It was a first for me. It was the first time I walked into a hotel and the line to check in was practically out of the door. I joined the line asking my patience from both the long week and day of travel to extend itself just a little longer. I could collapse on a soft 600 thread sheet bed soon enough. As I stood in line the woman in front of me got to converse. It started with the commentary about the line, but once we shared we were both in San Diego and at that hotel for the same conference we were talking theory, other professional conferences we attended, our current work, love for travel, and food.
It was during our conversation about food that the woman shared she had recently been on a six month professional travel leave from her institution (I should probably mention she works in Canada) and that food during travel while difficult in the past was not so difficult this time around. When she requested this special professional travel leave she also requested funds to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle, not just what she could find in hotel dining areas and bars or stations in airports. She wanted to comfortably be able to pick and accommodations that accommodated her lifestyle. “I asked for everything I wanted and I got it,” she shared.
I was speechless. What did she mean she asked for everything she wanted? “What exactly is that like?” I pondered. Then a little bit of envy set in. Not because she got it all, but because she was able to ask freely. She didn’t whittle down her wish list of needs for this leave. She didn’t know what she needed, believed to be reasonable and deserving and then only chose a few thinks to ask for. She asked for all of it.
After recently sharing with a friend that while my job title is counselor I am much more than a counselor, we discussed what it would take for me to be given the title that best reflects the work I really do. What would I need to start the conversation about me raising the standards for my department, increasing the number of students who complete services as opposed to prematurely terminating, supervising team members, creating cross departmental programs that receive consistent positive feedback via the assessment forms I designed for the programs, organizing a women’s symposium complete with a registration process, catered lunch, and remarkable and accomplished women from around the mid Atlantic section of the United States, increasing our department’s visibility on campus through our physical presence, creative programming, marketing, and capturing events on our social media page? What would I need in order to ask?
In the coming weeks I am planning to ask. I say planning because I know that what I desire is going to require a bit of proof on my part that the work I have done can be continued, broadened, improved, and necessary. I’ve got a proposal to put together. After the preparing and submitting the proposal, you better believe I am going to take the risk and ask. I look forward to letting you know the outcome.
One of my favorite scriptures is “You have not because you ask not.” Part of why I love it is because I think it is a great reminder that sometimes we don’t get out of life all that we truly desire because we don’t ask. I think we don’t ask sometimes because as I shared a few weeks ago, we don’t dare to want. We don’t bother risking really wanting something because we don’t want to be disappointed. If we do dare to desire I think we hesitate asking because….we might get told “no.” Oh the rejection of the dreaded no. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to be rejected anymore than the first person. I just have been rejected enough that now I just use it as even more motivation to figure out how to rephrase the question and ask until I get the bet outcome I desire (and by rephrasing and asking until I get my desired outcome, I don’t mean doing this in a way that remotely violates anyone’s personal boundaries or causes any harm).
However if we don’t ask we also don’t get the yes. We risk not hearing the glorious yes! We risk not getting all that we hoped for, thoughtfully planned and rationed, or dreamed of. We deny ourselves abundant LIVE-ing.
This week I just want to encourage you to ask. I want to encourage you to think about all that you want, need, and deserve, and ask for it.