Just Ask

Just Ask

The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.
Peter Diamandus, Chairman and Co-Founder, Singularity University

Summertime is coming, and this year will be a little different for us. I normally have an easy time deciding on where the kids will be for the summer (i.e. camp, swimming lessons, etc.), but this year is proving to be a bit of a challenge. The issue is they are four years apart in age, and there isn’t one place that will be best for all three. While daycare would be great for Stinker, I know that the girls would be totally bored. And while fine arts camp might work for The Diva, I know that Miss Double Digits would lose interest fast. The challenge is how can I accomplish having meaningful summer experiences for all my kids, and not blow my entire summer budget?

Then it happened…a passing thought, which I almost dismissed just because I “assumed” the answer would be “no” since it has never been done before. But then I remembered something I just spoke with some high school students about: what do I have to lose by asking for what I want? The worst that can happen is a “no”, and I am already working under the assumption that I will get that “no”, so let’s just ask and see what happens!

My idea was a simple one. I would propose that Miss Double Digits become a Junior Camp Counselor at her old elementary school while The Diva attended as a participant. This means that my oldest child would get some volunteer hours working with teachers she knows and loves while my middle daughter received some enrichment education that would help shape her. It would be a perfect solution to keeping the girls together while allowing for them to have separate but meaningful summer experiences. And after two conversations with school administrators, I was told that they would love it! (Oh, and Stinker will still be at daycare but that works for me.)

My experience isn’t unique. My friends have been asking bold questions all week. A few days later, while scrolling through my timeline, I saw a few more examples of people creating their own lanes and charting their own futures. I wanted to share their stories with you (with permission, of course), as I am encouraged by them.

“I was invited to be a vendor at a private event at Essence (Music Festival). I took a risk as I asked the organizer how many other t-shirt vendors did she have for that particular event. She responded, “Usually about three or four, but your shirts are different, that’s why I want yours.” Then I asked, “What if I become your exclusive t-shirt vendor, meaning I’m the ONLY person on site both days selling t-shirts, and I’ll sponsor shirts for the event staff with my logo on them?” She could’ve told me to kiss her ass, and I was expecting her to, but she replied, “You’re hungry and smart, and because I respect the grind, you are going to be the only person I register to sell t-shirts. Work smarter not harder; know your worth, and sell yourself as a million dollar brand before you become one…”
– Terrance Gilbert of Trademark Creative

“I am a Training Coordinator in a chemical plant, a white male dominated position which usually requires years of previous experience as a Plant Operator. I’m not a white male, nor did I have operations experience. But I was able to get this position with a high school diploma. I went from making $27,000 to $60,000 within my first 4 years with the company. How did I get this job? Off the clock, during lunch breaks or after work, I would shadow a person in the role that I wanted. I simply complimented them and asked if they could show me a few things. I asked questions and took notes. After a couple of months, I approached my boss and stated that I would like to back-up the role, and that I had been training with one of the guys. I also asked if he would re-evaluate my current job as an administrative assistant and attach the new back-up role to it. This new back-up position was considered an operations role. He agreed. Basically, I created a job that didn’t exist! This move bumped my salary up from $2,250 a month to $3,750 a month. After doing this for about 6 months, I was contacted by another department who needed someone in an operations role who had computer experience, and I was offered my current job making $4,800 a month. Fourteen years later, I now make over $8,000 a month plus benefits, which started from a job that didn’t exist. So don’t be afraid to create your own lane.”
– A.N. from Louisiana

Basically, the bottom line is this, if there is something that you want, ask for it. It really is that simple. Once you step past the fear of the “presumed no”, then everything that you think you want is accessible to you… once you ask the question. So what is the one thing that you’ve been thinking about, that you are afraid to ask about, that could be a little crazy, non-traditional, or unorthodox?

Feel free to share your thoughts!

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