special! I mean not more special than we are. Not more special than our dreams. And so we should ask them! Ask them if we can perform. As them if we can be sponsored. Ask them if they can print our books. Ask them if they can display our art. WHATEVER it may be that you are looking to do in life, it will not hurt to ASK.
“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and the door will be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7). There are a bunch of us sitting on the other side of the door that holds everything we will ever need to get where we want to go and we have yet to access it simply because we wouldn’t knock! That’s CRAZY stuff right? So I want to ask you to come along side me and no longer be afraid to simply ask. It only hurts our pride, but as Cam Newton said, “There are no Band-Aids for feelings.” We dust ourselves off, believe in what it is we have to offer and continue knocking until someone opens up the door.
Have you ever found yourself simply afraid to ask and realized you were missing out on great opportunities? How will you fight that fear this year? What are you planning to ask for in 2016?