Little Life Lessons: You Never Know Until You Ask

Courage is my word for 2013. At first I thought it was kind of silly to choose a word of the year, but I’ve been surprised at how often that word has come to mind when I approach something I’m fearful about or hesitant towards. And it’s surprising how more intentionally courageous I’ve been so far. (Typing out “intentionally courageous” also sounds silly, like I’m about to go to battle or something — but for this introverted girl, it works.)

Let’s take work, for example.

I work in an building where all of the offices on my floor are in a circle with a conference room in the middle. When I started in August, I was given one of the inside offices without a window. It was a big, cozy office, and a novelty to have my own space at all, after having just a desk/cubicle in my last job. In the past few months a few of my coworkers left and the group was restructured a bit so our department won’t be hiring anyone anytime soon.

With a few vacant window offices available, and no more hiring in our near future, the thought to move to a window office came to mind. I love natural light. Florescent lights give me headaches and I prefer natural light over lamps any day. It would be nice to have an office where I could take a break and look at the landscape or the traffic patterns below.

But I was nervous asking for it. And it made me wonder, why is it so hard to ask for things sometimes? The vulnerability of being told no? Is that so hard to hear?

On a whim a couple of weeks ago I asked my immediate supervisor to move to one of the vacant window offices. Oh, yes, of course! Why didn’t we think of that sooner? We’ll have you moved in the next week. he said. I was shocked it was that easy.

I think as twenty-somethings, it’s easy to take directions but very hard to assert yourself in the workplace. Everyone seems so much smarter, more capable. But I’ve learned how valuable young thoughts can be to an organization. Good ideas don’t come with experience, sometimes it just comes with thinking. Of course it’s important to take directions and work hard, but I’m learning to speak up and bring new ideas to the table, even if it’s something as simple as moving offices.

This was just a small example, but a great lesson that you never know until you ask. The worst they can say is no, and that’s really not the end of the world.

Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Have you ever found yourself nervous about asking for something, at work or elsewhere? What was the outcome? Why do you think it’s hard for us to ask for things?

PS – Today I’m linking up with Little Life Lessons, hosted with Lindsay and Amy. Check out other twenty-something lessons!

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  • Ginna, what a beautiful lesson! I can attest to struggling with that. The whole time I was reading, I was thinking, “I think it’s because everyone else seems so much wiser, and I don’t want to sound stupid.” And then you said essentially the same thing! :) Thanks for such a great challenge to be courageous. And I LOVE that you have a word for the year. What a great idea! Thanks for linking up! I look forward to getting to know you more!

  • What a wonderful lesson. It is definitely timely for me as I find it so hard to ask for things. I feel like it’s almost wrong for me to ask for things like a promotion or a different office or anything of the sort. I am so proud of you for doing just that and of having such a positive response.

  • This is something that I’ve been learning recently, too! A lot of times I’ll find myself nervous to ask something, but the more I think about it, the more I realize I’m just afraid of rejection. Being told no is never fun, but I’m seeing that more often, the answer is YES! I need to just start trusting that sometimes the answer will be yes, and sometimes no. But I should always ask the question, and find out!

    Great life lesson, girl! :)

  • You’re exactly right — it’s the rejection that we’re afraid of, and normally the answer IS yes we just don’t hear it because we don’t ask.

  • Thanks Lindsay! I look forward to getting to know you more too, thanks again for the great idea for the link-up. It’s been a blessing so far thinking and reading through the lessons!

  • I am also learning this daily. I always have a word and a scripture for each new year. Last year and this year is boldness. It never hurts to ask and the worst you can hear is no. So true, because No is the worst I have heard lately alongside LOTS of YES! and SURE!

  • Yes, I need to remember this at work, too. Asking for even small things does not come easy to me, either. Right now I have a desk by a giant window (which I loooove), but my space is open, with no door. Which I don’t love. Ha. Thanks for the reminder, and also? It’s really nice to meet more Influence ladies that work outside the home. I need as much advice on 8-5 life as I can find :)

  • I feel the same way! I think I’ve got way too much fear in my life. And you’re right– there is nothing to be afraid of but a simple “no” or a little rejection. People always surprise us with acceptances and saying “yes” too!

    I love how you chose courage as a word for your year and you’ve actually been applying it! So glad I found your blog today! Can’t wait to get to know you better :)

  • so timely… i am just at a stage at work where there are a few things that i need to ask about– thanks for encouraging us to ask!

  • Love this! I actually made a request recently at work and was terrified about asking. The response I received was definitely more favorable than I anticipated! I’m still waiting to hear if my request will be approved, but I’ve learned it’s better to ask and see if the possibility is available than to let it pass by without speaking up.

  • Yes, so nice to meet you! I also find there aren’t a lot of 8-5 bloggers out there, so it’s nice to meet more!