i wouldn't say that i am weak, or feeble, or that i don't ask for what i want. but i do think there is a real difference between telling my husband that i don't want frozen corn for dinner (blech, i don't think i'll ever get on board with the taste of frozen veggies), and inviting the bc minister of arts, culture and recreation to the festival i am planning. because those are two very different kinds of "asks." but i did both of those this week, whereas a year or two ago i could only have managed the former.
i'm not quite sure what changed in me. though i can probably pinpoint one occurrence and two influences in my life that led to my new-found confidence. in 2011 i was working at a job that made me very very unhappy. i suddenly decided (i don't know why it took so long), that i would find something else. and with a bit of effort i did. i always "set my mind to something" without realizing it. i'm a pretty dedicated and motivated individual. but i think that was the first time i became conscious of my own power to change.
the two people who have influenced me on this subject are my father and my boss of three years. my father has always been really supportive. he tells me not to be embarrassed when i need to be firm, and to stand up for myself. this is such a lame example, but it has always stuck with me: when i was in highschool, i told my father about how we had to ask to go to the washroom and sometimes if the class was in the middle of something, the teacher would say no. my father looked me straight in the eye and said "Katie, if you ever have to go to the washroom, just go. if anyone has a problem with that, tell them to talk to me." It was a minor issue, but i felt supported and justified. whenever i need advice on how i can be stronger or more confident, i call my dad. however, i think because he is my father, he kind of lets me off (just a little) because he doesn't want me to be too uncomfortable.
my boss however, has no such qualms. and because i work for him, i have to do what he asks. which as it turns out, has been a good thing. when i first met him, i was a little frightened at his sense of assertion. i could see that he had strong opinions, and knew how to stand his ground (being a lawyer will do that to you). sometimes it was hard to get across my own thoughts. but as i quickly learned, strong people respond to strength. which meant i had to be more assertive too. it was only when i was full confident in what i was saying that he would value my opinions and take me seriously. over the years he has taught me how to ask for things that i never would have dreamed off (big favours! large discounts! things for free!). and the most surprising thing, is that if i am somewhat reasonable, and not impolite, people often acquiesce.
all of this has been very helpful this past year when it came to planning this arts festival. i notoriously hate networking. i never understood meeting someone under fake pretenses in order to get something from them. but what i've discovered is that it doesn't have to be fake (you can genuinely like them!) and when you are passionate enough about something, suddenly you are not afraid to ask for things. i'm no pro, don't get me wrong. i still feel sick at the thought of having to ask for something. but they say that if it makes you a bit fearful, it'd probably worth it. and i agree. i've come along way recently - and it has opened so many doors. i've met amazing people, been offered wonderful opportunities...and i'm having a lot of fun!