I have had several mentors tell me great stories on how they asked for something and surprisingly, they got it. Seems simple right? But no, so many times, we stop ourselves from asking for things we want because we are scared of rejection and embarrassment.
I think it is hard for people to wrap their heads around rejection because it simply sucks. No one likes being told “No”, so we try to avoid it altogether. This fear is such an inhibitor to our lives and we end up having after-the-fact-regrets.
My Good Case Practices
I have come to realize that being told “No” when I ask for something is really not that big of a deal. The worst answer you will get is a no, and that just means you’re back to where you were if you hadn’t asked in the first place. The world isn’t going to end!
- When you don’t ask, you are completely eliminating the possibility of getting what you want because people are way too busy to offer up their time for no reason, or they may not even be aware that you want something in the first place!
- However, when you make the ask of another party, you are making it known that you want something. Making them aware that you need something is enough to get them to help you. If, for example, they are too busy to help you, that person can still redirect you to someone else who can help.
It is obvious that “you won’t get it if you don’t ask for it” (unless you are just really lucky). But let’s not count on luck, and let’s count on ourselves to get what we want!
My True Story
When I started my co-op work term, I wanted to get a better understanding of my organization and department. Additionally, I wanted to learn about people’s careers and how they got to where they are now.
I started by emailing previous Co-op students and full time employees and found it very enjoyable. I became more ambitious and knew that I wanted to meet with the leadership in my department, so I emailed them, requesting a 30 minute meeting with each. I knew the worst thing that could happen would be a rejection because the managers were too busy. However, I knew it was worth a try and that it was a harmless attempt at a great opportunity! If they said no, I would ask someone else.
Surprisingly or not, I ended up meeting with almost every team lead, manager, and director in my department, including the VP/CIO! Those meetings have contributed so much to my professional development and I can’t imagine what my co-op term would have been like if I simply hadn’t taken the chance to ask for these meetings. When I tell other people, they are surprised that I did all that because they never thought that those important people would even give us their time of day.
The coolest thing was gaining 2 mentors throughout all this, and one of them was the Senior Vice President at my company – which was completely shocking given the hierarchy of our organization. Here I was, a co-op student at the bottom of the food chain, receiving mentorship from a senior executive… Not even my team lead has ever met her – how crazy is that?
P.S. You’d be surprised how many people say yes if you ask nicely with good reason.